Planning a long weekend trip to Spain’s most beautiful city? 3 days in Valencia is a great amount of time to explore all of the wonderful things to do, eat your weight in paella, and get out to the beach for a dose of Spanish sunshine.
There are so many amazing things to do in Valencia. I spent an entire month living here and even after exploring for 30 whole days, I was still finding more cool spots to check out.
If you have more time, consider adding a few extra days to explore some of the fun day trips from Valencia like Gandia, Requena, or Sagunto. The smaller towns around the Valencia region are packed with history and stunning beaches.
How Many Days in Valencia?
3 days in Valencia is a great amount of time to get to know the city, to eat at a few different local spots, and to spend some time at the beach. If you are able to spare 5 days or even a week, you can really dig deeper into the rich culture of Valencia.
It’s both a city packed with history and a beachside resort with stunning sandy shores and the Mediterranean coast. You can easily spend three or four days just enjoying all of the best beaches in Valencia.
Or you can spend your time in the city center visiting cool museums, sampling all of the tapas bars, exploring historical sites, and eating at the best paella restaurants in Valencia.
Getting Around Valencia
Valencia city center is very walkable. If you base yourself around the city’s Ciutat Vella or old town, then you will be able to walk pretty much anywhere of interest within 20 minutes or less.
If you don’t want to walk during the heat of the day or you want to see a lot in a short period of time, you can utilize the metro system to get to outer neighborhoods or you can use the excellent bus network that takes you all over the city (and to the beaches, too!).
I recommend downloading two apps for bus travel in Valencia. The first is the EMTicket App. You can download it for Android here or Apple here. This allows you to buy up to 10 tickets at a time which will save you money on each individual ticket.
You can also pay directly on the bus with a contactless card (or Apple Pay), but you will pay the highest price for your ticket if you purchase it this way.
The other great app to help navigate the bus network is the EMT Valencia App. Download the app for Android here and Apple here. This app allows you to map the best route by bus from where you are to where you want to go. It gives up-to-date times on the arrival of each bus and shows you where you connect if you are changing buses.
3 Days in Valencia Itinerary
During your fun three days in Valencia, you will have time to explore most of the city center on foot and spend a few of your afternoons or evenings with your toes in the sand.
Since you’re only going to be in the city for a short amount of time, you want to choose the best neighborhood to stay in Valencia. The most central locations are El Carmen, Ciutat Vella (the old town), and La Xerea. If you would prefer to stay closer to the beach, then look for spots in El Cabanyal.
These are some of my top picks for places to stay when visiting Valencia for 3 days.
- Parker the Urban Flats: Located in the Extramurs neighborhood just to the west of Ciutat Vella, you can walk to the cathedral, central market, and El Carmen neighborhoods from this cute hotel apartment. This is ideal if you want to do some self-catering during your 3 days in Valencia but you want to enjoy the amenities of a hotel. Apartments start at €100 per night. Book a stay at Parker the Urban Flats here.
- One Shot Mercat 09: Located right in the center of the Ciutat Vella near Valencia’s Central Market, you cannot be more centrally located than at this fantastic boutique hotel. Rooms start at €80. Book a stay at One Shot Mercat 09 here.
- Hotel San Lorenzo: Straddling El Carmen and La Xerea, this hotel is in a great location for exploring all of the fun things to do during your three days in Valencia. At San Lorenzo, you get old-world vibes with upscale finishes and excellent service. Rooms start at €90 per night. Book a stay at Hotel San Lorenzo here.
- Blanq Carmen Hotel: One of my favorite hotels in Valencia located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Valencia. This hotel is exquisite. It has a rooftop pool to cool off in after a day of exploring. The breakfast here is delicious and the rooms are cute and comfortable. Walk to the best local tapas bars or across the street to Turia Park for a stroll through the park. Rooms start at €90 per night. Book a stay at Blanq Carmen Hotel here.
Day 1 of 3 Days in Valencia
On your first day in Valencia, you’ll want to get to know the city center and explore some of the historical sites.
Valencia Cathedral and Migeulete Tower
I recommend starting your day at the Valencia Cathedral. There is something inside this cathedral that draws visitors from all over the world.
Housed inside one of the chapels in the cathedral is the Santo Cálizor the holy chalice. It is believed that this chalice is the holy grail, the very cup that Jesus drank from during the Last Supper. Entrance to the cathedral costs €9.
While inside you can also see some 15th-century paintings, and a combination of different styles of architecture on display including Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, and Neoclassical.
If you don’t mind much about exploring the inside of the Valencia Cathedral, you should at least climb up to the top of the cathedral tower. Enter the cathedral’s main doors and instead of heading to the ticket counter, turn left and walk towards the doors on the left side of the church.
Here you’ll pay €2.50 and climb all the way to the top of the Miguelete Tower. It is 206 feet or 63 meters tall and the views back over the city are incredible. Starting your 3 days in Valencia with this aerial view will allow you to get a good bird’s eye view of the rest of the city.
Valencia Central Market
Whichever you choose for lunch, spend some time afterward visiting the stunning Central Market. The market is only open until 3pm every day and is completely closed on Sundays, so plan accordingly.
A market has stood in this location since 1839. Back then it was a completely open-air market without any cover against the elements. By the end of the 19th century, the city began to build a covered market that still stands today.
Now you can buy everything from cured meats, fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, bakery bread, local cheeses, artisanal vermut, and even sandwiches and paella. There are over 1200 stalls inside the market, so you’re bound to find something delicious to tickle your tastebuds.
La Lonja de la Seda
Formerly the home of the city’s Silk Exchange, the Lonja de la Seda is one of the most beautiful sites to explore in Valencia. The museum is free on Sundays, otherwise, it is only a small €2 fee to enter. This also includes an audioguide which I highly recommend grabbing at the entrance.
The main exchange room is breathtakingly enormous and the ceiling in the meeting room upstairs should not be missed. You can explore La Lonja in about an hour and it is very close to the Central Market, so they are easily visited together.
City Hall Square
Located only about a 5-8 minute walk from La Lonja de la Seda is the Plaça de l’Ajuntament, or the City Hall Plaza.
This huge plaza is surrounded by gorgeous architecture and is a nice place to spend some time. There are a few cafes and restaurants, so if you want to grab a cold Horchata (a local sweet, refreshing, and creamy drink) or ice cream, there are plenty of places around this plaza to do just that.
As the name of the plaza suggests, it is also home to the City Hall building. Open every day from 8:30-2pm, you might just have time to get in before they close for the day. Otherwise, make this the first thing you do on day two in Valencia.
Inside the City Hall building you can walk out onto the balcony and look out over the plaza. You can walk through the historical and very ornate ballroom. And you can walk into the meeting rooms to see where the local officials vote and make decisions. It’s completely free to enter.
Valencia Nord Station
If you didn’t arrive in the city through this station, you should make a trip here during your 3 days in Valencia. It’s a short 5-minute walk from the City Hall Plaza and it doesn’t take a ton of time to explore.
However, the inside of this station is absolutely beautiful.
When you enter through the front of the station, have a look at the old-style ticketing counters that are still used to purchase tickets today. There are also ticket machines near the entrance if you don’t want to wait in line or want to see what fun locations you can explore by train.
To the right of the ticket counters, just after you walk in, you will see a waiting room. Head in here and take a look at the intricate tile work. It is on the floor, on the walls, on the ceiling. Everywhere you look there are painted tiles, mosaics, and works of art.
If you have more energy left (or daylight, depending on what time of year you’re visiting), then walk behind the train station to Parc Central.
Not as popular as Turia, this central city park is a little oasis away from the chaos and noise of the streets that are mere blocks away.
There are benches to sit on in the sunshine, tons of grass to lay a blanket down on to read a book, and lots of walking (or jogging) paths to enjoy within the park. In the spring and early summer, the flowers are absolutely breathtaking in here.
Dinner in Valencia
If you’re not used to the food culture in Spain, you may be shocked to learn that most restaurants don’t reopen for dinner service until 7:30 pm or later. Many locals won’t head to dinner until closer to 9/9:30 pm.
So if you are looking for great ambiance, make a reservation for around that time. If you are starving and want to eat as soon as possible, make a reservation for when most places open around 8 pm.
If you opt for a place that is open before 7:30 pm, just know that these restaurants are most certainly catering to tourists rather than locals, so the food may not be of the best quality.
A few places I love and that you can visit any night of your 3 days in Valencia are listed below. If you are in Valencia during the summer months, be sure to make a reservation at these places so you aren’t turned away at the door.
- El Molinon: an amazing cider bar that focuses on food from the Asturias region of Spain. The tapas here are some of the best in the city.
- La Lateria: A tapas bar that focuses on tinned seafood (an incredibly popular thing in Spain) as well as local cured meats and cheeses. Their vermut selection is one of my favorites and the cockle ceviche here is exceptional.
- Bodega La Rentaora: Top-notch tapas, cheeses, cured meats, and great service. A fantastic wine menu. Reservations are an absolute must in summer.
- Raices: Some of the best pizza in Valencia.
- Refugio: Spanish fusion food served tapas-style. A fun and different place to try delicious dishes.
Day 2 of 3 Days in Valencia
Depending on the weather and what time of year you are visiting Valencia, you will likely want to spend plenty of time outdoors. On your second day in the city during your 3 day Valencia itinerary, you will want to explore more incredible sites, perhaps with the aid of two wheels.
Rent a Bike or Take a Bike Tour
There are bike rental locations all over Valencia, especially in the El Carmen neighborhood and along the roads that lead to Turia Park.
If you want to get to know the city a little bit better, consider taking a morning bike tour. This is when it is coolest and you will get a chance to explore quite a lot in a short period of time. It usually includes stops around El Carmen, Plaza de la Reina (where the Valencia Cathedral is), and maybe even a visit to the City of Arts and Sciences.
If you want to take a bike tour in English that includes most of these stops, check this one out and book here.
If you opt to rent a bike yourself or you want to continue touring around Valencia on foot, then your next stop should be to take a walk through Turia Park. A good place to enter the park is near Serranos Tower.
Built at the end of the 14th century, Serranos Tower was one of 12 gates that formed part of the city’s fortification. It is only one of two gates that still remains. You can go to the top to look out over Turia Park, or simply stroll under it, cross the street, and head down into the park.
You may be able to tell by the walls and bridges and the shape of the park, but Turia used to have a river flowing through it. In the 1950s, the river burst its banks and flooded much of the city. After that happened, the government decided to reroute the river so that it no longer flowed through the city center.
In the 1980s, they began turning the dried-up dusty riverbed into the green space that you see today. Now there are walking paths, bike lanes, jogging paths, football fields, workout areas, tennis courts, and a huge children’s play area.
Walk or bike through the center of the park towards the southeast area of the city where you’ll find your next stop.
City of Arts and Sciences
Known as Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències in Valencian or Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias in Spanish, the City of Arts and Sciences is a beautiful part of the city that should not be missed on your three days in Valencia.
The construction of this area began in 1996 and the most recent building was completed in 2009.
Inside these different buildings, you’ll find an IMAX, a Planetarium, a theater, the largest oceanographic aquarium in Europe, an interactive science museum, a botanical garden, and so much more.
Many people simply visit the outside of the buildings or they rent a paddle boat to get out on the water. I recommend at least getting close up to the buildings and exploring the area from different angles so you can see all of the unique architecture.
Light Spanish Lunch
A close walk from the City of Arts and Sciences is a fun tortilla restaurant. Spanish tortillas are not like the Mexican wraps you may be more familiar with. Instead, Spanish tortillas, or Spanish omelets as they are sometimes called, are made with potatoes, eggs, and depending on who you ask, onions (a hotly debated topic all over Spain!).
But Tortillea Cerveceria is doing it every way except the traditional way. Have it sweet or savory, with the Lotus being the most decadent of them all. The ham and cheese, although simple sounding, is one of the best I’ve had.
For a more traditional option, walk back through Turia and find Quiosc La Pérgola. This little kiosk consistently ranks as one of the best places to have tortillas in the entire city. They’ll even through it in a baguette with aioli, called a bocadillo de tortilla.
Get to the Beach
The afternoon is and evening is always my favorite time to go to the beach in Valencia. Use the apps I mentioned above to get yourself from the city center to the beach by bus. Alternatively, a taxi or Uber in Spain usually costs about €10 from the city center to the Las Arenas beach.
There are three beaches within the city limits of Valencia that you can easily reach on foot, by bus, or by bicycle. They are all connected via the long boardwalk that runs from the marina to the edges of the furthest beach (which also happens to be my personal favorite beach), La Patacona.
In between La Patacona and Las Arenas, is Malvarossa Beach.
All three beaches are very similar, however, the closer you are to the marina, the cloudier and rougher the water tends to be. The beach closest to the marina is Las Arenas and the beach furthest away is La Patacona.
Patacona also takes a little bit longer to get to the city center, so many people don’t bother to make the effort when Las Arenas is so much closer and easier to reach. This means that Patacona is also much quieter than the other two beaches.
You can see why I favor this beach over the others.
Whichever beach you choose, you will have access to beach bars, umbrellas, and chairs to rent, plenty of sand to freely lay your towels out on, and some sporty spots for throwing a frisbee or playing volleyball.
Tapas by the Beach
Pack some clothes to change into after leaving the beach so that you can stop at this historical tapas bar before heading back to the city center.
Casa Montaña was founded in 1836 and has been serving wine and tapas ever since. Sit amongst their wine barrels while you taste Jamon Iberico and tons of different seafood options. The stuffed squid and fried sardines are two of my personal favorites.
The wine menu here is also one of the best I’ve seen in all of Valencia. If you are visiting during peak summer months, be sure to book a table at least a day in advance, especially on a Friday or Saturday night.
Day 3 of 3 Days in Valencia
Your final day in Valencia is a choose-your-own-adventure. I recommend starting the morning by the beach, especially if you are headed back to somewhere where you won’t get a chance to enjoy sun, sea, and sand again for a while.
If you get yourself to Malvarossa Beach, you’ll be perfectly poised to have a fun morning in the Mediterranean and then a lunch of traditional Valencian Paella.
Did you know that paella wasn’t traditionally made with seafood? This dish, which comes from farming villages around the Valencia region, was actually first made with rabbit, chicken, butter beans, green beans, and sometimes even snails.
Of course, if you want seafood you should absolutely sample that instead. You’ll be able to have it with shrimp, mussels, and clams depending on which style of paella you order.
Two places that are within walking distance of Malvarossa Beach are El Trompo and Casa Carmela. Both serve up seriously fantastic food, although both also leave a little bit to be desired in the service side of things (but let’s be honest, most restaurants in Spain do).
Be sure to make a booking for lunch at either of these locations, they tend not to have any availability for lunch during peak season, especially on weekends.
Explore Valencia’s Museums
After lunch, make your way back to the city center to explore one or more of the city’s amazing museums.
For such a small city, Valencia is packed with culture, history, and art. Depending on what you enjoy most, you’ll find one or more fun museums to check out during your 3 days in Valencia. On different days of the week, these museums offer free entry. Check their websites to book a free slot.
- Museum of Ceramics and Decorative Arts: This museum name may not inspire, but both the exterior and interior of this former palace will. On the ground floor of the museum, you’ll find old carriages used by the families who once lived here as well as some rotating art exhibits. Follow the marble staircase up to see how the other half live (or lived in this instance). The rooms have been decorated to demonstrate how this home would have been set up by 18th-century aristocrats.
- Art Modern Institute Museum of Valencia: Modern and contemporary art lovers will not want to miss exploring the different exhibits at this wonderful museum. Besides the Guggenheim in Bilbao, this might be one of my favorite modern art museums in Spain.
- MuVIM: Known as Museu Valencià de la Il·lustració i de la Modernitat, this museum is small but interesting. In the basement, you’ll find the ruins of an old fortress. On the main floor, you’ll find a complete scale model of the city as it looked during the 18th century. Upstairs is a small exhibition hall and then outside in a second building you’ll find a larger exhibition area with fascinating temporary art exhibitions.
- Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia: If you love places like the Prado in Madrid or the El Greco Museum in Zaragoza, you’ll love this fine arts Museum.
Final Night in Valencia
Your last night in Valencia can be a return to your favorite tapas bars, a fun night out around El Greco and the bars and clubs in that plaza, or perhaps a night spent on a tapas crawl tour so that you can celebrate with some new friends.
If you missed any of the restaurants and tapas bars I listed above from day one’s schedule, be sure to make a reservation at one of those spots. They are truly some of the best places to eat and drink in Valencia.
If you want to end your 3 days in Valencia with a flourish, consider booking a table at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants. I personally loved El Poblet. The service, food, ambiance, and wine were out of this world. It’s a meal I will not soon forget.
If you want to take a food and drink tour around the city, consider an option like this one where you can sample different local drinks and tapas with an experienced guide.
Perhaps you are a big football fan. If that’s the case you don’t want to miss seeing one of Valencia’s teams. The most famous being, of course, Valencia CF. They are in La Liga, the top league in Spain.
If the tickets are sold out or you’d like to support the older, slightly less successful team in Valencia, then get yourself tickets to Levante UD. They are in the second league in Spain, but the atmosphere here was, in my humble opinion, 10x better.
3 Days in Valencia Itinerary
Your 3-day Valencia itinerary is yours to swap and change. Take some or all of these suggestions depending on what you want to do more of on your trip to Valencia. Perhaps you’re already spending time along the Costa Blanca or in Alicante which means your trip to Valencia doesn’t need much time at the beach.
Instead, swap out those beach times and explore more museums and historical sites around Valencia.
Or maybe you don’t care much about museums. Instead, you want to spend more time along the beach. In that case, grab a bus to Port Saplaya to explore something a little bit further afield in this colorful spot known as the Little Venice of Valencia.