Montpellier or Valencia – Which City to Visit?

Montpellier or Valencia

Which city is for you? Montpellier or Valencia

Montpellier or Valencia, which city to pick for your next Mediterranean escape?

As a travel lover, choosing between these two cities can be a real challenge. Both cities are steeped in history, boast stunning architecture, serve up delicious food, and pulsate with a unique rhythm of life that’s hard to resist.

Montpellier, for example. It’s a city that’s bursting with a youthful dynamism. With its enticing mix of medieval charm in the backdrop of modern sensibilities, Montpellier offers a unique vibe that’s hard to match. The city streets, echoing with the sounds of vibrant street music and the aroma of fresh southern French cuisine, coupled with the warmth of the nearby Mediterranean Sea, make it a very appealing choice for any keen traveller.

Then you’re got Valencia, a city that effortlessly blends the old with the new. Known for its City of Arts and Sciences, an array of stunning Gothic structures, and miles of pristine sandy beaches, Valencia has its own unique charm. And, let’s not forget, it is the home of Paella, Spain’s national dish.

Let’s delve deeper into both of these incredible cities so we can give you a clearer picture of what they both have to offer.


Located in southern France, this city is known for its rich history and vibrant culture. With a beautiful old town, lively nightlife and stunning beaches nearby, this city has got plenty to offer. It’s the perfect destination for those looking for a mix of history, relaxation and culture.


Located on the eastern coast of Spain, Valencia is world class destination that offers everything you need for a good break. Food, architecture, beaches and the sun, this city has something for everyone.

Pros and Cons of Montpellier and Valencia



  • Cultural Vibrancy: Montpellier is known for its youthful energy, academic institutions, and rich history, offering a unique blend of old and new.
  • Mediterranean Climate: With hot summers and mild winters, Montpellier’s climate is pleasant and suitable for outdoor activities almost all year round.
  • Proximity to Nature: Montpellier is close to the Cévennes National Park and the Camargue, offering great opportunities for hiking and wildlife spotting.
  • Great Food and Wine: Located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Montpellier offers delicious Southern French cuisine and is surrounded by some of France’s largest vineyards.
  • Vibrant Arts Scene: The city is a hub for arts and culture, boasting numerous art galleries, museums, and music festivals. The Montpellier Danse and Radio France festivals are renowned events that attract global audiences.
  • Historical Sites: Montpellier boasts lots of historical sites, including its beautiful old town, Place de la Comédie, and the Medical University, one of the oldest in the world.


  • Smaller Size: As a smaller city, Montpellier might not offer as many attractions and activities as Valencia.
  • NoBeachfront: While Montpellier is close to the Mediterranean Sea, it doesn’t have a beach in the city center, unlike Valencia.

Best for: Those seeking a smaller city experience with a unique blend of history, culture, and nature.



  • Beaches and Port: Valencia boasts several beautiful beaches in the city and a vibrant port area, making it ideal for those who love the sea.
  • City of Arts and Sciences: Valencia is known for its futuristic buildings and museums, like the City of Arts and Sciences, which offers various cultural and educational attractions.
  • Famous Cuisine: Valencia is the birthplace of paella, and offers an impressive culinary scene ranging from traditional Spanish cuisine to innovative gastronomic experiences.
  • Great Weather: Valencia enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and mild winters, making it a year-round destination.
  • Vibrant Nightlife: The city boasts a lively nightlife with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants that cater to all tastes.



  • Larger City: Valencia, being a larger city, can be more crowded and hectic compared to Montpellier.
  • Language Barrier: While English is widely spoken in both cities, some visitors might find that English is less commonly spoken in Valencia compared to Montpellier.
  • Pickpocketing: Like many popular tourist destinations, there’s a risk of pickpocketing, particularly in crowded areas.

Best for: Beach lovers, food enthusiasts, and those interested in modern architecture and a bustling city atmosphere.

How long to stay in Montpellier

Montpellier is a relatively small city, you could easily see most of the attractions in two to three days. But, if you were planning on a longer break there are plenty of interesting towns and cities nearby. Béziers and Nîmes are just a short drive away and well worth a visit.

How long to stay in Valencia

Valencia is Spains third largest city so there’s plenty to see and do. We’d recommend staying for three to four days. You could easily stay for longer if you wanted to spend a few days lounging on the beach.

How much is food and drink in Montpellier and Valencia?

Item Montpellier Price Range (€) Valencia Price Range (€)
Beer €5 – €7 €2 – €4
Glass of wine €4 – €9 €3 – €6
Coffee €2 – €4 €1.20 – €2.50
Meal at midrange restaurant €20 – €40 €15 – €30

How much is it to stay in Montpellier or Valencia?

Certainly! Here’s the information presented in a table format for the estimated average prices of accommodation in Montpellier and Valencia:

Accommodation Type Montpellier Price Range (€/night) Valencia Price Range (€/night)
Luxury hotel €200 – €600+ €150 – €500+
Midrange hotel €80 – €150 €70 – €150
Budget hotel €50 – €80 €30 – €70
Hostel €20 – €40 €15 – €30

When is the best time to visit Montpellier?

Montpellier is great to visit all year round. But it gets extremely busy during summer, especially in August when many French people are on vacation. Here are a few things to consider before booking:

Weather: Montpellier has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers, you’ll rarely see freezing temperatures here. It can get very hot in summer, so don’t forget your sun cream. Nobody likes getting burnt!

Festivals: Montpellier hosts plenty of festivals throughout the year. Make sure you check the festival calendar before visiting. The Montpellier Danse Festival in June is very popular, along with the Montpellier International Guitar Festival in July. There’s an extreme sports festival helped in May for those who fancy seeing something a little different.

Crowds: Like most destinations, Montpellier gets very busy during the summer months. If you want to avoid the crowds go in spring or autumn. Winter might also be a good option if you’re not too bothered about the weather being colder.

When is the best time to visit Valencia?

Valencia is a year round destination. The best all round times to visit are spring and autumn when the temperatures are mild and the city is quieter. Here are a few things to consider before booking your trip to Valencia:

Weather: Valencia is quite far south in Spain and can get very hot in the summer. Temperatures are usually around 30°C in the summer month but they can get considerably higher. Spring and autumn are a lot more comfortable. Even winters aren’t cold here with average temperatures between 6°C – 16°C, maybe not shorts and t-shirt temperatures but much warmer than most places in Europe.

Festivals: Valencia is famous for its festivals, there’s always something going on. La Tomatina is probably the most famous, a huge tomato fight held in the streets of the nearby town of Buñol. Check the festival calendar before visiting. Las Fallas is a festival held in March that involves burning papier-mâché sculptures and lots of pyrotechnics!

Crowds: Valencia is a popular summer destination so June to August tend to be very busy. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit in spring or autumn.

Average Monthly Temperatures in Montpellier and Valencia

Month Montpellier Temperature Montpellier Rainfall Valencia Temperature Valencia Rainfall
January 8°C 50mm 12°C 37mm
February 9°C 44mm 13°C 29mm
March 11°C 38mm 15°C 29mm
April 14°C 47mm 17°C 30mm
May 17°C 43mm 20°C 28mm
June 21°C 23mm 24°C 12mm
July 24°C 14mm 26°C 5mm
August 24°C 23mm 27°C 10mm
September 21°C 68mm 24°C 25mm
October 16°C 86mm 20°C 51mm
November 11°C 61mm 16°C 49mm
December 8°C 50mm 13°C 37mm

Getting around

Getting around Montpellier:

Being a compact city, Montpellier is very walkable. But for those that prefer to use public transport, the tram system covers most of the city and is very easy to use.

Buses are also a good option, there’s an extensive bus network the covers the entire city that is cheap and easy to use. Tickets are time based so if you needed to get a bus then a tram you could use the same ticket provided it’s within the time limit.

Getting around Valencia:

Valencia has an extensive public transport system including buses, trams and a metro system. Valenbisi is bike-sharing system that is great if you want to explore the city on two wheels. Most the city can be reached easily on food if you’d prefer to walk.

Top things to do in Montpellier

Jardin des Plantes de Montpellier: Established in 1593, the Jardin des Plantes de Montpellier is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe! It feels like a quiet oasis in the heart of the city. There’s a huge amount of plants, flowers and trees to see here.

Le Corum: Le Corum is a large convention centre in Montpellier that hosts concerts and exhibitions throughout the year. The architecture is really impressive, and definitely worth looking at even if you don’t go to see a show.

Place de la Comédie: Known as the egg for its shape, Place de la Comédie is Montpellier’s biggest square. It’s always full of life and a great place to sit down with a coffee and people-watch.

Musée Fabre: The Musée Fabre is an art gallery that houses an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures. With works from artists such as Rubens, Delacroix and Courbet, it’s a must-visit for art lovers.

Château de Flaugergues: Located just outside of Montpellier, this 18th-century château is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. The château and its grounds are beautiful and look like something you’d see in a film. There are tours and wine-tasting sessions available.

Antigone District: This modern neighbourhood on the banks of the the Lez river is known for its unique architecture. Built in the 1980s, it’s a great place for a relaxing walk.

Cathedral Saint-Pierre: This imposing cathedral was built in the 15th century, and is definitely worth a visit. The stained glass windows and rocket-like pillars at the front are particularly cool!

Promenade du Peyrou: This beautiful park offers amazing views of the city. It’s got its own Arc De Triomphe and a huge statue of Louis XIV in the centre.

Maison de la nature: Translated to the house of nature, these protected wetlands make a great day out. It is completely free to visit and offers a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s stunning scenery to look at and plenty of local wildlife.

Top things to do in Valencia

City of Arts and Sciences: This iconic complex is a must-visit attraction in Valencia. Featuring several museums including the largest aquarium in Europe, a planetarium, an IMAX cinema and an interactive science museum.

Mercado Central: This stunning Art Nouveau market is a foodie’s paradise, offering an array of fresh produce, seafood, meats, and more. There’s plenty of food and local specialities to try out. Make sure you take cash as not all the vendors accept cards.

La Lonja de la Seda: Originally a silk exchange, these Gothic-style buildings are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Entry to this beautiful building is completely free!

Bioparc Valencia: This zoo has a unique design that immerses visitors in the animals’ habitats. It’s home to a wide range of animals all of which look very happy! It doesn’t feel like your typical zoo, you’re a lot closer to the animals, which adds to the experience.

Plaza de la Virgen: Located in the heart of Valencia’s historic centre, this square is surrounded by stunning architecture and features a fountain in the centre.

Turia Gardens: One of the largest urban parks in Spain, the gardens were once the riverbed of the Turia River before it was diverted. There are still original bridges left which would have crossed the river.

El Carmen: Part of Valencia’s old town and one of the oldest areas of the city. This neighbourhood is perfect for wandering around and soaking up the local atmosphere.

Albufera Natural Park: One of Valencia’s secret gems, this nature reserve is located just outside of the city. Take a boat ride or hire some bikes and cycle around, you won’t regret it!

La Malvarrosa Beach: Valencia’s most famous beach stretches for 1km along the seafront. It’s very spacious and clean with plenty of restaurants and bars nearby.

Torres de Serranos: Once one of twelve gates that formed the city’s walls, these impressive gothic towers over great views of the city. The steps to the top are quite steep but it’s definitely worth going up!

How to spend three days in Montpellier

Day 1:

Morning: Start the trip off with a visit to the Jardin des Plantes de Montpellier, one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe. Wander through its beautiful gardens admiring the thousands of different plants.

Afternoon: After getting some lovely food at a local restaurant for lunch, head to the Antigone District for a relaxing afternoon seeing the modern architecture. Stop off at a cafe overlooking the river Lez for a quick coffee or glass of wine.

Evening: Head to Le Corum, a large convention centre that hosts concerts and exhibitions throughout the year. Double-check to see if there are any shows on beforehand. There might be something good to watch! If not, go and look at the architecture, it’s very impressive.

Day 2:

Morning: Start your day by exploring the historic centre of Montpellier. Wander through the narrow streets and alleyways, stopping off for a coffee at a Place de la Comédie. Head over to the Saint-Pierre Cathedral and enjoy its impressive architecture.

Afternoon: Visit the Musée Fabre, this art museum has a vast collection of art from the 15th-18th centuries. Bound to keep any art lover occupied all afternoon.

Evening: Head to Château de Flaugergues for a tour of the mansion and its grounds. Maybe even book a wine-tasting session for afterwards.

Day 3:

Morning: Have an early start and head to Maison de la Nature, these protected wetlands and just outside of the city and offer amazing scenery. A great way to unwind on your last day.

Afternoon: Located on the outskirts of Montpellier, Montpellier Zoo is home to over 120 species of animals. There’s plenty to see and do, it’s actually free to get in which is different to most zoos which cost a fortune.

Evening: Head over to the Promenade du Peyrou, this park has fantastic views over the city and is definitely worth a visit. There are plenty of opportunities for great photos with the Arc De Triomphe, gardens and the statue of Louis XIV. It’s especially beautiful as the sun is going down.

How to spend three days in Valencia

Day 1:

Morning: Begin your day with a visit to the Central Market. One of the largest markets in Europe, there’s so much food on offer here, it’s crazy. Grab a coffee and a pasty at one of the cafes in the market and watch how busy it gets.

Afternoon: Take a walk around the historic centre of Valencia. Home to the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Cathedral of Valencia and the Plaza de la Virgen. Stop off for a Valencian Paella at one of the many restaurants in the area.

Evening: Head to the City of Arts and Sciences, a modern complex featuring a huge aquarium, an opera house and an interactive science museum. Make sure to go up to the L’Umbracle terrace afterwards to see the sunset and views of the city.

Day 2:

Morning: Take a trip to Albufera Natural Park, which is located just outside Valencia. This beautiful wetland park is only a 40-minute bus ride away from the city centre. You can take a boat ride and explore the lagoon or hire a bike and ride along the edge of it.

Afternoon: Head back to the city to visit the Turia Gardens. Located on the former riverbed, these gardens are around 12km long! Take a picnic or grab some local street food to eat whilst relaxing.

Evening: Experience Valencia’s nightlife with a visit to the Ruzafa neighbourhood. This cool district is known for its trendy bars and restaurants. Spend the evening hopping from tapas bar to tapas bar, getting food and drinks at each one.

Day 3:

Morning: Spend the morning at Bioparc Valencia. This unique zoo tries to recreate natural habitats for the animals living there. The enclosures look very big and comfortable for the animals, it feels like you get a lot closer than you do in most zoos too.

Afternoon: Visit the Mercado de Colón, a grand former market that has been converted into a shopping and dining complex. It takes some inspiration from Gaudi’s building in Barcelona and is filled with amazing restaurants and stalls. Make sure to try some horchata de Valencia a traditional drink made from tiger nuts, it’s very cold and refreshing on a hot day!

Evening: End your trip with dinner overlooking Malvarrosa Beach. Known for its golden sand and clear waters, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic walk along the beach after a nice dinner.

Montpellier and Valencia Ratings

Category Montpellier Valencia
Attractions 8 8
Accommodation 7 7
Food and drink 9 9
Safety 8 8
Transportation 7 7
Shopping 6 6
Culture and history 7 9
Nightlife 8 7
Total Score 60 61
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