Valencia's Classical Architecture Tour (Self Guided), Valencia

Gazing upon the multitude of styles on the facades of Valencia – Renaissance, Baroque, Modernist, Beaux-Art, Art Nouveau, and more – makes one realize that this is more than just a Mediterranean coastal destination with beautiful beaches. Colorful and diverse, the “capital of Turia” boasts a wealth of architectural treasures that make it more contrasting and delicate than any other city in Spain. With beautiful buildings all around, particularly in the atmospheric Old Town, there's no shortage of sights to please the eye!

The galore of centuries-old and modern designs in Valencia is truly remarkable. Large and small, ancient (but well-preserved) and contemporary administrative, commercial, and religious edifices coexist here in constructional harmony.

To find one's way amid the vast amount of architectural artworks may be challenging. Below is a short list of some of the most representative of them:

The City Hall – majestic building with an impressive clock tower and the 18th-century “Teaching House”.

Mercado Central – built in 1914, Valencia's Central Market is a showcase of local modernist architecture.

La Lonja de la Seda – Valencia's Silk Exchange is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the most famous Gothic monuments in Europe.

La Catedral – Valencia Cathedral, probably the city’s most famous landmark, renowned for its lavish interior filled with treasures, including a chalice that’s said to be the Holy Grail itself.

El Miguelete – built in the 14th-15th centuries, Valencia Cathedral’s octagon Gothic bell tower hovers on the horizon at 167 feet (51 meters), offering some of the most amazing views over the city; prepare to climb 207 steps to the top.

To explore these and other jewels of the architectural paradise such as Valencia, take this self-guided walking tour.
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Valencia's Classical Architecture Tour Map

Guide Name: Valencia's Classical Architecture Tour
Guide Location: Spain » Valencia (See other walking tours in Valencia)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: kane
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Estacio del Nord (North Railway Station)
  • City Hall
  • Mercado Central (Central Market)
  • Iglesia de los Santos Juanes
  • La Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange)
  • Iglesia y Torre de Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Church and Tower)
  • Miguelete Tower
  • La Catedral (Valencia Cathedral)
  • Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas (Marques de Dos Aguas Palace)
  • Iglesia de San Juan de la Cruz (Church of San Juan de la Cruz)
  • Porta de la Mar (Sea Gate)
1
Estacio del Nord (North Railway Station)

1) Estacio del Nord (North Railway Station) (must see)

The North Railway Station is the main train terminal in Valencia. From here trains leave daily for several cities in Spain, such as Barcelona, Madrid, and the French boarder. The building is a beautiful example of a modernist architecture, constructed in the early 20th century. Architect Demetrio Ribes designed this majestic and well balanced building in the center of the city.

The outside of the building is decorated with elements that are representative of local architecture. There are also two lovely mosaics on the façade. Inside the station, the decor is also quite appealing. The modernist theme is carried out with more mosaics. The mood is bright, colorful, and the building is worth seeing even if train travel is not on the agenda. The entire first floor is open for public use, while the mezzanine is occupied by offices.

While visiting a train station may be a bit out of the ordinary, it is a nice attraction to see, especially when combined with the bullring next door. If train travel is on the agenda, be sure to arrive a bit early to explore the station before departure.
2
City Hall

2) City Hall

City Hall, known locally as Ayuntamiento, is the center of government in Valencia. Construction on the building began in 1758 but was not completed until the early 20th century. As such, the building features a number of architectural styles.

The architects who designed City Hall used Neoclassical, Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance architectural styles. The interior includes fine paintings, nude reliefs and marble furnishings. The Crystal Room features large chandeliers, mirrors and painted ceilings.

Visitors to the City Hall will enjoy the Municipal Historical Archive and Museum. Tourists can also step out onto the balcony to see an impressive view of the city. Security is tight at the City Hall but that shouldn't stand in the way of experiencing this impressive building.

The building is located within the Town Hall Square. The City Hall is open from 8 AM to 3 PM, Monday through Friday. There is no entrance fee for the City Hall or its museum.
3
Mercado Central (Central Market)

3) Mercado Central (Central Market) (must see)

Silk Exchange is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Valencia. The building was originally used for silk trading, hence the name. Construction began in 1482 and was completed in 1533.

The Silk Exchange was designed by architect Pere Compte in the Valencian Gothic architectural style. The plans for the building were inspired by the Guild Hall in Palma of Majorca, an island east of Valencia.

The Silk Exchange is made up of three parts: the mail hall, the contract hall and the pavilion of the consulate. All of these rooms continue to use the original furnishings from the 16th century. Along with the three parts, the Silk Exchange has the Orange Garden, which is a walled courtyard.

Not only is the structure one of Valencia's most visited locations, but it also holds the honor of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was given this distinction in 1996 due to its design and historical importance.

The building is located in the center of Valencia near the Central Market. Visitors who wish to spend time at the Silk Exchange will be greeted with a grand, iron gate, vaulted ceilings, ancient chandeliers, Gothic columns and fragrant orange trees. They may be able to climb the spiral staircase into the three-level tower. There is a chapel at the base of the tower that shouldn't be missed.

Why You Should Visit

Silk Exchange is a historic trading center of Valencia and one of its most popular attractions. It is a perfect example of Valencian Gothic architecture

Opening Hours

Silk Exchange is open from Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 7 PM. It is open from 10 AM to 2 PM on Sundays and holidays.
4
Iglesia de los Santos Juanes

4) Iglesia de los Santos Juanes

This is one of the oldest religious institutions in the city. The church is also known by the name of St. John of the Market. It was built during the 1200s, and was originally built in Gothic style architecture. The church was constructed on top of an old mosque, as was often the custom of Europe during that period of time.

A massive fire damaged this church in 1552. It required that the entire inside of the church be reconstructed. So, you will note the changes in architecture on the inside. The dome crown is quite beautiful, and is the focal point of the building. You will also be able to see some striking frescoes painted here. Sadly, fire would engulf the church two more times after this. The last such problem occurred in 1936.

The building is located in the Plaza del Mercado. The church is open each day of the week. There are masses from Monday through Saturday at 5:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., noon and 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, the main worship times happen every hour on the hour from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., then again at 6:30 p.m.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
La Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange)

5) La Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange) (must see)

The Silk Exchange was built between 1482 and 1533 in Gothic style. There are incredible gargoyles both inside and outside the building. Some are fairly grotesque but still interesting. There are also coats of arms and other adornments throughout the building. Valencia was a prosperous commercial trading hub in the 14th century. This large building was utilized for trading, and stands as a testament to that fact, although it looks more like a garrison than a building for luxurious silks.

The inside of the building is just as impressive as the outside. The hall of columns is where the actual trading took place. Around the walls, an inscription announces the honesty of those who trade here, as well as welcoming traders of various religions and ethnicities. The columns themselves are a delight for the eye with their massive, twisting, yet graceful styling, reaching high to the roof. Chandeliers also add a touch of beauty, and rather counteract the imposing gargoyles.

The building is a beautiful representation of Gothic style and should not be missed. It is, in fact, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the best examples of Gothic civil architecture in Europe and it's worth going in just to see the ceilings! The courtyard with the orange trees is a pleasant place to sit in the shade and rest for a few minutes.

Tip:
The audio commentary is really worth getting – inexpensive and gives a great insight into the outside & inside of the building. On Sundays, you can take a look at the coins & stamps market right outside and get inside the building for free.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9:30am-7pm; Sun: 9:30am-3pm
6
Iglesia y Torre de Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Church and Tower)

6) Iglesia y Torre de Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Church and Tower)

The Santa Catalina Church is located in a very architecturally beautiful part of Valencia, which is known as La Paz Street. Located very close to Queen Square, it is a rather stunning church that is beautiful both inside and out. Standing outside of the building, you will note the Baroque bell towers. These were not added to the church until 400 years after the construction of its original part was complete, so the style is quite different than the primarily Gothic style of the main building.

This church was built in the 14th Century, and the twin bell towers were added in the 18th Century. The towers, according to local legend, are called "husband and wife".

The inside of the church is very ornate, and shows some of the best religious art in the city. Much of the church construction was due to King Jaime I. With his approval, many similar churches were built across the city to prove to the world that the Christian church could dominate the Muslim Moors. At the time when the bell towers were added, the old Gothic church had also been renovated with Baroque elements.
7
Miguelete Tower

7) Miguelete Tower

The Miguelete Tower is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Valencia. It is known as El Miguelete or Torre del Micalet in Valencian . The construction of the tower began in 1381 and ended in 1429 . Due to its complexity and long years of construction, it was successively directed by various master builders; the first being Andrés Juliá , from 1381. Others were José Franch (1396), Pedro Balaguer (1414, builder of the Torres de Serranos); to Martín Llobet (1425), the last of the architects who took part in the construction. Later the belfry was added (1660-1736).

The popular El Miguelete tower is accessible every day of the year by purchasing a ticket. After the performances of the Guild of Valencian Bellmen first and the Bellmen of the Cathedral of Valencia later, visitors can see the three rooms of the bell tower through bars, and finally go up to the terrace.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
La Catedral (Valencia Cathedral)

8) La Catedral (Valencia Cathedral) (must see)

La Catedral is often referred to as Valencia Cathedral by tourists who are captivated by its rich history and beautiful Valencian Gothic architecture. However, the cathedral goes by many other names. It is officially the Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady of Valencia. It is also referred to as Saint Mary's Cathedral.

Whatever you call it, Valencia Catedral is a must-see spot in Valencia. Construction began on the cathedral in 1262 but wasn't completed until around 1459. Still, additions and improvements continued on the cathedral for hundreds of years. A building was added to the church as late as 1970.

Thanks to many additions and renovations over the years, the cathedral features a variety of architectural styles. Valencian Gothic is largely represented, but architecture-lovers will find French Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical influences. It also has numerous paintings from Spanish and Italian artists. Most of these paintings date to the 15th century.

Along with the beauty of the architecture and the decorative interior, the cathedral holds many secrets and mysteries. During excavations, remnants of Roman buildings were found within the cathedral. Likewise, a number of artifacts and relics are held inside. One of these relics is the Holy Chalice, which is thought by many to be the true Holy Grail. It can be seen in the Chapel of the Holy Chalice.

Tours are available from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Saturday. Visitors can tour the interior, the museum and the bell tower.

Why You Should Visit

Valencia Cathedral is the most important religious building in the city. One can admire its numerous architectural styles and have a chance to see Holy Chalice.

Tips

The cathedral is not open for tours on Sundays. Those visiting Valencia in the summer may find the tour hours extended through 6:30 on weekdays.
9
Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas (Marques de Dos Aguas Palace)

9) Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas (Marques de Dos Aguas Palace) (must see)

Considered as one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Spain, the Marques de Dos Aguas Palace is an eclectic palace inside and out.

Built in the late 1490 in Gothic style, it was remade into the Baroque style in the 18th century. The outside of the building is an interesting blend of rococo and includes a Churrigueresque waterfall that gives the Palace its name. While this combination of architecture and decoration can be seen in several buildings around Valencia, the results here are breathtakingly beautiful.

The interesting blend of styles also continues on the inside. The Palace is home to the National Museum of Ceramics, as well as of famous people's caricatures in the in the Gallery of Humorists. That alone should be enough to merit a visit. The National Museum of Ceramics displays an interesting collection of ceramics that includes beautiful tile work that is recognized throughout the world. There is also a large and well decorated ballroom that is reflective of the grandeur of the period.

There is a small fee for visiting the palace. However, admission is free on Sundays and holidays. Also, children under the age of 18 and those on a pension get in free daily.

Why You Should Visit:
Stunningly beautiful façades, not to be missed even if you don't go into the museum. The interiors don't disappoint either – opulent and glitzy, with a 19th-century exuberance.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 10am-2pm / 4-8pm; Sun: 10am-2pm
10
Iglesia de San Juan de la Cruz (Church of San Juan de la Cruz)

10) Iglesia de San Juan de la Cruz (Church of San Juan de la Cruz)

Church of San Juan de la Cruz is a beautiful example of a Renaissance church. While it may not at first have the visual impact of other imposing buildings, it should not be ignored. The architecture is simple and elegant. There is a large vaulted ceiling held up by spiral columns.

The church was built in the early 17th century with additional rococo interior embellishment added in the 18th century by Hipolito Rovira who studied in Italy and was influenced by the art work there. Hipolito Rovira also worked on several churches in Valencia, but his stucco work in this church is magnificent.

There are two side chapels in the church, one belonging to the Fisherman’s Guild of Valencia, and is really a must see. The paintings and other works of art alone are worth the visit, even for those not enamored with the religious or architectural aspects of the building.

Mass is held at 7:30 pm Monday-Saturday, and at noon on Sunday.
11
Porta de la Mar (Sea Gate)

11) Porta de la Mar (Sea Gate)

The Sea Gate, was constructed after the Spanish Civil War and is a memorial to those who perished during the fighting. The war began in 1936 and ended in April 1939. The monument consists of a central arch which is flanked by a lintel on either side. Under the arch is a large cross that serves as a stark reminder of the purpose of the monument. It stands at a high traffic area in Valencia.

On each corner of the monument, decorating the top, are reliefs. These are rather amazing works of art which were done by the sculpture Vicente Navarro Romero. The monument is also a tribute to the old Sea Gates which were destroyed in 1868. The original gates were unearthed but it was decided that they were best left buried. There are also gardens around the memorial that are periodically redesigned, so the looks of the grounds do change.

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