Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain and is known for its stunning architecture, rich heritage and culture, and vibrant nightlife. While the two larger cities (Madrid and Barcelona) remain the most popular among tourists, Valencia is beginning to gain much more traction. With its forward-thinking architecture and cultural projects, this cosmopolitan city is truly something to behold.
Some of the city’s most popular attractions include the world-famous City of Arts and Sciences, Oceanographic Aquarium, Valencia Cathedral and Valencia Bioparc. With so much to do in Valencia, the city is an attractive destination for all sorts of visitors.
We understand that, for some, visiting all of these Valencia attractions may be too costly. Or perhaps, some may simply want more money to spend on food. So if you’re wondering what to do in Valencia without having to spend any money, here’s a list highlighting the best free things to do in Valencia.
Top things to do in Valencia (for FREE)
Compared to other cities in Spain, Valencia is much more budget-friendly. The city’s efficient and cost-effective public transportation network provides easy access to its many tourist attractions. Moreover, many of the city’s attractions are found within walking distance of the city centre.
Tourists can also purchase a Valencia travel card which provides tourists with free access to various public transport services and museums, as well as some excellent discounts!
There are plenty of budget-friendly attractions and activities to enjoy in Valencia. Here’s our list of the 9 best things to do in Valencia without having to spend a single euro.
Head for the beach
Valencia is known for having sunny weather almost year-round. Fittingly, Valencia is home to many stunning beaches which run for miles along the city’s palm-lined promenade. Best of all, these golden, sandy beaches are situated near the city centre and can be easily accessed via public transport or on foot.
Some of the best beaches in Valencia include the two Blue Flag beaches, Playa de las Arenas and Playa de la Malvarrosa. These two beaches are connected and are a must for anyone visiting the sunny city.
The Playa de las Arenas beach is the first stretch of beach from the harbor and is the most popular beach in the city. Here you can have a relaxing day on the beach while getting a taste of the local culture and seeing how coastal life is for locals in the area.
The Playa de la Malvarrosa beach, located near the city center, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Valencia. The beach is known for its lovely white sand and crystal clear waters. On this beach, you can find many free activities including beach volleyball and soccer. There is also free outdoor fitness equipment, as well as a playground for kids.
Valencia is home to many more stunning beaches, and with its bountiful sunny days, a visit to any of the city’s beaches will definitely be worthwhile!
Join the Free Walking Tour
Free Tour Valencia is a company that offers several daily free tour guides within the city center. With a highly-experienced team of official, licensed tourist guides, Free Tour Valencia are able to provide attendees with a truly worthwhile experience.
A popular tour offered is the Valencia Essentials tour which covers all the basic sights in the city center like Valencia’s various monuments, parks, street art and neighborhoods. On these guided tours, you will be provided with a wealth of interesting facts about Valencia and see things you may not have noticed walking on your own.
Through these free walking tours, you will gain a deeper appreciation for the city’s history and culture, as well as its many monuments and attractions.
So if you’re unsure of what to see in Valencia, try attending a free walking tour. Note that participation is free, however, it is highly recommended that you provide the guides with a tip at the end.
Stroll Around the City of Arts and Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences is a complex of modern buildings designed by the famous Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava and is one of the most popular attractions in Valencia. Known for its mind-blowing, otherworldly architecture, crystal-clear pools and green gardens, the City of Arts and Sciences is something everyone visiting Valencia has to see.
Found within the City of Arts and Sciences are the Oceanographic Aquarium, planetarium, IMAX cinema and several world-class cultural venues and entertainment complexes. Visiting these attractions is quite costly, however, strolling around and viewing the complex’s breathtaking architecture is completely free. Additionally, you can enjoy a stroll through the palm-filled botanical garden housed within the white arches of the L’Umbracle building.
The areas surrounding the City of Arts and Sciences are truly spectacular and a great place to spend a couple of hours, as well as take some awesome photos!
If you wish to experience the City of Arts and Sciences in its entirety and do not mind spending a few Euros, you can book your tickets here.
Street Art Hunting in El Carmen Neighborhood
Hidden among the streets of Valencia you’ll find some of the most stunning pieces of street art. The El Carmen Neighborhood is an old town district known by many for housing some of Valencia’s most beautiful street art.
From giant murals to tiny figures on the corner of the street, there is an abundance of artistic discoveries to make as you walk through this marvelous area.
For a guided tour, join a free walking tour to the El Carmen Neighborhood.
Visit a Museum
Several museums in Valencia, like the Fine Arts Museum San Pio V and Museum Centre del Carmen, offer free admission. Additionally, museums like the Valencian Institute of Modern Art and the Fallas Museum are free to visit on weekends.
The Fine Arts Museum San Pio V is the second largest art gallery in Spain and is home to many works from the 15th to the 19th centuries, including an impressive collection of Renaissance paintings.
The Museum Centre del Carmen is housed in what used to be Valencia’s Royal Monastery, which was built in 1281. This historic building was recovered and currently serves as a centre for contemporary culture, hosting a broad range of artistic expressions and practices.
Museums are a great way to take in the city’s rich history and culture (and without having to spend a euro!).
Valencia Sightseeing from Above
Get an unobstructed view of Valencia from one of these three viewpoints:
- Quart Towers
- Serranos Towers
- El Miguelete Bell Tower
The Quart Towers and the Serranos Towers both served as defensive gates for the city prior to the 19th century, in which the walls were demolished. These two towers were saved from the demolition and now serve as two of the city’s many historic monuments.
Today, tourists can admire the gothic architecture of these two towers while taking in the spectacular view they provide of the city. The towers both offer free admission on Sundays, while on other days admission costs 2 Euros.
Additionally, tourists can climb El Miguelete, the bell tower of the famous Valencia Cathedral. This gothic-style bell tower is roughly 50 meters high and is one of the city’s best viewpoints. Just bear in mind that the climb involves a spiral staircase comprising 207 steps!
Wonder Around Valencia’s Markets
Among the best places to visit in Valencia, you’ll find the city’s many local markets. The most famous market in Valencia is Mercado Central, an indoor market housing almost 1000 food stalls filled with local products, artisanal goods and fresh produce. Such a market can be found in almost any old Spanish city, but the Mercado Central might just be the most beautiful in all of Spain.
Another famous market in Valencia is Mercado de Colon. Mercado de Colon, situated in the heart of the Historical Area, is a focal point for locals and tourists. Inside this architecturally pleasing space you’ll find an assortment of cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and stalls.
Other noteworthy markets found in the city are Mercado del Cabanyal, Mercado de Ruzafa, Mercadillo Paseo Maritimo and El Rastro. Each of these markets have plenty to offer from the beautiful architecture and a lovely atmosphere, to the tasty foods and wonderful people.
Final Thoughts on Free Things to do in Valencia
All in all, Valencia is the perfect destination for budget travellers. With sandy beaches, bustling markets, museums and more, there is an endless number of things to do (and without having to spend much at all).
If you’re planning on visiting Barcelona during your visit to Spain, you might want to take a look at these free things to do in Barcelona, too!