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La Albufera: An Escape from the Hustle and Bustle

Just outside of the bustling city center of Valencia, the third largest city in Spain, lies a calming oasis surrounded by rice fields and dense vegetation that make up La Albufera.

La albufera, the largest lagoon in Spain, connects fresh water to the Mediterranean sea.

“The name comes from Arabic, meaning Al-Bulhayra, meaning small sea,” As told by the Albufera tour guide, José Antonio Bru.


Tourists are drawn to La Albufera for boat tours in June in Valencia, Spain.

Tourists from all over the world explore the peaceful nature of La Albufera and the nearby traditional village, El Palmar.

Bru said Spaniards often refer to La Albufera water as “el agua dulce,” not only because of its sweetness, but also because of its rich minerals that cultivate rice and wheat.

With a population of 800 and a home to more than 30 restaurants, El Palmar’s increased tourism has attracted locals, like Bru, to become either La Albufera tour guides or restaurateurs.

José Antonio Bru steers his boat while giving a tour on the history of La Albufera in Valencia, Spain.

Bru, who has worked for five years as a tour guide, said his job has provided him with a good income and an opportunity to meet new people.

He said he couldn’t imagine working in a 9-to-5 job where he would be stressed and stuck working behind a desk.

“I work so calmly,” Bru said. “The process is interesting. It is not typical work at the office or a typical physical work.”

José Antonio Bru enjoys being around people as he gives tours in El Palmar, Spain.
José Antonio Bru proudly wears his “Espana” hat and a t-shirt with his company logo, “El Besso” while leading a tour at La Albufera in June.

Bru said he was the first person in his family to seek job opportunities outside the fishery or agricultural fields.

Generations of fishers and rice growers, like Bru’s family, have lived in El Palmar for many centuries due to La Albufera’s rich biodiversity.

Fewer locals become fishermen because tourism is growing in El Palmar, Spain.

Three visitors stand by an old rice factory, which is now a museum, in El Palmar, Spain.

Thanks to our student Mia Azizah for writing this blog for our Euroace page.

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