International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987

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La Albufera & Gandia

Location: Spain

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Albufera Natural Park is one of the most representative and valuable wetlands nature preserves of Valencia and, more generally, of the Mediterranean coastal region. Our tour begins at El Palmar Island (lake fishing village). Here we will visit the Ethnological Museum, gaining a better understanding of the formation and location of the Lagoon. Our next stop will be the marshland which represents the heart of the park's ecosystem. Once in place, we´ll explain the different phases of the rice farming.

Finally, we will enjoy a leisurely walk around the park where we'll be able to glimpse some examples of flora and fauna as well as the typical Albufera houses, or barracas. The tour ends with a boat ride across the lagoon, putting students directly in touch with this idyllic natural setting, and creation a great occasion for birdwatching.

Gandia is located 40 miles south of Valencia, Gandia is Valencian coastal town whose historic center has been kept intact throughout centuries of urban renewal, and whose original medieval layout can still be appreciated by visitors. Our city tour will start in the Calle Mayor, contemporary commercial hub for Gandians, and will then proceed to the Collegiate Church of St. Mary (15th C.), a striking example of Spanish Gothic. From there we continue to the Plaza Mayor, where we encounter the Neoclassical town hall (1778). Finally, we enter the Borgia's Ducal Palace, located within the old city walls which surround the medieval village. It is built around a large central courtyard, and its outer austerity contrasts with a lavish, ostentatious interior.

Once the Palace tour is finished, students will be taken to Gandia's ample beachfront area, nearly 6 kilometers long and with over 700,000 square meters of sand. For the last part of the day students are given free time to enjoy the weather, usually sunny in this part of Spain, and to take advantage of the many opportunities to practice some of the water sports that are popular with locals and tourists alike: sailing, catamaran, kayaking and, of course, windsurfing.

Available in the following sessions