Valencia is not only a great city with lots of sights and things to do. It also offers excellent options for a day trip or afternoon in the countryside, beach or mountains. If you want to escape the city for a day but you don’t want to spend hours in traffic or rent a car, but you still want to enjoy the beauty of nature, see something unique and enjoy the best paella, then Albufera is the perfect excursion spot for you. A day trip to the Albufera lake from Valencia is easy, cheap and really rewarding.
What to do in Albufera Valencia?
The nature reserve Albufera is a great spot just outside of Valencia to unwind and see how the lake and rivers join the sea. You can hike around in the area, take a tour on the lake, have a picnic close to the beach or try some traditional dishes.
The name Albufera comes from Arabic and means little sea. The lake is about 24km2 big and the whole area is protected. You can take a boat ride on the lake from several spots, and they explain a lot about the area eel fishing and the history of the local villages. You will see ducks and other birds living on the lake. The best time is to come around sunset as the light is just stunning and the lake looks like a mirror.
The boat trips cost 4€ during the day and 6€ during sunset. They leave from different locations around the lake and take about 40min.
Make sure to wear sunscreen.
I recommend the Area around the Gola the Pujol for the boat ride and alike walk or bike ride to the beach and the Estany the Pujol. It is a favorite spot for locals, and you will see a lot of people having picnics there, fly kites and just enjoy the sun. You can spot how the salty and sweet water mix and change their colors.
How to get to Albufera from Valencia?
The easiest way is of course by car it is just about 30 minutes from the center of Valencia to the Albufera lake and the village El Palmar. You can also go there by bike or join an excursion from the city.
But I recommend taking the bus. It is fast and quite easy and just costs you €1.50 each way. You can take the EMT25 Bus from the center of Valencia, from close to the Turia park or from the City of Arts and Science and get off at different sites around the Albufera lake.
Just be aware that on Sundays not all of the busses go to the nearby village of El Palmar. If you want to head straight to the Paella make sure to check the schedule first. You can also take any bus to Albufera and get off at different stops along the way.
I recommend taking the boat trip around in the middle of the way close to the bird recreation center as it is less crowded and less touristic than starting in El Saler. So, get off the bus at Pinars – Carretera del Palmar take the boat trip and walk to the beach. Then you can still head over to El Saler for some fresh Paella or Eels. Or you stay around and make a picnic like the locals do.
The 25 leaves Valencia from the stop: Porta de la Mar (impar) – Navarro Reverter. Close to the Metro Station Colon and Turia Park.
You can find the route and schedule here on the EMT Website. Worst case check with the driver if your bus is headed in the right direction.
Enjoy the best Paella in Albufera.
The area and the lake of Albufera are famous because of the local food. Locals from Valencia come here for their weekend lunch and to enjoy the special treats from the region. The lake and the wetlands around used to be the center of the rice plantations, hence all the rice for the tasty paellas. The lake is still used for Eel fishing, and the Eel is a traditional dish in the area. We, unfortunately, missed the season, so we skipped it. If you have the chance to try the “All i Pebre,” which is the traditional Eel stew. They also have fried Eel (anguila frita) or other dished that include the long fish.
We stuck to Paella though and found a great local spot filled with people from the area. As you might have seen there are many types of Paella, but the most traditional one is the one with rabbit and chicken, and usually, it contains snails as well. You will not really notice them though in case you do not want to try them. They also add artichoke and green beans to the mix, and it is just divine.
The seafood rice or black rice are also good options if you want to stay away from the Paella Valenciana. But I highly recommend trying it at least once.
For the local experience in El Palmar, I recommend the Ravatjol restaurant just one block away from the main road of the village. The prices are reasonable here, the Paella is freshly made, and the staff is rough but friendly. One portion of the local Paella Valenciana is ca. €7.90, the seafood rice is a great choice as well, or you can order a menu if you want to try different treats and have a huge stomach.
Usually, paella is served for several people, but here they give you the option to order per portion as well. They also have a big selection of traditional desserts like Flan.
There are many other restaurants in El Palmar, but this was filled with locals and way less touristic than other places.
If you want to book your table in advance you can contact them:
Tel : 961 62 02 79
Movil : 665 67 26 79
They open from 11 am until 5pm. They might open longer during summer.