Valencia City Centre is easy accessible on foot. Most of the historic architecture, most famous landmarks, museums and attractions are located in downtown Valencia Spain.
The city center is divided into three areas, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and around, the Cathedral area, and the historic Barrio del Carmen area.
Valencia Spain is called the City of Culture. Explore the city on foot or take in many of the city sights from an open top bus tour. These open tour buses take a loop tour of a couple of hours which shows you all the sights.
Most of Valencia’s sights are conveniently grouped in or around the city centre. You can divide downtown Valencia into three areas, which are from south to north, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, the Cathedral area, and the historic Barrio del Carmen, wrapped over its north by the Jardines del Turia.
The Plaza del Ayuntamiento is the largest square in Valencia and home to the city hall. The Metropolitan Cathedral–Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia or Valencia Cathedral is centrally located on the Plaza de la Reina and is one of the city’s primary landmarks. Barrio del Carmen is an area full of small and cosy streets. It’s the heart of Valencia’s Nightlife with many outdoor terraces and music pubs.
In Valencia, you can find some interesting museums, like the “Museu Provincial de Belles Arts”, which displays the works of Valencian and Spanish artists of the 14th and 16th centuries, and “Institut València d’Art Modern” with superb sculptures by Julio Gonzalez and photography temporary exhibitions.
One of the most interesting city complexes is the City of Arts and Sciences. It consists out of four buildings: Palacio de las Artes (Art Exhibition Centre), L’Hemisfèric (Imax and Laser Show Theatre), Museo de las Ciences (High Technology Interactive Museum), L’Oceanografic (Aquarium).
In complete contrast to this, Valencia has some fine old buildings. The city’s cathedral is dedicated to Santa Maria (Saint Mary) and used to be a mosque, but when El Cid conquered the city, it became a Roman Catholic cathedral. Later the city was re-conquered by the Muslims and the cathedral again became a mosque until the Christian king, Jaume I re-conquered Valencia. It has been the main Cathedral in Valencia to this day.
Take a look at the Miguel de Cervantes memorial. Cervantes is the famous author of the “El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha” (Don Quixot), written in 1605. “Don Quijote” is the story of a man who becomes crazy after reading too many novels. There are many churches in the old quarter of Valencia including 14 parish churches and more than 45 convents and the walls of the mediaeval city are still in evidence.
The city has numerous convention centres and venues for trade events, among them the Feria Valencia Convention and Exhibition Centre (Institución Ferial de Valencia) and the Palau de congres (Conference Palace). Playa de Malvarrosa and Playa e Levante o de la arenas are the most popular city beaches, just north of the port.
Main squares located in Valencia City Centre, Spain
Plaza del Ayuntamiento — largest city square dominated by the Town Hall and the central post office (Edificio de Correos). It serves as the main square for Les Falles, a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph. The plaza is located near the old quarter and the main shopping districts. The square is bordered by many cheaper hotels and hostels.
Plaça de la Virgen — beautiful old plaza containing the Basilica of the Virgin or Basilica de Virgen de Los Desamparados, Palau de Generalitat and the Turia fountain. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists and located close to Valencia Cathedral, the Central Market and La Lonja.
Plaça de la Reina — lively square in front of Valencia Cathedral and bell tower in the old town area, surrounded by grand buildings, many bars, restaurants, and a couple hotels. The Lonja de la Seda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is close by.
Plaza Santa Catalina — site of Iglesia de Santa Catalina.
Plaza Retonda or El Clot — cosy and small round square in Carmen district full of shops and old buildings. Good place to buy a selection of typical Valencian ceramics and lace.
Plaza del Mercado or Plaça del Merkat — downtown square home to a food market, bars and restaurants. Three amazing buildings can be found here ; La Lonja, Mercado Central and Church of Santos Juanes. La Lonja is delared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most important and best preserved examples of Late Gothic architecture in entire Europe. Mercado Central is one of the oldest food markets in Europe and the Church of Santos Juanes is one of the oldest in Valencia and is a National Heritage site.
Plaza Tetuan — square dominated by the Convento de Santo Domingo, Palacio de Cervello and the Puerta del Mar triumphal Arch.