The city of Huelva is best noted for the fact that it’s from there, or close by at Palos de la Frontera, that Christopher Columbus set sail for the Americas. It is allegedly one of the sites of the famed Lost City of Atlantis.
Huelva city was badly damaged during the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 losing most of its early splendour. However, there are still a couple of notable churches and a number of pretty plazas with good quality bars and restaurants.
It’s also famous for the nearby gigantic Rio Tinto mines – according to some, the original “King Solomon’s Mines” made famous by the author, Rider Haggard. These sit along the rivers Rio Tinto, Rio Odiel, which runs through Huelva city, and the Rio Guadalquivir, which leads to Seville, and originally a major trading port area for the Phoenicians.
In this western Andalucian province of Huelva, the Minas de Rio Tinto feature lunar geography, deserted old railway-line walks, dolmens and Roman remains: great walking territory. The open-cast mines can still be seen, including the impressive iron-work loading bays which lead down to the river and ancient steam engines.
It’s also next door to the fabled National Park of Coto Donana, teeming with bird-life, lynxes and the Spanish imperial eagle. Particularly recommended are the walks along the Rio Tinto and Rio Odiel, which are also full of archaeological interest and natural beauty. There is, of course, nearby Seville, to which you can book guided tours that follow the Columbus route or, further, jeep tours through the Coto Donana.
For beaches, Huelva on the western Costa de la Luz, is famed for its golden sand and shimmering light. There are many well-populated resorts, such as El Rompido, Islantilla and Isla Canela, which is considered to be the most exclusive, all within easy reach of either Faro or Seville airports.
National Parks – Las Marismas in the South and Aracena in the North are also within easy driving distance.
Huelva province is also world-renowned for its locally-reared and cured ham, Jamon Iberico – usually called Serrano – the premier being from Jabugo in the North of the province.
There is so much on offer, including top-class golfing: for example, visit the burgeoning border city of Ayamonte and its adjoining Costa Esuri golf development on the banks of the Rio Guadiana demarcating Spain from the Portuguese Algarve.