A large city square with many pedestrians, trees, and historic buildings

Are you looking for sustainable things to do in Valencia? Then continue reading as I’ll share a great list of eco-friendly ideas.

Valencia has been selected as the European Green Capital of 2024.

”Valencia has earned the Green Capital title because of its ambitious sustainability strategy. For many decades, the city has been driven forward by a bold civic movement that sustains genuine change.” – Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

That change I’ve seen happen personally. I’ve been coming to Valencia for more than 15 years and call the city home now.

Valencia 15 years ago is nothing like it is now. I’ve seen large numbers of cycling lanes being created in just a matter of years. Green spaces have been carefully designed and have become popular places for myself and many of my friends to meet for picnics, walks, or outdoor sports.

Vegetarian and vegan restaurants have opened all over the city, local arts and crafts stores are easy to find, and more and more of Valencia’s events and activities have an eco-friendly focus.

If it’s your first time visiting Valencia, I’d recommend you read my general article about things to do in Valencia first. That will give you a good idea of the highlights of the city.

Then, in this article I’d like to share some more eco-friendly things to do in Valencia, for a sustainable visit to the city.

Eco-Friendly Things to Do in Valencia, Spain

1. Explore Valencia’s Historic City Center on Foot

Plaza del Ayuntamiento – this used to be filled with cars but is now pedestrianized

Valencia’s city center is very walkable and several parts of it have been pedestrianized in recent years, making walking around a lot more pleasant.

Some places to visit on your walk:

  • Plaza del Ayuntamiento
  • The beautiful central train station (Estació del Nord)
  • Plaza de la Reina
  • Plaza de la Virgen
  • Torres de Serranos or Torres de Quart (medieval city gates)

Climb to the top of either of those gates for panoramic views of the city.

And just take your time to wander around. Get lost in tiny streets, stop for a drink on a lively terrace to soak up Valencia’s vibe, or visit a rooftop bar.

Walk through the charming streets of El Carmen, Valencia’s old town, where you’ll find many independently owned shops (but more about shopping later), impressive street art, and lively bars and restaurants in the evenings.

Tip: if you want the old town to yourself, visit early in the morning. But if you want that lively, Spanish city vibe, visit in the evening and know that many bars and restaurants in El Carmen won’t open until around 8 PM.

2. Cycle Around the City & Beyond

2 cyclist and several pedestrians inside a city park with a futuristic looking building in the background
Cycling in Turia Park with the City of Arts and Sciences in the background

Outside of the city center, cycling is the best way to explore Valencia and its surroundings.

Valencia’s flat terrain and growing network of bike lanes make it a very cyclist-friendly destination.

I often cycle through Turia Park, which is a 9 km long park inside an old riverbed. It runs around the city center and is both a beautiful park to spend some time in and a great way to get to the other side of the city without having to cycle through traffic.

On the southeast end of the Turia Park you’ll find the famous City of Arts and Sciences, which you definitely want to stop at.

And, on the topic of sustainability, the final building of the City of Arts and Sciences, called l’Agora, houses the largest indoor vertical garden in Europe. It consists of more than 20,000 plants!

Beyond Turia Park, I’d recommend cycling to the beach. Malvarrosa, next to the port, is the livelier option, and Patacona Beach, further north is the more tranquil beach.

If you don’t want to go to the beach you can still cycle in that direction and stop in Cabañyal, a beautiful, historic neighborhood with plenty of nice cafes and restaurants, and more of an alternative vibe than the more touristy city center.

If you’re up for a longer bike ride to explore the surrounding areas, then Albufera Natural Park is the place to go. The route takes you along beautiful rice fields and ends in El Palmar, one of the best places to try an authentic Valencian paella.

I’ve written a more detailed description of Albufera in this article with day trips from Valencia.

Where to Rent a Bike

the storefront of a bike rental place in Valencia

As for how to get a bike, there are bike rental places literally all over the city. Therefore your easiest option is to just ask your hotel or Airbnb where the nearest bike rental place is.

But, you’ll find most rental places on Google Maps as well. Most are small, locally-owned shops, so your money will go into the local economy.

Valencia also offers a bike-sharing system called Valenbisi. But, if you’re only here for a few days I highly recommend just renting a bike. Valenbisi bikes are heavy! And they aren’t always perfectly maintained either.

Rental bikes are generally of better quality and a lot more comfortable, especially for longer bike rides.

Note: please be mindful of pedestrian areas and traffic rules. For example, you can get a ticket for cycling on the pavement. And believe me, those tickets are handed out regularly!

3. Take an Eco-Friendly Tour: Walking Tours, Bike Tours, and Segway Tours

a group of cyclists in a park with palm trees and a pond
Go on a bike tour in Valencia

Discover Valencia’s hidden gems and iconic landmarks on eco-friendly tours that prioritize sustainability.

Join a walking tour led by a knowledgeable local guide who shares insights into the city’s history, culture, and sustainable initiatives.

Alternatively, go for a bike tour and discover parts of Valencia you might not have known to visit on your own.

Or, for a fun and eco-friendly experience, consider a Segway tour of Valencia. These electric-powered tours allow you to cover more ground while minimizing environmental impact, making them an eco-conscious choice for exploring the city.

Also Read: Why Book a Tour? 5 Reasons

4. Visit Some Cultural Sites: Museums, Galleries, and Historic Landmarks

A typical Spanish plaza with palmtrees, several people, terraces and historic buildings
Climb the Torre del Micalet for a panoramic view of the city center

Immerse yourself in Valencia’s rich cultural heritage while supporting sustainable practices at local museums, galleries, and historic landmarks.

Visit the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), a contemporary art museum known for its exhibitions focusing on environmental issues and social sustainability.

But, that’s just one of many museums in Valencia. This website offers a good overview of the different museums in the city.

One of the many reasons why I chose to live in Valencia is because it’s such a pretty city with a rich history. I already mentioned some sights to see when talking about walking around the historic city center, but here I want to add a few landmarks I’d recommend spending time inside as well.

The UNESCO-listed Silk Exchange (La Lonja de la Seda) is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It reflects Valencia’s historical importance as a center of commerce and trade, and their audio tour is worth paying for.

At the Valencia Cathedral you can climb the Torre del Micalet, the bell tower, for a nice view.

I describe both the Silk Exchange and the Micalet Tower in more detail in my general article about things to do in Valencia.

5. Visit Valencia’s Markets

Several people walking inside an indoor market
The Mercado Central in Valencia

Visiting a market is a great way to experience the city’s culinary culture while supporting local producers and sustainable food practices.

One market you shouldn’t miss is the Central Market of Valencia (Mercado Central). It’s one of Europe’s largest covered markets!

It’s a beautiful space to walk around in and has this nice, bustling market vibe. You’ll find lots of local and regional produce, from fresh fruits and vegetables to meats, seafood, and artisanal products.

As you stroll through the Central Market, take the time to talk with local vendors and learn about the origin of their products. Many speak English quite well, and if not, Google Translate can help.

Of course by purchasing directly from producers, you help support sustainable agriculture and reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying the freshest ingredients Valencia has to offer.

A fruit and vegetable stand with several people inside a market hall
The Mercado de Ruzafa

There are more options though than the, admittedly somewhat touristy, Central Market.

In the Cabanyal neighborhood, you’ll find the Mercat Municipal del Cabanyal, which sells a good range of products and is a much more local experience. Wander through the market’s stalls and sample local delicacies while soaking in the neighborhood’s laid-back vibe.

Another market I used to go to a lot, because I lived in this neighborhood, is the Mercado de Ruzafa. This lively market offers a diverse array of products, from farm-fresh produce to gourmet treats and international delicacies. You’ll notice more of an international vibe here because Ruzafa has become quite a trendy neighborhood attracting both tourists and expats.

6. Shop Sustainably at Eco-Friendly and Ethical Shops

A store selling cards, posters, bags and other locally made souvenirs
Sustainable souvenirs at Gnomo Ruzafa

There are plenty of souvenir shops in Valencia, but also plenty of ‘made in China’ products.

But, thankfully there are also a lot of shops selling regional products and cute locally-owned boutiques that value sustainability.

I’ll share a mix of shops that are centrally located and make good eco-friendly options.

There’s the street that has been nicknamed “calle de las cestas” (the basket street). It’s actually Carrer del Músic Peydró, which back in the day was a street full of shops selling wicker goods. Nowadays there are only two shops left, which offer various traditional household objects and small souvenirs.

Encarnis Tomero, close to the central market, has been around for decades and sells traditional, locally made shoes plus a small selection of bags and t-shirts.

If you’re looking for something more artistic, Gnomo Ruzafa sells great locally made souvenirs, beautiful cards and posters designed by local artists, and more.

The Espanista, which has two locations in Valencia, also sells some local art, plus regional wine, spirits, snacks, and other souvenirs.

The inside of a store with many local wines, spirits and other gift ideas
A wide range of local and regional products at Original CV

Two other small shops worth mentioning are L’ham del Mercat and Original CV. Both are great places to buy local wines, vermouth, and other small items that make perfect souvenirs.

And, Mercado Central, which I mentioned above, is not a bad place for souvenirs either.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly grocery store with lots of organic products, then Herbolario Navarro is a good option. They have several locations in the city.

Lastly, if you’re in the city center, stop at Mercat de Tapineria. It’s a hidden square with various small businesses including a couple of restaurants. The idea of Mercat de Tapineria is to provide a space for local artists and designers to present and sell their products, promoting sustainability.

When choosing what to buy to remember your trip to Valencia, go for eco-conscious and sustainable gifts. Look for items made from recycled materials, such as handmade paper products or upcycled textiles. Alternatively, consider purchasing locally made products such as olive oil, wine, or artisanal jams, which support local producers and promote sustainable agriculture in the region.

7. Enjoy a Day at the Beach

A golden sandy beach with a lot of people and a blue sky
Malvarrosa Beach in Valencia

Valencia is known for its long sandy beach.

When the weather is good, which is most of the time, a day at the beach is a great way to enjoy what Valencia has to offer.

Relax, swim, sunbathe, and visit one of the many cafes and restaurants along the boardwalk.

You can also rent paddleboards or take a windsurfing lesson. I’ve done both, and loved both, although on a windy day, not falling off those boards is a challenge!

As I mentioned before, stay closer to the port if you’re looking for a livelier beach, or go further north, towards Patacona Beach, if you prefer a quieter option.

To make it an eco-friendly day at the beach, only use reef safe sunscreen. And, I’ve written a separate article explaining why taking shells, or buying them as souvenirs, is really not sustainable.

8. Visit an Orange Farm

several ripe oranges on a tree

When I tell people I live in Valencia one of the first things they often say is ‘Ah, Valencia oranges!’.

Yes, there are many orchards around the city. Visiting an orange farm is a great way to spend a few hours and see a bit of the surrounding area.

A nice train ride from the center of Valencia takes you to this orange farm that’s been in operation since 1870.

Walk through the orchards and learn about traditional and modern cultivation techniques.

During the tour, you’ll get to pick your own oranges (available from December until May) straight from the trees.

You’ll learn a lot and get to taste not just freshly squeezed orange juice, but also seasonal tangerines, Valencian liqueurs, homemade jams, and orange blossom honey.

9. Visit the Jardín Botánico de Valencia

tropical plants inside a greenhouse
A greenhouse at the Jardin Botanico

Wander through Valencia’s botanical garden, the Jardín Botánico, dedicated to the conservation and display of Mediterranean flora.

It’s a really well-designed botanical garden and it’s generally very quiet, making it a great escape from hectic city life.

You can discover a diverse collection of plants from around the world, including rare and endangered species, and learn about the importance of biodiversity and conservation.

Another, more recently created garden worth visiting is Parque Central (Central Park). It’s a beautifully landscaped garden located west of Ruzafa, which is a popular area to stay when visiting Valencia.

10. Take a Paella Cooking Class

A woman smiling, holding a large paella pan with a freshly made Valencian paella
Learn to cook a ‘paella Valenciana’

Valencia is the birthplace of paella and the Valencians are extremely proud of this dish.

Many locals still visit their family every Sunday to cook a paella together.

A paella cooking class is therefore a great way not just to learn a new recipe, but also to learn about the local culture and traditions.

No matter which cooking class you choose, you’ll always use fresh, local ingredients. This cooking class is one of my favorites though, because it takes you to the market to source the ingredients, and offers vegetarian and vegan options as well.

Then you’ll spend quite some time preparing the paella and of course, eating the dish, possibly paired with a nice local wine.

I wrote in detail about the paella cooking class I did, and included a recipe, in this article.

Fun fact: did you know that paella is a lunch dish? Don’t try to order it for dinner, most authentic paellas are only served for lunch.

11. Enjoy Valencia’s Growing Number of Restaurants That Focus on Sustainability

A vegan brunch consisting of coffee, juice, acai, cake and bread with avocado and tomato
Vegan brunch at Almalibre Açaí House

Thankfully many restaurants in Valencia these days point out their locally sourced ingredients and various vegetarian and vegan restaurants have opened in recent years.

La Casa Viva is a nice, casual restaurant with creative vegetarian and vegan dishes, great for a simple dinner.

Almalibre Açaí House is my favorite place in the city center for a healthy brunch. They are fully vegan and besides açaí they also offer wraps, burgers, healthy juices, and more.

For a nice vegetarian dinner in the city center, I can highly recommend Restaurante Oslo. Even many of my non-vegetarian friends love going here. Or go to Copenhagen in Ruzafa.

Mestiza is a nice plant-based restaurant in Cabanyal, although the service hasn’t always been the best, in my opinion.

But, this is only a small selection. Valencia has really improved when it comes to its choice of more sustainable restaurants.

Restaurants are increasingly highlighting their sustainable practices, and you’ll find vegetarian options in most restaurants around the city. Plant-based milk alternatives are now available in almost every coffee shop and many will have some nice vegan cakes or other sweet treats as well.

Talking about coffee shops, Dulce de Leche and La Mas Bonita are very popular choices, with various locations in the city. I used to love both, but I have to say they’ve become a bit too popular and overrun by tourists so maybe just grab a coffee in a more local cafe and soak up a more Spanish vibe.

If you’re looking for a bakery to grab some bread or delicious pastry, go to Levaduramadre Natural Bakery. They are a bit more expensive than your average Spanish bakery, but it’s well worth it for the quality. They really put thought into the ingredients they use, which creates both delicious and more eco-friendly products.

Lastly, if you want an upscale farm-to-table experience, then check out Restaurante Ricard Camarena. Chef Ricard Camarena showcases seasonal ingredients from local farmers and producers in creative and innovative dishes, providing a high-end dining experience that shows Valencia’s rich culinary heritage and commitment to sustainability.

Also Read:

  • The Best Tapas Bars in Valencia
  • Where to Go for the Best Paella in Valencia
  • The Best Chinese Restaurants in Valencia

12. Join a Yoga Class or Other Activity in Turia Park

people dancing inside a park
A dance class in Turia Park

Just last weekend at an event in Turia Park a friend said ”Isn’t it great how many activities you can join in Valencia?” And yes, it really is!

Probably partially because of the great weather, but there’s always something happening in Valencia. And very often, outdoor activities are organized in Turia Park.

From all sorts of fitness classes (yoga, pilates, boot camp, etc.) to dance classes, walks, picnics, and bigger events like the annual wine festival.

Many of these events can be found on and a lot of them are in English.

Joining these types of activities in the park is of course a nice way to spend some time outdoors, but it’s also a great way to get to know a few people living in Valencia and go beyond just doing the ”touristy things” in the city.

Final Thoughts About Planning A Sustainable Trip to Valencia

A woman on a bicycle with street art and a bright yellow wall in the background

I love Valencia, and I think it’s a city well worth visiting. But, the growing number of tourists of course comes with its challenges. From property prices rising beyond what a local Valencian can afford, to disturbances and pollution by careless tourists.

I hope my adopted home remains a beautiful place to visit, and an incredible city to live in. Therefore I try to encourage everyone who comes here to make a positive impact, but also to experience the ‘’real’’ Valencia.

Of course you want to visit the highlights of Valencia. But after that, wander around a local neighborhood, sit down in a neighborhood café that looks like it’s been around forever, and just absorb the local vibe away from the tourist attractions.

When you’re not walking or cycling around the city, use the metro or bus to get around. I’ve written a separate article about how to use the metro in Valencia. For bus routes, this is the official website, but generally just using Google Maps is the best way to find out which bus you’ll need to take.

And lastly, choose eco-friendly accommodations. Stay in hotels or hostels that prioritize sustainability by conserving water, reducing energy consumption, and minimizing waste. I’ve written a detailed article about where to stay in Valencia.

Enjoy this beautiful city!

Also Read:

  • Things to Know if You Want to Go Camping in Valencia
  • The Best Day Trips From Valencia
  • Things to Do With Kids in Valencia
  • What is Ecotourism?
  • Paradores: a Sustainable Hotel Option in Spain


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