Standing on a small abandoned street, enjoying incredible water reflections, surrounded by rice fields and bird life. The cover picture seems like a painting, but it's real. If you travel in the Community of Valencia, you should make a stop at the national park of Albufera. It is a trip for anyone who wants to enjoy Albufera and its nature, away from the typical tourist routes. To do so, rent a bike or grab yours and start your journey from Valencia, as I did.
Cover photo credits:@chris90
There are lots of opportunities to discover Albufera - by little boat trips, starting from El Palmar, or by car along the lake. These are the common tourist routes, and the last one especially is too busy for me. Anyway they are enjoyable as well, and I recommend to do the boat trip, but you will miss out on the stunning atmosphere Albufera can offer, like swarms of birds crossing the sky above you, while you are having a short rest. My favorite way is by bike from Valencia. And along the way you will find beautiful beaches and landscapes, which are only accessible by bike.
Although El Palmar is a quite a touristic place, it is nice to do the boat trip on Albuferas lake – starting in Palmar. As Albufera is known as the birthplace of the Valencian paella, the village is famous for its restaurants. Another authentic dish is All I Pebre. Its ingredients are fresh eels, garlic, paprika, chilli peppers, oil, a little water, salt and potatoes.
Going south from the port of Valencia, you will find a bike path along the beach El Saler. It is a nice way right along the coast, promenades and beaches. Further along the path is a small lake, called Estany del Pujol. It is situated close to Albufera, and if you stand in front of the lake, the Mediterranean Sea is to your left and the lake of Albufera is to your right.
There are two options to go on: Either you continue south, where you will find villages like El Perellonet, El Perelló and Les Palmeres or you go right to El Palmar. In both cases be careful, because after Estany del Pujol you have to drive for a while on the main road. By the way, I was told that outside of Valencia, it is mandatory to wear a helmet - the fine without one is 100€.
We chose the second option. In El Perelló we did a right turn and ended up in the rice fields of Albufera. It proved to be a good choice. We really enjoyed the route called Ruta Cicloturista Sueca. We followed it for a while, before going once more in the direction of El Palmar. The water reflections along our way were awesome. As it was already quite late, we were blessed to be able to enjoy the sunset in the middle of Albufera.
It would have been possible to cycle around the lake of Albufera, but I recommend you start your trip early in the morning. In total our tour took us around 7 hours and was 60 km long, but we did a lot of stops and we were not in a rush.
In the end the trip was totally worth it. We enjoyed the day on our bikes surrounded by nature and breathing fresh air. The sunset over the lake on our way back to Valencia was just stunning.
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