Located at the end of the old bed of Turia River, the City of Arts and Sciences, locally known as Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, is Valencia’s top landmark and one of the best examples of modern architecture in Europe.

A city within a city

Designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the futuristic complex comprises five elements: Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, L’Oceanografic, L’Hemisferic, El Museu de Ciences Principe Felipe, and L’Umbracle.

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia
Photo by David Sangüesa | via Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències

The stunning Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, simply known as the Palace of Arts, contains four outsized rooms: the main hall, the master hall, the auditorium, and the Martin y Soler theatre. Dedicated to music and arts, the ultramodern palace provides some incredible acoustics, which makes it one of the most prominent opera halls in Europe.

Photo via Oceanogràfic Valencia

A true architectural gem built in the shape of a water lily, L’Oceanografic is Europe’s largest oceanographic aquarium, spanning an area of 110,000 square meters. It is the only building in the City of Arts and Sciences designed by architect Felix Candela.

Divided into a number of spaces, the aquarium shelters more than 500 species of wetland birds, characteristic flora, and marine creatures, including sharks, dolphins, penguins, and more, all grouped by their area of origin. Therefore, visitors will have the opportunity to see typical marine life from the Mediterranean, Wetlands, Seas, Oceans, Islands, and the Red Sea.


L’Umbracle, the entrance into the City of Arts and Sciences, is a beautiful landscaped promenade lined with contemporary sculptures and various species of plants from all over the world. Access is free of charge.

Museu de Ciences Principe Felipe
Photo via Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències

El Museu de Ciences Principe Felipe, or the Science Museum, is a huge structure spread over three floors, where unlike other museums, visitors are invited to touch and even play with the artifacts, encouraging learning through entertainment.


Depicting a huge eyeball floating above the water, L’Hemisferic features an IMAX Cinema, the Planetarium, and the Laserium. Completed in 1998, this was the first building of the City of Arts and Sciences and the project’s centerpiece.

City of Arts and Sciences

This astonishing “city within a city” in Valencia is not only an architectural marvel, but also a one-of-a-kind experience meant to educate, entertain, enthrall, and to give you a glimpse of how the future looks like.

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