El Saler, the wild Valencian beach that was saved from destruction

‘El Saler, always abandoned then, secluded. An interruption of reality by the sea. Sometimes I was hypnotized contemplating the treetops. And when the sun was no longer more than an absence, Valencia began to shine for me in the distance’. With these lines the Valencian writer Rafa Cervera describes the area of El Saler in his book Lejos de todo (far from everything). Now, nothing remains of that abandonment of which he spoke. However, despite the tourist initiatives that tried to do away with the meadow and the beach in the 60s, this Weekend Getaway has managed to continue to hypnotize its visitors.

The large extension of the beach, almost five kilometers, its low occupancy, its proximity to Valencia and its environment, surrounded by pine forests and dunes, make Saler a perfect place for a paradisiacal getaway.

The keys to the Saler beach: for all tastes

Although the Malvarrosa beach is the one that gets all the fame and all the tourists in Valencia, just 12 kilometers from the capital of the autonomous community extends the Saler beach through 4,900 meters of fine sand. On its shores the sun tans the skins of visitors, who can bring dogs, children and even practice nudism. El Saler is for all tastes and has plenty of space to choose what you prefer. Its environment has vegetation, an extensive pine forest that protects it from the westerly winds and an area with a system of dunes.

If the heat presses, there are two options. The first and most obvious is to cool off in its Mediterranean waters. The second alternative is not bad either: to take refuge among the trees of the meadow. Reading, writing or simply taking a nap or a few letters under the pleasant shade of the pines is always a good experience. The long expanse of the Saler also serves as a backdrop for those who prefer to walk along the seashore. In the background, looking towards the Mare Nostrum and to the left, the port of Valencia reminds visitors of the battles lost: the northern extension of its facilities extends its shadow over the beach.

Saler beach

Saler beach with Valencia and its port in the background. | Flickr

Thanks to the length of the beach, it is also possible for the influx of tourists to be spread out, reducing crowds. However, this feature also has what some may consider disadvantages: lack of beach bars and few showers. Although, on the face of it, this scarcity can also be a plus: beach picnic without more artificial constructions. The best thing is not to forget about lunch. Or dinner, because at night the atmosphere is a delight. The silence and the stars envelop the enclave in which only the soft murmur of the sea is heard.

Saving El Saler: one of the first citizens’ movements in Spain

El Saler beach is a coastal extension of the municipality of Valencia. It is integrated within the Dehesa del Saler which, in turn, is part of the Albufera Natural Park. In 1965, during the Franco regime, the mayor of Valencia, Adolfo Rincón de Arellano, approved a plan to urbanize the area and turn it into a massive tourist destination. The project was launched. The dunes, the meadow and the beaches began a path, the goal of which was foreseen to be disastrous. The proliferation of housing developments caused irreversible damage.

El Saler

The Dehesa de El Saler in Valencia. On the right, the Saler beach. On the left, the urbanizations that were built. | Pixabay

However, and luckily, at the end of the 1970s, the citizens’ campaign El Saler per al poble demanded the recovery of El Saler and its environmental protection. It was one of the first citizen movements in Spain and, possibly, the first environmentalist one. The protests were joined by the voices of people such as the famous Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente. Finally, the project was stopped with the arrival of the second mayor of the democratic period.

Nearby corners: La Albufera and the capital city

The Saler beach is located south of the Pinedo beach and north of the Devesa beach, both with areas enabled for nudism. However, what deserves the visit of rigor in the vicinity of Saler is the famous Albufera of Valencia. This area was declared a Natural Park in 1986 and has the largest lake in the country. Its waters are navigable and connect with the Mediterranean Sea through the Gola de Pujol channel.

The lagoon is also home to a great diversity of species, including a wealth of birds. The red-crested pochard, the common spoonbill or the mallard are some of the most abundant birds. Walking through the park through its numerous trails or renting a boat are, without a doubt, activities to consider to enjoy this magnificent environment.

Albufera of Valencia

Sunset at the Albufera of Valencia. | Shutterstock

If what you want is a more cultural tourism there is, of course, the option of visiting Valencia. The capital is only about 15 minutes by car from Saler. Thanks to this it is also possible to go from one place to another by public transport. The L25 bus makes the trip in just half an hour. Already in the city the tourist offer is plentiful.

Its historic center is one of the largest in Spain with many monuments to visit. The cathedral of Santa María de Valencia, the church of Santos Juanes, the Lonja de la Seda (Silk Exchange) or the Jewish House are just some of them. Strolling through its streets full of urban art, walking through the colorful squares or visiting the busy Central Market of Valencia are also essential activities. Of course, one cannot forget the City of Arts and Sciences, a complex of buildings including the famous Oceanografic or the Science Museum, linked to the city through the huge Turia Garden, more than nine kilometers long.


Valencia at sunset. | Shutterstock

In addition, a trip to Valencia cannot end without tasting a good paella. In the city the offer is immense, but near the Saler beach itself is also possible to feast. The small town of El Saler, a 15-minute walk from the beach, has several restaurants where you can satisfy your whim.

A natural paradise next to Valencia, that’s why it is our Weekend Getaway: A soak
In the past, the citizens fought to preserve the Dehesa de El Saler, with its trees and beaches. Today, their efforts give tourists the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful natural enclave next to the city. The proximity to Valencia, its great extension, its pine forests and the offer of activities such as hiking or water sports make Saler a beach to enjoy at any time of the year and accompany it with a good dip.

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