One of the most important places in Valencia is the city centre. Here you will find a mix of culture, shops and conviviality. You will be amazed at how many historic buildings Valencia has and what story the city tells. Are you curious? Stroll through the magical streets of this orange tree town.
Spain has been owned by so many, just like Valencia. The Greeks founded the city about 138 BC, because it was near the Turia river. After a thousand years, it was conquered, occupied and abandoned by the Visigoths, among others. The Visigoths were an early Christian Germanic people in Spain. The Moors also conquered Valencia. El Cid ensured that in 1094 for the first time a number of mosques were converted into churches. Because the Moors occupied the city again and again, the Christians finally set Valencia on fire and left.
It was not until the thirteenth century that Jacob the Conqueror was able to take up the city again, with which Valencia would once again have a Christian religion. Valencia would become one of the most important cities of the Mediterranean region around the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In the seventeenth century, thanks to the flourishing of the silk industry, the city started to develop further.Did you know that during the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939, Valencia was declared a capital? The city suffered heavily because Franco’s troops attacked the city. After Franco died in 1975, the dictatorship in Spain came to an end and major changes took place both in the country and in the city of Valencia. Democracy was restored again.
City Centre Highlights
In the centre there are several highlights that are unique to Valencia. Here below you can find them.
Plaza de la Reina
Plaza de la Reina is a square in the middle of the centre. Here you will find numerous restaurants, cafes and shops. This is also a meeting point for tourist buses and taxis. You can also find the Cathedral of Valencia on this square and of course the El Micalet clock tower next door.
The Town Hall Square is called ‘Plaza Ayuntamiento’ in Valencia. It is a large building with a balcony that can be visited by the public. Do you see the bat somewhere on the building? This symbolizes the city and is considered sacred. In addition, this square is a kind of crossroads of several neighbourhoods that come together. The city centre area around Plaza Ayuntamiento has many shops, eateries and beautiful streets. On the other side of the town hall is a beautiful post office that is definitely worth a visit. When you walk into the building you will see historic golden mailboxes on the left, which are still used today.
The most famous fresh market of the centre is the ‘Mercado Central’. A beautiful covered collection of about 1,000 stalls selling fruit, meat and fish. You can go here for a delicious breakfast, but also a hot lunch to take away. There are a number of stalls selling hot paella! If you would rather sit down, you can go to the Central Bar on this food market. This bar is a concept of star chef Ricard Camarena who is very appreciated among Valencians.
This silk market is one of the biggest sights of Valencia. La Lonja de la Seda is in fact a very historic building that the Valencians are very proud of. The heroes Pere Compte and Johan Ivarra built it between 1482 and 1533. It is located on Plaza del Mercado, a square next to Valencia’s central food market. Due to the increasing popularity of silk, Valencia was seen as a rich city with its silk market. The building radiates wealth and even here and there secret messages are incorporated in the stone. Since 1996, La Lonja has been on the UNESCO Heritage List… Something that Valencia can be proud of!
Who does not want to shop in Spain?! Big brands and different chain stores come from Spain and are certainly to be found in the streets of Valencia. In a side street of Playa Ayuntamiento you can find all kinds of beautiful shops where you can exchange your euros for beautiful clothes. This street is called Paseo de Ruzafa and continues in all sorts of other streets where you end up at more shopping Walhalla. Major chains such as Zara and H&M are inseparable here, with also a lot of variety of boutiques.
Where to sleep
From all the exploring and walking you can really get tired. Where can you actually sleep right in the centre? We tell you.
Want to sleep somewhere super comfortable and not too far away from the centre? Then Lotelito is the answer! Modern rooms with a beautiful bathroom at a soft price. You can stay in this well-kept hotel for as little as 44 euros per night. There are some lofts that Lotelito offers, which also have a kitchen with all the necessities so you can eat in. Do you prefer to eat outside the door? Then you can go to the cosy ‘Lotelito Bar’, where you can have breakfast, dinner or a drink.
For more information, prices or current information you can click here.
Ayre Hotel Astoria Palace
Staying in a palace? It is possible at this 4-star hotel, just behind Plaza Ayuntamiento. In this hotel you will be relieved of all your worries and you can just enjoy the beautiful room you sleep in. Equipped with a bathroom including bath, you can recover from a day in Valencia. The Ayre hotel is known for having a delicious breakfast, so you can start the day well in the morning! If you would like to have dinner outside the door, then this is the place to stay. At the small square next to the hotel, Placa de Rodrigo Botet, you can eat something at all kinds of cosy restaurants. Here you can find more information about the Ayre Hotel Astoria Palace.
Can you find the smallest house in Valencia? It is hidden behind Plaza de la Reina!
For the tastiest chocolate, ‘VALOR’ is definitely worth a visit. This chocolate gem is also located at Plaza de la Reina.