Valencia makes for a brilliant city break with kids from the UK. It’s a short flight, they have great weather year round and the journey from Valencia airport to city centre is only around 20 minutes. This means you can really maximise your time in the city with your family. Here are our favourite things to do in Valencia with kids!
Valencia with kids
One really interesting thing I noticed in València is that there are far fewer English tourists than the Balearics (where I’ve been so many times before with the kids). It’s really useful to brush up on your Spanish before going to Valencia. You’ll survive without it, but life will be easier if you have a little bit of the lingo. Also prepare by downloading the Google Translate app! That was super helpful for reading menus without English translations.
How to get around València with kids
Valencia city centre is only a short taxi from Valencia airport. You can grab a cab from the airport with ease … IF you are no larger than a family of 4 and you have the appropriate car seats. Car seats are needed for all children under the height of 135cm. And the taxi drivers in Valencia are VERY strict about this. They will accept the Mifold car seats for older children.
The rule on car seats in Spain is that care seats are required for ‘out of town’ journeys. Valencia airport to the city centre is considered and ‘out of town’ journey. Within the city you should be ok without a car seat.
If you are a larger group than 4 you will need to pre-book a larger taxi. This isn’t easy in Valencia as (according to the concierge at our hotel) there are only 6 or 7 large taxis in the entire city and they are to be kept free for emergencies. This means they cannot be pre-booked. They need to be called at the time they’re needed and you might get lucky.
It’s not too expensive to get a cab from the airport so be prepared to split your party and take two if need be.
Public transport is also fairly easy. If, like us, you don’t have a car seat and you’re a big group some or all of you might want to get the metro to the city. We stayed at The Westin Valencia which is only a 5 minute walk from Alameda metro station. This journey is very easy if you don’t have much luggage.
On our return leg from the hotel to the airport we couldn’t get a large taxi so I took the bigger kids and the luggage with me in a regular cab and Rich took the baby on the metro. I arrived first and got in the check in queue and by the time I reached the front, Rich had joined me.
Once in the city we enjoyed cycling. Valencia have diverted the river that ran through the middle of the city and the old riverbed is now a beautiful pedestrianised area. It’s a great route for moving around the city and lovely for cycling along. Most of the city is also within walking distance depending on how strong your little ones legs are feeling!
Where to stay in València with kids
The best place to stay to be able to enjoy all the things to do in Valencia with kids that I talk about in this post I recommend staying near the old river bed running through the middle of the city. We stayed at The Westin Valencia. It’s in a fantastic location and they have interconnecting rooms so they can easily accommodate larger families. My full review of the hotel in Valencia is here.
Things to do in València with kids
Cycle Turia Gardens
It’s really easy to hire bikes in Valencia. Everyone does it! There are bike hire places everywhere and it costs around 10€ per day. You can get child bikes, children’s helmets and baby seats too. Turia Gardens runs along the old riverbed straight through the middle of the city. They’re a delight to explore and they’re also a good route through the city on foot or by bike.
The gardens are all pedestrianised so you don’t need to worry about cars once you’re there and they house so many of the things to do in Valencia with kids. At the west end of the route you’ll find the BIOPARC and to the East you’ll find the City of Arts and Sciences and the aquarium. Throughout the gardens you’ll find play areas, lakes and cafes. You’ll also spot Tai Chi classes, yoga classes and all sorts of other things going on! Great for people watching.
Oceanographic is the largest aquarium in Europe and it has got to be top of the list for things to do in Valencia with kids. We could easily have spent a most of the day at the aquarium. There are different zones covering the entire world.
The highlight for the kids was the dolphin show but for me it was seeing the belugas. What a treat! You can get a speedy lunch in the restaurant, there are plenty of toilets and everywhere is buggy accessible. You’re often changing floors so that you can see the aquariums from above AND below but there is always a lift so those on wheels won’t miss out.
Visit the BIOPARC
Explore the savannah … in Spain. BIOPARC has recreated Africa in this little part of Valencia and it is an excellent place to visit in Valencia with kids. You see gorgeous animals such as lions, giraffes and elephants in beautifully recreated habitats and they have talks from keepers through the day as well.
I did worry that maybe there wasn’t quite enough space for some of the larger animals, such as the elephants but I think the enclosures were bigger than they looked. But that’s always a worry of mine about zoos. I never know whether they’re a good concept or not. There’s a cafe with plenty of shady seating areas and a great play area under cover too. The BIOPARC is at least a half day activity and one of the best things to do in Valencia with kids.
Explore the old town
With gorgeous buildings and plazas to see it’s well worth visiting Valencia old town.
To make this kind of sightseeing more appealing to kids I let them be the photographer. They’re more likely to look for (and find!) the beauty in everything around them if they are tasked with photographing or videoing it. You’ll also find lots of markets to explore and lovely little places to stop for ice creams (Another great way to encourage the kids to do boring sight seeing).
If your children are proficient cyclists it’s relatively easy to navigate the old town by bike. I wouldn’t normally cycle on roads with my kids but after a day of cycling the Turia Gardens and getting confident with their bikes we carefully used the excellent cycle paths in Valencia to explore the old town. Again, this is a brilliant way of keeping the kids interested in exploring the more grown up sights.
Eat Churros and Paella
Valencia is the birth place of paella! If your kids are open to it, definitely grab a paella here. Beware the giant portion sizes in Valencia though – a paella for two in the Jardi Bar at The Westin Valencia was easily enough for three adults and a child!
And if paella is not to your child’s taste there’s churros to be had! And no one can resist fresh churros in Spain. It’s not quite as sweet as when we buy it here in the UK. A little less sugar on the actual batter and much richer chocolate sauce. So in theory it should be a little less bad for you too 😉 We found churros to be a fabulous ‘pick me up’ when everyone was flagging from cycling and sight seeing mid afternoon.
Gulliver Park (and other play areas)
Sadly this epic play area within Turia Gardens was closed for restoration while we were in Valencia but we could see it – and Gulliver Park looks incredible. There are lots of other play areas dotted along the gardens too. You can visit a different one each day of your trip. Or, like we did, stop randomly whenever you come across one to break up a journey through the park.
Take a break from the sun
There are so many things to do in Valencia with kids it would be easy to leave and feel like you’ve not had a holiday at all. I find city breaks are exhausting, for the kids and grown ups alike, so planning in your R&R time is really important.
Even in April the weather in Valencia can get hot. You’ll need to plan in some respite from the sun and some down time for the kids. For us, the best thing was to retreat back to our hotel for a play in the indoor pool. To really enjoy your Valencia city break with kids remember to plan to take a break from the exploring and the heat every day.
Eating in Valencia with kids
We ate lunch in the safari park and the aquarium for the two main days in València. They don’t offer the tastiest of food but it’s quick, easy and convenient. You’ll find pasta and burgers in the aquarium and burgers and pizza at the BIOPARC.
In the restaurants elsewhere in the city portion sizes are huge! Everywhere we ate, we ended up over ordering. We also struggled with opening hours. The Spanish eat later in the day and with most tourists in the city seemingly not British a lot of places didn’t open for dinner until 8:30. That’s a little late for my kids.
Family Friendly restaurants in Valencia
I can highly recommend eating at Gordon10 for excellent Argentinian food. If you enjoy meat, this is an excellent option. They were open nice and early and very welcoming of my little tribe of kids. There is a fish option as well if you are not a fan of meat.
For authentic, local cuisine Belmonte was fabulous. A tiny little place filled with locals where you can order very traditionally Spanish and Valencia meals. Expect lots of meat and squid! Again, this restaurant was welcoming of my little gang.
We also ate in Jardi Bar inside our hotel The Westin Valencia. Here they serve lovely Mediterranean style foods. It’s a great restaurant with beautiful art deco interiors. There’s also the courtyard garden for pre-dinner drinks or even your evening meal if it’s warm enough out.