If you’re looking for a charming and historic square to visit in Valencia, look no further than Plaza de la Virgen. Located in the heart of Valencia’s historic district, this beautiful square is a must-see attraction for both tourists and locals alike.
With its stunning architecture, picturesque fountains, and lively atmosphere, Plaza de la Virgen is the perfect place to relax and soak up the culture of this vibrant city.
But why exactly should you stop and take a look at this plaza rather than just charging on through to the next stop on your Valencian itinerary? I’ll tell you exactly why right now!
History of la Plaza de la Virgen
Valencia is a city rich in history, and the Plaza de la Virgen is no exception. This beautiful square has been the site of many important events throughout the city’s history, and it should definitely be on the to-do list for anyone interested in Valencia’s past.
Significantly, the Plaza de la Virgen has been an important location in Valencia for over two thousand years. It was originally a Roman forum, where public meetings and commerce took place. Over time, it evolved into a central square for the city’s political, social, and cultural life.
One of the most notable buildings on the plaza is the Cathedral of Valencia, which was built in the 13th century on the site of an earlier mosque. The cathedral’s iconic bell tower, known as the Micalet, was added in the 15th century and has since become a symbol of the city.
Another prominent feature of the plaza is the Fuente del Turia, a beautiful fountain that was built in the 18th century. It features a statue of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, and has become a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
As you can probably tell, throughout the centuries, the Plaza de la Virgen has played host to many important events and celebrations. It’s been the site of public executions, religious processions, and even bullfights. Today, it remains a lively and bustling square, with street performers, vendors, and cafes lining its edges.
Where is the Plaza de la Virgen and how to get there
The Plaza de la Virgen is located in the heart of the Old Town in Valencia and is easily accessible by public transportation or on foot.
If you’re coming from outside the city, the most convenient way to get there is by taking a train or bus to Valencia’s central train station, Estación del Norte. From there, you can walk to the plaza in about 10-15 minutes, or take a taxi or bus if you prefer.
If you’re already in Valencia, you can take the metro to the Xàtiva or Colón stations, both of which are within walking distance of the plaza. You can also take a city bus or hire a bike or scooter to explore the city on your own.
Once you arrive at the Plaza de la Virgen, you’ll be greeted by a bustling square filled with history, culture, and plenty of things to see and do. Take a stroll around the perimeter of the square to see the beautiful architecture and landmarks, or grab a seat at one of the outdoor cafes and enjoy a cup of coffee or a bite to eat while people-watching.
Landmarks and Monuments
While soaking up the atmosphere of the square is definitely a good way to spend your time, there are some key sights to see surrounding this square as well. I’ll take you through the main ones below.
The Valencia Cathedral is a stunning Gothic-style cathedral that dominates the skyline of the city. It’s located adjacent to Plaza de la Virgen, making it a convenient stop on your tour of the area. The cathedral is home to several notable works of art, including a painting by Goya and a chalice believed to be the Holy Grail.
Inside the cathedral, you can also climb the Micalet bell tower for a panoramic view of the city – as I’ll get to in a moment.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken is another impressive structure located in Plaza de la Virgen. It’s a Baroque-style church that was built in the 17th century and is dedicated to the patron saint of Valencia.
The interior of the basilica is ornate and features several beautiful frescoes and sculptures. Check out the ceiling to be particularly amazed.
As just mentioned, El Micalet is a bell tower located next to Valencia Cathedral. It’s a popular tourist attraction and offers stunning views of the city from the top.
The tower was built in the 14th century and is an iconic symbol of Valencia. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the city’s history and architecture.
The Turia Fountain is a beautiful landmark located in the center of Plaza de la Virgen. It’s a Baroque-style fountain that was built in the 18th century and features several intricate sculptures and carvings.
What is the Fountain in the Plaza de la Virgen?
The Fuente del Turia is an allegorical sculpture that portrays the Turia River and depicts Neptune. The eight figures surrounding Neptune and pouring water from pitchers symbolize the eight acequias or channels that irrigate the farmland around the city of Valencia.
The fountain, dedicated to the Túria river itself, is a symbol of the importance of water in Valencia’s history and culture. In particular, the acequias have been a vital part of the city’s agricultural history for centuries and are still in use today.
Palau de la Generalitat Valenciana
The Palau de la Generalitat Valenciana is a historic building located near Plaza de la Virgen. It’s the seat of government for the Valencian Community and has been in use since the 15th century.
The building features a beautiful Gothic-style façade and several impressive interior spaces, including a grand hall and a chapel.
The Water Tribunal, or Tribunal de las Aguas, is a unique institution that’s been in operation in Valencia since the 10th century – and its headquarters is in the Plaza de la Virgen.
The Tribunal is responsible for managing the distribution of water from the River Turia to the surrounding farmland, like it has for literally centuries, and its members are elected by the farmers themselves.
It meets every Thursday at noon in the Plaza de la Virgen, and its sessions are open to the public. They don’t usually meet for very long, so if you’re lucky enough to be in Valencia on a Thursday, don’t miss the chance to witness this fascinating tradition.
What else there is to see
Plaza de la Virgen is surrounded by a number of cafes where you can sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or a light meal while taking in the sights and sounds of the square. Many of these cafes offer outdoor seating, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful weather and people-watching opportunities.
One of the most popular cafes in the square is Cafe de las Horas, known for its elegant decor and delicious cocktails. In particular, don’t miss having an agua de Valencia here as this cafe is the most well known place in town for this drink.
If you’re looking for something more substantial to eat, you’ll find a number of alfresco food and drink options around the square. From ice cream to tapas, coffee to wine, there’s something for everyone. Even the Central Market of Valencia isn’t too far away.
And taking the chance to sit down for a quick snack or a drink lets you enjoy what’s likely to be a variety of street performers showcasing their talents. From musicians and dancers to magicians and living statues, these performers add to the vibrant atmosphere of the square.
Plaza de la Virgen is one of the most vibrant and beautiful public squares in Valencia. It is a place where you can experience the city’s rich history and culture, while enjoying the modern amenities of cafes, bars and restaurants.
The square is surrounded by stunning architecture, including the Valencia Cathedral and the iconic Bell Tower of Micalet. And within the square, the atmosphere is almost always lively and friendly, making it a perfect spot to relax and people-watch.
With several must-sees in this square, including the fountain, the Cathedral and the Basilica, give yourself some time to look around just what this corner of the city has to offer.