Valencia Spain: 24 Hour Guide For A Perfect Day In This Coastal Gem
Are you planning to visit Valencia? Last year just before I left Spain, my sister-in-law aka Cuñada and I went to Valencia for a quick girls’ getaway. Follow along for our suggestions and keep an eye out for more because I plan on going back!
How To Get To Valencia: High-Speed Train!
One of my favorite things about Spain is their high-speed train system Renfe. Even if you’re in a crunch for time, you can have a quick getaway. My cuñada suggested we take the train to Valencia since it’s only an hour and a half away. If we drove it would take about 5-6 hours but on the Renfe, we could be on the coast in a fraction of that time.
A high-speed Renfe train
We left on a late Saturday morning from Madrid‘s Atocha Station and took a high-speed train. We arrived in Valencia just shortly after noon. As a treat, I booked a room for us at the Westin Valencia so we hailed a cab at Valencia Joaquin Sorolla Station to take us there.
The lobby of the Westin Valencia with traditional Las Fallas costumes
We checked into the Westin and the property was awesome, better than I thought from the online photos. It was more of a standard large chain hotel but the rooms were updated and spacious considering how small hotel rooms can be in Europe. We were thrilled! We took a quick tour of the grounds and were excited by the pool, spa area, and gym. Being the gym rat that I am, I love a good hotel gym and I was excited by this one.
Our spacious suite and real queen beds!
What To Do In Valencia
After our tour, we walked to the center of the city. Sadly I didn’t research hours for Mercat Central so it was just closing as we walked up and is closed on Sundays. Sad horns. Don’t forget to research hours of operations for your must-dos before arriving!!! Since I was devasted about the market being closed (I love markets), I wallowed in some….paella! Paella which is a famous Spanish dish is actually from Valencia, so of course, I had to have some here.
After lunch, we walked around and did a bit of window shopping. Many shops and business still close during siesta hours and after a bit of research, some businesses close on the weekends too. If you have big plans for shopping, keep this in mind.
In Valencia’s center and the narrowest building in Europe
Valencia Must Do! City of Arts And Sciences
Alas, it didn’t matter so much because what I really wanted to see was Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias! What is it? It’s a cultural and entertainment complex designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. The complex comprises of L’Hemisfèric, El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, L’Umbracle, L’Oceanogràfic (designed by Felix Candela), El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, El Pont de l’Assut de l’Or, and L’Àgora.
I’m a huge fan of Calatrava’s work and whenever I have a chance to visit, I do. I’ve seen his work in Bilbao, Sevilla, Barcelona, Laguardia, Toronto, Calgary, and New York. Call me a super fan! Obviously, I wanted to see his work in his hometown of Valencia. Something about his structures amazing me. We walked the length of the area and took loads photos of course.
If I died, heaven would like Calatrava designed it
We went back to our hotel after tons of walking (I checked our total mileage for the entire time and it was about 26km!) to relax. For dinner, we went to Goiko Grill, a burger chain, which was not too far from the hotel. It had a lot of interesting and inventive burgers. Because I had been in Spain for almost 3 months, it wasn’t imperative for my sister-in-law or I do have more Spanish food. Thus, the burgers for dinner haha.
I’ll admit that sometimes I need a break from local food when I’m traveling and crave burgers
For breakfast we didn’t do the Euro morning buffet so I found a quaint little cafe a few blocks from the Westin called La Roda Espai. Nothing hipster but perfect for what we were looking for. I had the typical Spanish breakfast of toast with tomatoes, coffee, and orange juice. Because I’m a member of Starwood Hotels I was able to request a late check out so we didn’t have to rush out of our suite and be able to leave our bags in the hotel and still have time to explore.
After breakfast we walked over to a shopping area where Mercado Colon is located. Since I missed out on Mercado Central, we went here because I love my European markets! Because it was late February and out of sheer luck we caught a Las Fallas parade. Las Fallas is a Valencian festival that happens in March in celebration of Saint Joseph but some events start as early as late February. After watching the quick parade and taking photos, we had lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafes in the market.
Beautiful outfits for the Las Fallas Celebrations
After Mercado Colon, we walked back to the Westin and then took a taxi back to Joaquin Sorolla Station and made our way back on the Renfe to Madrid. It was more than 24 hours but you can make this a 24 hour itinerary for sure!
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