The twin-towered stone gates of the Torres de Serranos are all that remains of Valencia’s original city walls. The imposing 14th century gates were the city’s main exit to Barcelona and northern Spain.
Today the gates are a popular photo stop, and you can climb to the top for great views of Valencia.
Free guided tours take you through the battlements and walkways every day except Mondays.
Known for its jumble of architectural styles, Valencia Cathedral (also known as the ""Seu"") is also famous worldwide as the home of the Holy Chalice. While the cathedral’s dome and tower are Gothic, the main entrance is Baroque and some of the chapels date from the Renaissance.
Take a tour to learn more about the cathedral’s architectural history and treasures, or just pop in to pay your respects to the Holy Grail in the flamboyant Capilla del Santo Caliz near the main entrance. It’s claimed to be the chalice from the Last Supper.
The de Borja chapel boasts some lovely frescoes by Goya and the museum reveals a rich collection of vestments and statues.
Cruise ships dock about 2.5 miles (4 km) from the center of Valencia. It is walkable but some ships provide shuttles or taxis are easily found to take you to the central and picturesque Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Otherwise, you can stay in the docks area, which is a lively mix of old and new architecture, restaurants and bars.
From well-preserved Plaza del Ayuntamiento you can wander the ancient streets of Barrio del Carmen, as well as visit the many museums and churches including the Cathedral in the Placa de la Reina, a visually-striking opera house and music hall, and the nearby Gothic Basilica of the Virgin in the Placa de le Verge. The fabulous City of Arts and Sciences includes the aquarium L’Oceanografic - which is primarily under the sea and includes 45,000 creatures from 500 species in different habitats including whales, sharks, penguins and dolphins. The building itself is a very modern building designed by famed contemporary architect Salvatore Calatrava.
The grand Plaza Ayuntamiento is one of Valencia’s three main squares.
The stunning plaza has a fountain and patch of grass at its heart, and is flanked by some of Valencia’s most important buildings.
The bell tower of the neoclassical town hall chimes on the hour, and inside the opulent decor features marble and richly carved wood.
The post office is more like a theater than an administrative building, with a leaded-glass dome. The plaza is a popular meeting spot for local Valencians, and is the focus for fireworks displays during the annual Fallas Festival.
Valencia’s fine arts museum, the Museo de Bellas Artes, is one of the finest in Spain. Lovers of Spanish art will swoon over the works by El Greco, Goya, Velazquez and Murillo displayed here.
Gothic art is also a highlight, including tempura paintings by early Spanish painters. Perhaps the gallery’s most famous artwork is the brooding self-portrait by Velazquez.
Several hundreds of years ago, the city of Valencia – and much of the Iberian Peninsula, really – was under Muslim control. While most remnants of those times have long faded, you can still catch a glimpse of them at the 14th-century Admiral’s Baths (Baños Arabes del Almirante), the only ones of their kind left in the seaside city.
Although these particular baños were actually constructed just after Valencia came under Catholic rule, they remain very representative of Mudéjar architecture, and of hammam baths found elsewhere in Spain and the world. Indeed, they are composed of common hammam features, including rooms of cold, warm and hot temperatures (the latter being sauna-like). Meanwhile, you’ll see other typically Arabic bath-style details such as the horseshoe-shaped arches and the geometric skylights. The Admiral’s Baths weren’t only used hundreds of years ago, either, but actually remained in use until the 20th century.
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