Do you want to stretch your legs, relax, and smell the roses? Valencia’s parks and gardens are ideal for soaking up some vitamin D while spending a couple of hours in the welcoming embrace of nature.
One of the best things about Valencia is that you can enjoy a stroll in the park in any season. When you get tired of walking down streets lined with palm and orange trees (can you ever get tired of this? ), you are never too far from a beautiful park or garden.
Not sure where to start? I’ve chosen 10 of the best green spaces in Valencia – all you have to do is pack your picnic.
Turia Park is the largest park in Valencia. It occupies the old riverbed of the Turia River and it snakes through the city from Cabecera Park all the way to the City of Arts and Sciences.
This beautiful park is 8 km long and is often regarded as the largest urban garden in Spain. It is crossed by several bridges, some of which are ultramodern and others which were built long before Christopher Columbus set out on his voyage to discover the Americas.
Along this park, you will find running tracks, football fields, bike lanes, rose gardens, fountains, and many beautiful green spaces. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the resident squirrels and flocks of wild parrots.
Valencia’s Botanical Gardens are located close to the historical Quart Towers, one of only two medieval city gates still standing. They were founded in the 16th century although the exact location of the original gardens is unknown.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the Botanical Gardens were moved to their current location, which back then, was still outside the city walls.
Today, these gardens are managed by the University of Valencia and feature a large array of exotic plants, acclimatized greenhouses, an outstanding palm tree collection, and even a kitchen garden. One of the biggest attractions of these gardens, however, is the colony of 50-something kitty cats.
This little oasis in Pla del Real district is one of the most beautiful gardens in Valencia. Their neoclassic design with marble statues, a hedge maze, and an Instagrammable bougainvillea tunnel are the stuff of dreams.
Monforte Gardens are situated close to the Royal Gardens (Jardines del Real) and Turia Park, as well as the university area and the Mestalla football stadium. They are one of Valencia’s hidden gems that not even locals know about (or at least most haven’t visited in a very long time).
These Valencian gardens were built on the grounds of an old orchard that existed outside the city in the second half of the 19th century. The small, still-standing palace is closed to the public but it provides a beautiful backdrop for photos, with many newlyweds choosing these gardens for their trash-the-dress photo shoots.
A visit to Bioparc is one of the top things to do in Valencia regardless of your age. This state-of-the-art zoo park extends over 10 hectares and it’s as close as you can get to an African safari in Europe.
Situated next to Cabecera Park at the west end of Turia Park, Bioparc is often ranked as one of the best zoos in the world. Since there are no cages and each species’ natural habitat is painstakingly recreated, the visitors can enjoy a truly immersive experience.
Bioparc offers a unique glimpse into the animal world. You can see elephants dust bathing, lemurs playing, meerkats keeping a close eye on things, and even look a giraffe in the eye. An entertaining bird show is organized daily in the open-air amphitheater.
Central Park is the newest park in Valencia. Inaugurated in 2018, this green space spreads over 100,000 square meters between the neighborhoods of Ruzafa and Malilla.
This park was designed by American landscape designer Kathryn Gustafson who also designed the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, London. It’s a beautiful park with plenty of promenaders, water trails, and open spaces, where you can read a book, soak up the sun and relax.
One of the most interesting areas is the kitchen garden where you can find all kinds of vegetables and fruit trees. Some of the nearby historical buildings have been habilitated for cultural activities.
Viveros Gardens (the Royal Gardens)
Viveros Gardens, also called the Royal Gardens, are the largest gardens in Valencia. Their name comes from the royal palace that once stood on these grounds.
Build during the 11th century when Valencia was still under Moorish occupation, the palace got destroyed in 1810 during the Peninsular War. Some of the ruins of the palace can still be seen in the gardens today.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the gardens were converted into a horticultural nursery and received the name Viveros. Today, this beautiful green space features fountains, statues, pavilions, the Natural Science Museum, a bird enclosure, and even a rose garden. Valencia’s imposing Fine Arts Museum is right next door.
These gardens in the Ayora district of Valencia date back to the 19th century. They are located in a residential area, halfway between the city center and some of the best beaches in Valencia.
The best feature of these gardens is the small yet pretty red brick palace. But they also feature Modernist fountains, quaint ceramic benches, a playground, and some big old monumental trees, such as giant ficus, jacarandas, and wool trees.
Ayora Gardens are a favorite with senior citizens on weekday mornings, but things get a different dynamic later on in the day and on weekends. Nevertheless, the gardens retain their calm and serene atmosphere and local flair.
The Hesperides Gardens are the smallest gardens in Valencia. They receive their name from the Greek myth of the Hesperides, the nymphs that were supposed to guard Hera’s golden apple tree but in failing to do so, started the Trojan War.
The design of the gardens uses different plant species and sculptures to recreate the myth’s plotline. Hercule’s sculpture occupies the center stage, while statues of the nymphs metamorphosing into trees are spread throughout the garden.
As you walk around the gardens, you’ll be engulfed with the wonderful aroma of lavender and citrus trees while the large citrus fruits will surely remind you of Hera’s golden apples.
Cabecera Park is located between Turia Park and Bioparc in the old Turia riverbed. Build around a lake where you can hire cute swan-shaped pedal boats, this park also features an open-air auditorium and a café.
A bit more unruly and wilder than the other urban parks on this list, Cabecera Park also has a small mound that serves as a viewpoint from where you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the park, as well as spectacular sunsets.
This park is super popular with people living in Valencia, especially on Sundays, when you’ll see many families and groups of friends enjoying a picnic and soaking up some sun in the meadow or walking under the canopy of trees.
Albufera Natural Park
Albufera is located 10 km south of Valencia. This natural park encompasses Spain’s largest freshwater lagoon where you can enjoy some beautiful nature, do some birdwatching, take a boat ride, and see a magical sunset.
The lagoon is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by the sand dunes of El Saler, which are another great place to explore and one of the easiest day trips from Valencia by public transport.
The villages surrounding Albufera are renowned for being the birthplace of paella, the world’s most famous rice dish, and one of the best foods to eat in Spain. Many restaurants here serve authentic paella among lush rice fields, as well as some other traditional dishes that you might want to check off your list of must-eat foods in Valencia.