12 Free Things To Do In Valencia In 1 Day

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Valencia is a city in Spain that is often skipped in a favor of the bigger more famous Barcelona. However, Valencia is a beautiful city that is well worth a visit. It has most of what Barcelona has to offer such as beautiful architecture, the beach, and great weather. But at a much cheaper price and with far fewer tourists. Luckily there are also lots of free things to do in Valencia to make it even more affordable.

We spent a week pet-sitting in Valencia and loved our time there. If we were to choose somewhere to live in Spain to live it may be Valencia. So keep reading to find out the best free things to do in Valencia.

1. The City Of Arts And Sciences

A woman walking through an archway at the City of Arts and Sciences a great free thing to do in Valencia
Katharina walking through the City of Arts and Science.

The city of arts and sciences has to be the most unique attraction in Valencia. It is a cultural and architectural complex that is full of futuristic-looking buildings surrounded by pools of water and interesting statues.

The complex was originally budgeted at 300 million euros but ended up costing 1 billion! It was incredibly expensive to build but it has become one of Valencia’s biggest attractions so the investment seems to have paid off.

A woman standing in front of a large white building at the City of Arts and Sciences
Katharina at the City Of Arts and Sciences

The buildings contain attractions such as an opera house, museum, aquarium, and more. However, it is not necessary to go inside any of the buildings to enjoy the area.

The complex covers a huge area and just walking around and taking photos is one of the best free things to do in Valencia.

The complex is located in a huge park that runs through the middle of Valencia. The park is actually a dried-out riverbed which is also the next thing to do on the list.

A statue of a head on its side in a pool at the city of arts and sciences an awesome free thing to do in Valencia
Statue at the City of Arts and Sciences

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2. Jardin Del Turia

The Jardin Del Turia is a huge 9-kilometer-long park in the middle of Valencia. It is a great place to go for a walk or a bike ride away from the busy city streets. The park starts in the city center and goes almost all the way to the beach. So if you feel like it you could walk all the way from the city center to the beach.

A man with a blue hat on smiling while riding a bike through Jardin Del Turia a cool free thing to do in Valencia
Riding a bike through Jardin Del Turia

It is located in the dried-out riverbed of the river Turia that used to run through the city until 1957. In 1957 there was a devastating flood that caused a lot of damage to the city. So a decision was made to divert the river to the south of the city. This left the city with a huge area of empty land where the river used to run so they decided to turn it into a park.

Because the park used to be a river there are 18 bridges over the park. Some of them date all the way back to medieval times so it makes for an interesting journey passing underneath them.

As I mentioned above the park is best explored by bike as it covers a huge area. It is also a great place to go for a run and get some exercise as it is full of locals doing the same.

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3. Relax At The Beach

If you are visiting Valencia in the summertime then spending some time at the beach is a must. Valencia has a huge wide sandy beach with a big promenade that is great for going on a walk.

While we were in Valencia we stayed in the beachside community of Cabanyal. From there we walked along the promenade every morning and there was always a great atmosphere. It is also a great spot to watch the sunrise if you are an early bird.

Because the beach is so wide you will never have trouble finding space for yourself if you want to be away from the crowds. If you have ever visited Barcelona in the summertime you will know how busy the beach and promenade can get there.

Luckily you will not have those problems in Valencia so it is great if you want a more relaxed beach experience.

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4. Explore The Street Art In El Carmen

El Carmen is a neighborhood located at the northern end of Valencia’s old town. The narrow streets of El Carmen are full of beautiful old buildings, cafes, tapas bars, and restaurants. But what interested us the most was all the street art scattered throughout the area.

Exploring El Carmen and all the interesting street art was surprisingly one of our favorite activities in Valencia. I found the contrast between the old historic buildings and the street art very unique and it made for a great afternoon of exploring.

A woman walking through a city square in Valencia with a picture of a woman in a pink opera gown painted on the wall

If you would like you can also do a street art tour for a more in-depth explanation of the art. Some of the pieces are done by well-known artists so a guide could explain what pieces are by what artist. However, we had a great time just strolling around the neighborhood and discovering the art by ourselves.

Some colorful street art in an alleway a free thing to do in Valencia
An empty street with a man walking into a church with a painting of an old woman on the wall

One interesting note is that a lot of the shops have paintings on the roller doors that they pull down when their shops are closed. So taking a walk during the siesta in the early afternoon when most shops are closed is a good idea. Because when all the shops are closed you can see all the paintings on the roller doors.

Street art of a crocodile a cool free thing to do in Valencia

Also as I mentioned above El Carmen is full of cool tapas bars, restaurants, and cafes. So even if you are not into street art it is well worth a visit and was one of our favorite free things to do in Valencia.

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5. Visit La Plaza De La Virgin

The main plaza in Valencia is called La Plaza De La Virgin. It is a very pretty square with a nice fountain in the middle, the beautiful Valencia Cathedral and there are bars and cafes around the outskirts where you can relax and have a drink.

Even if you don’t stop for a drink it is a very nice square that you have to see while you are in Valencia.

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La Plaza De La Virgin. Katharina is sitting on the Turia Fountain which is a depiction of Neptune. The Valencia Cathedral is in the background.

6. Museum Of Fine Arts Valencia

The Museum of Fine Arts is an art gallery founded in Valencia in 1913. It has over 2000 pieces of mainly classical European art and is the second-largest art gallery in Spain.

The museum is located inside a beautiful old building constructed in 1683 and is impressive to look at as well as the art.

It is one of the best free museums in Valencia located within walking distance from the center.

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7. Visit Torres De Serranos

Torres De Serranos is one of the 12 gates that formed part of the ancient city wall around Valencia. It was built between 1392 and 1398 and of the 12 gates that were originally built Torres De Serranos and Torres De Quart are the only ones that remain.

It is a very impressive structure and walking through Torres De Serranos will bring you straight into the middle of the old town. So it is a great way to enter the city.

On the Serranos bridge which leads you to the Torres De Serranos.

You can also climb to the top of Torres De Serranos for an awesome view of Valencia. It is open from Tuesday to Thursday from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:30 to 20:30. On Sundays and public holidays it is open from 10:00 to 14:00 and on Mondays, it is closed.

Entry is only 2 euros but on Sundays it is free!

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8. Visit La Lonja De La Seda / The Silk Exchange

The Silk Exchange is a beautiful gothic building built between 1482 and 1492 that is also a UNESCO world heritage site. The building is located in the middle of the old town next to the central market. While it is not a huge building it is certainly worth a quick visit.

The Trade Hall in the Silk Exchange was where merchants used to meet to work out contracts.

The most impressive room is the Trade Hall which is full of massive spiral columns that spread out over the roof like tree branches. It is in this room that merchants would meet to work out contracts for the sale of silk. Which is why it is called the silk exchange.

The entry fee to get into the Silk Exchange is only 2 euros. But once again it is free on Sundays. So visit on Sundays for an awesome free thing to do in Valencia.

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9. The Central Market

Valencias Central Market is the largest market with fresh produce in Europe and is located right within the heart of the old town. The architecture of the building is very beautiful with lots of stained glass and tiles covering the ceiling.

The Valencia Central Market

The market is full of fresh produce, meat, and cheese and is visited by tourists and locals. This is great because it is not a tacky market that is primarily aimed at tourists and has more of an authentic feel. So it is a great place to buy produce grown in the region and also to find meats and cheeses you only find in Spain.

But it is worth walking around just to check out the building which makes it a great free thing to do in Valencia.

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10. Explore El Cabanyal

El Cabanyal is an old fisherman’s neighborhood which is located right across the road from Las Arenas Beach. The area is full of old houses with unique tiled exteriors. Unfortunately for many years, the area was a very poor neighborhood and a lot of the buildings were not in good shape.

Street Art In El Cabanyal

However, in recent years the city has put some effort into revitalizing the area. As a result, many of the beautiful old houses have started to be restored and many new bars and restaurants have opened. The area is still very residential and much quieter than El Carmen but is full of character even if some areas are still a bit run down. There is also some interesting street art in the area worth seeing which gives it a feel similar to El Carmen.

We actually stayed in El Cabanyal while we were in Valencia and we loved it there. It is super quiet and relaxed and right next to the beach. So if you are looking to be close to the beach I would recommend looking for an Airbnb in the neighborhood.

But even if you are not staying there I would recommend having a stroll through the area while visiting the beach.

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11. Explore Russafa Neighborhood

Russafa is similar to El Cabanyal in that it was once a very rundown shabby part of the city. Some parts were actually quite dangerous. But today it is a trendy area full of nice cafes and restaurants and is the hipster center of Valencia. Russafa is probably what El Cabanyal will turn into in the future, it has just been gentrified for a longer period.

The streets of Russafa

Russafa is just south of the center of the old town. It is a great place to head for something to eat or to go cafe hopping.

As with most areas of Valencia, the streets are full of colorful buildings with beautiful architecture. So it is also a great area to just walk around and take in local life.

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12. La Almoina Archaeological Museum

The La Almoina Archaeological Museum is located right next to Valencia Cathedral. The museum contains many Roman artifacts from the Roman city that used to exist where Valencia stands today.

Most of the museum is located underground as there are many roman ruins such as baths that have been uncovered. It is a really interesting place where you can see the remains of an ancient city that Valencia was essentially built on top of.

The entrance to the museum is only 2 euros but on Sunday there is no charge. So it is a great thing to do in Valencia on a Sunday.

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How To Stay For Free In Valencia

Yes, that’s possible! If you love pets have a look at TrustedHousesitters. Especially in summer many people go on holiday and are in need of someone they can trust to take good care of their pet and home.

Complete guide of Trusted House Sitters

We have used TrustedHousesitters around the world and also multiple times in Spain staying in amazing places with fun pets in. It’s a great unique and free way of experiencing Valencia.

How To Get From Valencia Airport To The City Cheap

The cheapest way to get from Valencia Airport into the city center is by metro or bus. The metro costs 3.90 euros to get to the city center while the bus costs 1.90 euros.

They both take around 25-30 minutes to get into the city center. So if you really want to be cheap you can go by bus.

Getting Around Valencia For Free or Cheap

As this article is about free things to do the cheapest way to get around the city is to walk. The historic center of Valencia is very walkable so walking around is definitely the best way to see it.

If you want to go to the beach or explore Jardin Del Turia then a bike will be your best option. Valencia is full of great bike paths so it is a great city to explore by bike.

If you are looking to rent a bike while you are in town then Valenbisi is a good option. They have bike terminals located throughout the city and you can get a week’s membership for just 13.90 euros.

Now You Know All The Best Free Things To Do In Valencia

That brings us to the end of my top free things to do in Valencia. It is one of my favorite cities that I have visited in Spain with all the benefits of a big city but at a slower more relaxed pace.

If you have any things to add let me know in the comments below!

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Travel, health and fitness fanatic. Co-founder of happyhealthynomads.

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