Valencia is Spain’s third largest city, located on its southeastern coast. Even though this relatively smaller city is not marketed as heavily as Madrid or Barcelona there are plenty of things to do in here. This list consists of 10 activities you can not miss out on whilst in Valencia!
1. Taste Horchata
Unlike a good cup of Sangria or Tinto de Verano, horchata is a non alcoholic drink but is equally as refreshing . This beloved Valencian beverage consists of chufas, the Spanish word for tiger nuts, but do not worry if you are allergic to nuts because Tiger nuts are not actual nuts! They belong to a plant species within the sedge family. Horchata is typically consumed along side donut like sticks called fartons.
Chufas are grown in farms and the horchatería is usually not found too far away from them 😉
Horchaterías can be found almost anywhere in Valencia, they are a bit like Boulangeries in France…Everywhere! Horchatería Daniel is one of the most well known.
Now, before ordering your first horchata in Valencia I have got to let you know the different types:
- Líquida: This is just the liquid form of horchata
- Granizada: This form is iced
- Mixta: a mixture of liquid and iced horchata, a bit like a slushy
- Sin azúcar : without added sugar
I always get the mixta because it tasted like a creamy slushy. Not sure that sounds as good as it tastes but it definitely was tasty 😉
Now you know what horchata is, where to get it and which type to buy, !Olé!
2. Go on a weekend excursion
During my month in Spain I signed up to some excursions with the Valencia language exchange association, which was a great way to meet locals and international people! Here are the two excursions I took part in:
Montanejos is a municipality in spain in the province of Castellón. It has a beautiful natural pool and huge mountains which are incredible to hike.
La Isla de Tabarca
This Island is further south and has a many cute, old-fashioned houses and local restaurants. The Island overall has a lovely atmosphere and beautifully transparent waters. The people are so lively, and you might even see a group of locals singing along to one of them playing the guitar!
3. Meet locals at language exchange evenings
The Valencia Language exchange association above also proposed free language exchange evenings or “intercambios de idiomas.”
It is easy to signup via meetup or their website, here is what they offer:
Tuesday: Evening language exchange at Palau Alameda, a posh atic restaurant
Wednesday: Language exchange and Salsa evening. Why not kill two birds with one stone and learn spanish alongside salsa?
Thursday: Language exchange at Big Ben Bar
Saturday: Language exchange at Umbracle and you can stay at the club as long as you want afterwards! (free entry up to a certain time)
4. Visit the Oceanographic
The Oceanogràphic is a public aquarium which also happens to be the largest aquarium in Europe. It is situated close to the ‘Museu de les Ciencies’ and both these buildings neighbour the Turia park. If you are looking for a nice morning or afternoon activity you could visit the aquarium or the expositions and then take a walk in the garden!
To check the pricing of the Oceanogràphic here is a link to their website.
5. Go to different beaches
Going to the beach whilst in Spain seems like an obvious thing to do, but different beaches offer different things. You may prefer to go to a club or visit a more relaxing beach. Here are 3 different ones:
Playa de la Malvarrosa:
This playa is very large and very diverse. On one side (north) you can find many restaurants and in the opposite direction you will find cute beach side vendors selling souvenirs and beach outfits.
Even further down, you can find more restaurants, bars, clubs and La Heladería Glasol Platja which I absolutely adore. The ice cream there is delicious and the service is lovely. If you go to this heladería I recommend the ‘Luciana’ flavour or the dark chocolate 😉
PS: If you choose a medium or large cone/bowl you can get more than 1 flavour.
Where do I start? This beach is a walking distance from Malvarrosa and is definitely worth the walk. It has an indescribably calm but lively atmosphere and you will find a handful of restaurants serving fresh dishes such as Paella and Sepia.
The only restaurant I have been to , whilst at this beach, is La Casa Patacona. What attracted me to it was that it was always visibly busier than any other restaurant. You would expect packed restaurants to have slower serving times but we were served as quickly as we were sat and the food was so good we went a grand total of 5 times in the space of one week!
This beach is a bit further out but has a nice family atmosphere and the food is just as good here! The restaurant I would recommend is Restaurant ABI, it is better to give them a call and reserve because they are popular!
6. Enjoy the Nightlife
The Spanish community is usually sleeping in the afternoon because it is way too hot to do anything else. However, once the sun starts to set and the temperature becomes cooler the streets are full of people enjoying an horchata, a cafe al tiempo or a sangria outside. They live on a completely different time schedule.
Even though the spanish are out late the public transport does not usually run past midnight before starting back up around 6am, which is a problem if you are going clubbing because clubs only open around 1am!
Here are two clubs you can find at La Playa de La Malvarrosa:
This club has many dance floors and they all play different songs!
Marina Beach Club
The marina Beach Club is further down the beach among many restaurant club style bars. The marina beach club also hosts performances of artists and DJs. Here is their website.
7. Take a boat ride at La Albufera
La Albufera is a unique fresh water lagoon where you can enjoy a ride across the water on a ‘barca’ accompanied by a ‘Mirador’.
8. Join a language learning school
If you are staying for a while, why not brush up on your spanish speaking skills? There is no better way to learn a language but to spend time around native speakers. Being in spain and participating in language exchanges as well as excursions is already a great start, but if you would like to meet even more people whilst practicing your spanish it may be worth having a look around for a language learning school in Valencia.
Alternatively, youtube works just as well!
9. Go to a Funfair Ground
In some places you would be able to find free entry funfair grounds, especially during the summer, For example, the Fira de Juliol in the garden of Turia, near Alameda. This funfair ground opens until 1am and runs only in July.
10. Eat, eat, eat!
Spanish food is full of flavour and fresh ingredients that, for some reason, only taste that good in spain. Here is a list of different dishes you can try in Valencia:
- Patatas Bravas: Potato cubes served with aioli and sometimes a light curry sauce or sprinkle of paprika
- Pan con alioli: Bread served with aioli, tomato sauce and olive oil to dip into.
- Sepia: A cuttlefish which is nicely toasted and served with aioli
- Paella – This rice dish is a must try, especially as it originated from Valencia. There are various types such as:
- La Paella Valenciana: which is has green beans, chicken, rabbit and snail
- Paella Mariscos: which has a combination of seafood including mussels, shrimps, clams and squid
- Paella Mixta: if you can not choose between meat and seafood just have both!
- Finally, Paella de Verduras: which has no meat or fish but a range of vegetables
- Fideo: A tomato pasta dish with seafood (pronounced fi-deh-wa)
- Arroz negro: you can kind of think of it as a black paella because it is just black rice with seafood
Here you have it! The top 10 things to do whilst in Valencia 🙂