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Cheaper and quieter than Spain‘s other big cities, yet just as interesting, Valencia is an ideal budget holiday getaway to make your money go further, with an easily walkable centre, plentiful accommodation and lots of free things to see and do. Here’s our ultimate guide to visiting Valencia on a budget.
No need to fork out for taxis here; Valencia has a fast, clean, safe and reliable system of buses, trams and metro trains. Even getting around at night is simple enough with the night bus system. Ask for information at the helpful English-speaking metro office inside the airport when you arrive, as although ticket machines can be used in English they’re a little confusing. You can also check out this guide before you go. Oh, and the airport is only a 20-minute metro ride from the centre, and tickets cost less than €4 (US$4.7) per person.
Many people imagine Valencia is all about the beach, but in fact it’s a half-hour public transport journey to and from the city centre, and making the trip every day means an added expense. For most people the best place to stay is in the Old City district, next to all the sights but with the option of an easy trip to the beach. There are lots of good-value hotels, hostels and Airbnbs around the historic centre. One good bet is the Home Youth Hostel, located smack bang in the middle of the Old Town next to some of Valencia’s top sights, or the stylish 7 Moons near the Turia Gardens.
See the sights on foot
As you’d expect of Spain’s third-biggest city, Valencia isn’t short on sights. Luckily a lot of them are concentrated in the Old City district, a relatively small area that’s easily explored on foot. Plus, walking the cobbled streets is enjoyable in itself.
Absorb the architecture
Main sights here include Plaza de la Reina and Plaza de la Virgen with its views of the Cathedral, where the main attraction is climbing the 207 steps of its bell tower, El Miguelete to get a bird’s-eye view of the city (and an intense leg workout). Entry to the tower is €2.
A visit to La Lonja de la Seda is also just a couple of euros, while across the road it’s free to wander through the huge Central Market and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells.
The famous City of Arts and Sciences is more expensive to visit, though you can walk in the surrounding gardens and check out the famous buildings for free.
Check out the street art
While you’re in the Old City, head for the El Carmen neighbourhood at its northern end. You never know what you’ll come across in this curious tangle of narrow lanes filled with medieval architecture and huge, colourful street art murals by local artists.
Take some time out
Relaxing is serious business in Valencia. If you feel like doing nothing at all on holiday this is a great place to be, and of course it’s free to soak up the sun. With numerous green city parks and endless stretches of great sandy beaches up and down the coastline, grab your book and beach towel and enjoy some relaxation in the Valencian sunshine.
See museums for free
Valencia has plenty of fantastic museums and entry is usually inexpensive. Even better, on Sundays entry to many of the city’s museums, including the IVAM and the Archealogical Museum, is free of charge.