Valencia is one of my favourite cities in Spain but it’s not often featured high on the must visit lists. You could say it sits in the shadow of Barcelona, Madrid and Seville. I prefer to think of it as a city that does it’s own thing and is not really worried about competing for the World’s attention.
A weekend in Valencia or 2-day city break is perfect for so many reasons. There are lovely soft sand beaches and an old town full of amazing architecture. A modern centre with a futuristic design and acres of wildlife and wetlands. Add to this delicious food, vibrant nightlife and passion for street art and you have lots of see and do in Valencia.
It might feel like there is too much to squeeze into a weekend in Valencia but honestly, it is possible. We had a great time and didn’t feel too rushed and managed to see everything. This itinerary is perfect for to seeing the main sights of Valencia within a 2-day weekend break.
Valencia two day city itinerary
Follow our recommendations and tips below to take an easy walking route, wandering, photographing and eating your way through Valencia. As always, take your time on this self-guided city tour and stay longer in places if you like.
Here’s a rough map to give you an idea of which direction to go on each of the two-day routes (stops are marked with a red star). Make sure you grab a city map or use google maps so you don’t get lost 🙂 and enjoy your weekend in Valencia!
Day one itinerary:
Narrow cobbled streets hide Roman and Gothic architecture within the Old Town known as Ciutat Vella. Wander through the maze of old buildings and enjoy a stop at the many open plazas and terraces for coffee and soak up the atmosphere. Sights within the Old Town are quite close together and easy to explore.
Tip: Keep your eyes peeled and camera ready for awesome street art throughout the Old Town.
*RELATED article: For more detail of what sights to see in Valencia Old Town read – My trip to Valencia
The city food market Mercat Central is a huge space full of traditional style stalls selling fresh local produce. The architecture is beautiful and the atmosphere inside is always buzzing. Mingle with the locals and pick up a few snacks for later.
Tip: Make sure you stop for horchata & fartons somewhere nearby the market. That’s the local sweet, bread cakes served with a cold, milky tiger nut drink.
Stroll along Turia Park, the dried-up river bed that was converted into a lush green park area. It’s a great area to walk in the shade of the trees, or hire bikes if you don’t fancy walking. Towards the end of the park you’ll find the iconic City of Arts and Science.
Tip: Stop at one of the many park cafes along the way for a cold drink or ice cream.
City of Arts and Science
Locally its known as Ciutat de las Artes y Ciencies and is probably the most photographed spot in Valencia. The unusual, gleaming white buildings create views like something from a science fiction movie. You can go inside the Aquarium, Cinema or Science Museum or just walk around and admire the futuristic look.
Tip: Around this area you can do fun activities like kayaking, boating and zorbing on the water.
Day two itinerary:
Within a 30 minute tram or bus ride from the centre you will find wide stretches of soft sandy beaches. The main beach is called La Malvarossa, this is where yachts come in to dock, restaurants and bars line the promenade and sun bathers group on the beach.
Tip: Walk along the palm tree lined walkway, bustling with cyclists and joggers to seek out a quieter spot if you want seclusion.
*RELATED article: Before you go to Valencia make sure you know all the essential city info – What you need to know before visiting Valencia
The famous rice dish Paella originates from Valencia and the locals are very protective of it. To be recognised as a traditional paella there are very strict rules about the ingredients and the cooking method. Also, surprisingly most locals eat paella at lunch time.
Tip: The area around the old fishing port is renowned for serving the most authentic paella. There are also a couple great restaurants on the promenade of Malvarossa overlooking the beach.
Albufera nature reserve
South of the city is a huge freshwater lagoon called Albufera. This nature reserve wetland is used for growing rice and fishing and it provides protection for many species of bird and variety of plant-life. There are walking routes open to visitors throughout the landscape.
Tip: You can easily take the public bus there but if you join a group tour it usually includes a boat ride.
Photo credit Visit Valencia
I hope this travel guide to a weekend in Valencia has been useful and given you some ideas for a future trip. Have you been to Valencia? What’s your favourite city sight? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comment box below.
You might also be interested in these other Spain travel guides by Seeking the Spanish Sun…