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Visit Albufera Nature Reserve
Albufera Nature Reserve is Spain's most important wetland site and is a lovely peaceful spot just 10km south of Valencia on the west of Spain.
Explore the Albufera Nature Reserve
This beautiful protected area covers 21,000 hectares and is an important wetland site began life as a coastal area but became cut off from the sea apart from a series of narrow canals which can be opened or closed to modify the water level in the lake that has been left behind the narrow land strip.
Freshwater canals and irrigation drain into the lake and it has changed gradually to being a freshwater lake since the 17th century. The lake and surrounding wetland area is home to a rich and varied bird population. The area also has various tourist activities including bird watching, walking, cycling and boating.
Some of the many birds you can hope to see are flamingos, purple herons, black winged stilts, avocet and great egret (though there are many many more). The lakes are also very important for fish and there are two species here that are in danger of extinction. These are the fartet and the samarugo. There are also eels, mullet and sea bass populations and lots more.
Walkers will enjoy exploring the pine forests and sand dunes that seperate the lake from the sea at the other side of this narrow sand bar.
Some of the land is also farmed, mostly for rice. It is possible to do a guided visit of the rice fields to learn about production of this important local crop. Be sure to stop at one of the local restaurants to sample the traditional Spanish dish of paella made from rice grown in the Albufera reserve - delicious and authentic as apparently paella was invented here.
The town of El Palmar is the place to go to sample the local gastronomy and as well as paella local favourites include 'all-i-pebre' a garlic and paprika speciality made with eels from the lake or marinated mullet. Again with fish from the lake.
After your meal head on to the lake for an evening boat ride watching the beautiful sunset over the water. So peaceful!
Places to Visit Nearby
The wonderful city of Valencia is just 10km away. Valencia is a beautiful city with a wonderful old quarter but also a very dynamic new cultural complex. Its closeness means that the Albufera nature reserve is a very pleasant day trip out from Valencia.
Alternatively head to Sagunto and visit the Roman ruins there.