List of 18 Free, Unusual and Best Things to See in Valencia Spain

Valencia Spain is such an awesome city and so happy I decided to add it to my Spain itinerary!

It won’t take you long to find out that it’s a city with a lot to see and do. So if you are at the point of planning your trip and want to know the best things to see in Valencia Spain you’ve landed in the right place!

There’s a lot to do in Valencia’s Old Town, like the showstopper Válencia Cathedral. If you want to save money on attractions, you’re in luck as there are a lot of free things to do in Valencia like soaking up the sea, sand and sun on its beaches.

If you’re a traveller who wants to do something unusual, why not try and find the La Casa dels Gats, I can’t wait to tell you more about that!

I’m sharing all the best spots I found when I stayed in Valencia for 5 days!

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A-Z Summary of the Best Things to See in Valencia Spain

Don’t have time to read the whole article right now? No worries! Use this chart as your at-a-glance tool to see all the amazing activities in Valencia.

chart showing the best things to see in valencia spain
chart showing the best things to see in valencia spain

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Best Things to Do in Valencia Old Town

The ancient walls of Valencia is what makes this Spanish city so unique. These walls date back to the Roman era, around the 2nd century BC, and were later expanded and fortified during the Islamic period in the 11th century AD.

Valencia, due to its position along the Mediterranean coast, became a target for various conquerors throughout history, including the Romans, Moors, and Christians.

I was somewhat disappointed because the remnants of the ancient walls were difficult to see or access due to extensive rebuilding in many parts of Old Town. But, to delve deeper into Valencia’s history, I suggest a visit to the La Almoina Archaeological Museum, where excavated ruins and artifacts are on display and you can learn more about the city’s ancient origins and urban development.

tall defense tower with flag as best things to do in Valencia old town
Serranos Tower

A few remaining impressive towers from the ancient fortified city walls are top attractions worth seeing in Valencia‘s Old Town. The Quart and Serranos Towers, dating back to the 15th century, served as key defensive structures in Valencia’s fortified city walls. You can admire these from the street level for free, or climb the towers and for €3 you can enjoy the panoramic views of the historic city center.

A visit to the Valencia Cathedral is a must to see its awe-inspiring architecture! While entry to the cathedral is free, its iconic bell tower, El Miguelete requires €3 to climb the tower for the best views in Valencia, which I highly recommend.

Beyond the main cathedral which is said to be home of the holy grail, Valencia also has other beautiful churches worth visiting like Nicolás.

Another impressive site is the designated UNESCO building of The Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda). I love architecture and the grandeur of its entrance and intricate Gothic details is a must-see!

detailed ceiling in market with white rafters as free things to do in valencia
Central Market

I loved the energy found in the Valencia Central Market. Not only is it one of Europe’s oldest food markets, it inches its way to the top of being one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. Even if you don’t want to buy anything from the food stalls it’s worth coming in to see the ceiling.

Nature lovers will enjoy their visit to the Botanical Garden. What is astonishing is that it has existed since 1567. Like other botanical gardens, it’s home to a diverse collection of plant species from around the world, including medicinal plants, tropical flora, and rare specimens. I visited Valencia in the spring, and it was bursting with colours with all of its tulips and early spring blooming trees.

old place is best things to see in valencia spain with ornate detailing around door and windows
National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts

The museums found in Old Town focus on Valencia’s history. The one you need to visit, even if it’s just to admire the exterior is the National Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts (Museo Nacional de Cerámica y Artes Suntuarias González Martí). It is housed in a beautiful former palace with a pretty fountain.

If you are keen to visit other museums, Valencia’s Tourism Board recommends a couple more noteworthy ones:

  • Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia (Fine Arts Museum of Valencia): collection of Spanish paintings from the 14th to 20th centuries, including works by Goya, Velázquez, and Sorolla.
  • Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum): explores the history and evolution of Valencia through archaeological finds, artifacts, and maps.

Unusual Things to Do in Valencia

valencia sign in front of building as unusual things to do in valencia

I know that a zoo experience isn’t a very unusual thing to do in a city you’re visiting. But the Bioparc Valencia offers a unique zoo experience by recreating natural habitats for African animals, allowing them to roam freely in spacious enclosures that mimic their native environments. It’s meant to be an authentic safari-like experience.

The bullfighting ring in Valencia, known as Plaza de Toros de Valencia dates back to 1859. Maybe it’s not so unusual for Spanish cities, but it is unique to travellers like me!

In speaking with a local tour guide, she talked about how the bullring still hosts countless bullfighting events, as well as, concerts and cultural festivals held here.

I highly recommend visiting the North Train Station nearby, especially if you appreciate amazing architecture like me. Built in the early 20th century, it has a beautiful blend of Valencian modernism and French influences in its design by Demetrio Ribes and Gustave Eiffel (that’s right, of the Eiffel Tower).

The central hall’s grand archways, high ceilings, and decorative elements are reminiscent of Art Nouveau. The best part was the light streaming through its large windows. It looks like a throwback to an old movie set.

man sitting on bench with street art in neighbourhood as unusual Things to Do in Valencia spain
Street art in El Carmen neighbourhood

Valencia has some amazing street art that adds to the city’s uniqueness. The best neighbourhoods where it can be found are in El Carmen and Ruzafa, although I prefer El Carmen. Walk along the street of Guillem de Castro and the walls are full of interesting street art. Amongst the colourful and creative displays, I stumbled upon a mosaic cat image that caught my eye.

small cat door decorated on wall as one of the Unusual Things to Do in Valencia
House of Cats

Speaking of cats, not far from Guillem de Castro street art alley in El Carmen one of the most unusual things to see in Valencia is the “House of Cats” (Casa de los Gatos). It’s a quirky building adorned with cat sculptures and feline-themed decorations with an opening through the wall for cats to come and go. Unless your head is down you might miss it. I waited for a long cat to come or go but didn’t see any.

Free Things to Do in Valencia

modern white buildings over water as best things to do in valencia spain

One must-visit spot is the Turia Gardens! This 9km (5.6 miles) stretch of gardens was once a riverbed of the Turia River. It was transformed into a beautiful green space in the 1980s after the river was diverted following a catastrophic flood.

Locals still call it The River (El Rio) and come here for leisurely walks along the footpaths, cycle along the bike paths, enjoy a picnic, and play football (soccer).

Within the Turia Gardens, is Gulliver Park which provides a whimsical adventure for kids with giant play structures inspired by the story of Gulliver’s Travels. It’s unique, unusual and a great spot for families looking for things to do in Valencia for free.

While visiting Turia Gardens, you can’t help but miss The City of Arts and Sciences complex of buildings. I’ve never seen anything else like it! It’s futuristic, modern and unique. It’s equally enjoyable just admiring the outside, for free! Of course, if you were to visit the inside there is a cost.

Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela, it features several iconic buildings like:

  • The Hemisfèric, an eye-catching IMAX cinema and planetarium, offers an immersive audiovisual experience about space and nature.
  • The Science Museum (Museo de las Ciencias) offers interactive exhibits exploring science and technology.
  • The Oceanogràfic is Europe’s largest aquarium.
  • The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (my favourite building of them all) offers opera, music, and performing arts.

Valencia’s beaches, including Playa de la Malvarrosa and Playa de las Arenas, are free to access. Whether you walk along the boardwalk and admire views of the Mediterranean Sea, or take a refreshing dip. This is also the best spot to eat paella from the long strip of beach front restaurants.

One of my favourite free things to do is to visit the different neighbourhoods. I recommend exploring El Carmen and Ruzafa. The boho vibes of El Carmen are great! With its narrow streets, street art, and vibrant nightlife. It also has some of the best restaurants. Ruzafa is a bit more youthful and up-and-coming. It has an artistic flair in its trendy cafes, art galleries, and eclectic shops.

public square with people watching as best things to do in valencia
Plaza de la Virgen

Lastly, the fun, free activity of people watching in Valencia’s lively public squares, or Plazas. The best ones I enjoyed visiting, along with the top landmarks to see are:

  • Plaza de la Virgen: Valencia Cathedral
  • Plaza del Ayuntamiento: Valencia City Hall
  • Plaza de la Reina: Central Market (Mercado Central)
  • Plaza Redonda: no landmarks per se, but its unique round-shaped is utterly charming as it’s more intimate and has some traditional craft shops lining it along with tiny restaurants

As a Holidaymaker

As you can see, Valencia is a city worth visiting! A bonus is visiting Valencia during one of their fun, free festivals like Fallas.

I hope this list of the best things to do in Valencia Spain has helped you with your trip planning. If you want more trip planning resources visit my page dedicated to Spain Travel.

If you are undecided on how many days you should stay in Valencia I recommend 4 nights and 3 full days to be able to see most of the free, unusual and things to see and do in Valencia.