Not many visitors to Valencia know about the stunning countryside surrounding the city. If you’re into hiking this area is a treat, with diverse landscapes ranging from coastline to rolling hills, and trails winding through pine forests, orange groves, rice fields and vineyards. Further out, the rocky peaks of mountains call to the more adventurous hiker. Most of the major hiking areas are found in protected natural parks, with incredible wildlife making even the easiest trek very rewarding. You can find detailed maps and hiking route information on this official website but here are a few of our favorite routes that should inspire you to pack your hiking boots for your trip to Valencia.
One of the must-do activities for any nature lover in Valencia is a visit to the L’Albufera natural park, famous for paella and diverse wildlife. The lake here is the largest in Spain, and it is surrounded by 21,000 hectares (51,892 acres) of spectacular landscape. Starting from the pretty village of El Palmar, there are hiking trails that range from 500 metres (1,640 feet) to four kilometres (2.48 miles), most running north to south. Visit the information center next to El Palmar, where you can get directions and maps of the hiking routes.
These walking trails in the Valencian district meander through vineyards and forest paths to the mountains. The tracks are from 600 to about 1,300 meters (1,960–4,265 feet) above sea level and vary in difficulty level, from an easy hike through the vineyards to a challenging trek up narrow mountain tracks. The trails vary from 10–50 kilometers (six to 31 miles) in length, meaning any hiker should be able to find the perfect route. Some of the most popular trails begin at the towns of Requena and Alpuente, around 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Valencia city center. You can get very detailed information on all routes from the Spanish Mountain Sports and Climbing Federation (Federación Española de Deportes de Montaña y Escalada).
Vias Verdes, or “Green Ways,” is the name of a network of hiking and cycle trails running across Spain. And there are a few of these fantastic routes in Valencia which are flat, even and easy to walk, including a couple which are on the former site of long-disused railway lines. The rural district of L’Horta Nord is where you’ll find one such route, known as the Xurra (pronounced “churra”) Greenway, that stretches for 15 kilometres (nearly 10 miles) inland amid farmland and fragrant orange groves. You can find out more about these routes on the Vias Verdes website.
Another easy trail made up of long straight lines, also perfect for cycling, this is a great way to get to know the market gardens and orchards of southern Valencia. The easy seven kilometre (four mile) trail takes you through orange groves and market gardens dotted with traditional farmhouses, and is bordered by a maze of irrigation canals and fragrant with the aroma of orange blossom.