One Day in Valencia Itinerary

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Greetings, Internet Stranger! So you want to know what to do with a one day in Valencia itinerary? Arguably Valencia’s most notable tourist attraction is its monumental complex of knowledge, the City of Arts and Sciences. The city (not actually an official metropolitan area) has a cinema, a science museum, an aquarium, and an opera house. Sounds impressive, no?

What if I told you that you could spend a wonderful one day in Valencia itinerary with the City of Arts and Sciences without even going inside a building? Don’t believe me, Internet Stranger? Just join me for a day of delicious food, stunning public art, and wacky hijinks while pretending to be an American college student. It all starts now!

One Day in Valencia Itinerary

Where to Stay?

Valencia isn’t as large as Madrid or Barcelona, but it’s still pretty spread out. You’re going to want to choose a centrally located hotel. I can’t recommend the exact hotel where I stayed (because it was not great), but I can recommend the location, near Valencia Cathedral. You’ll be right near all the main attractions for your one day in Valencia itinerary. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something charming in your price range. Valencia is not a crazy expensive city.

If you’d like to explore great deals on over 2000 hotels in Valencia, just click here.

One Day in Valencia Itinerary

What to Pack?

You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today around Valencia. It’s very frequently hot here, though not always, so it’s smart to wear sandals. I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.

Also, don’t forget the sunscreen! The sun can get scorching! My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.

Finally, since we’re going to be out all day, you’ll want a battery for your cell phone. I always use the Anker charger. It’s light enough to fit in even a small purse. You don’t want to sling a heavy bag all around Valencia. Plus the Anker lasts for several full charges of a phone, so you’ll never run out of juice!

one day in valencia itinerary

One Day in Valencia Itinerary

Morning: Self Guided Valencia Food Tour

On this one day in Valencia itinerary, we’ll start by going to some of the best markets in Valencia and snacking our way through them. Allow me to present to you…

Approximately top 5: valencia food edition

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia
1) The Colon Market

Our first stop is at the ornate Colon Market, pictured above for a light Spanish breakfast of fartons and horchata. Though those both sound vaguely like English curse words, they mean some pretty delicious things. Horchata is a sweet drink made from the chufa nut, and a farton is a long, thin sweet bun that you are supposed to eat by dipping it into the horchata. It’s kind of like dipping a dough finger into some milk and then…biting the tip of your finger off. But much tastier.

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia

The horchata and farton I had eaten the day before were good, but these were better. The farton tasted fresher and the horchata wasn’t as sweet.

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia
2) The Central Market

Our next stop was the Central Market, which I had also visited the day before. It is definitely worth a second visit because there is so much food here that you couldn’t possibly eat it all even if you spent a whole week here and you had four stomachs like a cow. My favorite part of the market is the fresh seafood stalls. You can get so close to the shrimp that you can look them directly in the eye.

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia

Look at them!!! Look at their eyes!!! They really do not look very happy at all, but that’s probably just because they are dead and about to be eaten. If you come here on your own, you can ask one of the restaurants in the market to cook the fresh seafood of your choice for you. But we were not here for fruits de mer. We were here for jamon!

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia

The fanciest of the Spanish hams is the Iberico and that the best Iberico is made from acorn-fed pigs. I scarfled this piggy goodness along with some less expensive serrano ham, aged goat cheese, and fine Spanish red wine.

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia

I think Spanish ham is just the perfect food because it combines salt and fat in the most flawless way. Bravo Spain! The world forgives you for the Spanish Inquisition.

Not So Fun Fact

Actually one reason that ham is so popular in Spain is because neither Jews nor Muslims can eat pig meat. After the Muslims and Jews were expelled from Spain, you could test someone to see if they were Christian by trying to give them some ham. That’s the most depressing Food Fact I have ever heard. Food should never be used for bigotry, only for putting smiles on people’s faces.

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia
3) Trufas Martinez

Our next stop is not at a market, but rather a tiny little family-run chocolate shop called Trufas Martinez. The current owner is the third generation of her family to run the store. They specialize in truffles, chocolate cigars (one of which is pictured above), and elaborate objects made out of chocolate–for example a high-heeled shoe. I got to taste a little chocolate cigar, which is a high-quality chocolate shell filled with praline.

It tasted so amazing that I needed to have more. My name is Stella Jane, and I am a chocoholic. So I got a bar of sea salt chocolate for the road, in case I was chocolate deprived and needed an emergency infusion of cocoa. (This tragedy ended up happening later on my trip when I had to take a bus from Marseille to Lyon with no food stop on the way. This chocolate bar saved me from dying of hunger. Thanks, Chocolate! You’ve never let me down yet.)

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia
4) Russafa Market

Now, make your way to a more local neighborhood, Russafa, which is definitely off the tourist beaten track. And what better way to hang with locals than at their beloved local market? I think this Russafa Market might have been my favorite spot. There was just something so inviting and cozy about the place.

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia

I paused at a wonderful stand that sells basically anything a Spanish chef could want: olive paste, jam, olive oil… We sampled both black olive paste and unripe olive paste. They were both delicious, but the unripe olive paste had a really special fresh taste to me. I could eat this every day.

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia
24 hour treasure

My favorite, favorite thing I ate in any of the markets was this bell pepper jam. It perfectly captured the essence of sweet, freshly roasted peppers. I really regret not buying any. I bought some fig jam instead because the pepper jam jar was too big to take on an airplane. Soon I shall come back to you, Valencia!! And I shall eat all of your bell pepper jam!! ALL SHALL BE EATEN!!!

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia
5) El Huerto

Our last stop is for a sit down lunch at a local restaurant called El Huerto. I treated myself to two appetizers: a refreshing and shocking pink beet gazpacho…

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia

and some chilled scorpionfish tapas. These were served with a creamy aioli and black salt on top. I had never eaten scorpionfish or black salt before. It tasted pleasantly shrimpy. Do you know how some people don’t like to eat animals like rabbits or deer because they are so cute? You will not feel that way about the scorpionfish. Observe:

One Day in Valencia Itinerary 4

I feel zero guilt about eating that miserable looking MF. Suck it, scorpionfish!!!

arroz meloso valencia
24 hour treat: arroz meloso

It was then time for the main dish, a fascinating creation that looks like paella, but is not paella. You might be expecting paella because that delicious homage to the humble rice grain is native to Valencia and you can find it all over the city. But this is another dish. You can tell because it’s soupier than a normal paella. I believe it’s called arroz meloso.

arroz meloso

The AM was made with duck, mushroom, and yellow rice. The rice was perfectly cooked and the dish was full of duck fat, and as far as I am concerned, duck fat makes everything better.

City of Arts and Sciences Valencia

One Day in Valencia Itinerary

Afternoon: City of Arts and Sciences

Friends, do you like Star Wars? Did you ever think Star Wars would be better if only it had more flowers? Then the City of Arts and Sciences is for you! As I mentioned, the City of Arts and Sciences is full of attractions, but my favorite thing to do at the City of Arts and Sciences was just wander around outside and boggle at all the strange and fantastic sculptures and buildings. I leave you with…


24 Hours What to Do in Valencia
1) Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man

When you arrive at the City of Arts and Sciences, don’t miss this metal man who is tragically trying to walk through a lake. Water is not good for metal, Iron Giant! Didn’t anyone tell you that?

City of Arts and Sciences

I think this metal woman has a much better idea to dance in the sunshine. She’s less likely to rust this way.

City of Arts and Sciences
2) flowerses!!

Any City of Arts and Sciences that has flowers is aces in my books. I’m terribly girly, so I think pink flowers are always welcome.

City of Arts and Sciences
3) darth vader’s helmet

The City of Arts and Sciences also has this helmet that looks like it’s going to try to play a giant harp. I don’t know how that’s going to work, helmet! You don’t have hands!

City of Arts and Sciences

Oh no! I’ve made the helmet angry and now it’s going to attack. Farewell, cruel world!

City of Arts and Sciences
4) Hamster-zilla

Here’s a giant hamster ball, but no hamster. Why does the City of Arts and Sciences have a giant hamster? Did the giant hamster get out? Is it standing behind me ready to eat me? Farewell, cruel world!

City of Arts and Sciences
5) A useless swimming pool

The City of Arts and Sciences also has a pool with some giant golden rods sticking out of it. I don’t like to criticize art, but what is the purpose of having giant metal rods sticking out of a pool? It seems like it would make it harder to swim.

24 Hours: What to Do In Valencia
6) Gargoyle bridge

If you don’t think I’m going to get excited about a bridge guarded by a pair of gargoyles, you have never read this blog before, Internet Stranger!

24 Hours: What to Do In Valencia
7) an evening of culture

When evening comes, be sure to check out one of the performances available at the City of Arts and Sciences. You can always check here to see what is playing at the Palace of the Arts, but I was lucky because I made some friends who invited me to join them at a free outdoor concert that evening right by the pool at the City of Arts and Sciences.

The concert was given by students at the Berkeley Music School, and it was mostly memorable to me because of the quality of the sunset in the background.

City of Arts and Sciences

Just look at those colors! Sorry, student performers! You were very good, but who can compete with Mother Nature?

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia
24 hour tip

I didn’t actually go inside any of the museums at the City of Arts and Sciences because they are pricey and I was having more fun playing outside, but supposedly the Aquarium, aka the Oceanographic, aka a pair of giant evil owl eyes rising out of the pavement, is the Must See attraction here. If you want to go inside, go there straight away after the food tour so you’ll have as much time as possible to see it before it closes.

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia

One Day in Valencia Itinerary

Evening: Red Cup

Our group was not very hungry after the food tour, but we still wanted to get a drink and a bite to eat in the evening. So we went back to the Russafa neighborhood to hang out at the super authentic Spanish bar Red Cup!

I kid because Red Cup is an American-themed restaurant. But that doesn’t mean that its target audience is Americans. The people here seemed to be mostly Europeans and Aussies who wanted to Party Like an American College Student, which of course means drinking out of a red cup.

As an American, I never realized there was anything unusual about drinking out of a red Solo cup until I went abroad. But apparently it really is just something that American high school/college students do so no one can see what liquid they are drinking. In the rest of the world, no one cares if high school or college kids have a beer.

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia

24 hour treat: tapas, American-style

The restaurant also serves “American tapas”, so we got to snack on chicken wings, onion rings, French fries, and nachos. They were really tasty! I was impressed that they got the right kind of plastic cheese for the nachos. But I guess the one concession to being in Europe is that the food was served with a spicy barbecue-like sauce instead of ketchup. You can’t be an American-themed bar if you won’t serve the people ketchup, Red Cup! That’s just science.

24 Hours What to Do in Valencia

This nice Australian couple happened to have some American baseball caps, so they thought the photo would be better if they put them in with the food. I’m sure this made the caps feel less homesick for the United States.

That’s a One Day in Valencia Itinerary!

What would you do with a one day in Valencia itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Valencia right now? Have you ever eaten scorpionfish? What would you do if a harp-playing helmet-building attacked you? Please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a one day in Valencia itinerary . If you want to add another one day in Valencia itinerary, try this itinerary! And if you can add 24 hours in Madrid, try this itinerary or this itinerary.

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