Valencia is the third biggest city of Spain, after Madrid and Barcelona. But unlike these crowded and touristy places, Valencia still seems to be an insider tip. Valencia tourism didn’t increase as fast as in Madrid and Barcelona, but is on the upgrade. And the city has a lot to offer, that is for sure!
Brief history of tourism in Valencia
It’s hard to believe, but Valencia has once been an industrial center with run-down quarters no tourist would like to get lost. In the mid-1990s, the cities transformation to a vibrant city with many places of interest started slowly. Local landmarks like the ancient towers of the medieval city, Torres de Serrans and Torres de Quart, were restored. The unique and dreamy quarter of El Carmen, a place where once drug dealers roamed the streets and the historical buildings decayed, was renovated with a love to detail and an immense budget.
But not only the historic center of the city was embellished, the beaches of the north side of the port (Malvarossa, Las Arenas and Cabanyal) got a 4 kilometer long promenade lined with palm trees. This made the beaches much more attractive for a nice beach holiday.
Valencia tourism flourished, and soon venues for trade events were installed as well as several 5-star hotels to accommodate the business travelers coming for the trade events.
Las Fallas festival played a crucial role in Valencia tourism
On 25 January 1965, The Las Fallas festival was declared Celebrations of International Tourist Interest. Surely, it really has earned this title. The craziness of the Las Fallas festival is unique in all over the world, and definitely a party any tourist would like to see. So do the locals, by the way. It is not possible to avoid it when staying during the time of the festival, which happens to take place for one week in March.
Not surprisingly, hotels in Valencia and the surrounding area are booked completely months before the great craziness. If you want to take part in it, be an early bird and book at the end of the Las Fallas festival in order to be ready for next years’ celebrations!
Many world-class events were hosted in Valencia, and that helped to spark Valencia tourism. The 32nd and 33rd America’s Cup competition, the European Grand Prix of the Formula One racing, the Valencia Open tennis competition and the Global Champions Tour of equestrian sports undoubtedly play a part in the development of tourism in Valencia.
Facts and figures about Valencia tourism
Nowadays, Valencia is a place of great touristy interest. In 2016, Valencia had nearly 2,000,000 visitors and overnight stays climbed to almost 4,500,000. These figures tell that Valencia tourism flourishes and numbers climb steadily each year. Most visitors come from Italy, France, Holland, the UK and Germany. The mild climate is a good incentive for tourists, but the many sights and possibilities for activities are points to mention why tourists want to spend their holiday in Valencia.
In August, the number of visitors peaks, when people spend their main holiday and want to enjoy some sunny days at the beach and warm nights to celebrate life. But they don’t only come for the beach, but for the many interesting places to visit as well. The L’Oceanografic is the place that is visited most frequently, followed by the Principe Filipe Science Museum and the Bioparc.
Tourists come for the many sporting events, for doing some sport or for enjoying the cultural sights. So Valencia is one of the most varied cities and tourist visit on a variety of grounds!
General tourist information
If you are considering visiting Valencia, it is very nice to know some things beforehand. For example, that there are two official languages in Valencia. You might wonder that you don’t understand people talking. But hey, it is not because your school Spanish wasn’t any good, it could be that they are talking in “Valenciano”, the language of the region.
When it comes to eating habits, there are a few things to consider. Valencian restaurants serve lunch between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm and dinner not before 8:30. This might be strange for many visitors, since dinner is served a bit earlier in most places.
Shopping can be carried out every day of the year. Although small shops close on Sundays and public holiday and have their siesta times, the big places are open every day. So you won’t have to worry about not being able to spend all your holiday money!
When it comes to paying in a restaurants, tips are always included in a bill. So they are not expected, but if you found the service satisfactory, you can leave a small tip. After asking for “la cuenta”, you will get back the change. Just leave whatever you want to tip on the table. You might leave a smile on your waiters face by doing so!
You can find tourist information centers at many central points of the city. The friendly staff can help you with information on the city in several language. You can buy tickets for many tourist services, inform yourself about cultural attractions and shows, buy souvenirs, book a last-minute hotel room or purchase the Valencia Tourist Card there.
There are Valencia tourism centers at the airport, at the town hall, at Valencia Paz, at Joaquin Sorollo, at the beach and at the port. So feel free to ask any question you might have on Valencia. They will be able to tell you where you can find the next Segway rental, where you can purchase the newest and most exclusive fashion or how much the entry fee to one of the many museums of Valencia will be. They might even give you hints on which places around Valencia might be worth to pay a visit, like for example the Albufera National Park.
Valencia Tourist Card
The tourist card of Valencia comes in very handy if you want to enjoy free public transport around the city (including your journey to the airport) and want to have free entry to public museums and monuments. Furthermore, it offers you discounts of up to 50 % on some tourist and leisure services of shops and restaurants.
There is also a Valencia children’s tourist card for children aged between 6 and 12. Children younger than 6 travel for free on public transport anyway and they can join tourist attractions for free or at a reduced rate.
If you don’t require public transport, the 7-day Valencia tourist card might be the right one for you. You can save up to 50 % on tickets, tourist services and leisure activities.
The Valencia tourist card is available for 24, 48 or 72 hours, so if you just stay a day or enjoy the city a bit longer, there is the right card for you!