With its stunning architecture, delicious food, and rich history, Valencia is a must-visit destination. And the good news is that you can actually visit Valencia in three days! In this Valencia itinerary, I’ll show you how to make the most of your time in this vibrant city. From exploring the historic Old Town and Calatrava’s futuristic architecture to savoring a delicious plate of paella, I’ve got you covered. So, pack your bags and get ready to spend 3 fantastic days in Valencia!
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About this 3 days in Valencia itinerary
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Valencia is an amazing city that should not miss from your Spain bucket list. Although still living in the shadow of ever favorite touristic hubs such as Madrid and Barcelona, Valencia actually manages to surprise pretty much anyone who decides to visit.
This Valencia itinerary is meant for active travelers who don’t mind exploring on foot. Occasionally, I’ll suggest using Valencia’s efficient public transport, but Valencia is a walkable city and more often than not, you won’t need to bother figuring out what bus or metro to take and from where.
This itinerary also assumes that you’ll spend 3 full days in Valencia. I’ve included pretty much all the attractions and activities that an adult might find interesting.
If you are traveling with young children, then you might want to check out these things to do in Valencia with kids and adapt this itinerary to fit everyone’s interests better. Also, people in their 20s might want to check out these fun things to do in Valencia for young adults.
In order to visit the places mentioned in this itinerary as efficiently as possible, I recommend you find accommodation in the Old Town. As for where to stay in Valencia’s Old Town, some of my favorite hotels are Only YOU Hotel (luxury), Palacio de Rojas (spacious apartments), and Soho Valencia (budget). Make sure you check them out.
Day 1: Morning – tour the Old Town
If you’re staying in or close to the Old Town, it only makes sense you start your 3 days in Valencia with a tour of Valencia’s historic center. This is the most atmospheric part of Valencia.
The Old Town is actually made of six barrios, and each and every one of them is slightly different than the next. They all blend into each other though, so you won’t even realize you’re in a different neighborhood until you are deep into it.
The most famous of these neighborhoods is El Carmen. It’s replete with old buildings, many of them in a crumbling state and clad with graffiti.
However, it’s worth noting that Valencia’s street art is more than graffiti letters. There are quite a few gorgeous murals tucked away on El Carmen’s streets that you might find interesting. If you’d like to learn the story behind some of them, you can join a free street art tour.
El Carmen is also the place to enjoy a relaxed mid-morning coffee on a sidewalk terrace. And go dancing until the wee small hours of the morning if you happen to be here at night.
Many of Valencia’s main attractions are situated in the Old Town. So I’d recommend you spend the morning visiting Mercado Central, Valencia’s most famous indoor market, La Lonja de la Seda, a UNESCO-listed site, and the Church of Santos Juanes. All three buildings are right next to each other.
Then you can head towards Calle Caballeros via Calle de la Bolsseria. Calle Caballeros is one of the most upscale streets in the Old Town, with many gorgeous palaces left and right. Here you’ll find the Church of San Nicolás, nicknamed the Valencian Sixtine Chapel, one of the must-see places in Valencia.
Calle Caballeros ends in Plaza de la Virgen, one of the most beautiful squares in Valencia. It’s a wonderful place to stop for a mid-morning snack or ice cream with views of the Cathedral and the stunning water fountain in the middle.
Valencia’s Cathedral is home to the Holy Grail, or so the Catholic Church tends to think. This coveted relic is on display in a chapel inside and can be visited. Also, if you’d like to get a bird’s eye view of the city center, El Miguelete bell tower is the place to be. Climbing all the way up might not be a ton of fun (there are 207 narrow steps to the summit!), but the views are amazing.
Other noteworthy sights in the Old Town are the City Hall and its pedestrian square, the Modernista-style Estación del Norte train station, and the Bullring. The Bullring is an impressive red brick building but unfortunately, bullfighting is still occasionally organized inside, especially during Las Fallas and other important festivals.
These are just some of the attractions you can visit in the Old Town. But there are so many more nooks and crannies to discover! If you’d like to learn about the history behind each of these places, the best thing you can do is join a guided tour. There are all kinds of tours available, including some that are free. Check them out below.
Day 1: Lunch
If you’ve followed the above itinerary, then by lunchtime you are probably somewhere near Estación del Norte. Luckily there are many great eateries nearby, most of them on and around Calle de Ribera.
Many restaurants in Valencia offer a menú del día, a convenient lunch meal deal that includes a starter, a main dish, and dessert. Most restaurants pay attention to include at least a vegetarian dish among an otherwise heavy on meat and fish menu. The firsts drink might or might not be included, so you’ll have to pay attention to that.
Some of the nicest restaurants in this area are Il Grosso Napoletano (named the 3rd best pizza chain in the world in 2022) and Muerde la Pasta (for an inexpensive all you can eat buffet with dozens of Mediterranean dishes).
For an authentic Spanish meal, head to Los Toneles (a no-frills traditional bar) or Casa Blado 1915 (an elegant restaurant that specializes in local rice dishes and tapas). Both have indoor and outdoor seating and offer a menú del día.
Day 1: Afternoon – City of Arts and Sciences
After lunch, you can head towards the City of Arts and Sciences. This futuristic complex is what put Valencia on the tourist map over a decade ago and couldn’t miss from any 3-day Valencia itinerary.
To get to the City of Arts and Sciences from the city center, you can either take the bus #35 from Plaza del Ayuntamiento or walk a bit over half an hour via Av. del Regne de València, a beautiful palm tree-lined avenue. Another option is to rent a bike and cycle through Turia Park all the way to the City of Arts and Sciences or join a bike tour.
The City of Arts and Sciences is formed of six incredibly creative buildings, the brainchild of Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. Take your time to walk among the buildings and see their reflections in the blue pools of water.
Exploring this architectural marvel is free, however, entering the buildings is not. Depending on your interests, you might or might not want to go inside.
For example, one building is an opera house, another hosts a nightclub, while the blue Agora is an exhibition center. If you are visiting with kids, then you might want to consider seeing a movie at the Hemisfèric IMAX cinema or visiting the Príncipe Felipe interactive science museum.
As for the Oceanogràfic, I think you should visit it regardless of your age. This is the largest aquarium in Europe and it’s truly impressive. They have underwater tunnels and dolphin shows and even organize shark sleepovers.
Day 1: Evening – Join a food tour
For dinner, I highly recommend you join this small group tour. Why, you might ask? Well, for starters, it’s one of the highest-rated tours in Valencia. It is so good, that it has an almost perfect 5-star score on all platforms.
The tour combines an amazing 10-course tapas dinner with a visit to the City of Arts and Sciences. The meal is accompanied by local wine and it takes place on a rooftop terrace with amazing views over Valencia.
The dinner time changes with the seasons so you can always enjoy a beautiful sunset over Valencia. Therefore, dinner will take place earlier during winter and later during summer.
Day 2: Morning – Visit some museums
On the first out of your 3 days in Valencia, you made acquaintance with some of the top sights in the city. Now I propose you visit some museums.
Don’t worry, you won’t end up spending the whole day indoors. Valencia doesn’t actually have that kind of museums. Instead, most museums in Valencia are quite niched down and are relatively small, so you can visit them in more or less one hour each.
The only exception is the Museo de Bellas Artes, which is the second-largest fine arts museum in Spain, after El Prado. This museum is located on the other side of Turia Park, so depending on where you are staying in the Old Town, it could take you up to a quarter-hour to walk there. Buses are not really an option – walking is usually faster.
This museum hosts a large number of religious paintings and triptychs, many of them dating back to the Middle Ages. But it also has paintings by Velázquez, Goya, and Sorolla, among others.
If you don’t want to spend the whole morning in this museum, you should start with what interests you the most. On the ground floor, you will find religious paintings and temporary exhibitions while the second-floor houses mostly paintings from the 16th century onwards. Entry is free.
Since the majority of Valencia’s museums are located in close proximity to one another, you can easily visit a couple of them before noon.
Again, which ones you choose to visit will depend on your interests. Personally, the three I find the most interesting are the Silk Museum (the only one of its kind in Spain), L’Almoina (a unique archeological center exploring Valencia’s Roman past), and Palacio del Marquez de Dos Aguas (a decorative arts and ceramics museum, two in one).
Day 2: Lunch – In elegant surroundings
Today, I recommend you also have lunch in the center, but in a different neighborhood, namely Pla del Remei or Gran Vía. Both of these neighborhoods are within walking distance from the Old Town. Of course, depending on where you’ve finished your morning, it will take you more or less time to get there.
Pla del Remei is home to Mercado de Colón, a splendid Modernista gastro market. You will find a dozen or so restaurants and bars here, including one owned by Michelin-starred chef Ricard Camarena.
If you’d like to have lunch in an Instagrammable restaurant, then you should book a table at La Diva, Begin, or any of the Voltereta restaurants.
Last but not least, the Gran Vía neighborhood is home to dozens of fantastic restaurants of the most varied. A quick walk along Calle del Conde de Altea will reveal a myriad of ramen shops, all-you-can-eat Asian buffets, Italian restaurants, and so on.
For Spanish cuisine, I can recommend you La Taska Sidrería (a traditional Asturian restaurant) and Rincón de Roberto (a tapas restaurant). If you feel like splurging, then book a table at Riff, an elegant, Michelin-starred restaurant.
A quick tip – leave some room for ice cream. Once you’ve finished lunch, head to Gelateria La Romana – in my opinion, they have the best ice cream in Valencia. Plus, they have some really interesting ice cream flavors, which, if you’re an adventurous eater like I am, you’ll definitely appreciate.
Day 2: Afternoon – Explore Valencia’s Modernista architecture and Ruzafa
After lunch, I suggest you go for a stroll through Gran Vía and Pla del Remei to admire all the gorgeous Modernista buildings in this area.
Some of the most impressive structures are Casa Ortega and Edificio Chapa, both on Gran Vía del Marqués del Turia, Casa Ferrer on Calle de Cirilo Amorós and Casa de Los Dragones on Calle de Sorní, to name just a few.
Pla del Remei and the adjacent San Francesc neighborhood are also great for indulging in a bit of retail therapy if you’re so inclined. In fact, Calle Colón and the surrounding streets are Valencia’s main shopping area.
Up next, head to the Ruzafa neighborhood. This is one of Valencia’s most hipster neighborhoods, having undergone extensive gentrification over the last decade.
Besides colorful buildings and a young and international atmosphere, here you will find more bars than you can count, cool eco-friendly shops, and a variety of thrift and vintage stores. Overall, Ruzafa is a good area to go souvenir shopping in Valencia as well as discover emerging local designers.
When you’re ready for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, stop at Ubik Café (a bookstore, café, and bar, all in one place), Dulce de Leche (for decadent cakes and horchata) or Bella de Cádiz (a curious looking place serving delicious cocktails).
Day 2: Evening – Flamenco show with dinner
End your second day in Valencia with a flamenco show in a traditional tablao. Yes, this art form originated in Andalucia, but you don’t have to book another trip to actually experience the magic of flamenco.
The fact of the matter is that you can find some pretty impressive flamenco venues in Valencia where you can experience the music, the dancing, and the passion of this fiery performing art.
Flamenco is a cultural experience that you won’t forget easily. During the show, you can feel the energy and emotion of the artists as they stomp their feet and clap their hands to the beat of the guitar.
If you’ve followed my Valencia itinerary closely, at the end of day 2, you should be either in Ruzafa or somewhere in the Old Town. This means that if you want to see a flamenco show, you have two options – either go to La Linterna or La Bulería.
The first one is located in the city center, close to the City Hall, while the second one is in the Montolivet neighborhood, close to Ruzafa. Whichever you choose, I recommend you book your table as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
One of the advantages La Bulería offers is that they serve you a delicious dinner before the show, so you don’t have to bother finding a restaurant and then stress about getting to your flamenco performance on time.
La Linterna, on the other hand, only offers a show + drink package, so you’ll have to find a place where to have a quick dinner before the show. The good news is that there are plenty of restaurants in the area, such as Boatella, one of the most popular tapas bars in Valencia, situated right in front of Mercado Central.
Day 3: Morning – Go to the beach
Valencia has beautiful urban beaches and you should definitely check them out while spending 3 days in the city. Whether it’s the middle of winter or the height of summer, you will likely find something interesting to do here. Even if sunbathing is not your thing!
To get to the beach, take the metro to Marítim, then change to the tram direction Neptú (you won’t be charged extra).
Once on the promenade, you can go right, to visit the marina and admire all the fancy yachts. Or you can go left, and have a walk in the shadow of the palm trees (admittedly, that’s not much shadow at all, but it surely is pretty). I recommend you do both.
The first stretch of sand you will see is known as Playa de Las Arenas Beach or Playa del Cabanyal. Further down, it seamlessly transitions into Playa de la Malvarrosa. This is Valencia’s most famous beach, thanks in part to being repeatedly immortalized by Valencian painter Joaquín Sorolla in his paintings.
Both beaches are equally special though. Apart from having fine golden sands and being almost 200 meters wide, they both have Flue Flag status. This means they have clear waters, clean sand, and all the services you need at your fingertips.
With only 3 days in Valencia, you might not want to lounge on the beach for more than a couple of hours. But you might want to take advantage of some water sports offered in the marina. Or even go on a catamaran cruise and see Valencia from a different perspective.
Day 3: Lunch – Have paella Valenciana
How can you visit Valencia for 3 days and not have the paella, right? While there are plenty of opportunities to try this dish in the city center, some of the best paella restaurants in Valencia are located by the sea.
This golden rice dish is world-famous and many see it as the national dish of Spain. But paella has never been officially designated this title.
Paella is beloved throughout the country, but nowhere as much as in Valencia. Valencia is the birthplace of paella and preparing a good paella Valenciana is nothing short of an art form.
There are so many intricacies of cooking a good paella and so many peculiarities when it comes to serving it, I could go on and on. Actually, I did, but in a different post where I gathered 25 interesting facts about paella.
So for lunch, you should find a table at one of the many restaurants lining the promenade and enjoy a paella with a view.
I’ve never had a bad paella here. So whichever restaurant you choose, you can’t really go wrong.
Yet, some restaurants have more tradition than others. Such is, for example, La Pepica, where they’ve been preparing paellas for over 120 years.
At the far end of Playa de la Malvarrosa, you’ll find another restaurant – Casa Carmela – that has also been around for over a century and they still cook their paellas the traditional way, over a wood fire.
Whichever restaurant you choose, I recommend you arrive early (that’s around 1:30 in Valencia) and be prepared to enjoy a long meal. The paellas are cooked to order and it takes about 40 minutes to prepare them.
Day 3: Afternoon – Visit the El Cabañal neighborhood
In the afternoon, you might want to spend some time strolling the streets of the El Cabañal neighborhood nearby.
This former fishing village still preserves its old-world charm, with mostly 2 story buildings and facades covered in colorful tiles.
Every time I’m in El Cabañal, I need to pinch myself. Am I still in Valencia? How can this be? The tranquil streets remind me more of a sleepy village than of Spain’s third-largest city.
My point is that El Cabañal is very different from the Old Town or pretty much any other neighborhood in Valencia. There’s so much beauty behind all the decay!
El Cabañal is also great for spotting some pretty cool street art. And a great number of Modernista buildings. While it might not be for everyone, it surely is Valencia’s new hipster kid on the block.
For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, make a beeline for La Fábrica de Hielo (a cool bar in a former ice factory) or Mercabañal (a food truck park built from ship containers).
Also, if you have the time and the inclination to pack in one more small museum into your 3-day Valencia itinerary, check out Museo de la Semana Santa Marinera. This free museum, dedicated to the local Holy Week tradition, is interesting to see, especially if you’ve never experienced Easter in Valencia.
Day 3: Evening – Sunset cruise
What better way to end your 3 days in Valencia than with a sunset cruise?!
A sunset cruise is an unforgettable experience that is sure to leave you with lasting memories. As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, you’ll set sail on the Mediterranean Sea, with Valencia’s stunning skyline in the backdrop.
In summer, the warm, balmy sea breeze and the tranquil waters of the sea create an atmosphere that is both peaceful and romantic. In winter, you’ll definitely need to layer up, but the views are just as pretty.
A cruise is a perfect opportunity to enjoy a beautiful sunset in Valencia. It’s also a chance to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life before returning to your daily grind.
Sunset cruises in Valencia are usually accompanied by a cocktail. After the cruise, you can have dinner in the marina or head back to the city center and find yourself a nice restaurant there.
Is 3 days in Valencia enough?
Yes, three days in Valencia can be enough to explore the city and experience its main attractions. While it may not be enough to see everything in great detail, you can definitely get a good sense of Valencia’s charm and enjoy its highlights.
With 3 full days at your disposal, you can visit the most important landmarks, explore the Old Town, indulge in the local cuisine, and relax on the beach.
Of course, if you aim to see Valencia in 3 days, then you should plan your itinerary based on your interests and prioritize the experiences that matter to you the most. This way you won’t feel like you’ve missed out.
Personally, I believe 4 days in Valencia is actually the perfect amount of time to spend in this beautiful city, but you can easily spend a whole week without getting bored. There’s always something going on in Valencia, plus the longer you stay, the more hidden gems you’ll discover.
If you are on a budget, staying longer shouldn’t be much of an issue, as there is a great number of free things to do in Valencia as well.
That being said, if 3 days is all you have, you can definitely have a wonderful trip that you’ll remember fondly. And who knows, maybe in a couple of years, you’ll come back to enjoy another 3 days in Valencia?!