Valencia is as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the wallet. The green hues found in the Old Turía River Bed Gardens contrast the shimmering golden sand and sparkling cerulean waves of the beaches. And the colour of its oranges is as rich as the taste. Those who say this Spanish coastal city lacks any sense of charm may have never walked under the citrus trees as they drop blossoms onto the cobblestone streets or listened to the hum of the Valencian dialect amidst the produce stands of the Mercado Central. Although it has spent years hiding in the shadows of larger cities, Valencia now offers a mixture of Madrid’s history and Barcelona’s contemporary atmosphere for a fraction of the cost.
Valencia travel guide for first-time visitors
Best Months to Visit
The best time Valencia is in April and May, the sweet spot full of warm weather and void of crazy crowds. In general, the city boasts a Mediterranean climate with consistently pleasant weather. Average high temps range from 59 degrees in the wintertime to 85 degrees in the height of summer. Wintertime is also pretty comfortable — between the mid-40s to mid-60s — and the city is more or less tourist-free. The downside is certain attractions shorten their hours of operation.
How to Save Money in Valencia
Visit in the off-season Although some of the sites switch over to winter hours, Valencia’s hotels drop their prices from November to March.
Dine at the Mercado Central Plenty of restaurants centred on the Mercado Central offer prix-fixe menus and great tapas for about €10 EUR per person.
Get a Valencia Tourist Card It comes with unlimited travel on the city’s mass transit as well as discounts at the major museums, attractions and shops. Available in one- to three-day denominations, you can purchase the cards at most tourist desks, in vending machines at the airport.
What to Eat
The best Spanish cuisine located on the winding streets of Center City (especially in the Mercado Central), while other top options are the cafés and tapas bars along la Avenida del Puerto. Many restaurants offer prix-fixe lunch menus, which are a good way of experiencing Spanish cuisine without spending too many euros. Remember that the Spanish do not normally sit down to dinner until 9 p.m. at the earliest. If you find that your stomach is rumbling before it’s time to eat, follow the Valencians to one of the many tapas bars located throughout the city.
Valencia is the birthplace of one of Spain’s most popular dishes, paella. The paella Valenciana of this city is a mixture of rice, seafood, meat and vegetables flavoured with saffron.
Valencia is also known for its orange groves. Don’t miss your chance to sample this juicy fruit the way Valencians do. If you’re looking for some refreshment after a long day of sightseeing, order an Agua de Valencia — a cocktail made from gin, vodka, cava (Spanish champagne), sugar and freshly squeezed orange juice — at a sidewalk café.
Visitors should relax while in Valencia: Although the city sees its fair share of petty theft, for the most part, it’s very safe. Guard against any petty theft by keeping an eye on your possessions, especially on the beaches.
You should also exercise common sense at night: Solo travellers should stray from walking through unfamiliar neighbourhoods at night, and all should refrain from strolling the Turia gardens after dark.
Getting Around Valencia
The best way to get around Valencia is by the metro, which reaches as far as the Valencia Airport (VLC). Public buses help supplement the metro coverage, but these are rather unreliable and confusing. Instead, consider walking or renting a bike to the closest sites and activities. We recommend forgoing the rental car: parking is near impossible to find, and the city’s narrow streets can make driving difficult for visitors.