The Best of Valencia in 24 Hours
This itinerary to see Valencia in 24 hours includes must-see sights, top things to do and typical cuisine of this region. So capture the essence of Valencia, even if your stay is so short!
If you only have 1 day to enjoy Valencia, you better start your day early! Really, there is loads to see and do.
08:00 am – Breakfast at the Central Market
The Central Market. Image Credit: Antonio Marin Segovia
Valencia Central Market is the biggest fresh produce market in Europe! Housed in an Art Nouveau building from the 1920’s, it boasts a beautifully decorated dome at the center and has a nice distribution.
This amazing market hosts 900+ stalls, from seafood to spices, from pastries to jamón. A feast for the senses!
After a walk along the market aisles, sit down at the Central Bar – an informal cafe run by a Michelin-star-holder Ricard Camarena. At the Central Bar fresh produce from the market takes a new form.
Check out the market plan with the location of the bar within the market here.
Have one of his famous bocatas (a big soft bread roll with a stuffing of your choice) or tapas (small portions), such as cod fritters buñuelos de bacalao, fried squid calamares, grilled artichokes alcachofas, etc. And a cup of the strong Spanish coffee!
Open every day except Sundays and bank holidays 06.30am-3.30pm
A bread roll with a stuffing at Central Bar. Image Credit: Txaber Allue Marti
09:30 am – The Roman Ruins
Entrance to L’Almoina Archeological Complex. Image Credit: Giacomo Callaioli
After a substantial breakfast, why not head to where it all started – L’Almoina Archeological Complex. Located right at the back of the Cathedral of Valencia, this ancient settlement was discovered during the Cathedral expansion works in the 80’s.
The Roman Empire used to give land to the war veterans – Valentia was a town founded for that purpose. Here you can find a monumental well from 138 BC, Roman baths, visigothic and Moorish remains.
It’s recommendable to call in advance and ask for a tour. The price might surprise you – a guided tour cost is 6 EUR.
Open Mon-Sat 9.30am- 7 pm. Single ticket: 2 EUR.
Sundays and bank holidays, 9.30 am to 3 pm. Free entry.
10:30 am – Old Town
Valencia’s Old Town. Image Credit: Emilio Sancho Andrés
The Old Town is not too big, the streets are narrow, so there’s plenty of shade to stay away from the summer sun.
Head to the Cathedral and check out its 3 entrances built in different architectural styles – Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque. Consider going up the Miguelete tower for spectacular views of the city. But note that the climb is not easy – 206 steps on a spiral staircase.
Then go behind the Cathedral to the Plaza de La Virgen – a nice backdrop for your photos.
Head towards the West along the street Carrer dels Cavallers. Make a stop at Plaza de Tossal and take the ramp down towards the little underground gallery, where the pre-Catholic walls of the Muslim Balansiya (714-1238) are preserved.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 4 pm to 7 pm. Entry: 2 EUR. Sundays and bank holidays, 9.30 am to 3 pm – free entry.
Continue to the West…
Continue along Carrer de Quart until you reach a tall stone gate – Torres de Quart.
This is one of the two medieval city wall gates of Valencia that remain (there were 12 in total). If you didn’t go up the Miguelete tower, do go up here, because it´s a quite easy climb to see Valencia from above.
Make sure to have a look at the gates from the other side, too. The big round pocks were made by the Napoleon’s troops’ cannonballs back in 1808.
These gates, apart from serving as an entrance to the city in the Medieval Ages, have had several uses, such as a gunpowder storage space and a women’s prison.
Mon-Sat from 9:30am to 7pm (or until twilight during fall and winter). Entry: 2 EUR. Sundays and bank holidays – from 9.30am to 3pm. Free entry. Closed on January 1st, 6th, May 1st and December 25th.
Torres de Quart. Image Credit: CanadaDry
Explore More Old Town Landmarks…
On the way back to the center, take Carrer de Murillo and after that Plaza del Mercat. Appreciate the Silk Exchange building’s exterior and look for the entrance.
This is one of very few civil (non-religious) Gothic architectural monuments in Europe and a great insight into Valencia’s Golden Age. Check out the lavish carved wooden ceilings in various spaces and of course the famous spiral columns in the main trading hall.
Interested in a little museum to visit on the way? Check out these 5 Tiny & Cool Museums!
Find your way through the meandering streets to the Plaza Redonda – a round square. When the Market Square (on which the Central Market now stands) got too crowded, the meat vendors were sent to set up their stalls here. It has been recently renovated and a shade was installed along the perimeter.
Walk out onto Plaza de Lope de Vega and find Tasquita La Estrecha bar. To the left of it you will see the most narrow house in all of Europe – it’s only 1.07 m wide. In the past the land was taxed based on the ground surface, so whoever built this place paid a really low price!
1:00 pm – Rice for lunch at Casa Carmela
Take a taxi (20 min., approx. 15 EUR) to Casa Carmela located a couple of blocks from the city beach. Here rice dishes are made over a wood fire. Book your table in advance! While booking specify which rice you would like – the traditional Valencian paella with chicken, rabbit and vegetables or the seafood rice (or other rice dishes).
You will get a wooden spoon which is the traditional way of eating paella (right from the pan). Get that crispy rice layer at the bottom! (called socarrat in Valencian).
Open from Tuesday to Sunday for lunch only.
3:00 pm – A walk on the beach
Take a stroll along the beach and stop at one of the bars for a drink and a rest.
3:30 pm – The City of Arts and Science
The City of Arts & Science. Image Credit: O Palsson
Take a short taxi ride to the City of Arts and Science – a futuristic building complex which is a must visit, even if you need to see Valencia in 24 hours. It consists of an opera house, a Museum full of interactive science equipment (great for kids), an IMAX theater where they run documentaries on a daily basis. Open every day from 10am, closing times vary depending on the season.
4:00 pm – The Aquarium or the Park
Turia Gardens. Image Credit: Francisco Rubio
Across the bridge there is another building that’s part of the complex – Oceanografic, the biggest aquarium in Europe. If you are not tired, it’s well worth a visit. From dolphin shows to pinguines, a tunnel with sharks and aquariums with tropical fish, this is a beautiful place to experience.
It’s not merely a tourist attraction, but a lab, where scientists work on marine life preservation.
If looking at fish is not your type of thing or if you feel tired, just walk to the nearby Turia gardens (behind the complex) for a rest.
This used to be the Turia River until the water was re-routed outside of the city due to the systematic flooding caused by the Mediterranean torrential downpours. Now it’s a pleasant green space in the center of the city where people jog, bike and have a picnic.
6:00 pm – Tapas & Wine Tour
Traditional Spanish Tapas. Image Credit: Ken Hawkins
Finally, if you need to get to know Valencia in 24 hours, there is no more efficient and fun way to learn about the food scene of a city than by taking a guided walking tapas & wine tour.
Let me show you the tapas bars where locals go, and where you will be offered traditional tapas and quality wines, in a small group of like-minded individuals from all over the world!
Looking for more ideas on how to spend your time in Valencia? Check out 125 things to do!
I hope you get to enjoy all of the best of Valencia in 24 hours and get inspired to come back for a longer holiday!