We absolutely loved Valencia. We spent 2 months there and found it to be a family-friendly, welcoming and creative city. In this post I’ll tell you about some of our favourite things to see and do there as a nomadic family and a worldschooler – some of them are well-known tourist spots and others are hidden gems.
If you’re looking for where to find the best paella in Valencia then our friends at Half This World Away have written this great guide.
(Note – we aren’t paid to write or review any of these places).
Principe Filipe Science museum
The museum is found in the Turia riverbed and is easily accessible by lots of buses. We felt the entrance price was really quite reasonable – €8 for an adult and €6,20 for a child. The museum has lots of different exhibitions including sections on sustainable living, dinosaurs, the life cycle of wood, biomechanics and an electricity theatre.
The things we really loved were that most of the exhibitions were interactive and didn’t require you to understand/speak Spanish in order to try them. There are lots of buttons and pulleys, wheels and switches for children to push and pull.
There is also a kiddies corner which has all sorts of fun things for kids to do. There is a mini animal corner in there with rabbits, frogs, fish and insects in it and also a role-play area where kids can build a large house using pulleys and wheelbarrows to transport foam bricks.
Undoubtedly the main attraction for my daughter was the incubators. The museum has 3 glass incubators and there are eggs that are ready to hatch inside. It was definitely the highlight of our visit.
This place is unlike any zoo we’ve ever been to. You feel like you are walking amongst the animals in their natural habitats as opposed to seeing animals in their cages. It was pretty cool seeing rhinos living with zebras and emus – we felt we were getting so close to the animals it was like we were on safari.
We could easily have spent a whole day here – there are lots of little play areas dotted around as well as a restaurant which is situated so you can watch the animals walking around whilst you eat. It was quite pricey but after the experience, we think it’s worth it (€23.80 for adults and €18 for kids).
We particularly loved seeing the giraffes and also the gorillas here. Roobs said her favourite animals were the hippos (she thought it was hilarious when they splashed us!)
Que viene el lobo cafe (Craft cafe)
We absolutely love this place. It’s a cafe in Campanar which is close to the city centre.
They have free wifi, lots of books and magazines for you to read, board games and of course they serve great coffee and food. The main draw for us was that they run daily art & craft workshops for kids – it costs €4 for your child to participate and you can sit and enjoy a coffee in the adjoining room.
Roobs met so many wonderful people here and her Spanish really improved. The workshop facilitators can all speak a little English and the activities they run don’t really need an understanding of Spanish. Roobs made pizza, a book of spells, cardboard binoculars, pictures, balloon animals….and LOADS more.
The sisters who own the cafe, Marta and Jema, are lovely people who make you feel welcomed and looked after. It’s a special place and probably the place we miss the most.
Gullivers Park (Parque Gulliver Valencia)
This is an amazing park! It is a series of slides, stairs, ropes and tunnels which are in the shape of a HUGE Gulliver (from Gulliver’s Travels) who is lying on the floor. It is pretty awesome to look at and sooooo much fun for kids! Our daughter squealed with excitement when she saw it and kept begging us to bring her back.
Roobs came here a few times and for the most part, had great fun.
However, word of warning, in the heat of the day the park gets really really hot. The slides aren’t metal but seem to made of a plasticy kind of material. The last time we went to the park we learnt the hard way that the slides can really burn your skin.
Gullivers Park information
This beach is accessible without a car as there are direct buses and trams from various parts of the city. Locals told us that it isn’t the best of Valencian beaches however we really enjoyed our trips here.
It is a long and sandy beach and the sea was really warm every time we went (May – June). There is a lovely promenade alongside the beach with lots of cafes/restaurants. There are little parks dotted around and the promenade is a popular place for cycling and jogging – and in Roobs’ case perfect for scooting.
Also, if you are a volleyball fan there are lots of volleyball nets on the beach which seem to be used on a first-come-first-served basis. We tried volleyball for the first time in Valencia and it was good fun.
We love the fact that we could be at the beach within 25 minutes and that it wasn’t overly crowded. There are handy outdoor showers for washing off the sand before you hop on the tram home.
Ok so this may seem like a strange one but this shop captivated Roobs and when she was finally allowed to buy something from there she was over the moon!
Belros is a chain of sweet shops and there are hundreds of different sweets, popcorn and chocolates. The prices are pretty reasonable and when Roobs was given a few Euros by her grandparents she was able to buy a small bag of goodies.
I think the main appeal for her is being able to choose and create your own little pick and mix selection. It was great for her to work out how much each item cost and see how many things she could get for €3! Education through sweets.
(Word of warning – the sales assistants do not like it when you put different priced sweets in the same bag! Use multiple bags if you need to).
We spent so much time in the riverbed. The real river used to run through here but was diverted over 50 years ago because of a terrible flood. (You can read the history here). Now the riverbed is a huge park and a lot of Valencia’s museums and sights are in it – including Gullivers park and both the Bioparc and Science museum.
There is a running track, cycling path, lots of little parks for kids, exercise parks for older people, baseball pitches, football pitches. It really is huge. We really enjoyed sitting in the cafes of the Turia – people watching and soaking up some sunshine.
Probably our favourite activity was cycling in the Turia. It is a really easy route because it’s all flat and the cycle path is clearly marked. You can hire bikes easily from various places near and along the river.
We hired bikes from Valencia Bikes and used them every time. We liked them because they were good value, always had children’s bikes available and were just so friendly.
The river bed is such a family-friendly place, lots for kids to do of all ages. We also found that most weekends there were concerts/events/festivals going on somewhere in the river bed. Make sure you check it out!
We also used the following websites to help find out about local events and activities that were going on in the city.
www.rodalabola.com Great site telling you about activities for kids.
www.au-agenda.com This is a site which has info about events that you can search by category. I even found out about adult macrame workshops using this.
Valencia Information Exchange A Facebook group you can join to find out about all sorts of stuff in Valencia.
As you can see there is sooooo much going on in Valencia for kids. And it’s not bad for grown-ups either ?
We loved our stay there and hope to return in the future.
Have you visited Valencia? What were your favourite things to do there?