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SP AIN


VALENCIA S


pain’s third city lies in the heart of paella country, its rice paddies centred on Albufera, where birds gather over


marshland stretching as far as the eye can see. House-proud cooks and gourmet restaurateurs argue interminably over authenticity, but paella, like pasta in Italy and raclete in Switzerland, is a peasant dish designed to make the very best of local staples. Spain’s signature dish, dating back to the 700-year Moorish occupation, is based on rice, seafood and vegetables, but if you also fancy snails, rabbit, duck, chicken or saffron, your wish is their command. Once the poor cousin to Madrid and


Barcelona, Valencia has reinvented itself by diverting is flood-prone river and converting the dry riverbed into a green lung running through the city. Santiago Calatrava’s futuristic white City of Arts and Sciences is a startling contrast to the old


buildings, notably the Plaza Major, in the city centre. The sumptuous art nouveau covered market showcases luscious regional produce: jamon iberica and saffron are top foodie giſts. Don’t miss: La Lonja de la Seda, an ornate,


15th-century gothic silk market in the centre of Valencia.


El Saler Javier Arana, the acknowledged father of Spanish golf design, unveiled his masterpiece in 1968 in the Albufera National Park, three miles south of Valencia. With a kilometre of beachfront, majestic dunes and an umbrella pine forest for golfers to work with, he created a searching test. With no two consecutive holes running in the same direction, players must factor in the wind to achieve success. golfenparadores.es


El Bosque A classic Robert Trent Jones Sr track laid out across a deep ravine on a residential estate nine miles west of Valencia. The par-five signature seventh is a double dogleg with a three bunkers guarding a narrow green. Hydrophobics may suffer between the 12th and the 15th, with water guarding four successive greens. In summer, the prevailing southeasterly Levante can play havoc with any scorecard. elbosque.com


Escorpion The two original loops, Masia and Lagos, built in the 1970s, link up to form Azul (Blue), an 18-holer worthy of the Spanish Open and the National Amateur championship. Nuevo, added in the early 21st century, provides flexibility at a well-equipped golf complex 12 miles north of Valencia. clubescorpion.com


countrybycountry.com


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