An trip to the Albufera of Valencia is an essential stop to get to know the natural heritage and the traditional cuisine of the region. Today our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem gives you some suggestions to enjoy this visit to the fullest 🙂
Besides being an unmissable stop for all tourists, The Albufera of Valencia is a special place also for those who live in the city. It’s a special place where you can break away from the city and enjoy a natural environment of great charm.
To begin with, the name Albufera comes from Arabic and means “little sea”.
Located 10 km south of Valencia, the Albufera is a coastal wetland, one of the most important of the Mediterranean Sea.
With an area of 21,120 hectares, the Albufera Natural Park partially encompasses 13 Valencian municipalities.
In 1986, it was declared a Natural Park and it has increasingly gained recognition over the years. Among them, it was also designated as Wetland of International Importance and Zone of Special Protection for the Birds, for being an important area for migratory birds.
It is also part of the Nature 2000, a network of most valuable areas for the protection of biodiversity in Europe.
In fact, the Albufera is a natural area of extraordinary value for its flora and fauna richness. In the park we find a freshwater lake separated from the sea by a coastline with dunes.
The lake and the marsh are connected to the sea through three channels in which we find very diverse vegetation with different type of fauna. Therefore, it is an area with dunes, coastal forests, rice fields and vegetable gardens, where very varied activities such as fishing, agriculture, tourism and traditions flourish.
Also, Albufera is well known for being the cradle of paella! The most representative dish of Spanish gastronomy worldwide
Finally, the importance of the Albufera is also due to its ornithological richness. Located in the middle of the route linking Western Europe to Africa, 300 different species of birds cross these lands throughout the year.
Things to do in Albufera
If you still do not know the Albufera, we suggest some activities to make the most of your visit:
1. Boat trips in the Albufera Lake. The rides, which last around 40 minutes, are carried out in the “albuferencs”, the typical local traditional boats.
During this pleasant tour, the local boatmen will bring you closer to the banks so you can appreciate the vegetation and the birds.
Boat trips usually do not follow fixed schedules. Therefore, this activity is usually available from morning until sunset and the price of the tour varies between 4 and 5 euros.
When it comes with choosing among the several companies that offer boat tours, we suggest you to look for those that are certified with the Parcs Naturals brand. The brand guarantees respect for the natural values of Albufera through the implementation of good environmental practices such as maintaining the safety distance from protected reserve areas.
2. Signposted routes in the natural park. Red Route “El Racó de l’Olla”, Green Route “Na Molins”, Blue Route “Port de Catarroja – Tancat de la Pipa”, Yellow Route “Duna del Dossier”. Depending on the itinerary, you can do it on foot or by bike and the duration of the tours is from 1 to 2 hours.
3. Visit to the Interpretation Center of the Albufera Natural Park “Racó de l’Olla” where we find an exhibition about the Albufera natural park and the Racó de l’Olla reserve. The observation tower of the centre allows us to enjoy a wonderful view of the lake. In addition, it is possible to observe from there a large concentration of waterfowl, especially in winter.
4. Typical food in El Palmar. Thanks to its 200 square Km of rice fields, the villages of the Albufera are a not to be missed stop for lovers of authentic Valencian paella. El Palmar is undoubtedly one of the most popular places among locals and tourists and has 30 restaurants offering traditional food.
In all of them you find menus whose main ingredients are rice and eel. In addition to Valencian paella, do not miss the opportunity to try less known and very typical dishes of the area, such as the all-i-pebre and l’espardenyà.
5. Sunset at Mirador de la Albufera. That is the best way to end your trip to Albufera. This viewpoint is the perfect place where to enjoy the magical show of lights and colours at sunset.
We advise you to arrive well in advance since it is a very popular and well-known spot. And above all, do not forget to find out beforehand the exact time of sunset that day! 😉
Finally, we remind you that there is a public transport service from Valencia to Albufera (final stop El Palmar and El Perellonet) – line 25.
We hope that this blog about the Albufera of Valencia encourages you to get to know this lovely site. Or just come back there every time you need to take a break from the urban routine 😉
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Finally, we remind you that in our Spanish school El Rincón del Tándem in Valencia, you will learn Spanish in a very dynamic way, also learning about current topics and culture.
See you soon!