Although Valencia's city beach is actually a pretty pleasant, albeit crowded, place to spend your afternoon enjoying the sun, we much preferred to take a public bus out to the pristine and less crowded beaches of El Saler and Devesa. However, there is some conflicting and confusing information online about how to reach these beaches by public transport.
If you want to know the best route by bus and where the actual stops are, plus some mistakes to avoid along the way - here's our guide on how to reach to the best beaches in Valencia.
which beach to visit?
For starters, you're going to need to understand the differences between Devesa and El Saler.
The fundamental information is that El Saler is the closer, more popular option with facilities on site, whilst Devesa is a wild beach and therefore much more secluded, less busy and is, primarily, a nudist beach.
Non-nudists can certainly visit the latter, but you need to know certain rules and respect that this is a known nudist beach in advance. Devesa also takes about 15 minutes to walk to from the bus stop so it does take a bit more effort to reach than El Saler.
two bus options
Both the #25 city bus and the 'Yellow Bus' will take you to El Saler and Devesa, but there are some pros and cons attached to each.
The #25 has several departures every hour from the city - with an increased summer schedule. The costs is fixed at €1.50 however, if you've purchased a VLC 24, 48 or 72 hour transport card, then the journey is included in the cost of the card. The main drawback of the #25 is that it can on occasion take bloody ages to reach / return from either beach in comparison to the 'Yellow Bus', given it has many more stops along the way (and you're therefore less likely to grab a seat) and takes a less direct route out of Valencia. For El Saler, typical journey time on the #25 from Valencia is 30 minutes and, for Devesa, it's about 45 minutes.
The Yellow bus, run by Autocares Herca, only has hourly departures but, given it takes the highway out of the city, it's a much quicker and usually less crowded journey (15 minutes to El Saler and 30 minutes to Devesa). However, its ticket (€1.45) is not included on any transport card you may have and so you'll need to have cash to pay the driver.
finding the right stop
Everyone we asked and every post we read gave us a different answer about where to catch the Herca Yellow bus which heads to El Saler and Devesa - this meant we actually missed the first one we tried to catch and had to wait 45 minutes for the next one to arrive.
So, for the avoidance of all future doubt, you can catch the 'Yellow Bus' to El Saler and Devesa from the stop at the corner of Gran Via and Calle de la Sueca which is about 5 minutes walk from the Plaza de Toro / Train station.
You'll see the bus stop sign quite clearly, however there is no bus shelter. This is the start point for the bus, so you're guaranteed to get a seat. There are a couple of other stops in the city which may be easier for you but, just trust us and head to the one we've told you about.
For the beaches, the Yellow bus leaves promptly on the hour (at least in the summer schedule) and you're looking for one which says El Perello on the front (simply ask the driver to confirm) - check the schedules / timetables for your visit here.
For the #25, which will say El Palmar or El Perellonet, your options are a little more flexible. Depending on where you're staying, it might require a walk or a bus connection (again, not an issue if you've purchased an unlimited transport card). We always caught it from the stop at Cerda de Tallada Colon (which guaranteed us a seat before it got packed a few stops later on). Check out the schedule and find a stop near you here.
Note that both the #25 and the Yellow Bus run a slightly different schedule in summer, with more buses per hour.
getting off at el saler
If you're heading to El Saler with either bus, then simply hop off when you reach the town itself - which has a cluster of shops, hotels and restaurants. From the stop, cross the road and follow the well sign-posted path for a few minutes to the beach entrance. Note that some buses might actually go further and drop you off right by the beach, however this seemed to be inconsistently applied and we couldn't work out which ones did / didn't.
To return from El Saler, you can be lazy and wait at the bus stop right by the beach (there is a schedule there showing pick-up times) or walk back to the town and wait at the bus stop on the right hand side, where buses (either the #25 or the Yellow bus) will pass more frequently.
finding devesa beach
If you're looking for the prettier, less crowded beach - or simply want to let it all hang out - then stay on your selected bus until the stop called 'Mirador de Albufera' - if it's your first time, we'd recommend asking the bus driver in advance to notify you when he's there (especially if you're on the Yellow Bus).
Now, this is where it starts to get a little complicated. We'd actually recommend you take a screenshot of the following instructions (or save the article with an app like Pocket).
For starters, exit the bus and walk straight ahead (the water will be on your right), passing some boats and a tourist information building. Cross the bridge and on the left you will see this road, which also has two little signs with bus schedules on them. Cross over towards them.
This is where you'll be picked up on the way back to Valencia, so take a note of times for either the #25 or the Herca bus (i.e. take a photo with your camera). Then walk down the road and on the right you'll see a wooden path into a pine forest.
Breathe in the lovely smell of pine and follow the wooden trail for about 8 minutes. You'll then come to this crossroads:
Turn left and you'll see the below scene in front of you - take the immediate right...
Follow this path until you come to the lake (which will be right in front of you). Turn right, walking on the path around the lake until you come to this..
Come off the concrete path and follow the sandy path towards the dunes.
You'll now have the beautiful wild beach in front of you and you will now have to make a choice!
On the left hand side of where you've entered is the de facto 'clothed' area. There may still some be some nudists, but it's more likely to be people in standard beach wear.
On the right hand side (as will be immediately clear) you'll find the de facto nude area. If you want to try it out, or you're a fully-fledged nudist, then this is a very chilled-out, non-pervy and non-sexualised area (there are other beaches along this coastline which are a little more like that). The main rule from our perspective is as follows - if you're going to keep your clothes on, then don't hang out on this part of the beach.
Lastly, if you would like to discover even more secluded stretches, then go right and keep walking for a few minutes - you'll likely find a spot all to yourself!
At Devesa, there are absolutely no facilities, so make sure you bring plenty water, drinks and snacks to last the day (as well as something to give you a break from the sun!)
And, if you don't fancy the bus, then it is also possible to cycle out here.
p.s. - long time followers of Along Dusty Roads know that we'd usually have beautiful pictures of the beaches in a post like this however, as you'll understand, we weren't exactly comfortable getting our the SLR and taking photos on Devesa beach itself! You'll just have to go visit it to understand why it's our favourite beach in Valencia!