Valencia is a wonderful place to visit for a budget traveler.
It offers lots of great things to do cheap or even for free. While exploring the city, I met several people, who had visited Valencia and stayed there forever. I also would: beautiful medieval architecture, many cheap things to do and 360 days of sun every year.
Here is the list of top 10 things to do in Valencia on a budget. Doing the whole list, you will spend just 9.5 Euros in total and will have a great budget travel experience!
- Try orxata and local goodies in the Old market
- Run in the river bed
- Luxuriate on the beach
- Find all the weird gargoyles
- Try the Water of Valencia
- Visit 5 museums and view the city from the height
- Eat paella for 1.5 euro
- Attend free walking tour
- Take pictures of the City of Arts and Science
- See the bull fighting arena
Little bit about Valencia
Valencia is a very old city; it was founded by Romans in 138 BC. As many other Spanish cities, it was occupied by the Arab Moors, who made it a capital of the Taifa of Valencia. The city was reconquered and became Spanish again in 1238, was even the capital of Spain for a short period. Such a long history left numerous monuments and a unique architecture in the city center.
Today, Valencia is the third largest city in Spain with the population of 800000 people and the whole urban area of 1.5 mln people. Valencian port is also the busiest one on the Mediterranean Sea.
You can read general information about Valencia on Wikipedia.
Try orxata and local goodies in the Old market
The old market is one of the best places to visit in the city. Every old Spanish city has such a market, but Valencia has one of the most beautiful in the whole country. Its façade is tiled with tiles in the Gaudi style, but was created by the students of the famous Spanish architect.
The old market is not only beautiful, but it is also a great place for a budget traveler. While strolling along the numerous stalls with fresh fruits, seafood and other goodies, you can try some nuts, sweets and other snacks free. After walking through the whole market, you will feel full after trying all of this.
You can finish this gluttony with a horchata (in Spanish), or orxata (as the locals say), drink made from tiger nut. Don’t be afraid of the name, this drink has a sweet milky taste, it is very refreshing in the hot summer days, and as the locals say, great for hangover. Another beverage to drink in a hot summer day is a Café del Temps, which is a popular here espresso on ice. You can find both drinks in the old market, as well as local bars and cafes. Prices for both start from 1 Euro.
Run in the river bed
If you have an active lifestyle as I do, you will like the opportunity to go jogging in the Turia riverbed. The river used to run through the city center, being a border of the historical quarter (Ciutat Vella), but was redirected some time ago. Now, on its place there is a beautiful and long park with a lot of sports facilities, many people like riding bicycles, jogging or just walking here.
The former riverbed leads from the old town to the City of Arts and Sciences, visiting which is another great thing to do in Valencia.
Luxuriate on the beach
Visiting Valencia on a sunny day (which is almost every day here), you should go to the beach, which is situated on a distance of about 5 km from the old town that you can do by riding a bike or running in the Turia river bed. The most popular city beaches are Playa de Malvarrosa and Playa e Levante o de la arenas.
If you want to visit a better-developed and less crowded beach, you can go outside of the city, to the El Saler beach, which is regarded as the nicest one in Valencia.
While not being the most visited places in the city, going to the beach is one of the great things to do in Valencia.
Find all the weird gargoyles
Coming back to the old town, you should definitely pay attention on the gargoyles on the old Valencian buildings. They are one of the interesting features of Valencian architecture. Instead of usual creatures, some gargoyles are made in form of people in weird and pretty indecent poses.
You should definitely pay attention on them on La Lonja de la Seda building (former Silk Exchange), which is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Try the Water of Valencia
Water of Valencia, or Agua de Valencia, is a popular local drink that you can also find in other places in Spain. There exist several recipes of this drink. The main ingredient it orange juice.
Oranges grow all around the city, but I don’t recommend you to try them, as to keep them orange all year round, the municipality uses chemicals, so they are not only very sour and bitter, but you will also feel bad after eating them.
Other ingredients of Agua de Valencia are cava (local sweet wine), gin, rum and vodka (in different combinations). After drinking just one such drink, you will be up all night! The prices for Agua de Valencia start from 5 Euros. Highly recommend trying it!
Visit 5 museums and view the city from the height
If you like museums, but you have a tight budget; Valencia is a city for you. Great things to do in Valencia on a budget include 5 free museums and a free panoramic point on Torres de Cerranos, city gates built in 14th century that are considered to be the largest Gothic city gateway in all of Europe. Going on top of it, you have a great view of the old town on one side and the Turia river bed with the City of Arts and Sciences behind it on the other. It is free on Sundays; regular fee is 2 euros.
So, let’s start with the free Valencian museums.
First, I recommend you to visit the Fine Arts museum (Museo de Bellas Artes), situated on the San Pío V.
If you are more a fan of modern art, then the Valencian Institute of Modern art (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno) is a good option for you. This museum is free on Sundays and is situated on the 118 Guillem de Castro Street.
The place that I really recommend visiting is the Museo de la Almoina on Almoina square, which is free on weekends and public holidays. It is actually situated under the square, as the museum has an exhibition of archeological elements of different periods in Valencian history.
Another free museum that I recommend you to visit is Museo de Prehistoria y de las Culturas de Valencia (Museum of Prehistory and the Cultures of Valencia). If you like the ancient history, you should go there, to the 36 Corona Street.
I used to visit a lot of general arts and history museums, but today it is very boring for me, even if the museum is really famous, I just see the same exhibits and same information that I already saw before. However, what is always different is the city history museum. Same is the the Museo de la Ciudad in Valencia. You can find it on Plaza de Arzobispo 3.
Therefore, visiting museums and the panoramic point are definitely great things to do in Valencia on a budget.
Eat paella for 1.5 euro
Valencia is the birthplace of paella, one of the most famous Spanish dishes made in many different variations on the base of rice and azafrin spice. Its original version, Paella Valenciana, is made with chicken and rabbit. Other versions include different seafood and vegetables.
There is a place in Valencia, where you can try paella in one or all of the variations for just 1.5 euro!
The place is called El Racó de Merí and is situated on Carrer del Trench, 10, close to the Old Market. It serves fresh paella from ingredients bought on the market during the whole day, and at 7pm it sells the rest with a discount, so you can get a good portion of paella for just 1.5 Euro.
If you are more a, fan of fast food you can go to the Plaça de l’Ajuntament, where you can find a wide variety of Western fast food chains, even Taco Bell, the one I haven’t seen in any other Spanish city.
As you see, food in Valencia is very cheap, which is great for a budget traveler.
Attend free walking tour
Attending free walking tour is always a great thing to do in a new town. I often do it when I travel. In fact, many of the great tips about traveling in Valencia on a budget, I found out from the guys organizing the walking tour.
The walking tour guides visit hostels at a particular time every day, pick up the people willing to attend, and walk together to the meeting point. From that point, one guide brings all the people and tells not just boring Wikipedia stuff, but interesting facts about the city, and shows interesting features of the buildings that you would otherwise pass unnoticed.
These walking tours are called free, but the guides need to earn money, so you should (but don’t have to if you are a really poor student), give them a tip in the end of the tour. It is usually 5-10 Euros.
Take pictures of the City of Arts and Science
The city of Arts and Science is a complex of modern buildings recently built when Valencia hosted the America’s cup. It is one of the main attractions of the city, but if you are traveling on a budget, I recommend you to observe it from the outside, take some pictures of this alien-like looking complex, as the entry prices bite.
The buildings are a massive architectural project of Santiago Calatrava, famous Spanish architect, whose works you can see all around Spain. The futuristic architecture of his buildings lets you easily guess, who is the architect.
See the bull-fighting arena
Another unique and great thing to do in Valencia is visiting the bull-fighting arena. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the bullfights are no more held here, but you can still visit the arena and imagine how the fights looked like some years ago. There is also an interesting museum by the arena; it is called Museo Taurino. The arena is situated close to the main train station of Valencia, on Pasaje Doctor Serra, 10.
The entrance costs just 2 Euros for adults and 1 Euro for groups.
Visiting Valencia on a budget
If you have a tight budget, you have great options of hostels situated in the city center. The prices start from 9-10 Euros in off-season and 12-13 in summer. It allows you to spend a great time in this beautiful city spending mere pennies.
It was my list of the best things to do in Valencia on a budget. The city is great for budget travelers. I could add more places to the list, but even if you do all of them, you will have a pleasant time in Valencia spending just 9.5 Euros for attractions, food and drinks + 9 Euros for 1 night in a hostel. So, you can spend 2 days in Valencia for just 18.5 Euros! You are welcome. If you want to know, how to spend almost a free day in Stockholm, read this article.
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