Valencia City of Arts and Sciences at dusk

Valencia Cruise Port DIY Guide to City Centre & Top Sights

Situated on Spain’s picturesque eastern cost, Valencia cruise port is about 350 kms (217 miles) south of Barcelona. Popular on Western Mediterranean cruise itineraries, Valencia is also where paella is invented! In this DIY port guide, I’ll take you through how to get from Valencia cruise port to city centre, the top things to see & do once you get there and of course, I’ll include how to get to nearby Valencia beaches, so you can enjoy some Mediterranean sun!

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Valencia Cruise Port: Is a DIY Excursion Easy? 😎😎😎😎 (Straightforward)

While Valencia cruise port seems quite far away from both the Old Town and the futuristic architecture at the Centre of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias), a DIY shore excursion is relatively straightforward 😎😎😎😎. Here’s why:

  • Buses to Old Town: From Valencia cruise terminal, you’re a few minutes’ walk from public buses which will take you directly to Old Town. Buses to the Centre of Arts and Sciences, where the giant aquarium is, is also nearby
  • Walkable Old Town: Valencia’s Old Town is easily walkable. Europe’s largest fresh produce market is there, so there’s loads of spots to fuel up and take a break.
  • Tram to Beaches Or Just Walk: Closest beach is actually walkable from the cruise terminal. If you’d like to visit the famous La Malvarrosa beach, then trams are nearby too.

Valencia Spain Cruise Port Essentials: What You Need to Know

  • Valencia Cruise Port Schedule: Check port call schedules here
  • Valencia Cruise Port Address: Marina de Valencia Modulo Sur F1, 46024 Valencia, Spain – see this marked on my Valencia Cruise Port Map below 👇 Note: Larger cruise ships will typically dock on the outer piers. If your cruise ship docks in the outer piers, the port will provide a shuttle bus, so you’ll be dropped off at the terminal.
  • Currency: Euros
  • Language: Spanish & Catalan
  • Official Tourism Website: Visit Valencia
  • Transport App: I used Citymapper to navigate metro, trams and bus routes across the city. It also gave me good walking directions. I also tested Google Maps and it worked well, too.
  • eSIM for roaming in Spain: For a great data connection without the huge roaming fees, use an eSim data pack from Airalo. I always recommend having a smartphone with a valid plan when you’re at port touring independently. Get US$3 off your first eSIM data pack from Airalo when you use ROXANN1666 when you sign up or apply it at checkout

Valencia Cruise Port Map

  • On Desktop | Laptop? Use buttons on bottom left to zoom in/out. Click on the upper right hand corner to see a bigger version.
  • On Tablet | Mobile? Pinch your screen to zoom in/out and use two fingers to move map around. If you have Google Maps installed on your tablet/mobile, my map will open in your Google Maps app if you click on the upper right hand corner.
  • If map is not loading correctly, click here to see it directly on Google Maps.

Valencia cruise port to City Centre

  1. Locate the Cruise Port Shuttle: Take the port shuttle bus to the cruise terminal – the main Trasmed building (Link to Google Maps)
  2. Take Bus #4 to the City Centre (Old Town): From the shuttle drop-off point, walk a short distance to the bus stop called “Manuel Soto Enginyer – Comandiancia Marina” with an EMT sign (Valencia’s public bus system”)
  3. Pay for Ticket with Contactless: Buses accept contactless cards (Visa / Mastercard). A single journey is €1.50. Note cash is not accepted on buses. Check real-time bus arrivals on the Citymapper app. The bus journey will take 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.
  4. Hop Off at Town Hall Square: For the historic Old Town, Central Market, La Lonja, alight at “Plaça de l’Ajuntament” (Town Hall Square)

Valencia Shore Excursion: Top Sights & Experiences from the Cruise Port

Ready for your DIY Valencia shore excursion? This guide highlights the best things to see and do in Valencia, within easy reach of your cruise port. For a DIY port day in Valencia, I would recommend taking the bus into Old Town. If you have time, energy or both, the stunning architecture at Centre of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) is really worth seeing.

1. Valencia Cathedral (Catedral de Valencia)

Plaza de la Reina, Valencia Old Town, Spain
Taken from Plaza de la Reina, with view of the Cathedral and its bell tower

Dating back to the 13th century, Valencia Cathedral was built on an ancient Roman template that was later a mosque. Today, Valencia Cathedral is most famous for the Holy Chalice and is purported to be the Holy Grail, the cup used by Jesus during the Last Supper.

The cup itself is plain, without decoration and dates back to the 1st century. The base (an inverted cup) and handles with pearls and precious stones dates back to the 11th century, when it was supposedly added to protect the Holy Grail.

  • How to get there: Follow instructions above to get to Old Town by bus and alight at “Plaça de l’Ajuntament” stop. From there, the Cathedral is 5-7 minutes walk on flat ground.
  • Opening Hours: 10:30am – 6:30pm Monday – Friday, 10:30 – 5:30pm Saturday, 2pm – 5:30pm Sunday. Double-check opening hours on cathedral’s website.
  • Tickets: €9 for adults, €6 for kids, students and seniors. Free for kids under 8. Includes an excellent audio guide. I followed the audio guide and the visit took about an hour.
  • Facilities: WCs are in the museum portion of the cathedral.

If you want to climb the bell tower (the “El Miguelete“), it’s 207 steps up a spiral staircase to the top! But it will give you incomparable views of Valencia’s Old Town. The Bell Tower has different opening hours:

  • Bell Tower Opening Hours: 10am to 6:45pm daily.
  • Tickets: €2.50 for adults, €1.50 for kids, students and seniors. Kids under 8 are free. You can purchase the Bell Tower ticket on its own.

2. Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda)

Inside the Contract Hall of the Silk Exchange, Valencia, Spain
Inside the Contract Hall of the SIlk Exchange

A few minutes walk from the Cathedral is the Silk Exchange. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Silk Exchange is a late Gothic building originally used for trading silk. Built in the 15th century, the main hall, known as the Contract Hall, features a vaulted ceiling adorned with elaborate ribbed arches and carvings.

The attraction itself is rather small with a nice garden patio and a few rooms to explore beside the main hall. Don’t miss the 12-min video playing on a loop next to the main hall.

  • Opening Hours: 10am to 7pm Monday to Saturday. 10am to 2pm Sunday. Check opening hours here.
  • Tickets: €2 adults, €1 for students & seniors. Free for kids.

3. Mercado Central

Inside Valencia Mercando Central, with people walking around stalls
Photo by Eleni Afiontzi on Unsplash

Mercado Central, the central market, is the largest fresh produce market in Europe. For foodies, this is definitely worth a visit.

There’s more than 1,200 stalls with plenty of options if you want to taste the food. I saw many stalls selling samplers of different kinds of cheese, ham, olives etc. Wine stalls were selling tasting glasses. There are also sit down bars where you can have tapas and sandwiches. Head there early, as the market will close by 3pm. As with most shops frequented by locals, it is closed on Sundays.

  • Opening Hours: 7:30am to 3pm Monday – Saturday. Closed Sundays.
  • Stores Map: Click here for the stores map but it’s just easiest to walk around. Most stores with ready-to-eat goodies are on the outer edges of the market.

Alternatively, join an Old Town walking tour here, followed by a sit down tapas lunch at Barrio del Carmen – the most colourful and lively district in Valencia.

4. Barrio del Carmen

Collage of street art in Barrio del Carmen district in Valencia.
Collage of street art I saw while wondering around El Carmen

Barrio del Carmen is a historic neighbourhood located within the city’s Old Town. You’ll find narrow cobblestone streets, colourful buildings adorned with street art, trendy bars, cafes, boutiques and art galleries.

Barrio del Carmen is also known for its nightlife, though most cruise passengers would have long gone by the time the bars start to open. I had a wonderful time browsing the street art. Just keep walking north from the Silk Exchange or the Central Market and you’ll get to the district.

5. City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias)

City of Arts and Sciences complex in Valencia, Spain

The City of Arts and Sciences (CAC) is situated at the southeast end of the former riverbed of the river Turia, which was drained and re-routed after a catastrophic flood in 1957.

Many sci-fi films and TV shows have used the CAC as a backdrop, with the most famous recent example being the HBO TV series Westworld. If you’ve watched the show, you’ll instantly recognise the CAC as the Delos headquarters. Re-live the show and zip around the CAC in your own Segway!

The complex consists of the Museu de les Ciències (a science museum), the Oceanogràfic (an Aquarium), the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (an opera house) and the Hemisfèric (an IMAX cinema and planetarium).

If you’re traveling with kids, then the most kids-friendly activity in the CAC is the Oceanogràfic – it’s the second largest Aquarium in Europe and I spent 3 hours there. All the usual favourites are there including dolphins, penguins and sea lions. Beluga whale Kylu was born in the aquarium. Pre-booking is a must during summer months, as the aquarium is very popular with locals.

On the other hand, the Museu de les Ciències is not kids-friendly, at least not to English speaking kids. All information is either in Spanish and/or Catalan. For some exhibits, an online English guide is accessible via QR code but I gave up shortly after. It wasn’t user friendly and I spent more time staring into my phone than the exhibit.

How to get from Valencia cruise port to the City of Arts and Sciences (CAC)

  • Cruise Terminal to Bus: From Valencia cruise port, follow directions above to the same bus stop called “Manuel Soto Enginyer – Comandiancia Marina“. Catch Bus #95 and pay using a contactless card (or Apple/Android Pay on your phone).
  • Journey Time: The bus journey should take about 15 mins.
  • Pick your stop! For the aquarium, get off at the stop called “Oceanogràfic”. The complex is huge, so for the science Museum, alight at the next stop called “Museu de les Ciències” and for the Hemisfèric or the Palau de les Arts, get off at the following stop called “Les Arts”.

Once you’ve visited the complex, head north and take a break at the Turia Gardens. Alternatively, there are two big malls and the famous Spanish departure store El Corte Ingles have a big store close by too.

How to get from Old Town to the City of Arts and Sciences (CAC)

If you’ve just finished visiting the attractions in Valencia Old Town and want to stop by the CAC before heading back to the cruise port, then walk north from the Cathedral or Barrio del Carmen until you get to the main road across from the Turia Gardens.

  • Old Town to CAC: Bus stop “Blanqueria – Pare d’ Òrfens” or “Torres dels Serrans” are where Bus route #95 stops. It takes about 10 mins and will stop at either “Le Arts” or “Ciutat de la Justicia” for the CAC.
  • CAC to Cruise Port: This same #95 will also take you back to the port. So once you’ve finished sightseeing at the CAC, find the same bus stop and it will take you back to the cruise port.

6. Valencia Beaches

La Malvarrosa beach, Valencia, Spain
La Malvarrosa beach, image courtesy of Visit Valencia

There’s 20 kms (12.5 miles) of glorious beaches in Valencia. So if you fancy a beach day on your Mediterranean cruise, then Valencia may just have what you’re looking for! The most famous beach is La Malvarrosa. There are loads of kiosks, cafes and restaurants for refreshments, as well as sunshades and deck chairs for hire.

How to get from Valencia cruise port to La Malvarrosa beach

  • Walk to Tram Stop: Once you’re outside the cruise terminal, walk around the bay for 10-15 minutes to a tram stop called “Grau – La Marina“. The walk is 1km (0.6 mile) on flat ground. Catch tram #6 (Direction: Tossal Del Rei) to stop La Cadena.
  • Tickets: For trams, you’ll need to purchase AND validate your ticket before boarding the tram. (Strangely enough, there are no ticket validators on the trams themselves.) You’ll find ticket machines at each stop, with euro coins & notes accepted, as well as cards, including contactless.
  • Once you get off the tram, you should be able to see the beach.

Alternatively, the closest beach Playa de las Arenas is about 20-25 minutes walk on flat ground from the cruise terminal. A walk from the cruise terminal to La Malvarrosa will take 30-35 minutes.

7. Albufera National Park

The Albufera is the largest freshwater lagoon in Spain. The wetlands attract a lot of birdwatchers but most tourists these day come here for two things: to see where the paella was born and to ride in the traditional flat bottom boats, with pointed ends called “albuferencs”.

These boats are designed to navigate the shallow waters of the lagoon and were traditionally used for fishing. Boat trips are generally about 30-45 minutes and will serve you paella with a drink.

Albufera National Park is only 10kms (6 miles) from the city. So despite it being a little off the beaten track, I’ve included it as a potential half day excursion idea for those who might want a DIY excursion there. (It did take me half a day!) If you’re not keen on a boat trip, El Palmar are full of restaurants serving the most amazing paella.

Do check the weather forecast before hopping on the bus here! I arrived on a particularly windy day and I definitely did not like the idea of being on a flat bottom boat, potentially be blown away!

How to get from Valencia cruise port to Albufera National Park

  • Terminal to Bus Stop: Follow instructions above to walk to bus stop “”Manuel Soto Enginyer – Comandiancia Marina“. Tale Bus #95 to stop “Museu de les Ciències“.
  • Interchange at CAC: Then cross to the bus stop on the opposite side of the road and catch Bus #24 to get to El Palmar to see a traditional fishing villages with lots of paella restaurants.
  • Boat Trips: Alternatively, both Bus #24 and #25 will get you to “Embarcador de L’Albufera” for boat trips. From this stop, you can also walk to the beach on the opposite side of the lagoon.
  • Journey Time: Bus journey takes about an hour each way, so make sure that you factor sufficient time to get back to the port.
  • What to See: Besides the boat ride and eating paella, there’s a lagoon, birth watching hides, walking trails as well as some nice beaches in the National Park. But it’s not that easy to go from one thing to another without hopping on a bus or walking long distances, as the National Park is massive. So decide what you want to see & do first.

Note: I would highly recommend that you only do this DIY excursion if you have access to a smartphone and a working data connection. I did this DIY excursion on a weekday and buses during the day can sometimes be up to 30 minutes apart. So having access to real-time bus departure departure / arrival times were extremely helpful.

Featured Image with thanks to Luca from Pixabay

Happy cruising and hope you’ll have a most wonderful day at port in Valencia! I’ve spent a few days in total in Valencia and it’s a wonderful city with lots of history, culture, nature and of course, paella! If this guide has been helpful to you, please do share it. Sharing buttons are on the side. Drop me a comment below if you have any questions!

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