What is the first thing you do after checking into your hotel in a new city? Do you source local free walking tours or do you head out into the straights with or without a map in hand?
One of our passions, when we arrive at a new destination, is to source a free walking tour. For a few hours, we enjoy the company of other travellers and the local guide and his or her local knowledge. Not only do we learn about the history of a city, but tips on the best bars and restaurants that the locals frequent, what are the best markets to visit and at what times and other information that sometimes you just don’t get in a guide book.
We are addicted to Free Walking Tours. We were on one of our many European tours, this time it was Valencia Spain, one of our favourite cities in Europe.
(Editor Update 2020)
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One of the top things to do in Valencia, Spain was a Valencia Essentials Free Walking Tour. Our experienced and passionate Guide was Ampora. Have you tried any free walking tours? Although they are a free walking tour tips are greatly appreciated at the end.
How much do you tip? We assess the tour in 3 ways:
- how long is the tour
- how many people are on the tour
- did you get what you expected from the tour
We tip anywhere from USD 5 to USD 20 per person depending on our 3 criteria above. We also check out the prices of locally paid walking tours.
- 1 Valencia Free Walking Tour Spain Points of Interest
- 2 Where to Stay in Valencia
- 3 Getting In – Valencia
FAQ’s for Visiting Valencia
Is it safe to travel to Valencia?
Valencia is a safe destination to travel to, but in all places that you travel to beware of your surroundings at all time and keep your personal documents in a safe place.
What is Valencia famous for?
Valencia is famous for Spanish Paella a dish made of rice, chicken or rabbit, beans and snails.
Is Valencia a city that is easy to walk around?
Yes, Valencia is a very walkable city.
Is English spoken in Valencia?
Yes, English is spoken but a few words of Spanish is recommended.
Can I drink the tap water in Valencia?
Yes, you can.
Do I tip in Valencia?
We tip if the service and food is exceptional up to 10%.
Does siesta occur in Valencia?
You may find a number of local shops, restaurants and bars will close between 2 pm and 6 pm.
There is so much to see and do in Valencia Spain you will need at least a week to see them all. Valencia is also a foodies heaven and we have tips from a local on where the best places to eat in Valencia are.
One of the most popular hotels in Valencia is the Tryp Valencia Oceanic Hotel we have the latest prices and availability here.
Valencia Free Walking Tour Spain Points of Interest
Valencia was founded by Roman retired soldiers in 138 b.c. The Latin name Valentia means ‘strength’ or ‘valor’. It is the third largest city in Spain.
Plaza de Virgen is one of the oldest squares in Valencia. The Fountain in Plaza de Virgen symbolizes the River Turia and it represents Neptune surrounded by 8 naked women.
The Cathedral was built on the site of an old Mosque in 1262.
The Main Gate was built in Baroque style during 1703 – 1741. The name of the Virgin Mary appears at the top of the iron gate.
Apostle Doors – note there are no hands or arms on the sculptures surrounding the gate. The material used was sand and the humidity in the city can’t maintain the materials used.
The Basilica – near the cathedral has been built on the top of the Roman remains. The forum is under our feet where we were standing in the Plaza de Virgen. The corridor was constructed between the cathedral and the basilica to allow the religious people to move freely and not mingle with the locals. The difference between the Basilica and the Cathedral is in the Basilica you pray only to the Virgin Mary whereas in the cathedral you pray to God the Father. Inside the Basilica it is very small and round and built in 1652 in the Baroque style. Note the paintings in the dome of the Basilica.
Valencia’s famous drinks
There are 3 famous drinks in Valencia:
- Mistella – a white wine drunk in a shot glass
- Agua de Valencia – 75% alcohol – normally served in a jug but can be found in La Estrecha just outside Placa Redonda where it is served by the glass. If you want to drink it from the jug you can try Negrito Bar in Carrer de Calatrava.
- Horchata – a non-alcoholic drink that can be found in the Central Market. It is drunk very cold, it is sweet, you either like it or hate it. I (Jane) didn’t like the taste but Duncan enjoyed it. When King James 1st arrived in Valencia the Catholic people lived in peace with the Muslims, although the Muslims lived outside the walled city. King James found Muslim women preparing the drink and he exclaimed ‘it tasted like gold’. It is eaten with fartons a type of pastry.
By this time we were halfway through our walking tour and a great place to stop for a drink. A colorful marketplace with a unique ceiling which was constructed during the 1920’s. A hive of activity 6 days a week, closed on Sundays. Best time to visit is in the morning, but if you are looking for good value, you will find cheaper fruit and vegetable shops outside the market.
Located beside the Mercado Central and dating back to the 12th Century the church is one of Valencia’s oldest. It was originally built on top of an old mosque in 1240. In the 14th century, a fire destroyed the building and it was rebuilt in the same style. In 1592 a fire destroyed the presbytery and the building had to be rebuilt.
Placa Redonda is a famous Square in Valencia full of history. Redonda means “round”. It started life as the meat market for Valencia, a hole in the middle of the city. During the 1980s the square was famous for Valencian ceramics. The square contained apartments above the shops, a lot of the local gypsies had moved into the square and damaged the apartments, they were subsequently moved out. In 2012 a new roof and new floor were constructed, the locals now feel that the Square has lost its soul. It feels like that when you walk around it, we visited on a Sunday as well as during the week and it felt lost and empty.
Valencia’s Narrowest Building
The narrowest building in Europe is only 1.7 m wide and contained one apartment on each floor. There were no toilets within the structure and each morning the night’s ablutions in a bucket were thrown outside into the square below with the cry ‘water is coming out’. The fish market was also located here in the square. In 2012 the bar beside it became an addition and it cannot now claim its right as the smallest building in Europe anymore.
Located next to the Cathedral is the L’Almoina Archaeology Museum which is considered to be one of the best in Europe. As you wander around you can see the 2nd-century baths, two streets that were the main thoroughfares in Roman times, and the courtyard of the old Muslim city. You should allow about an hour.
Further Information Valencia Free Walking Tour:
Company: Free Tour Valencia
Meeting Place: Plaza de Virgen at 10.30am – look for the orange umbrella with Free Tour Valencia in Valencia Old Town.
When you visit Valencia we can highly recommend another free walking tour – the Valencia Emblematic Tour.
Where to Stay in Valencia
Casual Valencia Vintage at Calle Barcelonina 1 close to the Cathedral and Mercado de Colon offers guests free Wifi, bike rental and there is paid public parking close by.
The 271 room Sercotel Sorolla Palace Hotel at Avenida Corts Valencianes 58 offers guests a gym, pool, bar and lounge, free Wifi close to the Palacio de Congresos.
Hotel Kramer at Avenida Campanar 90 has 70 rooms located close to the Congress Palace offers free WiFi and a bar/lounge to guests.
Hotel Sol Playa at Paseo Neptuno 54 offers guests ocean views, beach and free WiFi.
There are many properties available to book through Airbnb.
If you have not tried Airbnb before we have s special discount voucher that you can use for your first booking – click here to receive your voucher.
It is easy to get around in Valencia by metro. For more information click here.
Things to do in Valencia Spain
A Hop on Hop Off Valencia Bus tour around Valencia city for 24 or 48 hours is highly recommended.
Love Paella? You can now take a class to learn how to make authentic Spanish Paella click here for more details.
We love Spanish Tapas – you can now enjoy tapas on a guided tour of the city enjoying tapas at 3 local restaurants. Click here for more information.
Getting In – Valencia
Valencia Airport (VLC) is also known as Manises Airport and is located 8 km west of the city.
For the latest flight deals compare prices on Skyscanner here:
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If you would like to hire a car from the Airport click here for more details.
You can travel by train or bus to Valencia from all major cities in Spain.
For the latest information on bus tickets and their schedules click here.
For bus transfers from the airport click here for the latest information.
A Eurail Pass is a great way to travel around Europe, click here for more details.
We recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your flights and pay deposits on any cruises, tours or hotels.
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Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are ‘chase time not money’ and ‘age is no barrier when it comes to travel’.