Eco-friendly travel guide to Valencia advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Valencia, Spain.
- Air quality: 4 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3.5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3 / 5
- Public transportation: 4 / 5
- Parks: 3.5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 2 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2 / 5
- Safety: 3 / 5
- Accommodation: US$80 - $400
- Budget per day: US$150 - $700
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Valencia city is famous for its folklore, local cuisine, and many beautiful landmarks. The city is not necessarily a popular tourist destination. Still, it is a great place to either make a short stop when breaking up a train journey or an attractive option for those looking for a weekend city break in an area away from the traditional tourist cities. Responsible travel refers to traveling in such a way that your actions don't cause any harm to the local communities or the environment. In the current scenario, you must follow various eco-friendly measures and participate actively in protecting our earth.
There are several ways to ensure responsible travel in Valencia, with some being:
While booking your flight, make sure that you take a direct flight. Avoid booking transfer flights as they cause a lot of harm to the environment and take more time to reach the final destination.
- Book an eco friendly accommodation: Instead of booking a 5-star and luxurious hotel, find out if the hotel is eco-friendly. Eco-friendly hotels are hotels that follow certain environment-friendly practices that support and protect their local environment. You must prefer these hotels as they will help you minimize your carbon footprint. Your trip to the city of Valencia begins the second you book the flight. After securing the getaway, you need to book a hotel for your stay.
- Buy Local: You will find pretty much the same products in these stores and only waste time and money. Instead, visit local shops as they are the ones that possess items that will help you understand the local culture, traditions, and livelihood of the Spanish people.
- Avoid plastic: As a tourist, you will feel that using mineral water bottles and disposable items are a better choice, but they are not. These items create a lot of pollution that uses a lot of natural resources to dispose-off properly.
Air Quality and Pollution
Unlike other European cities, the pollution levels in the town are astonishingly lower. You will find that the government and even the locals are promoting and supporting environmentally friendly practices. As you can see, the air pollution levels are relatively low, so Valencia's people are at lesser risk of respiratory diseases and lead a healthy life. While traveling to the city, you need to make sure that your activities don't harm the environment. The locals focus on changing their lifestyles into a healthier one, which has led them to start using bicycles instead of motor vehicles and organic food than preserved and frozen food. Because of such changes in the people's activities, the pollution levels remain low, and people can live a better life.
Respect the Culture
Once you make an impact with your appearance, your next step to being a good tourist is to ensure that you greet the local people nicely; when somebody acquaints you, or you meet with a local person, you should warmly greet the other individual, regardless of whether that individual is a man or woman. If the other individual is a lady and offers you her cheek, at that point, you can trade two kisses, but they are air kisses and not to the cheeks. Never contact, embrace, or back slap a Spaniard you don't know well.While bidding goodbye, one should shake hands once more. Appreciating the local food, art, craft and the heritage all comes under the ambit of respecting the local culture so make sure you do that. If you come from a completely different background and get a cultural shock over a few things, make sure not to frown on those.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Here are the top 10 places you can see in the city:
- Ciudad de las Arthes Y las Ciencias: The architectural beauty of this art and science cultural complex will leave you in awe. It is considered to be one of the 12 treasures of Spain, designed by the renowned architects Santiago Calatrava Valls and Félix Candela Outeriño.
- L'Oceanografic: A famous oceanarium in the city which is another architectural marvel. It is located in Carrer Primo Yufera, Valencia, Spain. It was established in the year 2003.
- The Central Market of Valencia: Think of fresh produce, yummy food, the aroma of delicious spices in the air and all of that sums up the Central Market of Valencia. A place worth visiting for all foodies especially organic food lovers.
- La Lonja de la Seda: Declared as one of the UNESCO World Heritage buildings, it is used to be the main hub for silk trading and is now considered as one of the most important historical sites in the city.
- Valencia Cathedral: Valencia Cathedral is one of the famous cathedrals in the city of Valencia. It is located in I'Almonia. The cathedral is styled in Valencian Gothic style.
- Museu De Les Ciencies Principe Feline: The famous Spanish science writer and television personality, Manuel Toharia has done a wonderful job with this museum as its director. It is a great place to take your kids as it will enable them to develop critical thinking skills and its a must visit place for science and arts enthusiasts.
- Valencia Bio Park: A huge zoo based on the model of sustainability and eco friendly practices. They adopt the zoo immersion philosophy, they are using solar panels, recycling 95 percent of the water they use and their core value is to raise awareness amongst people about how to care for the wildlife, the environment and how to preserve these species.
- Playa De La Malvarrosa: A very popular beach with an extremely clean and calm environment. Located next to the Malvarossa neighbourhood, it is ideal to spend a day sunbathing or playing sports. The beach is also kids friendly,
- Albufera: Albufera is a famous lagoon in the city of Valencia. The official name of Albufera is LAlbufera de Valencia. It was established in the year 1989.
- Torres De Serranos: A famous historical place in the city of Valencia. It is located in Placa dels Furs, Valencia, Spain. It was styled in Valencian Gothic style. It was established in the year 1398.
The city has many things to offer apart from the many historical and culturally renowned places packed with tourists. The various parks, beaches, museums, and landmarks will help you get deep insights into the local culture and its beauty. People say that all work and no play would make one dull. This city ensures that it has places that play roles in calming and relaxing the mind. Thus, it is not surprising that people always want to visit this city.
There is so much to do in this city, so tourists should have a schedule plan ready so that activities will not be jumbled.
The city has a pretty good collection of parks. Most of them are huge and full of greenery so you will have a lot of fun when visiting these parks.
Here are some famous city parks in the city:
- Cabecera Park
- Instalaciones Jardin Del Turia
- Parc Central Valencia
- Jardibs De Real
- Infantil Publico Calle Linterna Park
- Park Valencia
Valencia is known for its natural landscapes so naturally it has a good variety of national parks as well. For nature lovers they are nothing short of little pieces of heaven, peaceful and calm. Some of the National parks that are worth a visit are:
- Valencia Bioparc
- Gulliver Park
- El Salt
- Parc Del Turia
The city of Valencia is famous for its beautiful and stunning beaches. There are dozens of big and tiny beaches, and it may not be possible to list down every one of them. Some of the beautiful and popular beaches in the city are listed below:
- Playa De La Malvarrosa
- Platja Del Cabanyal
- Platja De Arbre Del Gos
- Valencia Beach Holiday Rentals
- Platja De Levant
- Playa Del Saler
The city of Valencia also has its share of memorable landmarks and monuments. While the list is quite long, we mention a few of them for our readers' benefit. You must try and visit as many as you possibly can. Here are some famous landmarks in Valencia:
- Jardin Del Turia
- Plaza De La Virgen
- Torre Del Micalet
- Palau De Les Arts Reina Sofia
In order to truly explore and experience the local cultures, you absolutely have to visit the museums.
Here are some of these museums given are as follows:
- Fine Arts Museum Of Valencia
- Gonzalez Marti National Museum Of Ceramics And Sumptuous Arts
- Del Carmen Cultural Center
You will feel shocked to hear a vast diversity of food cuisines split into eight regional cuisines. Make sure to buy the foods from local street foods. As a traveler, you will be helping them and supporting them to keep up giving the taste of their culture to the tourist. You will get many street food shops on your way to different places, as many families are entirely dependent on tourism. You will find that the locals prefer to eat healthy and nutritious food with lots of vegetables and meats. You need to taste some of the city's best and local foods to understand the local people's culture and tradition very closely. As the city has a mixed culture, you will get different local foods, such as Mayan food, Indian food, and Chinese food. You will find that vegetarian, and non-vegetarian dishes are popular, and you will not find much trouble conveying your food preferences.
Traditional Local Restaurants
Suppose you want to waste no time eating international foods while in Valencia city and take your focus to try traditional foods. Here are some famous local restaurants which serve their authentic conventional foods. Then it would be best if you tried these favorite traditional restaurants in the city.
- Nederland 1814
- Maria De La O
- Meson El Rebeco
- Restaurante Frances
- Taberna Vasca Che
- Restaurante Casa El Famous
Vegetarian and Vegan
If you are a vegetarian, you do not need to worry when you are in this city as there are many restaurants to attend to your needs. With these places, you will get to enjoy traditional meals properly with your regular choices. Some of these vegan restaurants are:
- Café Artysana
- Aloha Vegan Delights
- Nomit Restaurante
- La Liuna Restaurante Vegetariano Vegano
- The Began
- Alma Libre Acai House Valencia
There are some of the street foods available that are very popular all around the world. You will be amazed to see the street food options, and it will undoubtedly wake up the real foodie in you. One of the best things about the city is the street foods that give the best tradition and culture. You will be able to get some of the best street foods in every corner of this city. Some of the best street foods that you need to try in the city of Valencia are given below:
- Paella Valenciana
- Horchata Y Fartons
- Flan De Calabaza
- Morcilla And Egg Sandwich At Bar Central
- Orange Icecream
- Bunuelos De Calabaza
All different types of drinks are available in Valencia city. If you find a bar or pub in the town, you will not have to look much as it is plenty. Make sure to drink them from the local shops to get some traditional local drinks as well. Both local people and foreigners visit bars, pubs, and cafes to get the best experience of having different beverages. You will be able to get various beverages, various wines, and many other local drinks to help you know the locals well. Apart from beers and wines, you will also be able to get many options for non-alcoholic beverages.
The tap water of Valencia is the highest quality tap water in all of Europe. The water is so clean that it is even better than the water in mineral water bottles. You can easily find many water taps and public drinking fountains in Valencia safe to drink, and you will not need to buy mineral water bottles. Such purity in the city's tap water is because of the advanced technology that the water companies use to convert the surface water into pure and drinkable water.
Valencia's water is free from chlorine or fluoride and has a score of 8.4 for its quality. You can carry a reusable water bottle with you while exploring the city and refill it from these public sources. Valencia's tap water is not only safe to drink but also tastes and smells good.
The city has stood up to the task of catering for all segments of the population, including those with a preference for organic foods. Since some people would prefer eating organic, it is not out of place to have organic cafes in different cities. While they are not as apparent as the mainstream restaurants, the town has several organic eateries:
- Mayan Coffees Organic Speciality Coffee
- Café Artysana
- Suc De Lluna Biocafe
- Brunch Corner – Sant Bult
- Bluebell Coffee Roasters
- Be Green Salad Company
- Federal Valencia
As the city has a high alcohol tax, you will not find many shops on the road. Without having good breweries, you will not be able to explore the city and its culture. It is tough to get the license to brew in the town, and there are only two and a half brewers available in the city. However, there are some places that you can visit to get international craft beer options. Visit these places to get the best experience of having breweries in Valencia. The city offers a few breweries collections, and it is one of the last places that a beer lover wants to visit.
- Tyris On Tap
- Olhops Craft Beer Lab
- The Market Craft Beer
- Compania Cervecera Zeta. S.L.
- Birra 365
- Cerveza Turia
Foreigners hate getting bored when in a new town, so you would see those seeking locals' recommendations. The city is best known for its art and culture in tourism, and it has many places to explore and offers endless activities to tourists to help them explore the city's beauty, culture, and history. By indulging in these activities, you can enhance your experience and get the most out of your travel. The museums and art exhibitions are always there for you to explore, making you appreciate the local culture. Even if you are not a lover of artwork, something in you will be compelled when you see them.
Yoga and Retreats
Many tourists like to take care of their health on their tour and join local yoga centers to care for it. Taking a break from the hectic journey and relaxing at their yoga retreats will help to get your energy back. From online to offline yoga, the city offers you various options to get in good shape here. The teachers are experienced, the styles are diverse, and the locations are, of course, stunning. Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. As the city's local people are very well known for maintaining their health, you will find many yoga centers and retreats in the city.
- Gimnasio Femenino De L’art
- Yoga Flow Valencia
- Yoga With Jennoson In Valencia Spain
- Valencia Fitness And Health
- Om Yoga
- Yoga En Valencia
We would not say that accommodation in this city is cheap, neither would we say that it is expensive. The price you would get depends on your accommodation option. It may not be as low as what you would get in some cities, but it is not the most expensive in the world. With this clear, we know that the next question concerns the pricing as people want to learn to plan their budget. The city has many options when it comes to accommodation, so foreigners are not stranded. These accommodation options range from hotels to apartments, and much more. You can either make accommodation plans when you are in the city or before you arrive. It would be best to do whatever works best for you.
Many foreigners fail to realize that they have a role to play in protecting the environment, and it does not matter if it is your place of origin or not. If you have to stay in a hotel then a green hotel should be your priority. Some of the green hotels are:
- Patacona Green Flats
- The Westin Valencia
- Sh Valencia Palace
- Hotel Nh Valencia Center
- Eurostars Rey Don Jaime
- Hotel Boutique Balandret
Hostels and Guest Houses
You need to know about which are the best places in this city to stay for your tour. Both online and offline bookings are available in most of these hotels. Here are some of the best ones that you can choose to enjoy your stay. You will get plenty of options for hotels in the city, from low to high price, three stars to five stars with different offerings.
- Pension Universal
- Hostal Casa Valenciana
- Quart Youth Hostel
- Hostal Bisbal
- Ayuntamiento Rooms And Breakfast
- Arts And Flats Bed And Breakfast
Instead of wasting your money on hotels, hostels, and guest houses, you can prefer renting out an apartment if you stay in the city for more than a month. You can reduce the apartment's total rental cost by sharing or dividing the amount amongst your friends or family with whom you are traveling. You can find many apartment buildings all over Valencia, which can be a bit pricey because of the prime location but are cheaper and offer various amenities that you will not find at a hotel or guest house.
Couch-surfing is a new accommodation where a tourist can stay at a local person's house for a particular time. Young college students usually do this type of practice to earn a little money at the side. It is a legal concept and has its website where you can search for couch-surfing hosts in the city you are going to town. You need to contact these hosts and set a deal with mutual consent for a particular time stay before visiting the city. The idea surrounding Couchsurfing is that the locals of the town offer hospitality by opening their homes to foreigners. It is usually voluntary so that there will be no complaints. Thus, anyone who signs up to accommodate people through Couchsurfing is expected to treat them right as they were not forced to do it.
Campers describe the experience as exciting, and it lures those who have never been camping before. It helps you meet new people, and you get to do things you have never done before. If you a lover of nature and the outdoors, we know that you would wish to experience camping in whatever form when you are in a new city. One of the most enjoyable outdoor activities that you can get into that would involve everybody is camping. Valencia has many picturesque locations where you can go camping and enjoy great outdoor fun. Here are some of the unique camping spots in the city.
The thing with camping is that there are particular areas for it; else, the whole purpose is defeated. Thus, it is right to know about camping sites.
- Camping Valencia El Saler
- Devesa Gardens Camping & Resort
- Voll Vert Camping
- Camping Bungalow Park Albufera
- Camping Valencia
- Valencia Camper Park
How to Get There
There are many modes of traveling to the city, but the best way is by taking a flight. If you are already in the country, you can opt for other transports like rental car services, long-distance buses, hitchhiking, trains, etc. These transports are friendly to your pocket and the environment if you want to travel to the city from your home city.
The Valencia Airport is the primary airport. It is about 8 kilometers in the southwest of the city but offers airport shuttle bus services that tourists can use to reach the city. It is the tenth busiest airport of Spain and has national and international flights scheduled everyday.
Valencia has a very regular and excellent bus service, making it one of the most comfortable and convenient means of transport for the tourist who wants to explore the cities, towns, etc. The bus routes can be confusing and you may have to take some local help to determine which bus to choose for your requirements. This is because the intercity bus terminus is located around one hour from the city. You can know about the timetables, routes, journey timings, ticket fares, and other important information available online and written on the information boards in the bus stations.
Traveling to the city by trains is a popular mode among travelers as they offer a comfortable service and provide breath-taking views of the countryside. You can use trains to travel from one city to another or even reach the far off places. By traveling on the trains, you can meet many locals and tourists and interact with them to increase your knowledge.
A lot of hitchhikers consider hitchhiking immensely challenging in Spain because it is not easy. If you want to hitch in Spain, all you need to do is find the right spot for hitchhiking; the better the location, the better the hitchhiking experience. The local Spanish people are amicable and welcoming. Although not all of them will be able to give you a ride, they will offer you money, food, directions to stations, and even salute you. It is not the most convenient way of transportation but is common among solo travelers and people with a low budget.
It is a standard mode in Europe as some tourists like to get a real adventure where they can meet incredible local people and gather knowledge that one can't find on the internet. You will find that some countries in Europe also have a hitchhiking station where hitchhikers can use to get a lift. While the locals are quite friendly and hospitable and hitchhiking is a common practice in many parts of the world, it is not common to encounter hitchhikers in Valencia. Hitchhiking is very much in vogue in the city, but you have to be careful when choosing the right person.
Other than these standard modes of transportation, different ways include boats, cruise ships, taxis, and rented cars. These are not the most convenient modes, as they are not affordable and harmful to the environment. Even if you are not on a tight budget, you should avoid these modes of transportations as they result in a lot of wastage of natural resources. Also, these transportations are often overcharged and do not provide much exposure to the local culture.
If you think that you may face some trouble moving around the city, you are mistaken. You will find that the locals prefer healthy lifestyle choices, and walking or cycling is the most common mode of moving around. There are many rental car services as well but try to avoid them at all costs as they will overcharge you and emit a lot of carbon dioxide into the environment. You can opt for electronic vehicles, public buses, trams, metro trains, and other efficient and eco-friendly ways of moving around the city.
You do not have to be stuck in traffic or wait for the signal to go to your destination. Make sure to carry some essentials like food and water while planning to tour the city on foot. Walking might be the best option to witness the local culture and people of this city. You will be able to find many walking lanes that are separated from the car roads and well-connected around the city. If you do not want to miss a little bit of this place, then you need to walk down the streets. Valencia has become known for its unending traffic jams. Despite numerous attempts to decongest the city, including increasing the parking cost in town and banning public service vehicles from accessing certain parts of the town center, the streets have continued congested.
If you cannot travel long distances by walking, you can use an electronic or mechanical bicycle to cover up distances faster. Bikes are friendly to the environment and your travel budget. Since this group cannot afford public transport every day to and from work, many use bicycles to move around. The last few months have seen a campaign dubbed Critical Mass initiated to encourage the city's residents. There are many rental services online and offline that will give you a bicycle on rent for limited days. Riding a bike is undoubtedly one of the best eco-friendly options that help keep nature clean and help you get to your destination faster.
The government promotes electronic vehicles by setting up various charging stations and parking areas for such cars. The users of electronic cars and bikes also receive relaxation for taxes. More than three million motor vehicles are driving on our roads on any given day. With the rise of electric cars, the country is developing new standards for imported electric vehicles to ensure they are safe for the environment.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to this travel medium, just like other ones. From taxi to self-driving cars, you will be able to get many electronic vehicles in your way. More than three million motor vehicles are driving on our roads on any given day. With the rise of electric cars, the country is developing new standards for imported electric cars to ensure they are safe for the environment. Most of the tourists choose electronic cars to get a tour of the city.
You can use public buses to travel to different city areas and gain useful information from the locals on the bus. They are an eco-friendly option and very inexpensive as well. The public buses in Spain are the cheapest mode of moving around the city. These buses are a standard mode of transportation for the locals and are entirely safe for tourists. These buses provide an accessible transportation mode for locals and tourists to places inside and outside the city. You can meet many fellow travelers and locals on these buses, and by interacting with them, you can get some tips and advice for your stay in Valencia. There are many bus services in the city that are under public or private ownership. You can easily find these buses in all areas of the city and can take a ride on them by paying a small but reasonable ticket charge.
Tram, Train and Subway
You will avoid the crowd, signals, traffic, and other complications on your way to the destination and get a very comfortable journey experience on these trains. Different parts of Valencia city are now connected by train because of the new Mass Rapid Transit. The Tram is a keystone in ensuring sustainable mobility across the city. Trams are an affordable means of transport and allow users to reach anywhere in the city quickly, comfortably, and efficiently while respecting the environment. Tram tickets can be purchased at street stalls.
Sustainable shopping is a popular trend in the fashion industry as people realize the importance and need for changing their ways and opting for eco-friendly measures. There are many places where you can shop sustainably and act as a responsible person. These places are the local food markets, flea markets, second-hand stores, and eco-fashion stores. Sustainable shopping or eco-shopping is a worldwide trend where you opt for buying goods that are sourced from the local environment and are eco-friendly. You will find many different models and actors promoting the use of such items. It is not only environmentally friendly but also supports local businesses and helps them in growing.
Roaming the food markets is always good, as you will be able to get close to the locals and learn about different ingredients, dishes, fresh produce etc. For many travelers, the local food is one of the necessary things in travel as it helps to understand the lifestyle of local people. These markets are better options as they are relatively cheaper and better sources than the frozen and preserved food in the supermarkets and departmental stores. Some of the food markets also have some food stalls offering delicious local delicacies.
Here are some local food markets that every tourist should visit:
- Mercado De Colon
- The Central Market Of Valencia
- Delicias Verdes
- Mercat De Russafa
If you want some hidden treasures on a bargain then the flea markets are where you should be at. You can find these markets fill with handmade products and represent the local culture and people. These markets are run by local people and the best places to find local art and craft items.
Here are some local flea markets every tourist must visit:
- L’escuraeta, Mercado De Artesanos
- Mercadillo De Castilla
- Mercadillo De Cromos
- Rastro De Valencia
- Mercadillo Martes
Second Hand Stores
The trend of second-hand stores has caught the world by storm; numerous stores have opened where people can buy things they wouldn't usually afford for less than half the price. There are several second-hand stores in the city; including:
- Madame Mim
- El Rastrillo De Arantxa
- B. Market
- Thrift Shop Valencia
- Vintage Luxury
If you want to try some eco-friendly fashions that will help you stay healthy and make the city safe, you can try many options available in the city. These shops promote zero waste and recycling that helps to keep the environment safe. You will find that eco-fashion is a viral trend among these people. Many models and brands serve such clothing items, so it is gaining a lot of popularity. The country is famous for handicrafts and other homemade items that are green, organic, and eco-friendly. Sustainable shopping or eco-shopping is a worldwide trend where you opt for buying goods that are sourced from the local environment and are eco-friendly. You will find many different models and actors promoting the use of such items. It is not only environmentally friendly but also supports local businesses and helps them in growing. These items are sourced from locally available resources and consider all environmental aspects to avoid any negative impact.
You will find many recycling stores in various districts where you can take your recyclable waste and get it appropriately recycled. It is not a perfect system, but improvements and the dialogue about this mean there is hope. Changing the behavioral habits of these groups will be instrumental in the success of recycling efforts. Residents pay handsomely without really knowing where the waste will end up. While exploring and traveling, make sure to use these containers and vehicles to dispose of the trash properly, or you can get into trouble for violating the laws and environment.
Many wastes are polluting the sea and making it hard for sea creatures to survive. Also, these wastes are slowly polluting the whole earth. So, many countries and different cities have started to take care of the environment by recycling things.
Valencia's municipalities follow various extensive measures to ensure that both locals and tourists follow proper waste disposal methods. With such extensive measurements, the waste disposal is done efficiently, but if any person violates these laws, they can be fined according to their severity. For maintaining the appropriate disposal of waste by every person, many boxes are allotted where you can dispose-off your waste according to its type. Glass, plastic packaging, paper, drinks cartons, residual waste from homes, and textiles can be disposed-off in these containers but not any bulky waste. You will find that garbage containers in every street and district of the city are emptied every day.
Work and Study Abroad
The universities and colleges in Valencia offer good courses to students, and they have different offers for international students that attract students from all over the world. The number of international students is very high in the city as some of the best universities and colleges are here. The town is entirely developed from different sectors, which include work and study too. When it comes to international students, you will find plenty of them here as the education system in the city of Valencia offers higher education at an affordable price. There are many available jobs in the town that these students can take and earn a fair amount of money.
Many educational institutes in Valencia are part of the Student Exchange Program and offer various scholarship schemes for such students. You can visit one of these institutes and ask about the criteria for admission of foreign nationality students. By doing so, you will get to know the courses and scholarship options available for you. You will need to register yourself on the program's website and wait for the time being as your application processes. The student exchange program is a worldwide program that enables students from different countries to study in another country and learn about local culture and traditions. You will find that many city institutions are part of the program and offer various scholarships to such students.
An Au Pair is a helper from a foreign country that helps the host family with things like childcare etc in return for a monetary allowance. The concept of an Au Pair is not new in Spain and you can find host families. However, there are certain requirements to be met like being able to afford the trip to Spain, knowing the language etc or visa requirements etc.
If you are able to fulfil the requirements then this is one of the best options for students and foreigners to stay in the city. This is a reasonable accommodation option available for tourists also. Maybe if you reach out to a few local people, they will help you navigate and get you in touch with people interested in the idea, and you can stay with a host family like that.
To play your role as a responsible tourist, the best thing you can do to help the local Spanish communities is by taking part in volunteering activities. There are many agencies, NGOs, and businesses that are involved in such activities. In Valencia, that would probably welcome the help and probably not ask questions about your immigration status, mostly unpaid work. Still, it is essential to be aware of the legal aspects. Volunteering is one of the best ways to keep the city clean and get to know the local people very well. You will also get help to get your language skill up one notch.
As a tourist, it is essential to give back something to the community of the city you are visiting. Volunteering is one of the best ways of learning about the deep-rooted problems and needs of the town.