Valencia, Spain is a fantastic place to visit with children and is full of sights and activities for the whole family to enjoy. My family and I spent three glorious months living in the Cabanyal area of Valencia. We have three young children – four-year-old twins and a baby that turned one during our time in Spain. We personally did all but a few of the items on this list, and you will have even more options to do with older children (that can ride their own bicycle, for example).
This is a pretty big list because we were there for quite a while, and it includes some things that you probably shouldn’t do if you only have a few days. As such, I have organized it so that the must-sees are near the top!
Climb and Slide at Gulliver Park
It’s so good, it has to be first on the list. Gulliver Park is a gigantic and unique playground that entertains both children and adults. It is truly a remarkable sight and so much fun to play on. Our whole family, from baby to parents, enjoyed climbing and sliding on the massive structure resembling the character from Gulliver’s Travels. And it’s FREE!
Unlike most playgrounds, this one has hours. Gulliver Park is opened from 10AM-8PM in April, May, June and September; 10AM to 9PM in July and August, but with a four-hour midday siesta; and 10AM-5PM in October through March. Gulliver Park is located right inside Turia Park and can easily be combined with other sightseeing in and around Turia.
Pro-tip: There is a smaller, “normal” playground just a few minutes down south from Gulliver Park that is right next to a little cafe. Sit and sip a cafe con leche while the kids enjoy their second playground of the day.
Dive Deep at Oceanografic
A trip to Valencia with children is incomplete without a stop at the city’s aquarium, Oceanografic. It is the largest aquarium in Europe after all! Our kids love the tunnel aquariums (especially in the shark exhibit), the dolphin show, and the playground toward the back near the shark exhibit.
Oceanografic is located in the south end of Turia Park in the City of Arts and Sciences. It is hard to miss and served by several bus lines. This is one of the pricier attractions in Valencia, so do research beforehand on where you want to visit in City of Arts and Sciences to see if a bundled attraction ticket makes sense.
Pro-tip: Show up early on a weekday to beat some of the crowds. It’s a completely different (calm, relaxing) place without all of the people.
Have an Adventure at Bioparc Valencia
Bioparc Valencia is a really beautiful zoo. The animal enclosures are gorgeous, open, and allow for different species to cohabitat. You can get up close and personal with lemurs in their cage-less enclosure (arrive early to see them when they are first let outside!). The midday show is also quite engaging and sends birds soaring while other animals galavant in front of the crowd. Our favorite exhibit is the hippos and tropical fish tank.
The Bioparc easily accessible by bus or the metro, despite being a little out of the main scene. I’ve seen buy-one-get-one coupons floating around and an annual pass pays for itself after three visits, should you want to stay in Valencia a while.
- The kids playground is tucked back in a way that makes it your last stop. The parc is small enough that you can easily pop over if kids need to get wiggles out sooner.
- Fight (or, you know, wait patiently) for a table overlooking the savannah exhibit at lunch. It is worth it!
(Quad)Bike in Jardines del Turia
This is probably my favorite “touristy” activity we did in Valencia. It was a lovely way to explore Turia Park and very enjoyable for all of our kids, including the baby.
We rented a quadricycle, or “surrey,” for an hour and a half and biked our little hearts out. You can find quadricycles for rent at Cyclobikes Valencia next to Gulliver Park. We peddled up to Pont de les Flors (Flower Bridge) before circling back to see the City of Arts & Sciences and returned the bike in the nick of time. I’d suggest at least two hours for exploring and stopping at a cafe in Turia Park.
Pro-tip: Quadbiking is not easy breezy, so don’t forget water! I definitely thought that it was a very leisurely ride until my husband stopped peddling (to prove a point) and I realized that I clearly hadn’t been pulling my weight!
Spend a Day at the Beach
The center of Valencia has its many charms, but the beach really elevates the city to the next level. Be sure to spend a day at one of the city’s beautiful beaches. The beach near Cabanyal is incredibly accessible by public transport (bus 95 or a combo of the metro and tram). It is a bustling area lined with restaurants, one that supposedly has the best paella in Valencia. You can find a huge park on the very south end, near the marina.
Playas Marvalosa and Patacona are a tad further up the coast. You don’t have to go far to find a playground or a restaurant. This is another great area to rent a bicycle if it suits your family. Our bunch can’t all fit on/ride bikes, but a girlfriend and I rented some and had a blast. You can also feasibly walk the entire stretch.
Pro-tip: La Más Bonita in Patacona has the best cake and cheesecake I have ever eaten in my entire life. Try the Red Velvet and then send me a message thanking me for the recommendation.
Go on a Ride at the EcoKids Market
Wooden, hand-cranked rides like a four-person Ferris wheel and carousel are the stars of the charming EcoKids Market. Children can enjoy these rides as well as trampolines, an obstacle course, a toy archery range, and more.
A wristband for unlimited rides costs only 6€. Kids ages 3 to 8 are best suited for these activities, though children ages 2 to 12 are welcome. The EcoKids Market only operates from late April until early September (their website is not accurate or updated). It is located on the north side of the marina, near the south end of the Cabanyal Beach.
Pro-tip: Be sure to purchase some delicious chewy candy from one of the vendor stalls! It is the very best I’ve ever had.
Wander the Central Market
Valencia’s Mercat Central is located in the city’s historic center and it should not be missed. The stalls vary widely between practical groceries and items clearly catered to tourists. The latter could be seen as a negative, but there ain’t no shame in my “wine in a cup while pushing a stroller through a market” game. The easy to grab and eat cups of fruits, juices, horchata, meats, cheeses, and sweet treats make it an excellent place to eat, meander and explore. We love giving our kids a few euros to spend on their own and seeing their little faces light up as they carefully (or not so carefully, depending on the child) choose their treat and pay the vendor.
Mercat Central is open Monday through Saturday, 7:30AM-3PM.
Pro-tip: Try to also visit a neighborhood market like Russafa’s or Cabanyal’s. We loved our local market in Cabanyal and Justin really misses his “meat guy”. The kids and I miss our “candy lady” because that is our priority at most markets.
Water Orb at the City of Arts & Sciences
The City of Arts & Sciences is truly out of this world. I always feel like I am walking through a futuristic city and I live out all of my childhood fantasies about being in The Jetsons’ world. You must wander through this area on your trip to Valencia, but kick it up a notch and bounce around in a giant ball on that pristine blue water! My four-year-olds each went in their own ball, but I have a friend who got to share one with her kiddo.
The water orbs are between the Science Museum and the Hemisfèric. Five euro will buy you fifteen minutes. You can also take a standup peddle boat or a clear canoe out for a spin.
Pro-tip: Do not attempt water orbing on a really hot day. It is a sauna in there! My kids came out drenched with sweat.
See a Show at the Hemisfèric
After your water orbing adventure, pop on over to the Hemisfèric to see an IMAX show. Current offerings, for example, are films on the Apollo 11 mission, Mars, dinosaurs, and volcanoes. The films are about 45 minutes long. Languages offered are Spanish, Valencian, English and French or Italian (via headsets).
Tickets are 8€ for adults, 6€ for kids ages 4 to 12, and free for kids 3 and under. Again, do research beforehand on where you want to visit in City of Arts and Sciences to see if a bundled attraction ticket makes sense.
Explore the Science Museum
You have one more stop to make in the City of Arts & Sciences, the Museu de les Ciències. The Science Museum is a place that we frequented often and there always seemed to be something new to see.
Our littles thoroughly enjoyed the children’s level. The exhibit centers around storybooks and makes connections between a scientific concept and a story, which is quite clever and very well executed. There is also a separate play area for children ages 3 to 8 where children can build, splash, smell, draw and more. Only 25 children are admitted at a time and it closes midday for a few hours.
Tickets are 8€ for adults, 6€ for kids ages 4 to 12, and free for kids 3 and under. You already know what I’m going to say about bundling tickets!
Pro-tip: There is an area with a huge bin of LEGOs in the corner of the third floor at which we never saw any other kids.
I cannot emphasize this enough, there are SO many playgrounds around Valencia. You cannot walk for more than five minutes without running into one. Our kids loved being able to go from one playground right over to another. Or, find one next to a cafe, and you are in business!
Playgrounds around Valencia vary greatly in size, with some only having a slide, a small climbing structure and maybe a bouncy riding horse. Larger ones should show up on Google Maps. There are a couple of great playgrounds in Turia Park, other than Gulliver, of course. We also really loved the playground at the Marina and on the Cabanyal Beach.
Eat at 100 Montaditos
Anyone who lives in Valencia or has visited probably just chuckled at this suggestion, but hear me out! 100 Montaditos is a chain restaurant found in Spain. I have also seen one in Portugal, and I heard rumors that there’s one in Washington D.C…
Things we love about 100 Montaditos: It’s fast (a rarity!). It’s very picky-eater-friendly. It literally has a 100 types of little sandwiches to choose from, all for 1-2€ a piece. It is SO inexpensive. Our family of five can eat there, with drinks, for under 20€.
Are there better restaurants in Valencia? A hundred percent, yes! Was 100 Montaditos my kids favorite? A hundred percent, yes.
Pro-tip: Eat anything with goat cheese and order a Tinto de Verano.
Hop On, and Off, a Bus
I am a big fan of hop-on-hop-off bus tours. Yes, they’re super touristy, but it is an excellent way to see all of the major sites of a city, especially if you don’t have much time.
Valencia Bus Turistic offers three routes around the city. One will hit most of the major historical sites, the other will go to a few and also out to the beach, and the third will take riders all the way to Lake Albufera. Lake Albufera is a freshwater lagoon and estuary south of Valencia. The ticket includes a boat ride on the lake.
24-hour tickets are 17€ for adults, 10€ for kids ages 7 to 16 (11€ for the Albufera ticket), and free for kids 6 and under. The company also offers 48-hour tickets.
Pro-tip: You can utilize the bus as a mode of transportation, in addition to taking you sightseeing. You can hop off at places like Bioparc, Oceanografic, and the beach, and then hop back on when you’re done.
Sail the Coast of Valencia
This was the one activity on our list that we did not get around to doing, and I completely regret it!
Mundo Marino offers several catamaran sailing experiences that depart from the Port of Valencia, including a three-hour excursion with lunch, a sunset cruise, and a one-hour trip which seems perfect for the littlest sailors. Children under age 4 are also free, making this an affordable, family-friendly activity.
The one-hour cruise runs February through November, with more hours during the warmer months. The cost is 15€ for adults and 9€ for children 4 to 10-years-old. Drinks available for purchase onboard, and true to Spanish style, olives and nuts are free.
Swim at Piscina Oeste
If you are visiting Valencia during the summer and need to beat the heat in a setting that doesn’t involve sand, there are several outdoor swimming pools around the city: Piscina Oeste, Piscina Benicalap, and Castellar. We personally visited Piscina Oeste, as it is by far the most central, and loved our time there. There was a kid’s pool, two huge swimming pools, a splash pad, a few water slides, a restaurant, and a grassy area to spend a few hours under the trees.
A day pass to Piscina Oeste is 3.25€ for adults and 1.65€ for children. A steal for a refreshing day of fun!
Pro-tip: There is an excellent playground right next to Piscina Oeste!
Splash into the Marina
If you have older children, or really good swimmers, the pool in the Valencia Marina might be more your style than one like Piscina Oeste. We chose not to take our littles to the marina pool because the water was too deep for them and our baby would have just crawled right over the edge of the dock. Yikes!
The Marina Pool is literally situated inside the water of the marina. In the summer months, an area of the marina is sectioned off and swimmers can splash in the protected water. There is a pretty inattentive lifeguard and a sunbathing area (boat dock) surrounding the “pool.”
This is a FREE activity!! It’s hard to track down much information online, but I swear it’s there (or was in 2019!). You can find the pool here, on the northern most area of the marina.
Take an Art Class at Cabanyart
Cabanyart is a beautiful space in Cabanyal offering art classes and workshops for both children and adults. Kids age six and up can participate in a class with lessons in drawing, painting, and other crafts. Classes are taught in English on Tuesdays at 5:30PM.
Eat in Peace at Corte Ingles
If you are in Valencia for an extended period, or just in need of a bit of kid-free time, the mega department store Corte Ingles has great indoor play spaces complete with caretakers for children ages 2 to 10 called Ludotecas Maravillas. Eat lunch at the store’s top floor restaurant and enjoy an amazing view of the city while keeping an eye on your kids through the glass window at the Avendida Francia location.
Check out the schedule and pricing before heading over. During the school year, they’re only open after 5PM on weekdays.
Play at a Ludoteca
Speaking of ludotecas, if your kids need to get some wiggles out in a semi-controlled, indoor space, do a Google Maps search of “ludotecas” and find one near you. These are indoor play areas popular for hosting birthday parties, and many have snacks or even full meals avaialble.
Be sure to look at the hours before heading over, as they generally open after 5PM during the school year. Our favorite has been Smileland Club, as it is absolutely gorgeous and well suited for our baby. The big kids (age 4) would probably appreciate more physical activities, but this serves all three fairly well. We also had fun playing at Brili’s Cafe in Russafa and appreciated the attentive staff and delicious homemade brownies.
Build at the LEGO Fun Factory
Honestly, I was a bit let down by the LEGO Fun Factory, but my kids just missed the cutoff to go into the big kid area, which is infinitely superior. Kids over five-years-old can visit the LEGO Classic area and play under the supervision of monitors (helloooo alone time!). There is a large area with LEGOs, A LEGOs Friends area, and several video game consoles, which were the clear favorites. The littles (between one and four-years) are welcome in the DUPLO zone and must be accompanied by a parent.
The LEGO Fun Factory is located in the Aqua Mall, which is very close to the City of Arts & Sciences. It is FREE, and I believe there is a one-hour time limit, but don’t quote me on that one.
Pro-tip: We were asked to show our passports for identification. Our US passport cards sufficed because we convinced the person it was the same thing.
We hope that your family enjoys Valencia as much as we did. Let us know if you have questions or need more recommendations. Comment below or connect on Instagram. We’d love to hear about your trip!