Around Al­bufera

Ride through the nat­u­ral park and its sur­round­ing rice pad­dies

Costa Levante News - - CYCLE CLIPS -

By Barry Wright THIS week’s route takes the cy­clist away from the usual moun­tains and in­land coun­try­side of Va­len­cia for a jour­ney around Al­bufera nat­u­ral park and the Mon­taña de los San­tos.

It has been pro­vided by Cy­cle Clips col­lab­o­ra­tor Ci­clo­tur­ismo Va­len­cia – a lo­cal de­vel­op­ment project that aims to pro­mote the re­gion of Va­len­cia, in par­tic­u­lar Ali­cante prov­ince, as a qual­ity cy­cle tourism des­ti­na­tion.

The route leaves from the City of Arts and Sciences and fol­lows the beaches to the south of Va­len­cia city be­fore vis­it­ing El Pal­mar, the myth­i­cal rice fields of Al­bufera, Mon­taña de los San­tos and the towns of Silla and Catar­roja.

This 75­kilo­me­tre cir­cu­lar ride is com­pletely flat, with the only pos­si­ble dif­fi­culty be­ing the wind, which ‘could spoil an es­pe­cially agree­able day’.

Neg­a­tive points to be aware of are the north­ern ac­cess to El Pal­mar, which is a nar­row stretch of road that can get busy at week­ends, some sec­tions of dirt track and a 200me­tre sec­tion where it is nec­es­sary to dis­mount and walk in or­der to avoid cross­ing the round­about on the CV­31 at Catar­roja.

A to­tal of 75% of the ride is on as­phalt with very lit­tle traf­fic.

The start and fin­ish in Va­len­cia does not present too many dif­fi­cul­ties as the city has an ex­ten­sive in­ter­modal travel net­work.

As with all of their routes, Ci­clo­tur­ismo Va­len­cia say that they are in­dica­tive and should be un­der­taken in con­junc­tion with the rel­a­tive Wik­iloc down­load (see below) and that cy­clists must com­ply with cur­rent reg­u­la­tions re­gard­ing hel­mets and sign­posts.

The route can be un­der­taken in ei­ther di­rec­tion, in this in­stance we are trav­el­ling clock­wise around the park.

Use the cy­cle lanes from the City of Arts and Sciences to pass through Pinedo and Saler, which are al­ready in the nat­u­ral park, be­fore reach­ing La Devesa.

Fol­low­ing this the route passes around Pu­jol pond, in which swim­ming is for­bid­den.

It is then nec­es­sary to pick up the CV­500 for a short while be­fore turn­ing right onto Calle Vi­cent Bal­doví, a nar­row stretch of road without a hard shoul­der which gets busy at week­ends.

Af­ter cross­ing two bridges which con­nect the Al­bufera wet­land with the sea, the route passes on to El Pal­mar is­land, with its jetty and canals that carry the tra­di­tional eel fish­ing boats. The eels are used for the tra­di­tional lo­cal dish ‘all y pe­bre’ – gar­lic and pa­prika eels.

Although there are few of the tra­di­tional cane and adobe huts re­main­ing, our friends at Ci­clo­tur­ismo Va­len­cia note that it is a ‘real plea­sure for the senses to take a walk in this area, when there are fewer tourists about’.

Leav­ing the town of El Pal­mar by Car­rer del Je­suset de l’hort, the cy­clist sud­denly finds them­self in the wide open space of Al­bufera nat­u­ral park with its fa­mous, ex­ten­sive rice pad­dies. Vis­it­ing the area at the time of year when the rice is at full bloom gives the cy­clist the added plea­sure of trav­el­ling on com­pletely flat roads that are al­most de­void of traf­fic.

Fol­low­ing a zigzag­ging route south, the ride takes the cy­clist to the Mon­taña de los San­tos promon­tory, on which the her­mitage ded­i­cated to the Saints Ab­dón and Senén is sit­u­ated.

The her­mitage dates back to the 14th cen­tury, and is sit­u­ated by an old quarry, the height of which has re­duced by two thirds over the years and now reaches just 27 me­tres above sea level.

From here we be­gin the re­turn jour­ney to Va­len­cia by pick­ing up the path that briefly heads south be­fore ar­riv­ing at Sol­lana and El Ro­mani, all the while be­ing ac­com­pa­nied by rice pad­dies.

Ci­clo­tur­ismo Va­len­cia ad­vise that, dur­ing the re­turn part of the jour­ney, stops at the small river cross­ings of Silla and Catar­roja could be worth­while for the views of the tra­di­tional fish­ing boats.

In the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Catar­roja, the cy­clist will en­counter the route’s sec­ond and last dif­fi­culty. In or­der to avoid the busy traf­fic on the V­31, they sug­gest dis­mount­ing and ‘faith­fully fol­low­ing’ the track that runs par­al­lel to the road for around 200 me­tres.

From here to Va­len­cia we pass through El Tre­mo­lar and Pinedo and then pick up the cy­cle tracks that we used at the start of the route.

“We hope you en­joy the route,” Ci­clo­tur­ismo Va­len­cia add.

The Wik­iloc link for this week’s route can be found at https://es.wik­­tas­ci­clo­tur­ismo/cir­cu­lar­por­la­al­bufera­desde­va­len­cia­por­lamuntanyeta­dels­sants­26857317

Tra­di­tional fish­ing boats at Silla

Paddy fields on the way to Mon­taña de los San­tos

Pu­jol pond

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