What to do in Valencia: Top attractions & places to visit
Category: Travel Tips
Tour the Silk Exchange
The 15th-century mercantile exchange is a towering masterpiece of gothic architecture. It’s always at the top of any list of things to see in Valencia, thanks to the imposing façade. Stepping through the front doors, you need to strain your neck to take in the impressive views of the massive vaulted ceilings.
While at the Silk Exchange, take a guided audio tour to learn more about the history of Valencia. When the building was constructed, the city was experiencing the peak of its commercial prosperity. The audio guide is just a couple of dollars and helps give context to the significance of this landmark.
Expect to spend two or three hours at the exchange, between waiting to get in and taking the full tour. When standing outside, make sure that you check out the courtyard, which is lined with large orange trees and a fountain.
Walk the cobblestone streets of Casco Antiguo
Many of the historic Valencia attractions are within a few blocks of Casco Antiguo, which is the historic city centre. The area is full of winding cobblestone streets, cafes, old buildings, and some of the most important landmarks in the city.
On a hot day, this neighbourhood can also provide shelter from the sun. Many of the narrow streets are flanked by tall buildings that offer shade. It’s also a great spot to simply wander around. Besides small streets and alleys, the area also contains two large public plazas and a handful of smaller ones.
It’s hard to get lost. Just take a stroll through any of the side streets and find a café or restaurant where you can sit outside and enjoy the scenery. Whether you have one day in Valencia or a few, there’s hardly a better way to while away your time in this bustling Spanish city!
Step into the future at the City of the Arts and Sciences
With ultra-modern buildings and structures, the City of the Arts and Sciences is one of the most unique Valencia points of interest. It’s a major contrast compared to the older historic areas of the city.
The complex was developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s and ended up costing a whopping $300 million. It’s built over the old riverbed of the river Turia, which flooded the city in 1957.
The City of the Arts and Sciences also houses the Oceanographic, a local aquarium with over 45,000 marine animals. Other attractions include an opera house, museums, a planetarium, an IMAX theatre, and a laserium.
Get some culture at Valencia Cathedral
Dating to the 13th and 14th centuries, Valencia Cathedral is a unique piece of history and an important destination for Valencia sightseeing. The mixture of Baroque, Gothic, and Neoclassical architectural influences make the cathedral an interesting site.
You could easily spend your time examining the exterior of the cathedral, including the massive Door of the Irons, which is the main entrance. It’s named after the large cast iron fence that surrounds the cathedral, but the main feature is the intricate carvings on the façade.
The inside of the cathedral is also awe-inspiring. The interior is lined with ornate details, including hundreds of golden sculptures and decorative elements.