Albufera is a freshwater lagoon, separated from the Mediterranean sea just by a small strip of land. It has a variety of flora and fauna, so it’s a must see for the lovers of nature looking to get out of the crowded city for a while.
The locals offer short boat trips around Albufera. The perfect time, if you can make it, is to get one to see the sunset. As it is also used to cultivate rice, the villages around Albufera specialize in paellas of any kind. The easiest way to try one is to go to El Saler which is on the way from Valencia to Albufera. Another place is El Palmar- on the southern side of the lagoon.
By bus or car
Albufera is very close to Valencia so it’s a great idea for a light day trip. The Albufera national park is around 15 km from the city of Valencia, so you can get there by car or by bus in a matter of half an hour.
When taking the bus, it is also the best idea to go to El Palmar. The bus nr 25 takes you there from the city centre for just 1,50 euro. The village is really small and charming. There were more cats strolling around the city then tourists when I was there at the end of November.
Another option is to go for a bike ride, which I absolutely recommend. You can rent a bike in the city centre for 7-10 euros for the whole day.
By bike the trip is even more interesting. The bike path leads you from the city (leaving the city around La Ciudad de las Artes y Las Ciencias) all the way to a viewpoint at Albufera. That’s also the point where you can take the boat trip (4 euros/ person for approximately 50 minutes). If you decide to continue to El Palmar, sadly there’s no bike path for around 5 km. On the way from the city you’re riding along the coast the whole time. On the way there’s Pinedo- a good place to have a rest and enjoy the beach. So if you’re looking for a smaller, calmer beach than Valencia’s Malvarrosa, Playa de Pinedo is the place.
A small town to the north of Valencian Community is a good idea for a day trip by car. Often called “Gibraltar of Valencia” it is located approximately 120 km to the north from the city so it’s less than a 2-hour drive. Worth visiting to see the beautiful town built on a rock overlooking the sea, the houses stacked one on the other to create a stunning view.
There’s a castle which made Peníscola famous when the crew of Game of Thrones filmed some of the scenes there. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll definitely recognize some of the spots. The castle also has a very interesting history. It was first constructed over the remains of Muslim building as many of the historical sites in Spain after the reconquista. Then, it became home to the pope Benedict XIII in the 15th century during the Western Schizm. I recommend getting a visit with a tour-guide to get to know all the details about the history of the castle.
I loved Peníscola for the little houses and streets going up and down, creating the most charming corners to take photos or grab a drink. The town has a relaxed feel, a Mediterranean charm that Valencia lacks for being such a big city. Definitely worth seeing for a laid-back cultural day trip.
Chulilla is a small village located at the sides of the high parts of the river Turia. The destination is famous for those who look for hiking and climbing places. The river has carved deep canyons and created a beautiful picturesque place to spend an active day.
The main attractions for the hikers are the suspended bridges over the river, leading from one side of the canyon to the other. Another attraction are rock paintings from around 8000 to 3500 BC. They are listed as the World Heritage Site together with over 300 other places in Valencian Community where those kind of painting can be found. It takes around 2 hours to get to the paintings from the village. It is not a very difficult hike. There’s plenty of time to enjoy the stunning views of the canyon in around 5-6 hours.
I found the trip to Chulilla and the canyon a very relaxing experience. The all-day hike has left me absolutely exhausted, but happy. The view from some of the upper parts of the canyon is spectacular. A wonderful day-trip if you like to get a bit tired in your spare time. Afterwards you can go down to the village and have some of the local specialties with a nice glass of Pedro Ximenez or Mistela.