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The sights and sounds of Valencia, Spain are ones you’ll never forget. The chatter of shoppers haggling at Mercado Central. The smell of freshly cooked paella wafting through a restaurant window. The taste of a strong coffee early in the morning on a walk to La Lonja de la Seda. These simple pleasures make cruises to Valencia, Spain a must-experience destination as a stop on any Mediterranean cruise. Sure, there’s sexy Barcelona and ever-popular Madrid, but Valencia remains the artsier, more coastal sibling to Spain’s major metropolises.
In Valencia, dinner is served after 9pm, and the art of tapas is strictly followed. An afternoon siesta is never discouraged, and staying out until the sun rises is all part of the fun. Disco bars and after-midnight meetups for drinks are how the locals do it. Or, take a sleepier approach to your time in Valencia, spending the day sunbathing at Playa La Malvarrosa or touring the city’s historic cathedrals. There’s something for all energy levels and interests in Valencia.
Travelers of all ages love L'Oceanogràfic, a giant aquarium and habitat for nearly 500 marine species in Valencia. It’s easy to lose an entire afternoon watching dolphins, sea turtles, and sharks. It’s the perfect activity for kids who need to burn off some energy and adults who love marine animals.
You can’t stop in Valencia without seeing its namesake cathedral, an ornate Gothic structure that dates back to the 13th century. Climb up about 200 steps for fantastic views of Valencia from the top.
Craving a day of science inside an architectural marvel? Dedicated to the arts and sciences of the city, the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe is a fascinating place to spend some time and is purely gorgeous to see in person.
When you cruise, Valencia’s Mercado Central is a must-see. Not only will you be immersed in the commerce and culture hub that feeds this bright city, but you might also score some gorgeous items to take home, whether you’re looking for clothing, leather goods, or food to pack for an afternoon picnic.
Tapas and cocktails turn into dinner which bleeds into nightlife along El Carmen, a late night haven for partiers and foodies alike. Spend an evening in the historic old town, hopping from wine bar to wine bar as you go.
La Lonja de la Seda, or “Silk Market,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a monument to Valencian Gothic architecture and the history of the 14th century. At one time, La Lonja de la Seda was the place where most Mediterranean commerce took place and where Valencia’s booming trade industries gained their renown. Walk around the market and admire its stately, elaborate designs.
Las Arenas Beach and La Malvarrosa Beach are just two of the local playas where locals and tourists sunbathe, swim, and relax on a hot summer day. Valencia is both cosmopolitan and beachy, and the beaches here often feature a stretch of cafes and restaurants to keep things interesting.
Don’t miss classic Spanish cuisine experiences like paella and tapas over a glass of Spanish red wine. In Valencia, restaurants and the joy of eating out are a critical part of the culture here. An early dinner is practically unheard of, and going out late in Spain is par for the course. Valencia is known as one of the foodie hubs of Spain, where the dishes are lauded for creativity and taste. Try a spot like El Poblet, where French and Spanish food meet, or Cinnamon, which tends to have a range of daily specials and vegetarian options. Head to Bodega Casa Montaña, one of the oldest restaurants in the area, for tapas.
Before Valencia became the cultural and artistic hub of Spain that it is today, the city existed in some shape or form for nearly 2,000 years, whether as an output for soldiers or a Roman settlement in the days of Pompey and Caesar. Throughout the centuries, Valencia gained traction as a major metropolis and an important Spanish city for commerce, culture, and sophistication. You’ll hear Spanish and a dialect of Catalan spoken when you take cruises to Valencia, Spain, so it’s useful to pick up some basic Spanish phrases before you go.
When you cruise, Valencia’s port is about three miles from the city center, and many take a shuttle bus or a taxi to venture into the city. There’s a charging station for your phone, a tourist information center within the port, and stands filled to the brim with souvenirs for you to bring back home with you. .
Valencia is equipped with a variety of transit options. Many locals take the bus or bike to get around, and many tourists opt to simply walk around the center of the city and taxi to sights that are more than a mile or two outside the center. Taxis are common here, and if your taxi has a green light on, that means it’s accepting passengers. The metro system runs until midnight each night.
For a cruise, Valencia and the nearby area offer plenty of shopping opportunities. For souvenirs and kitschy goods to take home, or just some tasty paella, the Valencia cruise port and surrounding areas are well equipped to suit your needs. Buy a bottle of cava or splurge on leather goods. In the city, boutiques and clothing stores feature plenty of high-end Spanish designers and offer something for all styles.
The official currency of Valencia is the euro. You’ll find ATMs scattered throughout the city, and many establishments accept credit cards. Tipping isn’t required here, but leaving a small tip at a restaurant or rounding to the nearest euro is considered extremely polite.