The Spanish city of Valencia is a great place for a weekend trip within Europe. From London, it’s just under three hours by plane and you can find return flights for as cheap as £50. It’s an innovative city where historic architecture meets futuristic masterpieces. As a city that’s always lively with buzzing nightlife, great restaurants and a thriving cultural scene, it’s the perfect summer getaway for you and your mates. Get ideas for your trip to Spain with this Valencia Travel Guide and weekend itinerary.
I spent three weeks in Valencia two summers ago for a Spanish course. I found three weeks a bit too long but still enjoyed my time there. You can explore and experience Valencia in three to five days – a perfect weekend getaway. Valencia is easy to explore on foot or alternatively you hop on a city bike.
Valencia Travel Guide & Itinerary for a long weekend
Here are the top things to do in Valencia along with a few restaurant recommendations.
Day 1 – Walking Tour of the Old City:
Plaza de la Virgen
The perfect place to start your walking tour through Valencia. It’s a gorgeous square with mini gardens and hosts the Cathedral.
Gothic-style cathedral that looks great in a photo…
Plaza de la Reina
Just opposite of Plaza de la Virgen, this square also hosts a number of cafes, bars and restaurants and is always super lively. Great for people-watching!
I stumbled into this cafe accidentally only to later find out that this quite a famous, historic place. If you feel like having a little snack or refreshment, take a break in here. You must try their horchata and fartons. Horchata is like a very sweet milk that’s served ice cold. It’s made from ground tigernuts. Pair this with fartons – a pastry similar to a croissant sprinkled with icing sugar. Dip it into your horchata – just like the locals.
This stunning Gothic building was built in the late 15th century and was originally Valencia’s silk and commodity exchange. It’s a Unesco World Heritage site today.
This lively market is great to do some shopping and bring home jamon (cured ham), queso (cheese) or any other Spanish delicacies. There are also plenty of seafood and fruit/vegetable stalls if you fancy cooking yourself one evening.
You will inevitably pass this building several times as you stroll through Valencia. Nice for a quick photo or a quick rest of your legs in the square.
Day 2 – A cultural day & a park hike
After you’ve explored the city’s old town, you can now venture towards the sea and hike through a park as well as get cultural.
Jardines del Turia
A 9km long stretch of greenery, it’s a perfect place to go for a run or just enjoy a leisurely walk through the park.
Ciudad des las Artes y las Ciencias
This is may just be what Valencia is most known for: The City of Arts and Science. It sits within the old Turia riverbed on 350,000-sq-metres and was mostly designed by Santiago Calatrava who was born in Valencia. It’s nice to go for a walk and admire the futuristic architecture or maybe even explore some of the museums.
This aquarium is part of the City of Arts and Science and worth exploring. Besides sharks, they have fish from temperate, Mediterranean, Red Sea and tropical waters. Unfortunately, they also have captive dolphins and dolphin shows…
Day 3 – Beach time!
After all that walking the last two days, you deserve some beach time!
Playa de la Malvarosa is a 15 minute cycle from the city centre and a popular weekend hangout. It does get really busy and is not necessarily the prettiest beach you’ll ever come across. If you don’t mind taking a bus, then try the beaches of Les Gavines. You can find more secluded spots there.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Your Valencia travel guide wouldn’t be complete without suggestions for top restaurants, cafes and bars!
There are plenty of great restaurant options and a thriving nightlife scene. Remember that Spaniards eat late. Like really late. Like 11pm… Yeah, I know, I was starving by 7pm – and discovered that most restaurants only open their kitchen at 8pm!!!
The current hot spot of Valencia – and often compared to London’s Shoreditch. It’s definitely a hipster favourite and loved by artists, creatives, students and young professionals alike. It’s the place to be if you’re looking for stylish bars, cafes, markets, restaurants, boutiques and galleries. Many call it the city’s best nightlife area!
Favourite restaurants & cafes in Russafa:
- Dulce de Leche – my favourite brunch spot & amazing cakes!
- La Finestra – 1.50€ per mini pizza and cheap beer and wine – a winner!
- Coffee Time @ Russafa Market – get your coffee fix
- Copenhagen – a vegetarian restaurant
- Porque lo digo yo – tapas at 1€ a plate!
- Ubik Cafe – secondhand bookshop meets cafe
- Tarta de Zanahoria – good vegetarian place (open weekdays for lunch only)
Favourite bars/clubs in Russafa:
- Nylon Club
Other areas in Valencia
Keep an eye out for places you might like on your walking tour through Valencia. There are plenty of good places.
Some of my favourite restaurants and cafes:
- Bar Cabanyal – delicious seafood
- Taberna la Reina – Spanish cuisine
- La Pepica – one of the best paella restaurants
- El Canyar – another great paella place
- La Lluna – vegetarian place
- Momiji – great seafood place
Bars & clubs across Valencia:
- Cafe Negrito
- Radio City
- Akurela Playa
I hope you enjoyed reading this Valencia travel guide and find it useful for planning your weekend trip! Let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂