On Friday, we took a trip down to El Palmar — a sleepy village found on the southern end of the Albufera national park.
The town is extremely easy to reach. With the MetroBus 190a (operated by Autocares Herca) it takes 40 minutes from Valencia, for just €1.70. The buses don’t run with great frequency, so make sure you have current information from their website or a tourist office before you leave.
We were kind of stupid with our timing when we went. El Palmar is a beautiful little town but, at least in early April, there isn’t much to do. We were able to find one church, no stores, and about thirty-thousand restaurants. The streets were largely deserted, apart from a few other tourists and a menacing cadre of hungry senior citizens, straight off a bus, slowly hobbling to the nearest restaurant, arms out-stretched, groaning “Paella… paella… maampf…”.
But they’re clever, those gray-haired zombies — El Palmar is a great place to go for paella, and you’d be doing yourself a great disservice to skip it. Many claim that you can’t find better paella in Spain. We ate at El Canyamel and would have to agree. Delicious.
Now that we’ve gone once, I can anoint myself an El Palmar Expert ©, and humbly suggest an itinerary for the perfect day trip:
|12:00||Hop on the bus bound for Perelló at Pl. Cánovas|
|12:40||Arrive in El Palmar|
|12:40 – 14:20||90 minutes to get a cup of coffee and wander about town. Check out the church, explore the side streets and pick out a promising restaurant.|
|14:20 – 16:00||Enjoy a nice, long lunch. Get a bottle of wine & the menú del día.|
|16:00 – 17:00||Take a boat tour of the Albufera. It costs €6 per person, and is a great way to relax after a big meal. The lake is beautiful, especially if cranes get you hot.|
|17:00 – 17:45||Take a tour of one of the old barracas, now turned into museums. We didn’t actually do this, so I can’t officially recommend it in my capacity as an El Palmar Expert ©. But I wish we had. Barracas are the triangular buildings that the people of village used to live in, and are now strongly associated with a nostalgic sense of Valencia’s past.|
|17:45 – 18:20||Get back into town, and get a beer if time permits.|
|18:30||Time for the bus back to Valencia.|
What a great day you’ve just had!