Huelva information

Introduction to the Province of Huelva
The province of Huelva, part of the community of Andalucia, is in the far southwest corner of Spain, bordering Portugal. It is famed for its connections to Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon in Spanish), its strawberries and El Rocio. Despite Huelva’s fine sandy beaches, it’s strangely a little-visited part of Andalucia and therefore less overtly touristy than some other places.

Huelva City
If you can ignore the heavily industrial outskirts of the city of Huelva, the province’s capital city, and delve into its centre, there is much to interest the visitor in this maritime place. Although many of this ancient port’s monuments were destroyed by the Lisbon earthquake of 1775, there is still plenty to admire.

The 17th Century Baroque Cathedral of Huelva, in the Plaza de la Merced, has a cheerful pink twin-towered facade wand a cool, white marble interior. The Church of Saint Peter (Iglesia de San Pedro) remains as the oldest church in the city. Just outside the city is the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Cinta, the beautiful white chapel where it is said the Columbus said his prayers before setting out on his voyage to discover America.

The Barrio Reina Victoria (also known as the Barrio Ingles) part of the city was originally built in 1916 as housing for the workers of the Rio Tinto mining company. These semi-detached houses, 274 in total, look quintessentially British and rather strange in such a Mediterranean setting.

To enjoy a green space in the city, make your way to the Parque Moret, a great spot for a picnic.

Football lovers may be interested to know that Huelva’s football club, Real Club Recreativo de Huelva, is the oldest football club in Spain, having been founded in 1889.

Around Huelva City and Beyond
The province of Huelva has a great deal to offer the visitor – fine sandy beaches that are relatively quiet, one of the best National Parks in Andalucia, charming villages and a rich history.

Every year, in the days leading up to Whitsun, hundreds of thousands of gaily dressed people start out on a colourful pilgrimage on horse, by ox-cart or even on foot with just one destination in mind – the tiny village of El Rocio, near Almonte in the Doñana National Park. This fanatical event is the Romeria del Rocio and its roots began in the 15th Century when a local hunter chanced upon a statue of the Virgin Mary inside a tree trunk here. On reaching their destination, the celebrations go on for days and usually through the night too – a sort of Glastonbury with sunshine and flamenco. The pilgrims are known as “Rocieros” and first-timers traditionally baptise themselves with water. The frenzied climax is when the statue of the Virgin of Rocio is brought out from the church and is manhandled through the village.

If it’s beach life you want, then head to El Rompido, Isla Cristina or Ayamonte to the west of Huelva or to the east of Huelva, Mazagon or Matalascañas.

Matalascañas is right at the edge of the Doñana National Park, a huge and important area of marshes and dunes and the wildlife it supports. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and covers an area of 500 sq km. To enter the Park proper, you have to book an organised 4WD tour.

One of the most interesting places to visit in inland Huelva are the Minas de Riotinto – the Rio Tinto Mines – with a mining museum, tours and a train ride. Copper has been mined here for a staggering 3000 years.

To find out more about Christopher Columbus, make sure to visit Palos de la Frontera, from where he set sail in 1492, and Muelle de las Carabelas on the Rio Tinto estuary with its stunning life-size replicas of his ships.

The Gastronomy of Huelva
Huelva has a rich and varied gastronomy. Of special note are its Gambas Blancas (white prawns, also known locally as Chocos), the Jamon (ham) from the town of Jabugo, artichokes and asparagus and of course its strawberries. Typical dishes include Habas con Chocos, a prawn and bean dish, Raya en Pimenton (skate with pimento and garlic) and Corvina a la Marinera (a stew of sea bass, clams and prawns with white wine and garlic).

The goats’ cheeses from Aracena are renowned for their flavour and don’t miss Huelva’s wines from the Condado region.


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