Solo Travel in Valencia
Types of Girl about the Globe (GatG) – Beach GatG, Cultural, History, Arty & Museum GatG
Before I moved to Barcelona, I spent two weeks in Valencia in Spain, deciding if it was the city that I wanted to live in. Even though I decided on Barcelona, I really enjoyed this Spanish city and recommend it for solos. Below is my guide on things to do in Valencia, as well as activities for all solos, where to eat and drink, where to stay and how to get around. Either click on the relevant link or read the whole article.
- About Valencia
- Top Valencia Attractions
- Things To Do in Valencia For All Solos
- Valencia Activities
- Where To Meet Others
- Valencia City Tours
- Accommodation in Valencia
- Where To Eat in Valencia
- Where To Drink in Valencia
- Things To Do in Valencia At Night
- Getting Around Valencia
- From Valencia Airport
- Travelling Onwards
- My Verdict
- Related Posts
Stay for – 3 nights in winter, 5 nights in the summer.
Safety Tips – Valencia is a safe city but as with any city just be careful of pickpocketing especially at festivals. The beach area is safe with a police presence and lifeguards. Just don’t leave your belongings unattended and take care at night-time. If you get lost or need any advice, people are helpful and will offer their advice.
Did you know? Valencia is home of the paella, and was once a big silk producer.
Language Spoken – Castellano (Spanish), Valencian, and occasionally English.
Valencia, the capital of the province of the same name is Spain’s third largest city, located in the Southwest on the Mediterranean. Located on the Turia River, it is an important port town and full of history and art.
Valencia’s old town is huge, but easily negotiated because it all centres around the Town Hall and the pretty Plaza del Ayuntamiento. You’ll feel as though you are walking through the Middle Ages here meandering through cobbled streets dotted with orange trees and exploring every corner. Worth seeing are the cathedral built between the 13th and 15th century, the clock tower, the ancient ‘longa’ which was the stock exchange and is now a World Heritage site.
Valencia’s outstanding landmark for which you should calculate several hours, is the modernistic Ciudad de Arte y Ciencias. The river Turia flows through Valencia, but after a devastating flood it was diverted and is now a dry river bed. It has cinemas, museums, a football stadium and even an opera house.
Valencia has several worthwhile museums but an absolute must see is the Ceramic Museum. The building alone is a treasure because it’s a noble 17th century rococo palace and the exhibits document the history of ceramics from Arab times to today and Spain’s most famous brand of ceramic and porcelain figures Lladro.
In March, one of the best festivals in Spain, the festival of the Fallas is celebrated with fireworks, crackers and processions of huge paper mache figures called gigantes.
Several day trips from Valencia show you a great countryside and the history of the area. L’Albufera El Saler, just under one hour drive, takes you to the dense Dehesa woods, a lake, rice fields and the coastal village of El Prellonet which, untouched by tourism, has preserved its original charm. If you like hiking up steep mountains to visit huge, historical castles, Xativa or Sagunt are your destinations.
Valencia has a vibrancy about it without the overcrowding that you find in other cities. Take a boat trip on the lake, walk along the beach, have a picnic in the woods and taste Valencia’s trade mark dish: Paella whilst admiring this beautiful city.
Top Valencia Attractions
1. The City of Arts & Sciences
This place is so stunning and unique. Built in the 1990s at a very huge price, this tourist destination consists of spaceship-like buildings with white shell exteriors and arching roofs. Within its complex are the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia – a performing arts centre where you can watch theatre performances and opera inside.
There is also an IMAX screen and the Museu de les Ciencies de Valencia – a science museum with plenty of interactive exhibits to play with. Even if you don’t go inside, just seeing the turquoise water against the white buildings is jaw-dropping.
(TIME: 3-4 Hours).
2. Valencia Old Town
Valencia used to be protected by city walls and the Torres de Serranos are what remain of the walls that used to envelop the city. Although built for defence, the gates were never used for their purpose but rather became a prison for nobility.
The old town is a gorgeous place to walk around with historic treasures such as Plaza de la Almonia, and the Palau de la Generalitat – a palace which dates back to 1418. See the frescoes of the Church of San Nicolás, which is known as Valencia’s own Sistine Chapel. Under the basilica are old Roman ruins once used as baths.
Climb the Valencia cathedral for views of the city, admire the water fountain at Plaza de la Virgen, or just spend hours disappearing down little streets and discovering the gargoyles. Look closely on the ground for the white path which you can follow to find all the churches.
(TIME: 3-4 Hours)
3. Mercado de Colón
Built in the early 20th century this indoor market is in a stunning building. Under its pretty dome roof you’ll find colourful flowers, small olive trees and various local produce. And once you’ve browsed the small stores you can enjoy some tapas or a drink in one of the restaurants. Go downstairs to admire the decor too. Find out more
(TIME 1-2 Hours – longer if you stop to dine).
4. Valencia Cathedral
Home to the Holy Grail (one of only two in the world which have been verified), the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia (or the Valencia Cathedral for short) was built on the site of a Roman temple. It dates back to the 13th century and is a fusion of Neo-Classical, Baroque and Gothic architecture. The windows are made of alabaster, and each chapel is dedicated to a particular saint. Visit on the hour and you can hear the bells.
The outside will remind you of the Colosseum and inside is a spiral staircase which leads to a terrace where you get great views of the city and the sea. Take the audio tour to learn more about its history and role in the city. It’s located in the old town. The cathedral costs €7 and is open 10am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday. Closed on Sundays. Find out more
(TIME = 1-2 HOURS).
Things To Do in Valencia
Escape the crowds
El Saler beach in Albufera Natural Park. Only 20 minutes away from the city, this piece of coastline is surrounded by nature. One side is the sandy beach, the other is wild grass and dunes. Get there early to avoid the crowds. Take bus line 25 to get there.
Head to the Banos del Almirante, public baths which were built in in the 14th century in traditional Arab style. A film shows you the history of the baths and the whole process.
Lose yourself within the back streets of El Carmen discovering hidden gems and urban art such as the couple kiss on Calle Moret (a now popular spot for couples to get their pictures taken). Pass beautiful churches, and the Towers of Quart as you wander.
Get a great view
- Climb the Miguelete Bell Tower of the cathedral which stands at a height of 51 metres. From here the view is priceless but you have to climb 2017 steps to get there.
- Climb the iconic Quart Towers for a view across the rooftops. It’s only a few Euros to take the narrow stairway and you get a great view of the rooftops and church domes.
Interact with the locals
- At the Water Tribunal, outside the cathedral at Plaza de la Virgen. The farmers from all over the Valencia province meet here every Thursday at noon to sit within the circle of chairs where a crowd gathers to listen. This has even been listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.
- Within the Mercado. Just barter your way around the market and get chatting to the sellers.
Places to enjoy the sun
The beach here is long and wide with plenty of space to lay down your sarong and enjoy some rays. When you’ve had enough of the sun, there are many restaurants just off the beach.
To enjoy a great sunset travel outside of Valencia to Albufera and watch the sun go down over the freshwater lagoon… bliss.
Mercado Central de Valencia is the central market. Set in a gorgeous art nouveau building are hundreds of stalls selling local produce. It has 8000 square metres to explore so you can find everything from olive oil, to cheese and meats. The central market is open Monday to Saturday from 7am to 3pm.
Plaza Redonda in the old town, holds a small flea market every Sunday where you can pick up crafts such as lace and glassware. You may even see ladies making the lace at the market.
Different areas of the city hold markets on different days of the week. On Wednesdays and Fridays you’ll find a small market in Benimaclet.
Go for a walk or run on the promenade along the beach. It’s a great scenic route to keep fit. There is also the marina which is a popular spot with runners where you can run past yachts and catch the sea breeze.
Turin Gardens stretches for 9km there are plenty of pathways to run or walk through. There is also a proper running track which covers 5kms of the gardens and exercise areas so you can meet others as you work out.
Valencia is also a good city to bike around with many dedicated bike paths. Hire a bike from one of the big stores such as Valencia Bikes and get peddling. (It may be worth paying the extra for insurance too).
Enjoy Valencia from the sea and take a boat cruise whether on a catamaran sailing tour or a traditional lateen sailboat.
If you are feeling more adventurous, hire a jet ski and take off from the city’s central marina to ride across the waves, or kayak to the caves instead. Fun & Quads can organise your water sports.
Explore outside of the city on a day trip and head to L’Albufera El Saler, which is less than one hour away. Here you’ll find a lake, woods and even rice fields to explore.
Arty & Museum GatG
There are many museums in Valencia to choose from but the city of the Arts and Sciences definitely has to be seen (see above for our top must-sees).
With Valencia being known for the Fallas Festival, the Fallas Museum is a great insight into this annual tradition. Each year one falla figurine is saved from fire by and given to the museum. The fallas go back as far as the 1930s.
This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but the National Museum of Ceramics is a stunning museum. Over three floors you can see the many ceramic styles which have changed throughout the centuries, and date back to the Arab times. Keep an eye out for Picasso’s plates too. It is only €3 to enter and is in a beautiful palatial building with both Neo-Classical and Oriental styles.
Find out more about this city’s traditions at the Valencian Ethnology Museum. This interactive museum shares the same building as the Museum of Prehistory including both anthropology and culture as well as findings from excavations in the Valencia district.
El museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia was founded in 1913 and is housed in an old palace. Inside are 2000 works from the 14th to the 17th century. You’ll find specific areas dedicated to various arts such as art from the Renaissance and Baroque periods and sculpture. Joaquin Sorolla is one of Valencia’s most well-known painters and there is a room dedicated to his pieces.
Some of the museums have free admission such as the Museum of Fine Arts. The Ethnology Museum is free on the weekends and the IVAM which showcases modernist artwork is free on Sundays.
Exploring Turin Gardens is free and you walk to the City of Arts & Sciences from here and admire the futuristic buildings for free too.
Valencia is home to the famous festival Las Fallas. You can see artists making fallas or even get a chance to make your own at the Valencian Community Arts and Crafts Centre. It’s free to enter and you can also buy some crafts to keep this tradition alive.
Just wandering around the old town will immerse you in history. One of the most historic places to visit is the Silk Exchange. Built in the 15th century this important building during Spain’s silk trade was where merchants came during the city’s economic peak. Inside the marble tiles and tall spiral pillars will remind you more of a palace than a business hub.
The Almudin was once the main building used to store and distribute the wheat in the city in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is in one of the prettiest spots in the city along with the Escriva Palace from the 15th century.
Take an Architecture and History Tour of Valencia and learn about Valencia’s golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries. Delve into the city’s role in Spain’s Aragon Kingdom and visit historic attractions.
There are a few small parks within the city where you can just sit on a bench amongst orange trees.
Jardines de Monforte is a lovely park with Roman statues, fountains and mazes. It was designed in the 19th century in a neoclassical style and is one of the nicest gardens in the city. Walking around it only takes approx an hour but it’s a stunning space to take a book and sit on a bench, watching the ducks in the pond. There is also a cafe within its grounds.
Valencia also has a Bioparc. This 100,000 m2 space has recreated the African landscape with wetlands and savannah. The park has been designed to allow animals to develop a natural behaviour. Girl about the Globe does not endorse zoos so please make up your own mind about this attraction.
Being Spain means that you can find the country’s main department store here. There are many El Corte Ingles as well as the usual high street stores. The shopping centres near the City of the Arts and Sciences are perfect fully situated for a shopping spree after some sightseeing.
For upmarket boutiques window shop at Calle Cirilo, Calle Sorni, and Calle Menorca. Go shoe shopping at Calle Don Juan de Austria or head to Barrio del Carmen for funky boutiques within the old town.
If you need anything electrical, Media Markt is the place for electrical goods and is also home to the Apple Store.
If you have time, take a day trip to Montanejos. This town is home to natural hot springs which are amazing for cleansing and rejuvenating your skin. Don’t be deceived by the term hot spring either as it’s not actually that warm. Do Valencia offer a tour if you prefer to join a group to go.
Bodega Albarizas – This is such a friendly wine bar with small bars and stools to sit at. In a casual environment you can try wines by the glass or pay for them to open one of the various wine bottles within their selection. You do need to know a bit of Spanish to go here.
Enópata has more than 800 wines from around the world. If this sounds overwhelming then the owner can help you pick the best wine for you and teach you about what you are drinking. Although this bar is located in the tourist area you won’t see that many tourists within its bottled walls.
A Wine Walking Tour of Valencia is a great way of seeing the city and sampling different wines within a Valencian tavern. You get to see the historic sights and gain a better understanding into Valencia’s wine region.
Have a tourist moment
This is touristy but it is definitely unique. The Oceanografic museum gives you the opportunity to spend a night sleeping with the sharks. Inside the sharks tunnel you get to spend the night and can explore the Oceanografic when you wake up. A very different tourist moment.
Don’t have much time?
Spend half a day wandering the old town and admiring the historic sights before spending the afternoon at the The City of Arts & Sciences.
Where to wear your heels
In the posh maritime village of Malvarrosa which is where you’ll find the trendy crowd, or at Restaurant Destino 56 – an elegant and minimalistic environment with fantastic views of the sea. A bit glamour in Valencia where a cocktail is definitely on the menu. Or at Marina Beach Club which is at the beach.
Where To Meet Others
Meet Up is a great platform to meet others in Valencia whether you enjoy sports classes, dancing or drawing. See which meet ups are on whilst you are there.
Valencia Language Exchange is a great place to meet others. Tuesday nights are exchange nights and they have Salsa classes on Wednesday nights. Check their schedule for events.
Local’s Tip: “Go to the clothes shop, Nieves Bustamante. It has part of the Arab wall inside.”
Solo’s Tip: “Every visitor should spend some time in the Mercat Central. The architecture is magnificent.”
Valencia Day Tours
Valencia Explorers are great and Miguel is really informative. He is really passionate about the city and gives you insider advice. The tour is free and you just pay a donation at the end depending on how much you enjoyed the tour. They also offer premium tours.
See Valencia by bike in a group instead of peddling around the city by yourself. A Valencia Bike Tour lasts for 3 hours and rides though the Turia gardens, the old town and to the City of the Arts and Sciences. The tours don’t depart each day and are usually on the weekends in English.
If you love food you can have a private Valencia Market and Paella Experience. This 2 hour tour takes you around the city and through local markets trying the local delicacies before having a Valencian-style paella lunch.
Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and tours in Valencia. Choose from a Science Museum and Oceanografic pass, a city tour including San Nicolas and Santos Juanes, or a 24, 48, 72 hour Valencia Tourist card. Some of the tours require a minimum of 2 people but there are plenty to book as a solo and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online.
Accommodation in Valencia
Where To Stay in Valencia
The old town is a great area to stay as the historic centre is on your doorstep, or choose to stay near the beach within walking distance of bars and restaurants. With a good metro system you’re never far away from most of the sights. The accommodation below has been recommended by our solo female community. For all other accommodation in Valencia click the link below.
Named the same as the Quart Medieval Tower, this modern hostel is only 5 minutes walk from the old town. The hostel has private rooms with a shared bathroom and 6-10 bed dorm rooms. Bunk beds have their own curtains. You can also pay extra for a buffet breakfast. The bathrooms are shared by guys and girls so you’ll need to feel comfortable with it being mixed. Reception isn’t open 24 hours so contact them if you have a late check in.
- Prices from €13 for a bed in a 10 bed mixed dorm.
- Check dates, prices and availability: Quart Youth Hostel
This hostel is perfect for walking or running through the Turia Gardens. It is also just a short walk to the metro station so you don’t need to carry your bags too far. With a choice of dorm rooms or privates there are female-only dorm rooms and separate bathrooms for girls. There is an onsite cafe if you get peckish, and a lounge and games room making it easy to strike up conversations with others. It can be noisy at night though so only stay if you are a night owl.
- Prices start from €15 for a 12-bed dormitory room.
- * Check dates, prices and availability: The River Hostel
If you need your own space you will definitely find it in this hotel. Just in front of the Arts and Sciences Museum and the Oceanographic Park this swish-looking hotel with high ceilings has stunning views and is definitely a treat. There is a bus stop nearby which will take you into the city centre. Private rooms come with air-con, satellite TV and even a pillow menu. Breakfast is an additional cost.
- Prices start from €98 a night
- Check dates, prices and availability: Ilunion Aqua 4
Where To Eat in Valencia
Typical food and drink
Valencia is the birthplace of paella and you can find lots of restaurants serving the traditional dish. It is usually cooked on a wood fire with an iron pan and comes in giant servings so be prepared to take some away or ask for a smaller portion.
If you visit Lake Albufera, try the ‘all i pebre,’ an eel stew which originated in these towns as a traditional fisherman’s dish. It is also found in El Palmar.
In the summer try the horchata which is their summer drink made from ground nuts, water and sugar. This is usually served with cartons, a Valencian sweet pastry.
The restaurants along the beach offer excellent seafood with a view or head to Barrio del Carmen and its backstreets for a more budget menu.
$ – Tanto Monta. This restaurant has tasty food at a really good price. Their tapas start from €2 and you can choose from traditional dishes or vegetarian options. They also have salmon and goat cheese dishes. The staff are friendly and you may even meet some locals too. Find at Calle Poeta Artola 19.
$ – Shahi Restaurant. For something different from Spanish and Mediterranean food, this restaurant offers Indian and Pakistani cuisine with halal dishes. Enjoy a tasty curry or kebab within fancy decor. They also have vegetarian options too. The menu is comprehensive and the staff speak English. Find at Avenida Blasco Ibanez 153.
$ – Il Bocconcino. Tasty and cheap, this Italian restaurant has good pizzas, pasta and paninis. Choose from a traditional lasagne, or a spinach and ricotta cannelloni. The food is flavoursome and hearty and on display so you can see it before you order it. You can even eat in or take away. Find at Calle Quart 13.
Restaurants For Typical Cuisine
$$ – La Cigrona Restaurant. This fantastic little place is situated in the city’s old town. Inside you’ll be greeted by the largest dish of paella that you will probably ever see. The paella served here is an old family recipe and if you’re lucky you may even be treated to a demonstration of how is cooked with rabbit and chicken. You may need to reserve in case it gets busy. Find at Calle Serranos 22.
$$ – Casa Montana. For some traditional tapas such as patatas bravas or grilled sardines, this cool tavern has a great vibe with great food, and famous deserts amongst a tavern full of giant barrels. It gets popular at night with both locals and tourists. Find at Calle Jose Benlliure 69.
$$ – La Riua. This family-run restaurant is in the old town and is very unique. The walls are covered in memorabilia and ceramic tiles so there is plenty to look at whilst you dine. Popular with the locals this restaurant serves 15 different seafood dishes and plenty of paella. Find at Calle Mar 27.
$ – Aloha Vegan Delights. This small venue is a vegan’s delight. Selling fruit bowls, smoothies and vegan burgers, you can find anything vegan here. The lack of space inside means that you may not get a seat so be prepared to take away. Find at Calle Caballeros 45.
$ – Jardin Urbano. This vegan coffee bar is perfect for lunch or dinner. Paninis, empanadas, and burgers are some of the choices you’ll find on the menu. Sit inside in the lovely interior with plenty of plants to relax you or opt for the outdoor terrace with a glass of wine. It’s a really great find! Find at Calle Pedro III El Grande 26.
$ – The Vurger. Called The Vurger because they offer vegan options of burgers such as soya options, they also sell quorn dishes and sweet potato chips and meal combos. The decor is cute and feminine and the staff are fast and helpful. Find at Calle Quart, 41B.
Enjoy a coffee and a cake
Horchateria Santa Catalina – This Valencian restaurant with interesting tiling on the floor, has a great atmosphere and is also good if you are in a hurry with fast service. They serve a traditional Spanish breakfast of churros and hot chocolate as well as fartons and turrones. Plenty of sweet things to get your teeth into. Find at Plaza Santa Catalina 6.
Brunch Corner – This place does what it says in the title – brunch, in a lovely environment. They do everything from delicious cakes to pancakes and berries. Enjoy a cup of coffee on the terrace and people watch in the square. Find at Placa de Sant Bult, 3.
You can pick up cheap street food from stalls inside the market. There is a vegan stall called BeginVegan which offers prepared food to take away so you can grab a salad or sandwich to take away.
Where To Drink in Valencia
Benimaclet is where it is at. This area has a good student buzz and bars and clubs open until the early hours. If you are staying near the old town, there are so many bars to choose from within its winding streets.
Urban Cafe – Swanky and very purple, this bar is cool for cats. As well as cava and creative cocktails, they have shows in the evening so you can enjoy some dinner and watch a performance (it may be in Spanish though). Find at Calle Antonio Sacramento 13.
Kaf Cafe – Full of book shelves and with an old bicycle hanging on the wall, this quirky bar is a fantastic place to meet others. It has a buzzing atmosphere and regularly holds open mike nights, and has live music. Find at Calle Arquitecto Arnau 16.
Things To Do in Valencia at Night
Walk around the area with the Science museum to see it lit up at night. There is a park there so don’t venture into the woods.
The Old Town is a gorgeous place to wander around at night. You can take yourself on a self-guided tapas crawl, stopping off at different cozy bars and enjoying a drink in each one. You’ll never know who you may meet!
El Carmen is a nice area which comes to life after dark. The locals come out to gather in the once quiet alleys in the hip tapas lounges and bars making it a good area to start your evening.
The best club in the city has to be the Mya Club. Situated in the The City of Arts & Sciences, this area is stunning at night anyway and the nightclub is definitely the place to be. With a capacity of more than 2500 people, there are three rooms and a VIP area so you’ll find lots of locals here dancing to electronic, latin vibes and reggaeton.
Play Club has live concerts on Friday nights and occasionally karaoke on Saturdays. It’s in Ruzafa, a hipster area of the city and has two rooms with electronic, pop and r&b vibes.
Tour Me Out is a cool tour company which gives you ready-made company for your evenings in Valencia. They hold a Valencia City Centre Pub Crawl every night which takes you to 4 different bars, ending up in a nightclub. The tour starts from €20 but it does involve drinking games so beware.
Getting Around Valencia
Valencia is the perfect city to hire a bike and see on 2 wheels. There are many bike paths making it easy to get around. No cars are allowed in certain areas of the city such as Turia Park and El Carmen so biking or walking on foot is the best way to see these areas.
The old town is easy to navigate on foot but if you want to see the beach or the Arts and Science Museum take a bus or the metro.
Unlike other metros where you have to change at the station to swop lines, you wait on the platform instead for the next train to your destination. The metro starts from 5.30am and runs until midnight.
If you are planning on doing a few journeys you can save money by buying 10 tickets for less than 10 Euros which is cheaper than separate tickets. Combined tickets allow you to use the bus, tram and metro. Single journeys costs approx €1.50. Trams are in areas of the city where there isn’t a metro such as a the beach area. Buses can take you to the City of Arts and Sciences, and the Turia Gardens. Buses only run until 10.30pm. Check the Valencia bus map to help you navigate your way around the city.
Taxis are white and can either be hailed on the street or pre-ordered. You usually can only pay by cash and there is a surcharge after 10pm for a night fee. Dial 902 024 972 or 961 119 977 to order a taxi in English.
If you are planning to stay a few days, the Valencia Tourist Card gives you access to all the transport plus discounts and free entrance to some of the attractions. The card starts from €15. * Check what's included in the Valencia Tourist Card
From Valencia Airport
The metro runs from the airport and takes approximately 30 minutes to get into the city. Metro lines 3 and 5 leave every 10 minutes and cost approx €4. Check times with the metro timetable
The bus costs the same as the metro and takes between 25-45 minutes depending which service you take. Buses depart from the departure area and run until 22.00.
Taxis charge approx €25 but are a good option if you are arriving late at night. Use Rome2Rio to plan your airport transport.
The main train station is Estacio Nord, in the old town. This is the citys’ main hub. Buy your ticket from the window of your chosen destination. From here you can travel to cities such as Madrid or Barcelona.
Fly internally from Valencia airport to the islands or other areas in Spain. Flights are really economical.
Busabout are a sociable hop-on, hop-off bus service which takes you all around Europe depending on which pass you choose. Between June to October they travel from Valencia to Madrid. * Check routes and prices for Busabout
Is Valencia good for solos? Yes! I give it 4 out of 5. It felt safe to walk around, and there is plenty to see and do for solo female travellers.
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