Valencia hosts one of the best urban green spaces in Europe and as it is flat, allows the active tourist to explore many sites on foot and for free.

A tourist visiting Valencia short on cash and eager for some exercise, is in luck as this Valencia has myriad options that tick both boxes.

Jardines del TuriaJardines del Turia (Turia Gardens)

Probably one of the best examples of how to create an urban greenway, the old riverbed of the River Turia has been converted into seemingly endless paths that meander past gardens, sports fields and in the summer, an outdoor nighttime cinema. A better place for a walk, run or bike ride would be hard to come by and also serves as a fast traffic-free way to burn some calories in transit from the City of Arts and Sciences to the old quarter.

City of Arts and SciencesCity of Arts and Sciences

As the Turia Gardens nears the port, the greenery morphs into a landscape defined by ultra-modern, megalithic buildings, which house an IMAX theatre, a performing arts center, a large aquarium, and quite unexpectedly, a science museum. Should the very high admission prices be off-putting, simply take a wander among these architectural gems which could double as the set of Gattaca.

Mercado-Central-ValenciaMercado Central (Central Market)

Valencia’s bustling, enormous and beautiful market is a treat (and, at times, an assault) for the senses. The market is believed to be one of the oldest markets in Europe still running on a daily basis, and home to more than 300 stall holders. A stroll through the stalls of fishmongers, butchers and greengrocers is a great way to see and smell the fresh produce used in every day Valencian cuisine. Be sure to visit the market fairly early as things wind down considerably as the clock nears two o’clock in the afternoon, after which time the market is closed until the next morning.

Estación del NorteEstación del Norte (Main Train Station)

Valencia has one of the most striking train stations in all of Spain, and the façade of this masterpiece is adorned with ceramic oranges; a fitting tribute to a fruit with which people the globe over associate the city. Aside for a couple of tiled rooms, there is not much of interest inside the station unless if you like people watching and may enjoy seeing exasperated tourists negotiating the purgatory that is a Spanish train ticket queue.

Torres de SeranosTorres de Seranos (Medieval Gateway)

Guarding an entrance into Valencia’s old quarter, the mighty gate that is Torres de Seranos is sadly only one of two surviving remnants of the medieval walls that encircled the city. Originally there were twelve gates built in the 14th century that formed the the Christian Wall, or Muralla Cristiana.

On Sundays it is free to clamber up to the ramparts from which one is treated to a wonderful bird’s eye view of the port and city. There are a cafes flanking the western base of the gates for those wanting a reprieve.

Las Arenas valencia1The Beach, and of course, Paella

Easily accessible to the town by metro, bus or for the hardy, foot power, Valencia’s municipal beach of Las Arenas makes for an excellent day of surf and sun. And although some recommend what can be an expensive and logistically challenging trek to the marshes of La Albufera for “authentic” paella, be assured that there are numerous joints in and around Calle Neptuno that would take umbrage at the suggestion that their paella is any less authentic than that proffered by their country cousins out in the rice paddies. After all, it is not worth visiting Valencia without sampling its paella, a well-earned treat after trotting around Spain’s third most popular tourist destination.

About The Author

Amancay Diaz

Born in the UK to an English mother and Spanish father, Amancay relocated to her father's home town of Alboraya in 2010. She moved to the centre of Valencia in 2012, where she works as a real estate agent selling properties to expats from the Northern European countries.

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