The perfect visit to the City of Arts and Sciences
The most exciting moment of your trip to Valencia has arrived: the visit to the City of Arts and Sciences! Now you are going to see for real those places you have previously seen in spectacular photos on the Internet and social networks.
Yes, it has to be said, the City of Arts and Sciences is pretty amazing, whatever way you look at it. This great architectural complex, designed for entertainment, is one of the most visited attractions in Valencia and is a must when you come to the capital of Turia!
To describe this fascinating place, we have to start by saying that it is a lot of different things all at the same time! It comprises several monumental buildings, all of which have become icons of the city, and is spread over about two kilometres on the old Turia riverbed.
Designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, it is a scientific, cultural, and natural leisure complex for you to enjoy with family or friends.
Main buildings and monuments
TIPS FOR YOUR VISIT
As you know, we like to help you have perfect experiences in Valencia. That is why we have prepared a series of tips, instructions, and timetables for you to enjoy everything the City of Arts and Sciences has to offer.
How long do I need to visit it?
The first thing you have to bear in mind is that the City of Arts and Sciences needs time. To enjoy all its wonders and surprises, it is best to have at least one day to explore it.
We are going to explain briefly, in just three points, why you will need at least a full day.
Firstly, the Oceanogràfic is the most-visited building in the whole complex, and you will need at least four hours there. If you also want to attend the dolphinarium exhibition, you will need a little longer.
Secondly, the Science Museum needs at least three hours. However, you can spend the whole day there if you round off your visit with one or two of the workshops that are available to attend.
And, thirdly, the Hemisfèric has projections that do not go past 45 minutes in length. It is, though, still well worth visiting and spending more time there to enjoy it all. We suggest an hour and a half in total.
Do you want to spend a few hours in one of the buildings, then leave and come back later? No problem! You can do it the same day if you buy the combined ticket for the Oceanogràfic, the Science Museum and the Hemisfèric.
10% discount on entry with the València Tourist Card
As well as this, if you have the Valencia Tourist Card, you get a 10% discount on tickets. In this case, you must go to the physical ticket offices to prove you have your card. Remember, with the Valencia Tourist Card you travel FREE on the bus, metro and tram, and there are many special discounts for cardholders.
Plans for things to do in the City of Arts and Sciences
In case you didn't know it, the Valencia Oceanogràfic is the largest aquarium in Europe! It has seven different marine environments and 45,000 specimens of 500 species, such as dolphins, sea lions, penguins, and sharks.
Don't miss the dolphin show that is on every day in the dolphinarium. It is very exciting to see the dolphins performing the choreographies with their trainers. In fact, the only thing that’s left for these intelligent aquatic mammals to learn to do is talk!
There are morning and afternoon shows on most days (for example, at 2pm and 5pm). However, please note that dolphin show times and habitat opening times may change. It is best to check the opening times for the day you plan to visit and arrive at least 15 minutes early to get a good spot!!
As for food, both the Science Museum and the Oceanogràfic have restaurants available. The aquarium has several fast-food outlets, perfect for those who don't want to stop for long. There are also restaurants (with a full meal starting at around €20 a head) and the original Submarine Restaurant, where you can enjoy excellent cuisine surrounded by water tanks full of fish.
You can also bring your own food and drink. In the Oceanogràfic there are rest areas where you can sit and eat. Finally, another option is to go to the Aqua or Saler shopping centres, which are the closest. There, you can have lunch and then return to the Oceanogràfic -or the Museum- to finish your tour.
The Science Museum
The maxim here is "It is prohibited not to touch ", so you can pretty much figure out what it's all about, can't you? The Science Museum offers a range of interactive exhibits on science and technology. It is designed for people of all ages, but it is especially great for families with children and young couples.
You can enter the ground floor for free, where there is usually a temporary exhibition, as well as shops, toilets, and a restaurant. For the rest of the exhibitions, though, you will need to buy your ticket.
The Museum also offers science workshops for all interests (separate ticket required). Highly recommended for the general public is the workshop about science on the stage and in the TV studio. For school children there are more than 10 different workshops offered, covering technology, robots, chemistry and much more besides, all of them fun. Choose the workshop you most fancy here.
Did you know that Valencia has the largest cinema or screening room in Spain? Well, you can find it at the Hemisfèric. This spectacular building has an ovoid roof of more than 100 metres in length and a projection system with a 900-square-metre screen 900!
Here, what you have to do is enjoy a good show about the environment, space travel or great discoveries, among other themes. Some films are in 3D (glasses included in the ticket price) and you can listen to them in several languages. You are provided with headphones at the entrance, and they have a sound system that will immerse you in the projection.
The screenings are not usually more than 45 minutes in length. It is best to book the film you want to see as soon as you arrive and leave the visit to the Hemisfèric for the end of the day. Every hour, from 11 a.m. onwards, there is a screening available. You can check the listings here.
The Palau de les Arts
The Palau de les Arts is a first-class reference point culturally speaking. The initial recommendation is to attend one of the world-class shows that take place there. Opera, zarzuela, theatre and great concerts are all put on, check out the complete programme here.
Another excellent option is to take a guided tour of the Palau de les Arts. During the one-hour tour you can tread the stages where the great works are presented. You can also visit the Centro de Perfeccionamiento, where the great performing artists of the future are trained. If you have the Valencia Tourist Card you get a 10% discount on this tour, which is available in English and Spanish.
Visit with dinner on the rooftop
If you fancy doing something that is a bit exclusive, you'll love the following plan. This is a visit to the outdoor spaces of the City of Arts that ends with a dinner on the top terrace of the Tower of France. This is the tallest building in the city and from there you'll have incredible views of the entire complex, including the Ágora and the Assut de l'Or Bridge. Dinner includes wine tasting.
Like being on a film set
The City of Arts and Sciences is incredible, so much so that it has been chosen as a location for filming Hollywood movies. Its spaces and buildings, which look like science fiction, make perfect picture postcards. A guided tour is available for you to see and recognise many scenes from films such as Tomorrowland (with George Clooney) or series such as Westworld.
If you are a fan of films and series about the future, and want to see some of these unique settings, book your visit now.