About 15km south of Valencia, La Albufera is a huge freshwater lagoon separated from the sea by a narrow strip of pine-forested sand dunes. It's legendary for the rice that is grown here. It's also an important dune and wetland ecosystem and much of the area is covered by the Parque Natural de la Albufera. The zone is great for birdwatching.
The most interesting Albufera communities are El Palmar, right on the lagoon, and El Saler, which has a beach backed by piney dunes and a lagoon side. Pinedo, just across the river mouth from Valencia, is another popular destination for its beach and rice dishes.
Sunsets can be spectacular here. You can take a boat trip from El Palmar or El Saler out on the lagoon, joining the local fisherfolk, who use flat-bottomed boats and nets to harvest fish and eels from the shallow waters.