Turia Park might be the reason why I fell in love with Valencia. A more than 9 kilometres long, in most places about 200 metres wide, green park in the middle of Valencia. For relaxation, sport, meeting and fun of all shapes and sizes. A perfect place to hang around! In this blog 10 highlights.
From old river to urban park
Del Turia was the name of the river that used to flow through Valencia. In 1957 the river ran out of banks and caused a major flood in the city, resulting in many hundreds of deaths. After this disaster, the river was diverted to the south of Valencia and the old riverbed was converted into a park. In 1986 Jardín del Turia, the Turia park was officially opened. It is still one of the largest urban parks in Spain.
The Turia River in the ’50s. Source: SLO Lerners.
What to do in Turia Park?
The park begins at Parque de Cabecera and ends at Ciudad de las artes y las Ciencias, or City of Arts and Sciences. A total of about 110 hectares accommodate many different activities that you can do in Turia Park. You can enter and leave the park at many different points. Here’s a list of ten things you can do in the park:
Cycling or walking through the park
Cycling through Turia Park should be high on your to-do list for Valencia. It is a very easy way to see as much of the park as possible. Throughout the park, you’ll find a special bike path on both sides of the park. Take a break every now and then to see the most beautiful spots up close and discover the most beautiful orange trees, palm trees, fountains etc.
Rather walk? Of course, that’s lovely too. In the centre of the park, you will find a beautiful walking path. From there you can take in everything nicely.
Lovely walking and cycling paths in the park.
For me, the park is also characterized by the number of sports you see there. Not only are there many runners, cyclists and outdoor training groups, there are also complete sports clubs in the park. Think of football, baseball and rugby. Often there is something to see in the fields! In various places in the park, there is also fitness equipment on which you can work out with your own body weight as resistance.
As sporty as I am, I had to test out the fitness equipment in the park during my very first visit to Valencia in 2013. ?
For runners, the park has a separate running track. Along the path, there are mile markers that indicate how far you are in the park. A tip: don’t go cycling on that same track. If you do, be ready to get an angry look or a wild hand gesture from a fanatic runner. ?
The runners track through Turia Park in Valencia with mile markers.
A map of the running track.
There’s even a sign with test and training schedules for runners!
A visit to the City of Arts and Sciences
The City of Arts and Sciences is an admirable complex. Beautiful buildings and blue ponds to wander around, but also the museums housed in it are worth a visit. In summer you can also have fun on the water in a ball or a boat. Too much to mention! That’s why more information about this soon in a separate blog. Keep an eye on the website. ☺️
Enjoy the water by boat at City of Arts and Sciences. Picture: Maryanac26.
L’Umbracle at the City of Arts and Sciences.
Check out the bridges
If you cycle or walk through the park, look up at the bridges. There are really beautiful ones! For example, Puente del Mar with the pond below, the modern bridge Puente de la Exposición or Puente de las Flores, full of flowers. In total there are 18 bridges!
Puente del Mar in Turia Park
For the kids: Gulliver park and midget golf
Gulliver park is a special play park for children. On the circular terrain is a statue of Lemuel Gulliver, the main character from the book of Gulliver’s Travels, on which stairs, ladders, climbing ropes and slides are incorporated. It has been there since 1990 and is free of charge. Hours of fun for the kids!
Near the Gulliver park, there’s is a miniature golf course where you can play miniature golf for free (on payment of a deposit).
Park Gulliver in Valencia. Picture: Eric Titcombe.
Parque de Cabecera
At the beginning of Turia Park, you will find Parque de Cabecera. A park in a park. ? It is a beautiful piece of nature with water and hiking trails, an oasis of tranquillity. On the water, you can sail with pedal boats in the shape of swans.
Parque de Cabecera. Picture: Juan Carlos.
Picture: Esteban Chiner
The swan boats in Parque Cabecera. Picture: Themil.
In the part of Parque Cabecera, you will also find Biopark, the zoo of Valencia. Here you will find many African animals and plants. The animals are not kept in pens but are kept separate with natural secretions. Worth a visit!
Palau de la Música
Another imposing building on the side of the park is Palau de la Música, the music palace. You can relax at the beautiful pond with fountains or enjoy the performances around the building. Also inside, the most beautiful performances are still held.
Palau de la Música. Picture: Themil.
Besides all the fun things that can be done in the park anyway, events are regularly organized. Think of the fireworks shows around Las Fallas in March, the Andalusian festival Gran Feria Andaluza in May, the annual summer fair (Feria de Atracciones de Verano) and various food and drink festivals.
Gran Feria Andaluza, the yearly Andalusian festival in Turia Park. Picture: Turialife.com.
Catering in the park
Catering in Turia Park may not be something you go there for especially, but when you’re there it’s great to sit down for a drink or a snack. However, there are not many places to do so. They are mainly places where you can have a drink and eat a sandwich, not real restaurants. They are scattered throughout the park.
One of the bars where we like to go is Bar Bajo el Puente de Calatrava. They have delicious Patatas Bravas there! Another nice spot is the bar at the City of Arts and Sciences where you can have a nice cold drink or a sandwich with a beautiful view of the blue water and buildings.
Patatats bravas at Bar Bajo el Puente de Calatrava
Even though I’ve been to Turia Park many times, it still remains my favourite place to relax in Valencia. Lovely to just sit down on the grass with a cold drink and a book or to just enjoy watching people! This list of 10 things to do in Turia Park gives you some inspiration for when you want something extra. The list is probably not complete yet, so keep an eye on this site for a sequel! If you have any tips of your own, I’d love to hear them. ?