4 Days in Valencia: The Perfect Itinerary (From a Local)
Spending 4 days in Valencia is a fantastic idea. Known for the friendliness of its people, the delicious food, the magical sunsets, and the captivating architecture, Valencia has a lot to offer to anyone who wants to plan a fun-packed 4 day itinerary for a mini vacation.
Now, you might be wondering, are 4 days in Valencia enough? Or maybe you are worried that if you decide to see Valencia in 4 days you’ll run out of things to do. But I think 4 days is just the right amount of time to explore Valencia without feeling rushed, stressed out, or bored.
About this 4 days in Valencia itinerary
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This 4 days in Valencia itinerary is packed with all the must-visit places in the city, my favorite restaurants, and the best things to do.
To make the most of this itinerary I recommend you stay in the city center so that you can have easy access to all the fun places. The Old Town is the best area to stay in Valencia for first-time visitors but also for nightlife. Plus it has some of my absolute favorite hotels.
I recommend you book a room at Only YOU Hotel for a deluxe experience. At Palacio de Rojas if traveling with family or a group of friends, need a kitchen, or like staying in spacious apartments. And Soho Valencia if you are on a budget.
That being said, let’s dive into this fun Valencia itinerary. Expect to spend a thrilling 4 days!
Day 1: Morning – discover the Old Town
El Carmen is the most atmospheric neighborhood in Valencia. It has maze-like streets and laidback plazas and it’s perfect for getting lost on purpose. So I recommend you start your 4 days in Valencia here.
This neighborhood dates all the way back to the Middle Ages when it grew between the two city walls – one Muslim and the other Christian.
In its beginnings, El Carmen was a Muslim refuge camp. Then a brothel. Then the aristocracy moved in. Only for it to fall into disgrace once again during the Industrial Revolution.
Eventually, El Carmen raised like a phoenix from its own ashes and these days it’s a popular hangout spot with a multicultural flair.
I personally find the history of El Carmen and the other barrios that form the Old Town of Valencia truly fascinating. So I recommend you join a guided tour of this area first thing in the morning. The good news is that there are plenty of tours to choose from, including some that are free. Check them out below.
Along the narrow alleys of El Carmen, you’ll stumble upon beautiful palaces, secret nooks, bohemian squares, and a wealth of independent shops and sidewalk terraces perfect for enjoying a nice breakfast in the sun.
One of my favorite breakfast spots in this area is called Brunch Corner – La Virgen. Also, if you like specialty coffee, make sure you check out BEAT Brew Bar.
Among the most important attractions in the Old Town that you should not miss are the City Hall Square, the Estación del Norte train station, and the Gothic Serranos Towers. The largest fresh produce market in Europe, Mercado Central, is also a feast for the eyes (and stomach).
This part of Valencia also has many beautiful churches that hide indisputable masterpieces. Among the most outstanding ones are the Cathedral, home of the Holy Grail which is on display in one of the chapels, and Iglesia de San Nicolás dubbed the Valencian Sixtine Chapel.
If you are a fan of panoramic views, you should climb the Miguelete bell tower next to the cathedral. But be aware that it will give you a good workout.
Neighboring El Carmen, barrio de Velluters (also called El Pilar) used to be Europe’s main silk manufacturing center during the 15th and 18th centuries. These days, you can still find many shops selling beautiful silk fabrics here.
To learn more about Valencia’s silk past, I really recommend you visit La Lonja de la Seda (aka Silk Exchange, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and especially the Silk Museum. This is the only museum in Spain dedicated entirely to silk and it offers silk-making demonstrations.
Day 1: Lunch – try local dishes
There are so many wonderful and delicious things to eat in Valencia that 4 days is not nearly enough to try them all. Having lunch in the city center, means you are truly spoiled for choice.
Today you could take advantage of the lunch meal deal that most restaurants in Valencia offer. These are usually priced under €20 and include a starter, a main dish, and a dessert. Sometimes they also include a drink.
Two places I can recommend are Restaurante Navarro and Restaurante Canela. The first has been around for over seven decades. The second specializes in Valencian dishes and their meal deal includes several rice dishes from the Valencia region.
If you’d rather eat something more international, Hundred Burgers serves some of the best burgers in Valencia, and their restaurant located behind the City Hall looks like taken from a Harry Potter movie.
For pizza, head to Il Grosso Napoletano, one of the top three best artisanal pizza chains in the world. And for authentic Thai food, go to Okay Lah.
Want to eat for the gram? Then book a table at La Diva, Voltereta Manhattan, or Begin. These are some of the most Instagrammable restaurants in Valencia.
Day 1: Afternoon – explore Ruzafa
In the afternoon, head to Ruzafa. This hipster neighborhood bordering the Old Town is filled with cute little cafés, artists’ studios, and craft beer bars.
An interesting fact is that Ruzafa used to be a run-down barrio just a few years ago. Buildings were crumbling and it wasn’t a very nice and safe area to visit all in all.
But then an all-in-one bookstore and cafeteria called Ubik Café opened its doors, and things started to change.
It’s debatable whether the opening of this venue sparked the gentrification process in Ruzafa or it was all just a coincidence. The point is that this artsy café is a Ruzafa institution and should not be missed. They organize a wide range of events, from language exchanges to live music and wine and beer tastings so it’s always fun to pop in.
Ruzafa’s allure stems from its colorful architecture, family-owned businesses, and lack of corporate-owned chains. The area has a young, multicultural, and vibrant atmosphere. And now it’s super safe too!
Also, Parque Central, one of the most beautiful parks in Valencia, is situated here and worth a stroll.
Ruzafa is teeming with vintage clothing boutiques and emerging fashion designers, making it a great place to go shopping in Valencia for unique finds. And if you’re in the market for original souvenirs from Valencia, I recommend you browse Gnomo or Hinojo Bazar.
For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, stop by a cute café such as Dulce de Leche or La Más Bonita.
Day 1: Evening – watch a flamenco or jazz show
While Ruzafa has laidback vibes during the day, it gets quite lively at night. So if you decide to spend your first evening in Valencia here, you’ll have tons of restaurants, bars, and dance clubs to choose from.
However, I’d suggest you end your first out of 4 days in Valencia with a flamenco show.
Flamenco is a dance that originated in southern Spain, in the region of Andalucia to be exact. So it’s pretty much an import in Valencia. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find some excellent and authentic tablaos here as well.
Two of the places I really like are La Bulería in Montolivet, not far from Ruzafa, and La Linterna in the Old Town, but there are more fabulous flamenco venues in Valencia you can choose from.
Expect a lot of foot stomping and beautiful Spanish guitar music. If you haven’t had dinner yet, you can order food during the show.
If flamenco is too traditional for you, an alternative would be to go to a jazz club in El Carmen. While there are many jazz clubs you can choose from, Jimmy Glass is rumored to be one of the best in Europe.
Day 2: Morning – head to the beach
If so far you’ve followed my Valencia itinerary closely, your first day was packed with all kinds of wonderful activities. This might have felt overwhelming at times. So for your second out of 4 days in Valencia, I’d suggest you head to the beach.
Valencia has three urban beaches and all of them are easily accessible from the city center. Unless it’s raining, you can enjoy the beach pretty much any time of the year.
Of course, if you’re visiting Valencia in winter, the water is not warm enough for swimming. But you can definitely go for a swim from June to October. At any other time of the year, a nice walk along the beach will have to do.
Valencia has a 3.5 km (2.2 miles) long promenade that stretches from the marina to Patacona. Along it, there are many restaurants, bars, and even the occasional beach boutique.
During the summer months, a street market is organized along La Malvarrosa Beach, with dozens of vendors selling all kinds of trinkets, toys, and beachwear.
You can rent a sunbed and an umbrella on the beach. However, most people tend to just bring their own towel.
If sunbathing is not your thing, you can still enjoy the beach vibes from the shade of a chiringuito (beach bar). Beachbol, for example, serves some very nice and refreshing smoothies.
For a posh experience, head to Marina Beach Club. This is a place to get pampered while sipping on a cocktail in an infinity pool overlooking the sea.
Day 2: Lunch – try the paella
You cannot spend 4 days in Valencia and not try the famous paella Valenciana. This saffron rice dish is originally from here and pretty much every other restaurant along the beach serves it. Not only that, but they actually know what they are doing.
Valencianos are very passionate about their paella and there’s much debate as to what paella is or isn’t. Some go as far as saying that paella is either paella Valenciana or it isn’t paella at all. This means that technically, seafood paella is not paella but rather a rice dish with seafood.
Be it as it may, I highly recommend you try the paella while in Valencia. The original recipe calls for chicken, rabbit, and vegetables. Sometimes, restaurants also add small snails with shells and all.
If you find that yucky, you can ask your waiter not to put any snails in your paella. Although, to be honest, they don’t taste like much. So you can take it as cultural immersion.
If you don’t eat meat, most restaurants serve vegetable paella, and believe me, it’s just as delicious.
Now, if you’re stuck with the idea of eating a seafood paella, I recommend you try some popular local rice dishes such as arroz del senyoret, arroz con bogavante, or arroz negro.
I recommend you have paella either at La Pepica or Casa Carmela. These are considered two of the best paella restaurants in Valencia and they are both situated close to the beach.
Day 2: Afternoon – stroll through El Cabanyal
For your second afternoon in Valencia, head to El Cabanyal. This bohemian neighborhood is pretty much off the beaten path, in spite of being named one of the 10 coolest neighborhoods in Europe by The Guardian.
This is an area beloved by expats living in Valencia who in recent years started moving here in droves, due to the cheaper housing prices and the proximity to the beach.
This incentivized many new and hip shops and bars to open here, although, in general, they tend to respect and adapt to El Cabanyal’s vibe, rather than adapt El Cabanyal to them.
El Cabanyal started as a fishing village back in the 18th century. But by the end of the 19th century, it got swallowed up by Valencia.
The tiled houses in Modernista style are among the area’s most exciting heritage. Also, this barrio has two underrated museums that pretty much remain under the radar of tourists.
These are the Museo de la Semana Santa Marinera and Museo del Arroz.
The first explores the tradition of the Holy Week in El Cabanyal, which is quite unique and one of the most important celebrations in Valencia. The other, housed in an old rice mill, is all about paella’s main ingredient.
When tired of walking, go to La Fábrica de Hielo, a multicultural space with live music several days a week. Or stop by Mercabanyal, a colorful outdoor gastro market with food trucks.
Day 2: Evening – sunset cruise
What better way to end your second day in Valencia than a sunset catamaran cruise?
Sunsets in Valencia can be pretty darn cool. With over 300 days of sunshine per year and clear blue skies most of the days, chances are, you’ll stumble upon a magical sunset or two during your 4 days in Valencia.
But to be honest, you really need to know where to go to see them. Because of all the narrow streets and tall buildings, well, let’s just say it’s a bit difficult to see the forest from the trees in Valencia.
A sunset cruise is obviously the best option. With no buildings whatsoever to obstruct the views and gentle sea waves as far as you can see, watching the sun setting over the city can be an incredible experience.
Sunset cruises usually come with a drink included. So just sit back and relax and enjoy the romantic views.
Once you get back to the shores, you could try a seafood restaurant or have a light dinner and a cocktail at Boa Beach, a gorgeous restaurant with Balinese vibes.
After dinner, if you’re not too tired, you could check out Valencia’s night scene and clubs in the marina.
Day 3: Morning – back in the Old Town and Eixample
Kick off your third day in Valencia with a visit to Palacio del Marquez de Dos Aguas. This is the most beautiful palace in Valencia, in spite of being advertised as the National Ceramics Museum Gonzalez Marti.
In its defense, this is the most important ceramics museum in Spain. So it’s a source of pride, especially given the importance of ceramics manufacturing in the local economy over the course of the past seven centuries.
The palace is divided in two – the first floor features extravagantly decorated rooms, while the second floor hosts the ceramics museum proper. Some of the pottery dates back to Iberian times, however, my favorite part is the recreation of the 18th-century Valencian kitchen.
I recommend you allocate approximately one hour. The rooms on the first floor are incredibly beautiful, so it’s a real possibility you might not want to leave.
Next up, if you’re hungry, stop by Sukar (Calle de la Paz, 16). This Valencian pastry shop sells the most decadent croissants filled with things such as tiramisu, cheesecake, or pistachio.
Then head towards Jardin de la Glorieta where you can admire some of the most majestic ficus trees you’ve seen in your life. They are more than 150 years old!
I recommend you spend the rest of the morning, in Pla del Remei neighborhood. This area has many gorgeous Modernista buildings, especially along Calle de Ciril Amorós.
However, the jewel of the crown is Mercado de Colón. Built over a century ago as a fresh produce market, Mercado de Colón has been recently converted into an elegant gastro market you cannot miss.
I suggest you stop for a moment here to soak up some sun on one of the terraces (or cool down in the shade) while enjoying a beer or a glass of horchata.
Horchata is a sweet plant-based drink that is served ice cold. It is made with tiger nuts, an edible tuber that grows nearby, and is one of the most popular drinks in Valencia.
Day 3: Lunch – around Canovas Square
For lunch, you have plenty of choices again and it would be a pity not to try another amazing restaurant as you are spending 4 days in Valencia.
One option is to have lunch in Mercado de Colón. There are plenty of restaurants here, including Habitual by Ricard Camarena, a Michelin-starred chef.
Voltereta Manhattan and La Diva, two restaurants I also mentioned on day one are also in this area. Plus Voltereta, Bienvenido a Bali, another picture-perfect restaurant, is one block away.
If you want to explore another area of Valencia, you can cross on the other side of Gran Via Marquéz de Túria into the barrio of Gran Via (also known as Canovas).
Here you will find dozens of restaurants specializing in anything from Mediterranean to Japanese cuisine.
For example, Ryukishin Cánovas is a very good ramen place with an inexpensive lunch meal deal. While Kathmandu Cánovas is a highly acclaimed Indian Nepali restaurant.
Day 3: Afternoon – excursion to Albufera
Spending 4 days in Valencia means you have a bit of wiggle room and can also go on a short trip outside the city.
Albufera is a natural park just 10 km (6.2 miles) south and is one of the best day trips from Valencia for several reasons.
It’s the birthplace of the much-coveted paella. It has a huge and gorgeous lake ideal for romantic boat trips. The park also encompasses a pine forest and vast rice fields. And it’s all separated from the sea by a narrow stretch of sand.
Yeah, Albufera is a pretty magical place and I can’t recommend it enough.
Since you’re spending 4 days in Valencia and your time is limited, it’s best to join an organized guided tour. The park is huge and you don’t want to end up in the wrong place. Or have to walk several kilometers to get from one place to the next.
Public transportation to and from Albufera is limited to buses and they are kind of infrequent. They are okay if you have the whole day at your disposal. But if you only have a few hours, why risk it?
All guided tours to Albufera include a boat ride on the lake since this is such a highlight. But the transport method and the time of the day might differ.
This tour, for example, is conducted by an open-top jeep and includes tapas and drinks on the beach. While this other one includes a visit to El Palmar (the birthplace of paella) and sunset. Check them both below.
Day 3: Evening – tapas and free walking tour
Back in Valencia, you’ll likely want to have dinner and maybe relax with a drink. So I’d suggest you find a nice restaurant in El Carmen.
The beautiful Café Infanta is a great option if you’d like to try some tapas. This restaurant has both a charming terrace and an interesting interior.
For pinchos, a different kind of tapas, typical of the Basque Country up north, go to Sagardi. This place is an experience in itself due to the way pinchos are eaten. You basically help yourself to whatever you fancy from the bar. Then, when you’re done, the bartender counts the toothpicks on your plate and charges you accordingly.
If you’d like to have a drink with views, my favorite is La Terraza de Blanq. This rooftop terrace on the last floor of Hotel Blanq has boho chic vibes and is one of the most whimsical rooftop bars in Valencia.
Alternatively, you could go for a walk to see Valencia at night. I promise it will surprise you in the best possible way. There are always so many people around until very late.
You could also join a night walking tour of Valencia and learn about the dark side of the city. It might be a bit gruesome (there’s a reason why this takes place at night) but it can also be thrilling and a lot of fun. Plus it’s free!
Day 4: Morning – relax in the Turia Park
On the last of your 4 days in Valencia, I suggest you discover Turia Park. This is arguably the largest urban park in Spain and it was built in the old riverbed of the Turia River.
Turia River had a habit of flooding Valencia. After a particularly devastating flood in the 1950s, the local government undertook the huge task of changing the river’s course to the outskirts of the city. Now, the old riverbed is a lush green garden.
Along the park, you will find several attractions, such as Museo de Bellas Artes. This museum features a large collection of religious paintings but also rooms dedicated to Goya, Sorolla, and Pinazo. And it’s free to visit.
As you descend to the park from the Old Town, you can choose to go either left or right. To the left, you can go all the way to Bioparc, Valencia’s state-of-the-art zoo. To the right, you’ll end up at the City of Arts and Sciences.
Since you’re spending only 4 days in Valencia, I recommend you head towards the latest. Unless you are visiting Valencia with kids and really want to take them to the zoo, that is.
In this case, you can still visit Bioparc in the morning and the City of Arts and Sciences in the afternoon. If that’s your plan, you should either rent a bike or take the bus, as the two attractions are some 9 km (5.6 miles) apart.
Valencia is pancake-flat so biking through the city is super easy. Yet Turia Park offers the most enjoyable route. Plus it has bike lanes on both sides.
There are several companies offering guided bike tours in Valencia. Some of them also organize Segway tours. Check them out below.
Day 4: Lunch – in a commercial center
Supposing you are headed towards the City of Arts and Sciences, you’ll have quite a few options come lunchtime.
Close to this famous attraction, there are two commercial centers – Aqua and El Saler – and they are packed with restaurants.
Aqua is an open and bright mall with partial views of the City of Arts and Sciences. It’s ideal for the summer months as you can enjoy a meal on a terrace in the shade.
El Saler, on the other hand, has been recently expanded and given a facelift. Many of the restaurants here have open terraces with views of L’Umbracle, part of the City of Arts and Sciences.
Another cool restaurant you can try here is Voltereta Kyoto. This is a unique restaurant with two ambiances – Kyoto of the past and Kyoto of the future. The only caveat is that they tend to be fully booked months in advance.
Day 4: Afternoon – visit the City of Arts and Sciences
To end your 4 days in Valencia with a bang, I suggest you dedicate this afternoon to the City of Arts and Sciences complex.
This futuristic architectural marvel was designed by Santiago Calatrava. You probably heard of him. What you might not know is that he was born and raised in Valencia.
The City of Arts and Sciences has six buildings and each of them is quite unique and Instagrammable any time of the day. Sunsets here are also super cool.
Apart from the Reina Sofía Opera House, which opens only for concerts and theater plays, all buildings can be visited.
The Príncipe Felipe Science Museum and the Hemisfèric IMAX cinema are geared more towards kids. But the Oceanographic, the largest aquarium in Europe, can be a wonderful experience for kids and adults alike.
The CaixaForum is an interesting exhibition center and concert venue with many family-friendly activities, but not all. For example, young kids might not have the patience to sit through a classical jazz concert.
Last but not least, L’Umbracle is a green space, half garden, and half nightclub. The garden is nice for a quick stroll and photoshoot during the day. While the club is a great place for enjoying a cocktail and dancing the night away, especially for people in their 20s and 30s.
If you’d like to learn more about this intriguing complex, I recommend joining a guided tour. In fact, one of the most popular tours in Valencia is this one of the City of Arts and Sciences that includes a 10-course tapas dinner.
The dinner is on one of the best rooftop terraces in the city and it is timed in such a way that you can enjoy a beautiful sunset any time of the year. If you want a truly memorable end to your Valencia itinerary, this is it.
Day 4: Evening – Michelin dinner
As your 4 days in Valencia come to an end, you might want to stay out a bit later tonight.
If that’s the case, then you have several fun options in this area. One of them is joining the City of Arts and Sciences + tapas tour mentioned above. Another one is going to Mya, the nightclub inside L’Umbracle.
If you want to splurge, then book a table at Vertical, one of the best restaurants in Valencia. This Michelin-starred place is located on the top floor of the Ilunion Aqua 4 Hotel and has great views over the City of Arts and Sciences.
Final thoughts about visiting Valencia in 4 days
I hope this Valencia itinerary will help you plan an amazing trip. Four days in Valencia is just enough to see all the highlights this city has to offer and experience the local cuisine.
Budget-wise, Valencia is not an expensive city to visit, especially compared with other European cities. And there are plenty of nice hotels in the city center for under €100 per night for 2 people.
During the summer months, hotel prices go up, but even then, they are considerably lower than in other cities.
Breakfast is cheap, with most cafés offering a coffee and toast deal for around €3. While many restaurants offer a lunch meal deal somewhere between €15 and €20.
Public transport in Valencia is good and inexpensive as well.
I recommend getting the Valencia tourist card so you can move around the city by bus or metro, including the metro to and from the airport, without paying anything extra. The card also includes free or discounted entrance to Valencia’s best museums as well as 2 tapas and 2 drinks.
If you’re visiting Valencia on a budget, you can also take advantage of the free guided tours. Keep in mind that it is customary to tip the guide at the end as a “thank you” for their time. So technically, no free tour is free, but you do get to decide how much you want to pay.
I hope you’ve found this Valencia itinerary useful. Have a wonderful 4 days in Valencia!