48 Hours in Valencia - The Perfect Itinerary to Make the Most of Your Stay

48 Hours in Valencia – The Perfect Itinerary to Make the Most of Your Stay

Only 48 hours in Valencia, Spain? No worries, there’s plenty to see and do with Melissa’s perfect two-day Valencia itinerary. Read on for all her great tips!

Devour Valencia food tour!
Beautiful Valencia

Valencia is known throughout Spain—and the world—for being one of the best destinations in the Mediterranean. Set on the Iberian peninsula’s eastern coast, it offers great weather, gorgeous architecture, and world-famous food. I lived in Spain for over a year before I finally made it to this incredible city… and immediately wondered what I had been waiting for.

Last November my go-to travel buddy and I decided we needed a weekend escape and booked a last-minute trip to Valencia. We only had 48 hours in Valencia, but we were determined to make the most of the two days. At the top of our list? To sample local specialties, get a crash course in the city’s history, and enjoy the sunny respite from Madrid’s frigid fall weather.

48 hours in Valencia
48 hours in Valencia

What to do with 48 hours in Valencia

Here’s how we crammed as much as possible into our two-day vacation. Follow our travel tips to make the most of your 48 hours in Valencia!

1. Wander through the old town

Try horchata on a trip to Valencia
The perfect afternoon snack: sweet horchata and pastries

Valencia may be known for some ultra-modern architecture (see below), but its charming old town is just as worthy of your time. We spent several hours wandering aimlessly through the streets and plazas, enjoying the surprises we found at every turn.

Expect cathedrals, towers, fortified gates, fountains, and picturesque alleyways. Enjoy a leisurely lunch on a terrace amidst it all, and soak up some history along with the sun! Don’t forget to stop by the Mercat Central to sample horchata (a sweet drink made of chufa) and fartons (soft and sugary pastries).

2. Relax on the beach

It’s obligatory to take advantage of the city’s beautiful coastline. Even though it was barely warm enough for bikinis during our trip to Valencia, the trek to Malvarrosa beach (just outside the city center) was totally worth it. If it’s summertime, enjoy the mild Mediterranean waters and spend as long as you want wandering the sandy shore. Once you’ve had enough, grab an outdoor table at one of the many restaurants set along the seafront. Which brings me to my next must-do…

48 hours in Valencia
Beach time!

3. Try authentic paella

You might not know that paella, an absolute icon of Spanish cuisine, originated in Valencia. Although restaurants throughout the country offer it up proudly, it’s here that you’ll get the most authentic paella in the world. The Malvarrosa beach is especially famous for its combination of top-notch rice dishes and gorgeous sea views.

Although you’ll find plenty of varieties made with seafood or fish, the classic recipe calls for chicken, rabbit, beans, and veggies. Keep in mind that most places only serve paella in a pan for two or more—so bring hungry friends!

You can't take a trip to Valencia without tasting authentic paella!
Paella is an essential part of every trip to Valencia.

See also: Where to Eat Paella in Valencia

4. Explore the best bars

Back in the city center, we retraced our steps through the old town and hopped between bars on the popular Carrer dels Cavallers. There are dozens of places here to spend the evening trying tapas and delicious drinks.

No trip to Valencia is complete without sampling the city’s signature cocktail: agua de Valencia. Don’t be fooled by the name (or the deceptively sweet taste). This is a concoction of freshly squeezed Valencian orange juice, cava (Spanish sparkling wine), gin, and vodka. It’s a sort of cross between a mimosa and a screwdriver, and is famous for its high alcohol content… which tends to creep up on unsuspecting tourists once they’ve enjoyed a pitcher or two.

Agua de Valencia - how to spend 48 hours in Valencia
Agua de Valencia

5. See the sunset at a famous landmark

48 hours in Valencia - City of Arts and Sciences
The incredible City of Arts and Sciences.

There are a few sites that are an essential part of any trip to Valencia. The City of Arts and Sciences is certainly one of them. It’s a massive modern complex featuring reflecting pools and curvilinear architecture. Inside you’ll find an IMAX-style theater, an aquarium, a museum, and more.

Make sure to go at dusk, when the setting sun illuminates the whole scene and then gives way to colored lights that create a magical atmosphere. You can reach it by biking or strolling through the beautiful Turia park, set below street level in the riverbed that went dry back in 1957.

See also: How to Spend a Weekend in Valencia

6. Take part in a local tradition

If you’ve only got a few days to visit Valencia, you might want to consider going to one of its local festivals. The most famous of all is Las Fallas. Every year in March, renowned artists construct enormous sculptures that are scattered around the city.

Fallas in Valencia
Beautiful Fallas art, before… (Photo by Enrique Blasco on Flickr CC)

On the last day of the festival, each of the masterpieces is set on fire, creating a dramatic spectacle that’s both captivating and a bit tragic. You could say it’s a reminder of the ephemeral nature of beauty… but mostly it’s a giant party in the streets. If you don’t like crowds or loud noises, steer clear—during Las Fallas the city is inundated with throngs of people and unrelenting explosions of firecrackers and fireworks!

48 hours in Valencia
And after! (Photo by orbakers on flickr CC)

Are you planning a trip to Valencia? If you’ve visited the city before, tell us the highlights of your trip. And use the tips above for an unforgettable 48 hours in Valencia!

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