Valencia draws fewer tourists than Madrid and Barcelona yet boasts comparable culture and dining scenes, and is wrapped by a ribbon of parks. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in Spain's third-largest city.
Albufera Natural Park (Parque Natural de la Albufera)
Playa de Pinedo Ctra. del riu, 486, Valencia, Spain
Local fishermen use flat-bottomed boats to net fish and eels from the shallow waters of Albufera Lake, and such a traditional boat ride has become one of the most popular ways to enjoy the scenery in Albufera Natural Park (Parque Natural de la Albufera). Day tours from Valencia offer just such a boat trip, as well as options to cycle through the rice fields, dine on a Valencian paella lunch—a local specialty—or take a paella cooking class in one of the villages near the park to learn how to transform local ingredients into traditional Spanish dishes. You can combine park tours with a visit to Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Albufera Natural Park is a must-see for bird-watchers and nature lovers.
Guided tours from Valencia can last anywhere from 90 minutes to six hours, depending on the option you choose.
Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a sun hat, as La Albufera offers little in the way of shade.
Come hungry, and don’t leave without trying traditional paella in the very region where the dish was born.
How to Get There
To get to Albufera Natural Park, take the number 25 bus from Valencia to either El Palmar or El Perellonet. The journey takes under an hour. You can also reach the park by bicycle, either independently or as part of a guided excursion.
When to Get There
Valencia’s mild climate means it’s a great place to visit throughout the year. For bird-watchers, the best time to visit the nature reserve is during the autumn and winter months, when thousands of migratory birds return to their winter wetlands.
The Villages of Albufera
There are two main urban areas near the natural park: El Palmar and El Saler. The former sits directly on the lagoon and is one of the best places for eating Valencian rice or taking a sunset boat trip. El Saler attracts visitors with its beach, separated from the lagoon by piney sand dunes. It’s the only beach in the Albufera Natural Park region.
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- Plaza del Ayuntamiento
- Serranos Towers (Torres de Serranos)
- Valencia History Museum (Museu d'Història de València)
- Valencia Bullring (Plaza de Toros)
- Albufera Natural Park (Parque Natural de la Albufera)
- Valencia Cruise Port (Puerto)
- Valencia City of the Arts & Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias)