[Spain] Valencia with kids
April, 3 families with 7 year-old kids, 5 days and a city to explore.
We chose Valencia because it got a reputation of being a very family and child friendly city. Plus the Spanish way of living and the good weather. We spent 5 days in the city in mid April, enjoying the sun and the warm temperatures, walked a lot, explored the beach and the city center and made sure that we keep the kids entertained for the whole time.
We haven’t visited too many Spanish cities (Barcelona mostly and some towns in the south), but Valencia conquered me. I liked it because it’s still not that touristic, it’s big enough not to get bored too fast and small enough as to not spend too much time going from one place to the other, being able to walk almost everywhere. It gave me the impression that it is still conserving its authenticity and its true spirit. Locals say that the city evolved so much in the last 10 – 15 years and a lot of things have changed for the better.
For the kids
The kids where the main reason we chose Valencia so most of the time spent in the city was dedicated to them. There are plenty of activities to chose from and a good starting point is tocheck the Valencia Official Website.
Oceanografic – this is definitely a highlight of the city, both for kids and adults. It’s a 4 – 5 hours adventure so take time to check all the areas of the park and dive in. It’s Europe’s largest aquarium, a tribute to marine life, representing most of the ecosystems of the world’s seas and oceans. We enjoyed it as much as the kids and were so impressed about the diversity of species. I consider it an excellent biology and diversity lesson.
Science Museum – very interactive museum, with lots of exhibitions about Earth, the Solar System, the Human Body and many others. Kids are allowed to touch and experiment all through the visit which keeps them entertained and busy. I would consider it more suitable for older kids (10-12 years and older) as there is lots of information to read and understand and they need to have a bit of a science background. For our 7 years-old kids it was fun, there were a lot of exhibitions where they didn’t get the whole picture of the subject, but it was a good starting point for the next years of study. It’s also a long ride, we spent around 5 hours.
Hemisferic – you can watch 3D movies, they are short (20 – 30 minutes), but worth a try if you are around the Science Museum and Oceanografic area. For the Science Museum, Oceanografic and Hemisferic you can get a combined ticket online for a better price and you also skip the lines at the entrance.
Bioparc Valencia – a biology and diversity lesson about Africa and its ecosystems. I liked it that it looks very animal friendly, it’s not a regular Zoo where you keep animals in cages, rather they have their own outdoors habitat where some species live together. Allow yourself 3 – 4 hours in the park.
Gulliver Park – a 70m figure of Gulliver lying down, full of slides, climbing ropes and ladders. It was for sure a place that the kids enjoyed very much. It can get crazy busy with parents and kids, so we only tried it once, the stress of constantly trying to see where our children where was too much for us adults.
The beach – a 20 – 30 minute bus drive from the city center and you are directly on the beach. On a sunny weather, the kids love spending their time digging in the sand. I would guess summer tends to get busy and crowded, but still an excellent choice for a hot day.
Turia Gardens – Nine kilometers of flat green areas that cross the city along the length of the old Turia riverbed. Lots of shade and plenty of natural areas to explore with the kids.
In search of ice-cream and something sweet we would also take long walks around the city center. Valencia is truly charming, with its traditional architecture, with its small bodegas, always full of people and good vibe.
Have a walk on Gran Via de Ramon y Cajal, to enjoy the shade of huge palms and to explore the authentic architecture of the city.
Check out Mercat Central and Mercat Colon.
While at the Oceanografic and Science Museum, wonder around the Ciudad de las Artas y las Ciencias – the architecture is absolutely amazing. A few of our friends also tried the Opera.
Places to eat and drink
Ostras Pedrín Valencia – excellent place for oysters, smoked fish and gourmet canned sea food. Small place, but top quality stuff going on in there, so if you’re really into fresh oysters, this is it!
La Fabrica de Hielo – cool bar and small club close to the beach, my kind of vibe, cool people, nice drinks
Tasca El Botijo – clasical Spanish bodega, excellent food, super friendly and helpful staff. Always a must try – la tomate valenciana
Quesomentero Cheese Bar – Spanish cheese and wine bar, the waiters give you lots of info about the cheese.
MiCub – nice place in Mercat Colon, very good sea food and lots of tasty tapas to share, most of them cooked with the fresh ingredients from the market.
Bar El Kiosko – good place for tapas, in the city center
La Pepica – traditional bodega right next to the beach. A bit more expensive, but very tasty tapas and sea food.
Map and photo gallery
The map includes some extra recommendation that we didn’t get the chance to try out.
Nice article. For me interesting to compare the experience we made without kids in Valencia 🙂