A few minutes' drive south of Valencia city, nature lovers will be entranced by Spain's largest lake and one of its foremost wetlands - a unique ecosystem which is home to numerous interesting animal and plant species - some endangered, such as a pair of tiny fish called the fartet (Spanish toothcarp) and the samaruc (Valencia toothcarp). The base for exploring the park is the town of El Palmar, where the park's forests blend with the dunes on the edge of the Mediterranean. Adjoining the park's 24,000 square kilometres (9,270 sq. miles) are other wetlands used to grow the rice used in this region's famous paellas and other classic dishes.
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