There are a number of good day-trips to be made from Valencia, including a visit to the monastery at El Puig or a meal at some of the region’s very best paella restaurants at El Palmar, El Perelló or El Perellonet.

La Albufera, just 12km south from Valencia, is a vast lagoon separated from the sea by a sandbank and surrounded by rice fields. Being one of the largest bodies of fresh water in Spain, it constitutes an important wetland, and attracts tens of thousands of migratory birds – a throng composed of 250 species, of which ninety breed here regularly. In the Middle Ages, it was ten times its present size but the surrounding paddies have gradually reduced it. After growing contamination by industrial waste, domestic sewage and insecticide, the area was turned into a natural park. Whether you’re into birdwatching or not, the lagoon area makes a relaxing change from the city.

It’s possible to “hop on, hop off” the Valencia Bus Turístic and tuck into a lunch of paella, or eels with all i pebre (piquant sauce), in the lakeside village of El Palmar, which is packed with restaurants. On August 4, El Palmar celebrates its fiesta; the image of Christ on the Cross is taken out onto the lake in a procession of boats to the illuent, or centre, of the lake, where hymns are sung. Another 2km farther along the road to El Perelló is the tiny village of El Perellonet, where you can also sample some of the best paella in Spain.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Spain features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The 10 best summer festivals for escapism in 2017

The 10 best summer festivals for escapism in 2017

Festivals are a different beast in 2017. They used to be associated with drinking warm cider while watching crusty bands in your naffest clothes; now the best e…

07 Jun 2017 • David Hillier insert_drive_file Article
Why you should visit Palma in 2017

Why you should visit Palma in 2017

Forget package holidays: Palma is far more than just the gateway to Mallorca’s beach resorts. The Balearic capital is a dynamic city of stylish restaurants, c…

28 Feb 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right