A neighbour of Portugal and the Atlantic, Huelva can offer both cool mountain areas and kilometres of fine sands along its coast.

To the north, the sierra of close and humid woods, to take in, place by place, the beautiful small villages, where you can discover, among the rich and extensive gastronomy, the region’s famed jamon, ham.

At the centre, between oak woods and mineral landscapes mined for millennia, lively towns that produce its equally renowned fruity wines.

To the south, the coastal towns that sent men to discover the New World, and the tranquil beaches, front-row seats to contemplate every afternoon the latest sunset to be seen on the Iberian Peninsula. And, every year, the most universal and colourful religious pilgrimage in Spain: el Rocio.

Huelva is a sea town, defined by the wide inlet at the mouth of the river Odiel. In the Iglesia de la Concepción church, or in the church of San Pedro, larger and with a beautiful tower, opening on to some of the most pleasant parts of the city (such as the Paseo de Palmeras de Santa Fe), and where you can admire the typical architecture of Andalucía. The Catedral de la Merced dating from the 18th century, modest in aspect, but in harmony with its surroundings. Next to the cathdral, the restored hospital, today the seat of the new university here.

The heart of the city is the shaded and pretty Plaza de las Monjas and the great viewpoint, the calm Conquero, where we can see at our feet the impressive new Plaza de Toros bullring and the marshlands of the Marismas del Odiel, which takes us towards the Santuario, sanctuary, of the patron saint, the Virgin de la Cinta, a white structure with a flavour of Mudéjar design to it.

Any visit to Huelva should include its Provincial Museum, where we can follow the avatars of this landscape, from the footprints of Tartessos to the paintings of Vázquez Diaz, and also admire the renovated Gran Teatro.

A city of incessant luminosity, with a surprising open air sculpture museum that includes works by many of the important Spanish sculptors of today. La Casa de Colón, of modern design, is the conference centre; rising up over the Odiel river is the colossal Monumento a la Fe Descubridora (1929), by the north-American sculptress Gertrudis V. Withney.

LA HUELLA COLOMBINA. The Columbus footprint.

Comandancia de HuelvaIn an Andalucía quite full of history, Huelva is the átierra colombinaá, the Columbus territory sine qua non, and here America seems rather closer than normal. In the nearby town of Palos de la Frontera, from whose dock the caravels sailed that third of August 1492 (and 3 August is a grand date in Huelva), is the Monastery of la Rabida, a Gothic-Mudéjar church with one of the oldest crucifixions in Andalucía, a beautiful and simple cloister in the Mudéjar style, with 20th century murals painted by Vázquez Díaz.

Palos is a lively, much liked town. In the little kingdom of the brothers Pinzón, Cristobál Colónás two captains, you can admire their parental home, now a museum, and the original Iglesia de San Jorge church, of Mudéjar brickwork, a delightful place recently restored, which supplied the water that Colón used on his voyage.

Further on, in Moguer, what was perhaps, in dimensions and artistic richness, the principal monument in the region, the Monasterio de Santa Clara, Gothic-Mudéjar in design. Not far from here, the Convento de San Francisco, the Hospital del Corpus Christi, now converted into a theatre, the Ayuntamiento (council) building of a pleasing Andalucían neoclassical style, and the church, Nuestra Señora de la Granada, of grand proportions, and with a tower that recalls Sevilleás la Giralda. Platero (the mule of Juan Ramon Jimenez) no longer trots the streets of Moguer, as it did in the famous áPlatero y Yoá, but the museum dedicated to Andalucían poet Juan Ramón Jiménez, born here, celebrates their creator.


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