Valencia is a pretty amazing town. Initially, I wasn’t attracted to Valencia for any reason in particular – I came for the tomato fight in the nearby town of Bunol which attracts thousands of people each August, most of whom use Valencia as their home base. However, Valencia grew on me and I think it’s amazing. It has great seafood, paella, history, and a good soccer team. I would go back in a second. It’s a wonderful city.
Hostel prices – Dorms begin at $20 USD per night. There aren’t a lot of hostels in Valencia, and I recommend staying at Nest hostels (they have a free dinner!). Private rooms in Valencia hostels average around $60-70 USD for a double room.
Budget hotel prices – Hotels start at $60 USD per night, but $70-85 USD is more common.
Average cost of food – You can get cheap tapas and meals for around $7-14 USD. That will include about 3 or 4 tapas. If you want wine, expect to spend about $20 USD per meal. A good restaurant meal will set you back around $27 USD. Cheap food like McDonalds and Maoz cost around $7 USD. If you buy your own food, expect to spend about $40 USD for a week’s worth of groceries. If you plan to eat at the beach, expect to pay around $5.50 USD for a sandwich and $40 USD for a seafood dinner.
Transportation costs – Buses and trains cost $1.80 USD per single trip within the city limits. A 24-hour tourist card gives you discounts to attractions and free transit, and costs $16 USD.
Money Saving Tips
Take a free walking tour – Like most of Spain, there many opportunities to take advantage of free walking tours. The tours provide an excellent overview of the history of the city.
Budget extra for food – Valencia has a lot of wonderful seafood restaurants and it’s what the city is famous for. Splurge once in awhile and get a good meal down by the beach.
Visit the Mercado Central – This is the main fruit and vegetable market in Valencia. Buying snacks, small meals, and groceries here can cut down on your food budget.
Lunch at the Museum – The ground floor restaurant in the free Museo de Prehistoria serves a nice three course lunch for only $12 USD. Service starts at 2 pm.
Top Things to See and Do
Plaza de la Virgin – Here you can find the Valencia Cathedral with its Gothic architecture, which towers over the plaza. It’s one of the nicer cathedrals I’ve seen. What I really enjoyed about Valencia was the wide, clean streets, the ancient winding streets of the Barrio del Carmen, and the typical Spanish-style buildings with their large doors, balconies, and windows.
Wander Calle Caballero – La Marcha is the hot spot for all of the young people visiting the city, and Calle Caballero showcases Valencia’s most social and fashionable citizens.
Retreat to the Albufera – A lagoon several miles outside the city, the Albufera is full of beautiful nature including birds and fish. Locals will take visitors out on boat trips.
Peruse La Lonja – This is an old silk market where you can buy a lot of clothes. It is also close to downtown and the central market.
Celebrate Las Fallas – If you are in Valencia in March, you can partake in the biggest party in Valencia. The locals construct huge model heads and sculptures, then burn them down in a dramatic finale. This celebration goes on for days; be prepared to celebrate until all hours of the morning.
Cross Calatrava’s Bridge – This was designed by Valencia’s most famous son, Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the City of Arts and Sciences, the Hemisferic and the Umbracle. It’s a very modern and ultra-cool-looking bridge.
Throw tomatoes at La Tomatina – Held the last Wednesday in neighboring Bunol, this celebration brings thousands to the city, as people use Valencia as their base of operations. During the days leading up to and following the festival, the city is packed with people and spirits are high. It’s one of the greatest events I’ve ever been too.
Visit the Museum of Modern Art – The Museum of Modern Art is a piece of modern art in itself. The futuristic look and design makes it one of the most photographed places in the city. The museum has a large and well-kept collection.
Cycle the Jardins Del Turia – Jardins Del Turia is a long stretch of park that runs through an old dried-up riverbed. It’s dotted with sculptures, passersby, and buskers. Rent a bike, and spend a couple hours making your way through the park, stopping for a picnic lunch.
Lounge on the beach – Although this isn’t as much of a beach destination as the Costa Blanca further south, you can still find beautiful sand at the beaches in Valencia. Malvarosa is the most popular place to hangout, but be prepared for high prices if you plan to eat along here.
Transport yourself to the future – The City of Arts and Sciences is the name given to a complex of ambitious, futuristic buildings that lies at the end of the Jardins del Turia. The architecture here is impressive, and you can also visit a museum and 3D movie theatre here.
Eat paella – Valencia is the birthplace of one of the three main types of Spanish Paella – Valencian Paella. This dish has been around since the 1800s, and is a sort of jambalaya. It’s a major part of the culture, so don’t leave without trying it.
Explore the port – The port of Valencia is often filled with international sailboats sporting flags from all over the world. Valencia has hosted numerous America’s Cup Competitions, so the city has a great boating tradition. Take a wander around the port and soak up the maritime lifestyle.