Valencia is sometimes overshadowed by its more famous sister, Barcelona (worth a visit too, of course, read more about it in this post and this one). But both of them deserve to be on the list of the most beautiful Spanish cities.
If you arrive in the evening, it’s the perfect timing to have some tapas, a glass of wine and get some rest. Tomorrow we’re exploring the historical part of the city.
Climb El Micalet Tower
If you, like us, want to see the city from above before you start exploring it, then head to the cathedral in the morning. You’ll have to take 207 spiral stairs up to reach the top but just before you start to feel dizzy, a beautiful view of the city opens up in front of you. Walk around the tower, see the different parts of the city and get planning. For that, I recommend you find a place to sit down for breakfast with a map and this list. The entrance to the tower is 2€ and when you leave the tower, don’t forget to stroll around the cathedral too, they have a very unique exhibit here - the Holy Grail itself.
Enjoy a Spanish breakfast
For the classic “tostada con tomate”, toasted bread with tomatoes head to Restaurante Maria Mandiles, only a few streets away from the cathedral.
We can recommend two breakfast places. One for the version of tostada with jamón, have that in Nuez Café near the train station. It’s the perfect stop if you plan to arrive in Valencia in the morning.
Stroll around Plaza de la Virgen
The square behind the cathedral will take you to a different time. The marble pavement that runs from one historic building to another, the Michelangelo-inspired bridge “Arco de La Calle de la Barchilla” which connects the Valencia Catherdal with Archbishop’s Palace, and the Turia Fountain which dominates the whole area. It’s easy to get lost in the old streets of the city and just enjoy the atmosphere, but after that slowly head towards La Lonja. Also, come back in the evening for some live music and entertainment.
Discover the trading history in La Lonja
La Lonja, also named Valencia Silk Exchange, is a complex of buildings from the 15th century built for trading silk and it was the trading centre of the city for centuries to come. To understand the glory and wealth the city enjoyed, see the Trading Hall, a huge room with a ceiling supported by columns resembling twisted palm trees. Go to the other rooms as well, each is unique and adds to the whole picture. The fee is 2€ but if you come here on Sunday, it’s free!
Wander the streets of El Carmen
The narrow streets that turn into small squares you can come across many interesting buildings and street art. Sit down for a coffee in a nice coffee place or in a shop offering some local goods. If you’re starting to get hungry, look for restaurants offering the “menu del día”. For approx. 10 - 13€ you will get a menu with 3 or 4 courses and I promise you won’t be hungry for a long time after this feast.
See the city from above at Torres de Serranos
Torres de Serranos have been guarding the city for 600 years now and used to be a part of the city walls. Plan your visit for a later afternoon when the sun hits the buildings and the trees with golden rays. The entry is 2€ and it’s well worth it. You can admire them from the square too before you decide to go up. We chose a small Café Lavin to sit down and after a whole day of walking around the city, sipping a glass of Turia, Valencian beer, was the perfect way to wait for sunset.
Check out Plaza de Toros
Next to the train station, there is a building you can’t miss. Plaza de Toros, bull arena, was built in the 19th century and is one of the biggest Spanish buildings. Bullfighting still takes place here, which we had no interest in seeing but architecturally it is a remarkable part of the city, check it out from the outside.
Enjoy your evening in Valencia and get ready, tomorrow it’s time to explore the iconic modern architecture of the city and look for the tastiest souvenirs to take home.