Valencia is Spain’s third-largest city after Madrid and Barcelona. Famed for its historic Old Town and its expansive beaches, Valencia also lays claim to arguably one of Spain’s biggest and most innovative urban renewal projects, the Turia park. The Turia River used to flow through the city but devastating floods in 1957 prompted the city government to divert the flow of the river around the city. The old riverbed was turned into a leafy park which stretches almost 9 kilometers. These days, the park is home to a variety of Valencia’s best attractions including the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences. The old riverbed is, as I soon discovered, also home to two of Valencia’s spectacular wildlife parks: the Bioparc (at its northwestern end) and the Oceanogràfic (adjacent to the City of Arts and Sciences at the southeastern end of the old riverbed).

The rose gardens in the Turia park near the City of Arts & Sciences


The Bioparc is a massive park that showcases African flora and fauna. The park is divided into various sections, each of which houses a specific eco-system. There’s the savannah, a section devoted to Madagascar’s unique wildlife, the Equatorial forests and wetlands.

Giraffes and antelopes
Rhinos lazing in the sun
Lemurs roam freely in the Madagascar section.
You’ll get the opportunity to see a hippo underwater!

I’ve been to many zoological parks around the world but the Bioparc is certainly unique. I especially love how the park encourages ‘immersion’. The enclosures are so cleverly designed that visitors often feel as though they are walking through the animals’ natural environment, not simply observing the animals from behind a fence. A visit to Bioparc is definitely one of the top things to do in Valencia. Buy your Bioparc tickets here.



The Oceanogràfic is Europe’s largest aquarium and houses a great diversity of marine environments including the oceans, the Arctic/Antarctic, wetlands and the tropical seas. Located at the southern end of the City of Arts and Sciences, the curvy white roofs of the pavilions, designed by Félix Candela, will grab your attention as you enter the park. Continue below and you’ll find yourself in a fascinating marine world with massive basins and tanks interconnected by glass tunnels. Buy your tickets here.

Feeding time!
The stunning roofs of the Oceanografic.
The birdlife is equally stunning.
A series of tunnels link the different pavilions.
Sharks and rays

While in Valencia, make sure you set aside some time for these two wildlife parks. I definitely enjoyed visiting both and I’m pretty sure you will too!


Read more about Valencia on Velvet Escape.

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