La Albufera is undoubtedly the cradle of rice and one of the most important places in Valencia. Albufera means small sea or little tidal pool in Arabic, but talking about it means talking about rice. Also called Mirror of the Sun centuries ago, this place has an environmental richness and a unique landscape that make it a true treasure of nature. Area of dunes, rice fields, lagoons and canals make it a beautiful landscape south of Valencia.
La Albufera the cradle of rice
More than 1.8 million years ago, this “small sea” was created due to the closure of the Gulf of Valencia by a coastal cord, in Roman times its definitive separation took place and finally during the 18th and 19th centuries it experienced an expansion due to the arrival of water from the Acequia Real de Júcar. King Alfonso XIII gave the Valencian people these lands, the farmers saw the possibilities of said land and converted these lands into agricultural land.
In these lands the well-known paella was created. The Albufera has been the livelihood of Valencian farmers and fishermen from the moment they were theirs.
Rice cultivation in the Albufera
In this area of Valencia, rice is grown throughout the year, about 250 million grains of rice, which have their own denomination of origin, which guarantees their quality and provenance.
The particularities of its waters, the terrain and the microclimates form a perfect place for growing rice. This work is carried out in 4 stages: land preparation, planting, weeding and harvesting. In February the fields are fertilized, in April they are flooded and in September the harvest of the ripe grains takes place. This requires meticulous work on the part of the farmers, coming to sow different varieties of rice.
The Albufera Natural Park
This Natural Park has the largest lake in Spain and one of the most important wetlands on the Iberian Peninsula. This paradise called the Albufera is attractive to tourists, for its beautiful landscape, and for migratory birds. This lagoon is a sanctuary for birds on the east coast of Spain, which is why it is called the Albufera de València Natural Park. It has an area of 21,120 hectares and was declared a Natural Park in 1986. Walking through its rice fields is to delight in a landscape in different shades depending on the time of year: blue in winter, green in summer and brown when the earth is uncovered.
Activities in the natural environment
In addition to sightseeing tours of its landscape, many visitors, from abroad and locals, take bike rides or hike along the lake. It is easily accessible by bike from Valencia, it is even possible to go from the city on the bike paths to the lake on the sandy paths. The location is perfect to see different birds during the migration stage and exercise on the paths
You can also opt for a boat ride, where the boatman will tell you the history of the lake and the singularities of the fauna that inhabits it, or stay a few days in its wooden cabins.
The Albufera rice fields give us a biodiversity and a natural landscape that attracts tourism, it also has exclusive paella restaurants. The Albufera has historical, cultural, scenic, natural and economic value,
becoming a sign of cultural identity of Valencia.