Visiting the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia

This is a complete guide to the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain, that will help you plan your visit.

The City of Arts and Sciences (in Spanish: Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias) in Valencia, Spain, is one of the most impressive cultural and architectural complexes I’ve seen anywhere in Europe.

City of Arts and Sciences buildings

I spent a couple of months in Valencia and went there many times, mostly because I couldn’t get enough of the stunning architecture.

It has 6 buildings and many different attractions and activities you can engage with.

Visiting the City of Arts and Sciences takes a little bit of planning, so I wrote a simple guide to help you pick and choose what you want to see and make a plan

This guide includes: what to see, how to get tickets, guided tours you can take, and how to get to the City of Arts and Sciences.

What to see at the City of Arts and Sciences?

Each of the buildings in the City of Arts and Sciences is an exceptional and fascinating creation.

Hemisferic

Hemisferic Valencia

An IMAX cinema and planetarium, where you can see a 3D movie inside a massive dome.

I really enjoyed the movie and the optical illusion was just perfect; at some points, I really felt like my seat was floating in the air.

The narration for the 3D movies is in Spanish, but you can get a headset with dubbing in English and other languages.

The movies last about 45 minutes each and there are several screenings of different movies throughout the day.

The Hemisferic is shaped like a massive eye when you look at the sphere from the outside. Hence its other name – “the eye of knowledge”.

If you get a chance, go see it illuminated at night with a reflection in the water that mirrors the building, creating the full shape of this stunning eye.

Umbracle

Umbracle

Under the impressive arches, you’ll find a peaceful, landscaped sculpture garden with many different types of plants typical to Valencia.

Take a walk under the palm trees and discover the contemporary sculptures positioned around the Umbracle.

I loved the playfulness of the arches and the trees. The combination of plants, sculptures, and innovative architecture makes the experience quite remarkable.

Science Museum

Science Museum Valencia

The Prince Felipe Science Museum (Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe) is a large museum dedicated to all aspects of science, from biology to astronomy.

This building is fascinating to look at from the outside before you go in.

It reminded me of a skeleton of some sort, and I later found out that it was designed to look like a skeleton of a whale.

Agora

Caixa Forum Agora - City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia

CaixaForum València – Agora is a multipurpose space with a museum, an auditorium, classrooms, a bookshop, and various other cultural spaces, pop-ups, and events.

Walking into the building you’ll want to look up straight away. There’s a lot to see. I felt it was designed to impress; I’d never seen anything quite like it.

Palace of Arts

Palace of arts Valencia

The Queen Sofía Palace of the Arts (Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía) is a concert hall, opera house, and performing arts centre.

It’s the place to find a range of performances, including classical music, opera, ballet, and Flamenco.

The shape of the building is intriguing and futuristic, with sweeping curves and beautiful glass foyers.

Oceanografic

One of Europe’s largest aquariums.

I personally do not go to attractions involving animals. I encourage people to think for themselves, of course, so simply Googling “Is the Oceanografic ethical” will turn up some useful results, and you can decide if it’s up to your standards on animal cruelty.

Tickets to the City of Arts and Sciences

The Umbracle is free to visit.

The Agora building is free to enter, but for CaixaForum (the museum inside the Agora building), you’ll need a ticket, which you can book online or buy at the door. I got mine at the door without having to wait in line.

For the Hemispheric I got my ticket in advance here.

The Science Museum tickets can also be booked online in advance. Find tickets here:

You can also get a combined ticket to 2-3 attractions of your choice.

Guided tours of the City of Arts and Sciences

Take a walking tour with a local guide to learn about the City of Arts and Sciences in depth.

Alternatively, you can take tours on wheels: a private bike tour, or a private segway tour with a guide. That’s a fun way to discover the area, as well as the lovely Turia Park. On a private tour, you can personalise the route to fit your interests.

How to get to the City of Arts and Sciences

City of Arts and Sciences architecture

Though it’s one of the top attractions in Valencia, the City of Arts and Sciences isn’t quite in the city centre. However, Valencia isn’t a huge city, so getting there is quick and easy.

Public transport: The metro network in Valencia is excellent. I enjoyed using it. The nearest metro stop to the City of Arts and Sciences is called Ciutat Arts i Ciències – Justícia.

If you take line 10 from the Alacant metro station in the city centre and get off at Justícia station, you’ll reach the City of Arts and Sciences in less than 15 minutes.

There are quite a few bus lines that can take you to the City of Arts and Sciences. It’s best to check on the EMT Valencia app or on Google Maps to see up-to-date schedules and routes.

If you use public transport a lot in Valencia, I recommend you get a SUMA10 card for 10 rides at a discounted rate.

On foot: As the City of Arts and Sciences is right at the end of Turia Park, a long park running through the city, you can reach it on foot by walking in this wonderful park.

I suggest you start at Alameda metro station. From there it should take about 25 minutes to reach the City of Arts and Sciences on foot.

The architect behind the City of Arts and Science: Calatrava

A renowned Spanish architect, engineer, and sculptor, Calatrava has a remarkable artistic and futuristic style that’s easy to recognise.

Some of the famous buildings by Calatrava include:

  • Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee, USA)
  • Turning Torso (Malmö, Sweden)
  • The Oculus (New York City, USA)
  • Athens Olympic Sports Complex (Athens, Greece)

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