Valencia In 4 Days – A Summer Itinerary
Is 4 days enough to see Valencia? Let’s put your concern to rest. I say “yes” – a 4 day itinerary is just perfect!
Whether you are enjoying a beach vacation in one of the adorable coastal towns around Valencia or planning a 4 day trip to get to know the city, discover top things to do in Valencia in summer, with insider’s tips and photos: from the glorious must-see sights and shopping tips to downtime at stunning beaches and recommentations for a fun night out.
Day 1 – Stunning Architecture, Authentic Paella + Beach & Shopping
The City of Arts & Science. Image Credit: Irene Grassi
Valencia in summer is a very popular tourist destination. So paying a visit to a high-in-demand attraction such as The City of Arts & Science is best to do early. Be there for 10.00 am.
Part of this architectural complex is the biggest aquarium in Europe and it’s a good idea to start here early. Because in summer it gets quite stuffy and warm inside of the aquarium’s underground spaces.
Another option is to explore the Prince of Philip’s Museum – great fun for both kids and adults.
A plate of traditional Valencian dish esgarraet at Central Bar.
But before you hit the futuristic complex, you will need to have breakfast of course. Enjoy a yummy (and substantial!) breakfast at the Central Bar. It opens all days except Sundays, at 7.00 am. Wake up early and you will have time to explore the amazing Central Market, where the bar is located.
Paella de marisco at Casa Carmela with the traditional crispy rice layer at the bottom.
A visit to Valencia would be incomplete without tasting its world famous rice dishes, such as paella.
So why not recharge with a seafood paella at Casa Carmela? Its long-lived traditional cooking and its location close to the beach attract multitudes of locals. For this reason, make sure to book at least a couple of days in advance.
Casa Carmela only opens for lunch, from 1 pm until 4 pm, except Monday. Specify what kind of paella or rice dish you would like, so that the ingredients are ready to go in the pan once you are seated.
Because remember, paellas at decent restaurants are always freshly made just for you!
You can get there by metro, bus or taxi.
After lunch walk to Malvarrosa beach. There are showers available for a post-swim rinse-off – a much needed refreshment in the hot summer months!
After some tanning and bathing, it’s time to go back to the city. Even if you only have 4 days to see Valencia, you probably will want to dedicate some time to shopping. Summer sale season is in July, so definitely take advantage of that!
A platter of cecina de León (cured and smoked beef) at Patapuerca.
If you love Spanish cured ham and cheese, book a table at the increasingly trendy Patapuerca Taberna Iberica. It’s a casual tapas bar run by a lovely couple who are very passionate about Spanish cuisine. They literally live for sharing their carefully picked top Spanish products with their guests! The taberna is always full of locals.
Or secure yourself a seat at the oldest establishment – Casa Montaña – arrive at the opening at 8 pm. With the traditional tapas and a big wine list at Casa Montaña you simply cannot go wrong!
Dinner in Spain doesn’t start until 8-9 pm. If you feel like having a meal earlier, head to an all-day tapas-bar, such as La Pilareta.
Day 2 – Local Breakfast, Old Town’s Charm + Mesmerizing Sunset
Typical Valencian breakfast fare – at Puerta del Mar.
Are you feeling Valencian yet? … Not until you join in on the traditional breakfast!
You are sure to feel recharged for hours after such substantial meal. Now is the perfect time to discover some of the treasures of Valencia.
See the precious Cathedral and the atmospheric adjacent squares – Plaza de la Reina and Plaza de la Vírgen. Refresh yourself with a glass of cold horchata at not-so-touristy Horchatería Collado or go to Horchateria Santa Catalina.
Plaza de la Vírgen. Photo by: CIBM Valencia
One of the oldest buildings in Valencia is a bath house (1320) decorated in Islamic style – Banys del Almirall. Doors open every 30 minutes for a guided visit. Opening hours: Tue-Fri 10 am – 6 pm, Sat-Sun 9 am – 2 pm.
A place you cannot miss: La Lonja de la Seda – a stunning 15th century gothic building!
A breath-taking sunset at Lake Albufera.
Whether you travel with kids or not, it’s quite pleasant to take a trip to the breezy Lake Albufera.
Booking in advance is best. My favorite paella restaurant on the lake is L’Establiment. Note that paella is a lunch meal – a paella dinner is a no-no!
How to get there: you can take a taxi, drive or take a bus. If you prefer the bus option, make sure to confirm your destination with the driver upon boarding. The bus itinerary may be a bit confusing.
One of the lovely boardwalks leading to El Saler beach.
Take a peaceful boat ride on Lake Albufera. The rides last for about 45 minutes. They are cheap and fun! Have the restaurant pinpoint you to the nearest boarding point.
If you would like to witness a most beautiful sunset on Lake Albufera and you have a few hours to kill, spend the rest of the day at the Devesa Gardens pool. Or better yet, head to the nearby El Saler beach, surrounded by wild vegetation (and equipped with showers).
Summer sunsets are late, so you might want to enjoy a picnic-style dinner on the pier, while watching the sun go down.
Pick up picnic supplies in advance, at the one of the stalls in the Central Market (open until 3pm, closed on Sundays) – for example at “Uno”. Otherwise, there are multiple sandwich shops and bakeries in Valencia city where you can get bocadillos, empanadillas and salads.
Day 3 – Exploring the Coast + Wine & Tapas Tour
Beaches in Alcossebre.
After seeing the main attractions of the city, exploring a variety of beaches in Valencia in summer is a must. Because you will be surprised how many picturesque beaches there are.
My recommendation is to rent a car for a day for this purpose. Keep in mind that in July and August beaches become very crowded as of 11 am, so leave home early to have the beach to yourself for a while.
Get beach shoes, if you decide to visit the pristine rugged beaches near Denia and Javea. By the way, this area is also famous for its rice dishes and fideuá (noodles with seafood cooked in a large shallow pan just like paella).
Peñíscola white town at the back.
Peñíscola is a precious little town – come here for both culture and beach.
Another scenic location is the lake located in Montanejos park. In peak season arrive early to secure parking.
A skillful barternder preparing cocktails for guests on my Hidden Gems, Wine & Tapas Tour.
After a day of sightseeing, why not join an evening food tour to discover the local tapas scene and wines under an insider’s guidance? You will learn about local cuisine with the help of a passionate expert local who loves Valencia and cannot wait to share its hidden treasures with you!
During the tour you will taste delicious local tapas accompanied by various regional wines at 5 atmospheric tapas-bars full of history. One of the bars is an old family-run establishment that only opens its 1932 wine tasting room for us!
The tour includes a full dinner with dessert. Book your tour in advance!
Day 4 – Lladró Porcelain Factory + Lunch by the sea
A historic building in the port of Valencia. Image credit: Vicente Muñoz
What better way to start your 4th and last day in Valencia with a breakfast on the beach? Head to La Más Bonita for the opening at 8 am to grab a seat in the front, overlooking the sea.
If you have had enough of the beach (is that even possible?), and especially if you have a sweet tooth, have breakfast (or brunch on weekends) at Dulce de Leche in Ruzafa.
Time to explore more of Valencia.
The lovely Ruzafa neighborhood.
Want to do something fun with the kids? – Bioparc is definitely one of the deserving top attractions in Valencia, so I highly recommend it. It’s a cageless zoo that immitates Africa’s nature. Upon entering enquire about the available shows and schedules.
Want to learn more about the local crafts & traditions? Visit Lladró Porcelain Factory (booking only. Closed on Sundays). It is just a short taxi ride away. Or visit the Ceramics Museum in the old town – housed in a beautiful palace.
On to the next thing: America’s Cup port. Go for a walk in this beautiful new marina and have a delectable rice dish at Arrocería Duna there.
The marina is quite big. You can use the water taxi service to get around.
The main post office building.
Eating out in August:
If you are visiting Valencia in summer, it’s useful to know that many of restaurants and shops take 2-4 week vacations in August.
Nightlife areas in Valencia:
The best parties in the summer are at the open air club L’Umbracle.
Get Valencia Tourist card upon arrival at the airport to ride public transport for free. It’s available for 24, 48 and 72 hours and if needed can be extended in one of the Tourist Info offices.
I hope you find this 4 day itinerary useful and if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!