Valencia – the most underrated city in Spain

Valencia with kids and also without 🙂

Valencia is a city that is often overlooked by tourists, but it is one of the most charming and underrated cities in Spain. It is the third largest city in Spain and has a charm reserved only for the little brothers, who have developed character in the shadow of the older ones. Valencia has a lot to offer, including a gorgeous beach, an ideal size, a developed bike path system, convenient public transportation, a crazy park, and a sea of attractions. It is a wonderful destination for a vacation with children – and without, even in winter. I visited it three times in the winter, as a main destination and as a final stop for trips in southern Spain. If you want to see everything in pictures, you can check out my Valencia highlight on Instagram.




How to get to Valencia?

From Barcelona – there is a train from Sants station that takes at least 2:40.

The most convenient way in my opinion, for those coming from Barcelona, is by car. It takes about three hours by highway.

Important things before you travel

Valencia is a city with a population of 800,000 people. 

The official languages spoken in Valencia are Valencian and Spanish. Valencian is a dialect of Catalan, which is the official language in Catalonia, Aragon, and the Balearic Islands. 

Valencia is located in the Valencian Community, which is an autonomous community of Spain. 

There is no bad time to visit Valencia, but if you’re looking for a specific event, Las Fallas is an international fire festival that is well worth checking out. It takes place annually between March 15 and 18. 

The weather in Valencia is quite comfortable during the Christmas holidays, with sunny days.

Where to sleep in Valencia? Recommended hotels and apartments

Places I stayed in –
Rooms Ciencias
A very spacious apartment hotel with a restaurant at the bottom, a very short walk from the City of Arts and Science. Our apartment was very large and spacious.

NH Valencia Center
In front of the park, outside the old city – very convenient for those arriving by car. Adjacent to a commercial center that had all kinds of activities for Christmas. At breakfast there were tables and crafts for children (genius!). They have connecting rooms for families.

Zenit Valencia
A four-star hotel opposite the train station (we had no noise, the train itself was quite far from the room). A five minute walk from the main square and right across from the churros stand 🙂 The breakfast included in the price was a worthwhile bonus.

Other worthwhile hotels –
Hotel Plaza Mercado & Spa
A very central hotel close to the market, with a large spa and an indoor pool. They also have a family apartment.

Only YOU Hotel Valencia
A beautiful five-star hotel in a very central location, close to the town hall square. Beautifully decorated rooms.

ולנסיה ספרד ענבל כבירי
The city hall

A place not to be missed. First of all, the very impressive architectural structure of Santiago Calatrava, the famous Spanish architect (the cable-stayed bridge in Jerusalem, the communication tower on the Mount of the Jews in Valencia, bridges also in Bilbao, Valencia and much more).
If in Jerusalem it would be a design crime to put this bridge, as beautiful as it is, at the crowded entrance to the city, between the central station and the even more crowded Kiryat Moshe neighborhood – here the magnificent creation has a place and that is exactly what it needs.
And if you were impressed by the architecture during the day, wait for the night – the reflection of all the buildings in the water is simply breathtaking.

In the complex several buildings –
**It is worth deciding in advance which buildings you are going to and buying a combined ticket (possible for a few days as well)

PALAU DE LES ARTS – House of Arts
Performing Arts Center. You will find a variety of music and dance performances here.

Museu de les Ciències – Science Museum
A three-story science museum covering more than 26K square meters, which presents everything related to life, science and technology in a didactic, interactive and entertaining way.

The main feature of the museum is full interactivity under the motto “It is forbidden not to touch, not to feel, not to think”.
There is a huge variety of seasonal exhibitions and scientific activities of all kinds designed to arouse the visitor’s curiosity about new technologies and scientific progress and to create a pleasant learning process in which the visitor always takes an active part and decides where he wants to go and what he wants to know.

Tip: If you come during the peak season, you should consider arriving at noon (area 13-14), when most of the crowd goes out to eat and thus enjoy less traffic and fewer queues inside.

We (your faithful servant + children aged 11 and 7) spent half a full day here and didn’t have time to see everything.

HEMISFÈRIC – the movie hall
The Hemisfèric was inaugurated in 1998 and was the first building in the City of Arts and Sciences to open its doors to the public. It is a magnificent construction designed by Santiago Calatrava, with a roof over 100 meters long that contains the large ball that is the projection room.
Here you can watch movies on a huge screen, some of which are 3D.
We watched some movie about underwater animals, which was very nice.
Less convenient for those who wear glasses, but what can’t be done for the children.

OCEANOGRÀFIC – the aquarium
The largest aquarium in Europe that contains a representation of the main marine ecosystems in the world. Each building is associated with a different environment – the Mediterranean, wetlands, temperate and tropical seas, oceans, Antarctica, the Arctic, the islands and the Red Sea. Also – there is also a dolphinarium. The underwater restaurant and access building that welcomes visitors are notable for their spectacular roofs designed by Felix Candela.

ÀGORA -CaixaForum Valencia – art museum
A multi-purpose space for the promotion of knowledge, science and culture in order to promote social change.
CaixaForum provides a wide range of diverse cultural activities – from art exhibitions, lecture series, concerts and shows, social seminars and even family and educational workshops aimed at all ages.

עיר האומנויות והמדעים ולנסיה ספרד ענבל כבירי
The science museum
עיר האומנויות והמדעים ולנסיה ספרד ענבל כבירי
עיר האומנויות והמדעים ולנסיה ספרד ענבל כבירי

פארק טוריה

One of the largest urban parks in Spain. It passes through the city along nine kilometers of green space boasting walking paths, recreational and sports areas, and romantic places where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
It is the perfect place for runners, cyclists, families and nature lovers. It is crossed by 18 bridges full of history,

The vast gardens, inaugurated in 1986, are built on the former bed of the Turia River, whose course was changed to prevent constant flooding in the city. After a devastating flood on October 14, 1957, the course of the Toria was diverted south of the city, leaving a huge area of land that crosses the city from west to east, bordering the historic center. Several urban and landscape planners designed different sections of the park, recreating the former riverscapes. They created a unique route of palm and orange trees, fountains and pine forests, aromatic plants and ponds, sports facilities and rose beds.

How can you walk in the park?

On foot, by bicycle (there are many rental stations throughout the city and near the park) and all kinds of means of transportation that can be rented at the entrance to the Science Museum.
There are different types of scooters and bicycles on pedals – for one, two or four, some are manual (or more precisely, legs) and some are motorized.
If you want to go further, take the motorized ones, which cost 5 euros more. It’s worth the investment (one who knows, and visited there 3 days in a row).

Tip: Go a little before sunset and you will get to witness the City of Arts and Science both in the light and in the dark. A spectacular experience.
In winter, take a coat, gloves and a scarf for riding.

Gulliver Park

Jonathan Swift, the famous author of the popular novel Gulliver’s Travels, made a small miscalculation. It turns out that Lilliput, the kingdom of tiny creatures, is not on an island near Tasmania. No. Because friends, Lilliput is in the urban garden of Turia, in the heart of Valencia! More precisely, between the Guardian Angel and the Kingdom Bridges. In the park that bears the name of this universal figure, a huge figure of Gulliver, almost seventy meters long and nine high, stars, lying down, tied to the ground and motionless. The giant who fell down stairs and ramps to go up and down, fast slides and ropes that are fun to climb on. As a result, kids line up for the tiny Lilliputians while enjoying this original attraction. Well, many children and parents are eager to return to their childhood and enjoy this special park in the world.

Access to the playground has been upgraded and includes accessible ramps. The area is perfect for picnics in the greenest and most pleasant surroundings of Valencia. Around the park are fun benches in suggestive positions so you can imitate Gulliver and stay lying down, as well as a slot machine area.

פארק גוליבר ולנסיה ספרד ענבל כבירי
Do you recognize the man?

The cool Ruzafa neighborhood

A very important discovery from the last trip.
The trendy Rosapa district is full of cafes, small art galleries, indie clothing boutiques and organic food stores, as well as bars and clubs open until the wee hours of the night.
A very, very cool and fun area to walk around, with children or better – without 🙂

The market – really beautiful from the outside and I assume also from the inside (it was closed when I passed by there).

Cute shops
Gnomo – a store of gifts and designed things that is really beautiful to see

Kowalski Bellas Artes – an interesting and slightly strange combination between art materials and men’s clothing and umbrellas

Hinojo Bazar – a beautiful store of flower pots and other homewares

חנות ולנסיה ענבל כבירי
חנות ולנסיה
חנות קוולנסקי ולנסיה
חנות קוולסקי ולנסיה ענבל כבירי
חנות ולנסיה
חנות ולנסיה


Restaurants we liked –

Swagat – a cute Indian restaurant

Thai Mongkut – really good Thai, with many vegetarian and vegan options. There are several branches

Ubik Cafè Cafeteria Llibreria – a cafe inside a wonderful bookstore. Of the places with character, where you should drink coffee, leaf through an avant-garde magazine and enjoy the company. The food – less

Foron Bekaa – high-end Lebanese confectionery. Maamolim were a bit tough, but tasty. The knapa in the brioche was heated in the microwave, so the part went a little bit. If she was on her own, I think it would be better because she is not sweet and that is wonderful

In the area of the train station there are several Chinese streets, it seems that there is a crazy food scene there that we didn’t have time to sample simply because we didn’t reserve a place and there was a crazy line. Worth checking out.

If you are in the area, the specialty is paella and orchetta (nut milk drink). Since we are not fans of the two, I have no recommendations – but give it a try. Maybe you’ll fall in love

Foron Bekaa
Foron Bekaa
Thai Mongkut
Thai Mongkut

The beach

Valencia sandy beach, quiet and pleasant.
How to spend a few hours here calmly, walking on the boardwalk and sitting somewhere to eat.

Last time we really enjoyed La Girafe Patacona – a cool restaurant with a kitchen inside a (real) bus and a beautiful backyard. On the weekend, you should make a reservation in advance.

חוף ולנסיה

Street art

By chance I ended up in this district in the old city. I wanted to get to the IVAM museum, but half way through I found out that it was closed. Alas, I found an old pin on my google map, which showed me that I was 3 minutes away from the area of these beautiful murals.
How to get there?
Google Urbane Kunst.

אומנות רחוב ולנסיה
אומנות רחוב ולנסיה
אומנות רחוב ולנסיה

Have you been to Valencia?
Do you agree that she is underrated?
What did you like there?

אתם כבר חלק מקהילת המטיילים ויקי וכריסטינה?

קהילה ייחודית שבה יש לכם הזדמנות למצוא את המקומות הכי טובים לאוכל / טיולים / אומנות, ממקומיים שגרים ממש שם 

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