Free Things to do in Valencia
Valencia’s wanky and unique festivals have put it on the world map – as a gorgeous beach city, it has always been one of the most popular travel destinations for the Spaniards especially in summer. Truth betold, Valencia City is surprisingly less known among foreign tourists. Thanks to recent construction of a modern technological hub and great efforts in marketing Valencia as a tourist destination, it is quickly rising up the ranks of popular Spanish cities to visit.
Thankfully, the city of Valencia still remains relatively affordable – with reasonably priced accommodation and restaurants. Valencia is packed with history and culture and is straddled by the Mediterranean Sea and tumultuous mountain range. Whether you are looking to enjoy a weekend break or take some time to explore the city slowly, here are some highly recommended free things to do in Valencia:
Tour the Old District
A tour to Valencia will never be complete without visiting the historic district – in contrast to the state-of-the-art architecture of the modern district, this part of town is rich in history and flavors. The city’s Cathedral and El Miguelet are free to visit and they are believed to be the resting ground of the Holy Grail. Make sure to check out the bars and cafes in this area as well. Don’t forget though to visit Barrio del Carmen, situated in the northern part of the Historic Quarter, as it is deemed as the most fashionable and famous spots to go in the evening.
Join in Las Fallas Celebrations
Valencia has gained world fame for its vibrant fire festival, Las Fallas. Each year, giant life-like figures are paraded in the city center and then set on fire to commemorate the arrival of spring. Valencianos take the festival celebrations very seriously and usually dress up in the traditional costume and take to the streets to join in the celebrations. The festival is of course free to watch, but prices all over the city are usually hiked up during the festival – so if you’re on a budget, be sure to plan ahead. There is a Fallas Museum that gives a background and overview of what the Fallas are about and how they have developed over the years. Although entry is not free, it might be well worth a visit if you are keen on understanding abit more about the Valencian festival.
The Turia Gardens
Valencia’s city park, also known as the Turia Gardens, is the city’s lungs, providing a rare patch of greenery to the city. What started out as a dry riverbed has been converted into a mélange of beautiful sculptures and collections of Spanish plants. There are a host of attractions within the park, so take your time to explore the area. The park is especially crowded during the weekends, when active locals come out and enjoy the sun.
The Central Market
One of the biggest and most prominent markets in Spain, Valencia’s Central Market is comparable to La Boqueria in Barcelona – rich, vibrant and bursting with energy. Come and wander through the colorful stores, learn more about the produce from different parts of Spain and get a deeper understanding of the Spanish culinary world. An interesting thing to note is how the produce on sale change with the seasons – in summer, expect the market to be blanketed in rainbow colors, while in winter, there will be more dried nuts and fruits on display.
America’s Cup Port and City Beach
Valencia lies along the Levante coastline of Spain, famous for pristine beaches and outrageous nightlife. Here in Valencia, you can find some of the best city beaches in Spain. Best of all, they are not overly packed with chiringuitos (beach bars). Seafood restaurants tend to be lined neatly along the boulevard, creating a rather comfortable area for lounging with feeling claustrophobic in summer. Being the host of America’s Cup each year, Valencia has an extremely impressive port to match its prestigious status. The port is free to visit – if you’re here during the America’s Cup, you’ll find yourself engulfed in a great atmosphere.