Valencia is not only a city of culture but also a city with parks, gardens and recreational areas. A total of 22 reserves occupying near two thousand miles hectares widely distributed along the Valencia Region, are open to visits. They are formed by wetlands, islands, Mediterranean riparian forest and coastal and inland mountain ranges.
Cabecera Park (Parque de Cabecera) and Bioparc
The most recent of these is the Parque de Cabecera and in its 334,000 square meters we can find the Bioparc. Opened in February 2008, it’s a new-generation natural zoo designed following the zooinmersion concept, with barriers invisible to the eye of the visitor, an open-air space to contemplate animals living as free without leaving the city.
Turia Park (Jardín del Turia)
The Jardín del Turia follows the dried-out former course of the river Turia and has over one million square meters of gardens and sports areas. A magnificent urban landscape composed of bridges dating from different periods and a range of architectural styles that cross the Turia Gardens. Don’t miss the chance to spend a day outdoors in an unique space of nature that crosses the city from one end to the other, strolling at your leisure or enjoying a bicycle ride.
Botanical Garden (El Botànic)
The botanic garden of the Universidad de Valencia, known as El Botànic, was founded in 1567. For 200 years it was a cultivated plot used to grow medicinal plants, linked to studies in Medicine. One of the city’s best-kept secrets, this was the first botanical garden ever created in Spain.
Boasting a large horticultural collection, this garden houses over 3,000 species of tree and plants originating from all five continents of the globe. Currently, the Garden carries out research into plant diversity, conservation of rare, endemic or endangered species of Mediterranean flora and the conservation of natural habitats. Furthermore, there is continuous educational and cultural activity carried out by the departments of education and cultural events and the press office.
Viveros Gardens (Jardines del Real or Jardines de Viveros)
The Royal Gardens or Municipal Gardens are located across the Turia riverbed from the ancient city centre, and once contained the Royal Palace. Originally established by the Arabs, the historic character of these gardens – their amplitude and splendour, the profusion of sculptures, monuments and fountains contribute to make it one of the most outstanding in the city.
A neoclassical garden with an artistic touch; an abundance of statues; ponds; fountains; pathways; pavilions to stop off and rest in all make for an enchanting setting.
In this, the first park to be created in the centre of the city, marvel at the magnolias and the small, but impressive monuments. A great place to recharge your batteries.
Albufera Nature Park (L’Albufera)
In terms of natural recreational areas we must mention Albufera Nature Park. Located very near to the city centre, this park is among the natural spaces with most environmental and ecological value in Europe. Inside the Albufera you can find the largest lake in Spain which is a natural paradise for many bird species. Don’t miss the spectacular sunset over the waters as seen from a typical fishing boat, or a stroll through the extensive pine forest and dune formations (El Saler) that separate the lake from the Mediterranean sea.
The Albufera was incorporated in the List of Wet Zones of International Importance by the Ramsar Conference in 1990 and declared an Area of Special Protection for Birds and Wildlife by European directive in 1994.
Enjoy the extensive seafront next to the Albufera Nature Park. Over 16 km of fine golden sand, bathed by the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, make this an idyllic place all year through.
At the Heart of the Albufera we find the village of “El Palmar”, which used to be an island during the 14th century. Visitors can taste typical Valencian dishes, such as paella, arroz a banda (sea food rice) and much more!