While Valencia is a city you can happily just meander around, there are several attractions worth visiting. Located a 3 hour train ride from Barcelona, it is a city absolutely worth adding to your Spain itinerary. Valencia is a very enchanting city, and more often than not it is without huge crowds like you find in Barcelona and Madrid.
I’ve also included two vegetarian/vegan food suggestions down the bottom of this post. If you’re looking for more veggie food options in Valencia (or wherever), download the Happy Cow app!
Valencia Cathedral & El Miguelete Tower
Primarily a Gothic building, the Cathedral also contains hints of Romanesque, Barqoue and several other stylistic elements. It is one of the most iconic places in Valencia, built over the course of several centuries, beginning in the 13th (hence the mix of styles). The Cathedral contains several stunning artworks, and is of course a sight in itself.
The Cathedral’s bell tower, El Miguelete or El Micalet, is in the Gothic style built between the 14th and 15th centuries. Inside there is a 207-step spiral staircase which you can climb up for views over Valencia.
City of Arts & Sciences
If you’re after a more modern side of Valencia as well, the City of Arts & Sciences is the place to go! One of 12 Treasures of Spain, it is a modern architectural masterpiece. Currently made up of 7 buildings, it includes an oceanarium, an interactive science museum, a planetarium and a performing arts centre.
Mercat Central & the Silk Exchange
Before you even go into the Central Market, make sure you stop and look at the detailing on the exterior. Then once you step inside, you’ll need to do the same. Ornate iron beams, amazing tiling, and of course the glass dome. The building itself, finished in 1928, is just stunning. Most of the vendors in the market sell food, but you can also find souvenirs. Fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese, pastries… So much food, so little stomach space! Most of the food is fresh and local though, so you’ll want to dig in!
The Silk Exchange (or La Lonja) is right near the Central Market, and is worth stopping into. Built in the 15th century, the ‘golden age’ of Valencia, it became a big part of the city’s wealth. The building looks like a fortress, so you can’t miss it!
Torres de Quart & Torres de Serranos
Whether you’re after some great views of Valencia or just need a bit of exercise, these two towers are great to visit! Located in the older part of the city, they used to be part of the old city wall. Built in the 14th and 15th centuries, they are the only remaining parts of this old city wall. Plus, both are free to enter!
Vegetarian & Vegan Food Suggestions
Carrer Catalans 8, open Tue-Sun 1:30-4pm and 7-11:30pm, closed Mon.
A vegetarian restaurant located a short walk from the Cathedral, Restaurante Oslo is where I stopped in for dinner my first night in Valencia. I really loved this place, and highly recommend stopping in here to eat (even if you’re not vego!). They do have vegan options on the menu which are clearly labelled.
From the tapas menu I ordered a plate of patatas bravas, which cost 5.80 euros. These were seriously delicious – I’ve fallen in love with patatas bravas here in Spain, and I’ve genuinely never had a bad serving! I also ordered a big glass of sangria, which cost 4 euros – also incredibly delicious!
For my main I ordered the pasta artesana for 9.70 euros, which was fresh pasta stuffed with pear and pecorino cheese, served with marinated mushrooms and red pesto sauce. Again, this was so delicious – I was chowing it down!
Carrer de Quart 41B, open Tues-Sun 1-4pm and 8-11pm, closed Mon.
This is like a vegan McDonald’s, just way better. The Vurger is a vegan fast food restaurant, serving up burgers, nuggets, hot dogs and sweets. They use mostly soy-based “mock meats”, which are some of the most realistic I’ve ever had in my vego life. They were so realistic that I was getting paranoid I’d been served real meat, even though the restaurant is completely vegan.
I ordered the original burger, fries & a soft drink, which cost 9.90 euros all together. The original burger had a vegan “beef” patty, with “bacon”, caramelised onion, salad and sauce. So delicious! It was even a little greasy (but not to a gross level), so it felt like “real” fast food. Definitely not a health food restaurant!
I only had 1 full day here, but I seriously wish I’d had more time! Valencia is such a charming Spanish city, and is a perfect place to add to your itinerary.