Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, with around 800,000 inhabitants in the city center. The total population is around 1.6 million people.
I flew into Valencia airport, which is approximately 30 minutes from the city center. There is a metro in the airport, which is the most convenient way I found to get to the city. The cost is 4.80 euros. Alternatively, you could take a taxi or city bus. The only downside of the metro in Valencia, is it does not expand very far. For example, it does not go all the way to the beach.
I stayed at the Primus Valencia Hotel and Spa, which is about 20 minutes outside of the city center. The closest metro station is Maritim-Serreria, which is a 20 minute walk or 5 minute bike ride. The city has bike racks located all over the city, which you can rent for the week. Simply go to the website or purchase at one of the locations that allow it. I used these quite a bit during my trip. It was great to pick up a bike by the hotel and bike around the city and drop it off at a different location. The cost of the city bike rental is 13 euros for the week, which is much cheapter than I found for other bike rental companies for just a day.
The Primus Valencia Hotel was very nice, but unfortunately, I did not get to enjoy the spa. It has an outdoor pool that is free of charge and an indoor pool that you can only use if you pay to use the spa. The price of breakfast I thought was a little unreasonable as well. However, I really liked the location of the hotel. Since I went to Valencia during Fallas Festival in March, I wanted to be outside of the city center so I wouldn’t be woken up as much from all of the fireworks. The hotel was also very close to the City of Arts and Sciences, which was my favorite area in Valencia.
Every March Valencia gets ready to welcome the spring. The Fallas is a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph. From March 1stto 19th, every day at 2PM in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento near City Hall, fireworks go off as tons of people watch. On the night of March 15th, the installation of the fallas monuments takes place in order to have them finished by dawn on the 16th. On the morning of the 17th, the falleros and their commissions go to the Plaza to collect prizes after all of the structures have been judged by the jury. Every night from March 15thto 18th, the sky of Valencia is filled with an amazing firework display at midnight. People gather on Paseo de la Alameda to enjoy the show. On March 17thand 18this an Offering of Flowers parade. Finally, on March 19th, all of the sculptures go up in flames to end the festival.
On my first day, I wanted to walk around the city center and see the main highlights. I started at City Hall, where I watched the Fallas Festival fireworks at 2PM. It was crazy to watch a firework show during the day. The streets were extremely crowded. I loved the atmosphere of everyone chanting and playing music.
You are able to access the balcony of City Hall to get a view of the city and go into the history museum with the building although I did not do either of these things.
After taking a look at City Hall and the Central Post Office across the street, I walked to Patriarch Square.
I then strolled through Jardins de la Glorieta. Valencia has several beautiful gardens, all of which are worth strolling through to avoid the city traffic.
I then ate lunch near the Valencia Cathedral at a restaurant called the Mercat de la Reina. It served traditional paella, which is a very good rice dish. It is usually served with seafood or chicken. I did not go into the cathedral because the entrance cost is 8 euros, which I think is a little much to see the inside of a church.
I walked toward the Templar Palace before taking a walk through The Royal Gardens and the Gardens of Turia on the way to Serranos Towers. What once used to be a riverbed is now a cultural and leisure center of Valencia. It is also one of the largest parks in Spain, spanning across an area of 9 kilometers. Serranos is one of the city’s remaining two gates, which was constructed around 1392. It was built as part of the historical city wall, protecting the city of Valencia, and was later used as a prison. You can access the tower and take a look at the Gothic interior and the excellent view of the city upstairs for only 2 euros.
Next, I walked to the Quart towers which is a memento of the old city walls protecting Valencia, built in the Late Gothic style. Napoleon entered the city through this tower, that once served also as a prison. It was cool to see the bullet holes.
Next, I headed toward the Central Market, but it had already closed for the day. It is one of the oldest still running markets in Europe.
However, I realized that Columbus Market was still open, so I headed there instead. By each of the markets, there are a lot of shops and restaurants. This is where I bought my souvenirs and had dinner before heading back toward the hotel.
On the way back, I biked through the gardens behind the City of Arts and Sciences, which is extremely pretty all lit up at night. Even late at night, it was still busy with groups of people setting off fireworks and mini parades going on. The party never seemed to stop.
In the morning I got on the train to Castellon from Valencia North station. The duration of the trip is one hour.
The main reason for this trip was to go tandem skydiving at Skytime dropzone. After arriving in Castellon, I took the tram from the train station toward the beach.
After getting off at the last stop, I walked about 25 minutes toward the aeroclub.
I stopped to have lunch along the way at a restaurant on the beach. There are a few options on the beach to choose from.
I then crossed off one of my bucket list items. For anyone looking for somewhere to skydive in Europe, I highly recommend this location. It was absolutely gorgeous looking down at the beach and mountains from 10,000 feet in the air. The staff were great and one of the reasons I chose this location is because they don’t make you wear the hideous cone helmet, unlike most of the dropzones in Europe.
After the skydiving activity, I walked along the sandy beach on my way back toward the tram stop. I wish I had more time to enjoy the beach. I also wish I thought twice before climbing up a palm tree. In case anyone is wondering, it breaks off easily and will result in two sprained ankles which will severely put a damper in the rest of your trip…whoops!
After taking the train back to Valencia, I changed at the hotel and then had dinner at Pizza Roma, an Italian restaurant. The staff was very friendly, and the food was delicious. After dinner, I went to a Livestock Challenge in the Valencia Bullring called the Plaza de Toros. I accidentally purchased these tickets instead of the bullfighting tickets.
I wasn’t sure what a Livestock Challenge would entail but I found out that it is just a bunch of idiots who volunteer to go in the bullring and get chased around by the bulls. I will admit that it was quite entertaining to watch, but I would have rather been watching a bull riding competition. Next time I’m in Spain, I will hopefully see what a bullfight is all about.
For breakfast, I ate at the Cereal House Cafe, which I thought was very neat. Although I wouldn’t pay for overpriced cereal everyday, it is an interesting idea. I saw a couple in the city so apparently it is a thing there. Besides cereal, they also serve pancakes, smoothies, and crepes.
I dedicated this day to the area called the City of Arts and Sciences. This is my favorite area in Valencia. It is a true architectural gem and Valencia’s cultural center. It is one of the main tourist attractions of the city and you should save a whole day for it, if you want to explore all the facilities.
I started off the morning by going to the Museum of Las Fallas, where I finally learned what the festival is all about and how it got started. The collection is a showcase of the best figurines made over the years. Each year, the best falls is saved from the fire and put into this museum. I liked walking through this exhibition and exploring the evolution of this craft.
After, I walked across the street to the main complex area. I took a tour of the opera at Reina Sofia Palace of the Arts. The inside of the opera can only be seen through a guided tour.
With the tour, you will be able to see the opera rooms, rehearsal rooms, under the main stage where they change out scenes, and the terrace gardens.
The next building is the Hemisferic, which was the first building of the whole arts and science complex. Both the iMax theater and planetarium are housed here. Movies screened are usually connected to the topics of astronomy, history, and biology, but are often played in Spanish.
The complex is surrounded by water where you can rent paddle boats or stand-up surf boards. You can also have a bite to eat a couple different restaurants along the water.
After I had lunch, I explored the Science Museum. This building contains over 26,000 square meters of science exhibitions. I spent a few hours in here and it wasn’t enough to see everything. The museum is very interactive.
I then crossed under the Assut de l’Or Bridge, which looks like a harp. The next thing on the agenda for the day was the Oceanografic of Valencia which is the largest aquarium in Europe.
On the way there I passed by l’Agora, which looks like a whale coming out of the water. Although I read it is used for various events, I am not sure what as it looked completely empty inside.
The aquarium is one of the largest and best I have been to. It is known for its modern architecture. My favorite part of the aquarium was the dolphin show, which takes place a few times a day. Make sure to check out the times first thing so you don’t miss it.
I then went to La Buleria restaurant for dinner and a traditional flamenco show. Although I enjoyed the experience, I did not like that the show took place after the dinner. The only options for a flamenco show that I found started at 10:30PM and lasted for 70 minutes. The dinner takes place beforehand. I had the option of 8, 8:30, or 9 and I chose 8:30. After I finished the 3-course meal, I had to sit around and wait until 10:30 for the show to begin.
I was exhausted from the day so only watched 30 minutes of the show before heading back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep. Reserve your tickets here.
I spent my last day at the Bioparc zoo. Although I always love being around animals, I thought this zoo was quite small and was expecting much better after all the great reviews I read about it. I read that it was like a safari because they try to get you as close to the animals as possible. I also read that there are no cages and railings, which was not entirely true. One of my biggest complaints actually was that they put unnecessary barriers up when there was a glass wall. I also got there mid-day so missed all of the feedings. The best time to go is first thing in the morning so you can see the animals more active. The cost of the zoo is 23.80 euros. You can find their hours here.
After the zoo, I headed back to the city to walk around one last time and enjoy some churros before flying out of Valencia airport.