A stroll through L’Albufera

This lagoon is one of Valencia’s most photographed icons; it one of the region’s essential tourist destinations for foreigners and locals alike. Today we’ll tell you about the richness of L’Albufera and its unique environment.

At any point in the year, L’Albufera’s spectacular sunsets provide unforgettable memories for Valencians and foreigners. A true luxury, this natural park neighbours the city. It is an oasis close to the pastures of el Saler and resides in the vicinity of nearby beaches. At Costa de Valencia, Spanish school we receive students, of all ages, from all over the world who want to get to know Valencia. Prior to arrival, they know it is much smaller than Madrid or Barcelona and that the weather is good all year round; little else attracts them here. When they do arrive, we make it our duty to help them discover the abundance of activities, history and culture the city has to offer. The good life of Valencia cannot be fully understood without knowing about its gastronomy and the rice which is cultivated very close to our school, in the region of L’Albufera. It is an excursion that our students always love.

atardecer_albuferaL’Albufera comprises more than 20,000 hectares of rich wetland which has existed since Roman times and whose name, of Arab origin, means “little sea“. L’Albufera encircles thirteen municipalities: Alfafar, Albal, Catarroja, Chair, Beniparrell, Sedaví, Algemesí, Albalat de la Ribera, Cullera, Sollana, Sueca and Valencia. Surrounded by characteristic Valencian rice fields, its heritage, which must be preserved, is tangible (due to the physical contours of the land); yet also intangible (due to cultural, traditional and customary practices). In L’Albufera we find the unique town of El Palmar: an island in the lagoon whose existence revolves around the cultivation and consumption of rice. It is also possible to sample the produce in an array of specialised restaurants.

Formerly, all of the Region of Valencia was a series of similar lagoons and marshes. Today, very few remain; they are mostly smaller than L’Albufera. However, a little further south, on the outskirts of the province of Alicante, lies the Marjal Pego-Oliva. Some of the protected species of fish include the Spanish toothcarp, also known as the Spanish pupfish or Iberian killifish and known locally as Samaruc or Fartet. However, if there is anything to set this natural park apart, it has to be its wealth of birdlife, especially the Northern Shoveler and Red-crested Pochard. As the seasons change, it becomes a stopover for migrating birds who travel from Europe to Africa. This means that, at certain times of the year, it is even possible to see flamingos!

barca_albuferaTo find out more, we would recommend checking out the recently updated website which contains important information about L’Albufera, including the activities available. It has an audio-guide which explains all that is necessary to maintain and enjoy this natural park. A different way to explore the lagoon – other than the classic boat ride and sampling the local cuisine – is to try out lateen sailing, a historic discipline which has recently been revived. At the end of the 20th century, its use was disappearing. However, in recent years, associations have been formed who even hold regattas at various ports across L’Albufera. They include: Catarroja, Chair, Sollana or El Palmar. Known for its unique triangular sail, the lateen’s design helps for easy navigation, whilst the boat’s flat bottom allows for it to enter shallow waters like those in L’Albufera.

Could this be your next adventure?

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