A visit to Albufera Natural Park is worthwhile as it is one of the wonders of the Valencian Community, an oasis of tranquillity just 15 kilometres south from Valencia.
One of the activities to do in the Albufera of Valencia is a boat trip in the freshwater lagoon. But there is more. It is also about exploring the rice fields that give life to paella, the native flora and fauna and the dunes, forests and beaches of the Devesa del Saler.
So that you can escape from Valencia or another nearby city in one day, we have all the information you need to visit this beautiful wetland.
Where to stay in Albufera Natural Park
Probably your visit to the Albufera Natural Park will be a day trip from Valencia, staying in that city.
But if you want a more authentic experience, you should know that there is plenty of accommodation scattered around the area, from El Saler beach to Perelló. Our recommendations for accommodation in the Albufera are as follows:
- YOU & CO. Saler Beach Boutique: close to El Saler beach and the pine forest, it has a terrace at the top with views. Good service.
- Devesa Gardens: campsite in the middle of nature with a patio and cabins to stay in. It also has a swimming pool. Ideal for families.
- Hostal El Perelló: simple, clean and economical, with a spectacular attention from the owners. It is in Perelló, a few metres from the beach.
Need more options? Check these hotels in Albufera Natural Park in Valencia.
1) How to get to Albufera Natural Park of Valencia
There are several options for getting to the Albufera of Valencia:
- Taking a bus from Valencia (lines 24 and 25). It has a stop at the Embarcadero, the place where the boat ride starts.
- Albufera Tourist Bus, which also includes a boat trip if you hire the complete package.
- Riding a bike, there is a bike path from Valencia city centre.
- By car. If you are coming from Valencia you must take the CV-500 which passes by the beaches of El Saler and the Embarcadero until you reach El Palmar. If you are coming from the Alicante side, you have to get off the AP-7 at Sollana, and after a few kilometres you will arrive at El Palmar.
And of course, you can book an excursion from Valencia:
- Book here the tour to the Albufera with boat trip. Includes transfer and English-speaking guide.
- Take the excursion to the Albufera and the Devesa dunes in a 4×4, with a boat trip also included. A unique experience!
2) Visit Albufera of Valencia in one day
As explained above, the Albufera Natural Park is a large ecosystem that includes a big lake, rice fields, dune and beaches. It is one of the perfect excursions and getaways to do from Valencia, for its beauty and authenticity.
– The Albufera lake
The lake, fed by the Júcar and Turia rivers, is freshwater and is connected to the sea by a system of canals with sluice gates. It is a landscape frequented by various species of birds, which use the wetland on their migratory routes. Its depth is very shallow, one and a half metres.
In the canals overlooking the lake, above the village of El Palmar, you can see the famous “barquets”, the typical small boats of the area. And you can also sail, although we will tell you more about that below.
– The rice fields
Depending on the time of the year you visit, the rice fields look different. From November to January and from April to August rice fields are completely flooded. During the winter they take on a blue hue due to the large amount of water, and during the summer they take on a green hue due to the rice paddies already grown on the surface. The rest of the months, the fields are dry with a brownish hue.
The rice is cultivated at the beginning of May and harvested during September and October.
– La Devesa, the landscape that separates the lake from the sea
La Devesa is the area that separates the lake from the Mediterranean Sea. It is an ecosystem that will surprise you with its diversity, as you will find a lot of green in the area known as La Pinada, with pine trees, bushes and lianas, the dunes that can reach up to six metres high and, of course, the beautiful beaches. Without a doubt one of the things to see if you plan to visit Albufera.
There are several hiking trails to follow, ranging from 20 minutes to almost two hours. Some paths go into the dunes, others around the “malladas” (salt marshes and salt depressions), along the promenade or through the forest, the area of the sluice gates that connect the lake with the sea.
The routes can be done with kids, as all the paths are perfectly signposted. It is important to take care of the place and not to litter. In summer, you should bring sun cream, especially if you are going to be walking in the dune area.
3) Visit Albufera of Valencia in a boat trip
One of the unmissable activities to do in the Albufera of Valencia is the boat trip. There are several piers from which to start the trip: the Port of El Salar, the Gola del Pujol, the Port of Catarroja or El Palmar, the latter being the most popular.
The boat trip takes place in the so-called “albuferencas“, boats built by the locals traditionally. It is the locals themselves, many of them fishermen, who drive the boat and explain the birds and fish that can be found in the area and their customs.
The trip usually lasts about 45 minutes and takes you past the Valencian huts, fishing grounds and canals, stopping to take photographs.
The boat’s departure time is flexible, adapting to the arrival of tourists. Normally, you won’t have to wait more than half an hour from the time you arrive at the pier.
🚩 The price of the Albufera boat trip is 4 euros for adults and 2 euros for children. You can also choose to take a private boat trip with your family, friends or partner, without sharing the boat with anyone else, in which case the minimum price of the boat is 20 euros when there are not more than five adults, for example.
🚩 Comment from a (concerned) mother about the boat trip with kids: The boats are stable and go at a slow speed. They also say that the depth of the lagoon is no more than 1.5 metres. However, you will notice that we have not been provided with individual life jackets and the boats do not have a high railing. That said: if you want to do the boat trip with kids (or several of them) and they are a bit restless, I recommend that you bring some flotation equipment from home as a precaution.
4) Boat trip to watch the sunset if you visit Albufera of Valencia
The sunset is one of the highlights to be seen here, and for this, one alternative is to take a boat trip as the sun begins to set, stopping in the middle of the lake.
Sunset boat rides take place in winter between 5 and 6 pm, and in summer between 8 and 9 pm. However, it is advisable to check in advance with the companies to see exactly when the boat will leave, depending on the time of year.
6) Gola de Puchol viewpoint
The other option for watching the sunset over the lagoon is the viewpoint located in Gola de Pujol, next to the CV-500 road and the jetty. If you go by car, there is a parking area nearby, although it is usually full at busy times of year.
The best time to see this spectacle is on sunny days. The sky gets completely orange, and its reflection on the lake is breathtaking.
7) El Palmar village and the restaurants of La Albufera
El Palmar is the most famous small village in the whole area. With its seaside atmosphere, the canal that leads to the lake and the large number of restaurants, it is a favourite spot for tourists.
There are many restaurants to choose from where to eat in El Palmar, and taste the typical valencian dishes. Don’t miss some delicacies such as “all-i-pebre” (fish or eel in a traditional sauce), “arroz a banda” (rice), Albufera fish such as sea bass and of course the “Valencian paella“.
In high season, it is advisable to book a table due to the large number of tourists who visit the Albufera.
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