El Saler, Valencia, Spain
El Saler is in Valencia, a western region of Spain right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Known for its beautiful beaches such as the Playa de El Saler, where people come from all over to enjoy the white sands of this blue flag beach, there are also yachting harbours, and a world famous 18 hole golf course.
The Parador El Saler (Hotel Luis Vives) is a modern, elegant, luxury 4 star hotel set right between the golf course and a fresh water lake, offering a wonderful place to base yourself particularly if you are travelling as a family. The hotel has a seasonal swimming pool, gym, sauna, spa, children’s play area, as well as a football pitch. The Paradors also has an excellent restaurant serving typical regional dishes.
Only ten miles from El Saler is Valencia, the city of flowers, where the famous Paella dish originated. Located on the coast of the Mediterranean, it is considered one of the most beautiful and historical cities in the world, attractively landscaped throughout with lovely parks and gardens, such as the Turia and Botanic Gardens.
Its rich history has left behind a very beautiful ancient quarter, and some of the monuments have been declared World Heritage Sites. The oldest part of the city was originally surrounded by a wall, however today only two entrances and parts of the original wall remain. If you pass through the 15th century Portal de Valldigna archway it will lead you into the Old Arab quarter. The Serranos Towers are thought to be the largest Gothic gateways in all of Europe. Originally used as prison cells, they were built a century earlier, and from the terraces there are marvellous views of the city.
The unique Central Market and Plazas are an interesting contrast to the modern aspects of the city. The city’s most important monument is the 15th century Silk Market which looks more like a fortress with its high stone walls. Made up of four parts, it includes a main tower, two large rooms, and a courtyard filled with orange trees. Located in the charming Saint Luis Bertran Square is the Escriva Palace and the Almundin. The Almundin was built during the 15th century to store all their wheat supplies. Not very far from the Almundin is the Banos del Almirante (also called Abd-al-Malik), a 13th century Arab bathhouse which was completed shortly before the Arabs were eventually pushed out of Valencia. There were originally 10 bathhouses, but this is the only one remaining.
One of the most popular places for most visitors is the Plaza Redonda. Although it is a square, ironically it is in fact circular in shape, with charming narrow streets leading off it and a wide assortment of tapas bars and restaurants. Every Sunday morning it transforms into a market, selling everything under the sun from expensive pet items to unique keepsakes and lace.
In complete contrast to the more historical buildings is the Mercado Central, a masterpiece of modernist architecture designed in 1914. Inside it is a hive of activity, colours, and smells with stalls selling fish, meat, and fresh produce. The city also has a number of excellent museums to explore such as the City of Arts and Science and the Museum of Fine Arts. There is also an IMax Cinema and Opera House.
Perhaps one of the best times of year to visit is March, as this is when they hold their famous Las Fallas Festival. It takes place all over the city and includes a brilliant fireworks display which hundreds of thousands come to see. With the benefit of great weather all year round, and having Valencia only a stone throw away, El Saler is a wonderful holiday destination for all the family. With its beautiful beaches, stunning Parador, great golf course and wide variety of water sports, there is just so much on offer if you enjoy a more activity style holiday.
About the Author: This article was written by Susan Bartle who is a seasoned traveller and freelance travel writer.
Originally from Canada she currently resides in the UK and recent research has resulted in expert knowledge of the Pousadas and Paradores. Click here to read about other destinations where these luxury hotels can be found.