AZAHAR means “citrus blossom”,
and the word has a ring to it and stays with you forever once you’ve seen the orange trees in bloom. Valencia has it all for a truly captivating holiday; the sea and the oranges and the food and the urban surprises, and even some happy escapes that you can try if you’re feeling adventurous. As I said, driving in Valencia is completely stress-free, and outside Valencia you have the usual Spanish quality roads, so there is absolutely no reason to not venture beyond.
For escaping outside Valencia, I have one must and a few very nice-haves. The day-trip scenarios are:
Escape one: Albufera, Valencia’s lagoon with wild beaches, sand dunes, rice fields and pine woods. It is literally the birth place of Valencian paella and where the rice comes from, and you can spend the day bird watching in the lagoon or take shelter from the heat under the pine trees. The beach is natural, no umbrellas and no sunbeds, and very few people outside peak season.
Escape two: one day on the coast south towards Alicante, going through Cullera, Denia, Cabo Sant Antoni and Cap Nau. If you really want to go further south, Moraira is quite lovable, and the Natural Park of Penon De Ifach offers incredible views from up the rock. The whole coastline is beautiful with very large beaches, but I stayed far from the big resorts such as Benidorm, Vila Joyosa, Calp because no matter how beautiful the sea, I just can’t bear a landscape full of tall, modern apartment buildings.
Escape three: orange groves. An afternoon in the orange grove in late April, when the trees are in blossom, is an all time happyfew favorite. The region is home to one of the best varieties of oranges in the world, and orange groves stretch into the Valencian hillside for hundreds of miles. The area north of Valencia, between Xativa and Gandia (Valldigna, Carcaixent are amazing) is filled with orange groves. The same south of Valencia, in the province of Castellon, where you can find the world’s only orange museum: Burriana’s Museu de la Taronja. Valencian oranges are exceptionally intense in colour and fragrance and taste. The microclimate here offers the perfect balance of sunshine through the warm seasons and cold during the winter, like a perfectly constructed plot that balances poetry and drama. The fruit is aromatic and the colour is deep, but their blossom is purely intoxicating. The whole countryside is under a scented spell during the magical weeks between early April and mid-May.
continue reading about the absolute must escape here
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