La Concha beach in the city of San Sebastian

@Carolina Santos Torre/iStock

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

Top choice in L'Eixample & Southern Valencia

This aesthetically stunning complex occupies a massive 350,000-sq-metre swath of the old Turia riverbed. It’s occupied by a series of spectacular buildings that are mostly the work of world-famous, locally born architect Santiago Calatrava. The principal buildings are a majestic opera house, a science museum, a 3D cinema and an aquarium. Calatrava is a controversial figure for many Valencians, who complain about the expense and various design flaws. Nevertheless, if your taxes weren't involved, it's awe-inspiring and pleasingly family-oriented.

The promenades and pools around the buildings make for pleasant strolling and you can hire bikes, paddleboards and various other contraptions to enjoy them.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby L'Eixample & Southern Valencia attractions

1. Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe

0.08 MILES

This interactive science museum, stretching like a giant whale skeleton within the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, has plenty of touchy-feely things…

2. Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía


Brooding over the riverbed like a giant beetle, its shell shimmering with translucent mosaic tiles, this ultramodern arts complex, grafted onto the Ciudad…

3. Museo Fallero

0.35 MILES

At each Fallas festival, just one of the thousands of ninots, the figurines that pose at the base of each falla (huge statues of papier mâché and…

4. Oceanogràfic


Spain's most famous aquarium is the southernmost building of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. It's an impressive display, divided into a series of…

5. Las Naves

0.82 MILES

Down near the docks, this former warehouse space has been turned into a hive of creativity, with art and photography exhibitions, a library, rehearsal…

6. Mercado Municipal del Grao

1.03 MILES

This low, squat market has an unusual indoor-outdoor design and is worth a look for its palpable sense of history (opened 1910) and community, but at the…

7. Las Atarazanas del Grao


Originally constructed in the 14th century in Gothic style, these five parallel warehouses have been much altered over the years, but are still an…

8. Puente del Mar

1.11 MILES

One of the most attractive of the Turia's old bridges, this elegant stone Renaissance span was commissioned in 1591 to replace a wooden bridge that had…