Bike through Turia Gardens
This 9 km (5.6 mile) ribbon of greenery winding through Valencia’s centre is a dry riverbed converted into a unique city park. It’s filled with all kinds of plants, flowers, playgrounds and event spaces. The best way to explore is by bike, and if you’ve got some energy to burn you can ride all the way from the Bioparc at the northern end to the City of Arts and Sciences in the south.
Marvel at the City of Arts and Sciences
One of the most famous icons of Valencia, this famous complex of futuristic buildings, mostly the work of architect Santiago Calatrava, looks like a sci-fi movie set. Kids will love exploring the spaces both inside and outside, especially the interactive exhibits at the science museum and the underwater Oceanografic world (see below for more on both).
Visit the aquarium
Within the City of Arts and Sciences you’ll find the Oceanografic, the largest aquarium in Europe and the second largest in the world. This fantastic attraction is something the whole family can enjoy. You’ll see sharks, whales, penguins and much more in this aquatic world, and for a really unique experience you can even dine in their restaurant, surrounded on all sides by marine life.
Carrer Eduardo Primo Yúfera, 1B, Valencia, Spain, +34 960 47 06 47
Check out the Science Museum
Another popular attraction for kids at the City of Arts and Sciences is the Prince Felipe Science Museum. Far from being filled with dusty old cabinets, the exciting exhibitons at this bright, modern museum are interactive and hands-on, bringing science to life for young visitors.
Av Profesor López Piñero, 7, Valencia, Spain, +34 961 97 46 86
Treat yourselves at the chocolaterias
For a sweet treat you can’t get much better than churros con chocolate, the famous long, fried doughnuts dipped in sugar and served with a cup of thick, hot chocolate. The kids will love it and so will you. There are chocolaterias and horchaterias serving this Spanish favourite all over town, and some great ones are found in the central squares of Plaza de la Reina, Plaza de Santa Catalina and Plaza de la Virgen.
Make time to play at Gulliver Park
Younger children will love this unique playground in the Turia gardens. An enormous figure of the giant Gulliver (of Gulliver’s Travels fame) sees visitors become Lilliputian-like and climb all over him, exploring the many hidden slides and staircases. Big kids will be pleased to know that adults are allowed to join in, too.
Spot wildlife at Bioparc Zoo
The open-air Bioparc Zoo is a must for animal lovers. It’s a modern zoo built with invisible borders, aiming to promote love and respect for nature while providing a great environment for both the animals living there and also the humans visiting. You can see lions, giraffes, elephants, lemurs and all kinds of other wildlife in areas dedicated to the Equatorial Forest, the Savannah, and other habitats.
Av. Pío Baroja, 3, Valencia, Spain, +34 902 25 03 40
Enjoy the Botanical Gardens
Nature lovers will enjoy the city’s large botanical gardens, part of the university, housing plant species from all corners of the globe. The tranquil atmosphere and educational information makes it a great place to take kids.
Carrer de Quart, 80, Valencia, Spain, +34 963 15 68 00
Visit Viveros Gardens
Another great city park to visit with kids is the huge Jardines del Real (Royal Gardens), better known as the Jardines de Viveros, or Viveros Gardens, filled with statues, fountains and flowers. Kids will love visiting the dinosaur skeletons at the Museum of Natural Sciences, as well as the aviary, the playground and the little reindeer-shaped train.
Hit the beach
If you’re visiting during the summer months, the best thing you can possibly do in Valencia is to head for the large, sandy city beach, Playa Las Arenas. It’s clean and safe with plenty of space to play and swim. If you want to check out some other local beaches, read our guide to the most beautiful beaches in Valencia.
Take a bus tour
There are so many things to see in Valencia, but walking along cobbled streets under the Spanish sun is hard work for little legs. If you want to check out the local sights in a short time without anyone getting tired, you might want to try using the tourist buses that can pick you up and drop you off at different points around town.
Time travel at the Prehistory Museum
Go back in time to see all kinds of artefacts dug up around the Valencia region, with everything from prehistoric cave drawings and ancient skulls to coins and other finds from the Roman period displayed at this museum. It’s one of Valencia’s top museums and is sure to have something to interest everyone in the family.
Centro Cultural La Beneficència, Calle Corona, 36, Valencia, Spain, +34 963 88 35 65
Feel the festivities at Museo Fallero
If you’re visiting for the city’s main festival, Las Fallas, you can find out what it’s all about here at this small museum dedicated to the history and customs of the festival. There are plenty of ninots, the colourful paper-maché figures that make up the huge fallas sculptures burnt at the end of the festival. These ninots were saved from the flames after being voted the best ones made that year.
Plaza Monteolivete, 4, Valencia, Spain, +34 963 52 54 78
Celebrate Las Fallas
This huge festival in March is the time of year Valencian kids look forward to most – some say even more than Christmas. And no wonder, as there are seemingly endless street parties and events, and the city puts on the biggest and best firework displays around. Plus, the streets become an open-air art gallery filled with hundreds of incredible paper-maché sculptures, and everyone eats churros with chocolate for breakfast. What’s not to like?
Explore El Carmen
Wandering through the historic streets of El Carmen – Valencia’s Old Town – can make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. Head for the little cobbled street of Calle Museo (‘Museum Street’) and search for the ‘House of Cats’, a tiny painted ‘house’ embedded into a wall, which kids will love. Nearby, the relaxed and kid-friendly Café Museo has a lovely shaded terrace under the trees which is perfect for a rest.
Carrer del Museu, 7, Valencia, Spain, +34 963 92 31 08