On Saturday 28th July I had the pleasure of arranging a family biking trip around the Natural Park of Albufera de Valencia. The trip was arranged as a gift for two Spanish children who had recently completed their school year and had achieved good exam results.
Not all of our trips are specifically aimed at mountain bikers, and today´s route was selected especially for this group of beginners and children. All along flat, largely surfaced lanes it provided a really interesting day out without the hazards of technical or demanding terrain. We parked by the ancient chapel of Del Sants then prepared and checked the bikes. After a brief safety demonstration we began our route by heading out across the rice fields of Albufera.
Our first stop was beside an old pump-house from where I provided a brief talk on the history of Albufera and the rice growing cycle.
We continued our route across the rice fields, enjoying views of the numerous Herons and Egrets that breed here. After another brief rest we arrived in the village of El Palmar from where we took a boat trip on the Albufera lake. From the boat we had views of the traditional Valencian houses (barracas) that were originally constructed from the reeds and mud of Albufera.
The boat trip lasted for 45 minutes took us out across the lake then returned via the reedbeds which are home to a huge variety of bird species.
After the boat trip we enjoyed a traditional Valencian Paella lunch. Valencia is the home of this most famous of Spanish dishes, and the rice of Albufera is considered to be the finest in Spain.
All rested and recovered, we took to the bikes once more for our return journey. I´d given the task of navigating the network of tracks to the younger of the two children. She did a great job and despite a stiff breeze she succeeded in finding the way back across the rice fields via a different route, still counting the herons as she went!
Written by David Warrington.
Mountain Bike Guide & Instructor at MountainBikingValencia.com