What to see in Huelva Province: beaches, nature and whitewashed houses
There are plenty of must-see places in Huelva province. Among them are the Doñana National Park and the quaint villages in the Sierra de Aracena Mountain Range. Not to mention the kilometres of beaches whose fine golden sands are lapped by the waves of the Atlantic. These beaches are often found next to charming fishing villages that offer all the amenities you could expect from much larger beach resorts but in a more homely setting.
Huelva province is also home to one of the most religious places in Spain, El Rocío, where hundreds of thousands of pilgrims flock every year to pay their respects at a temple in a tiny village surrounded by marshlands.
Continue reading to learn more about these and other must-see places in Huelva province.
What to see in Huelva province
Whether you’re in search of remote places in nature or quaint urban centres, a place to lay your head on a beach or get your heart pumping in the mountains, or if you’re more of a foody than a history buff, Huelva has got it all.
From the beaches of Doñana to the Sierra de Aracena mountain range, Huelva has you covered for stunning natural spaces and history buffs will find plenty to see at the famous La Rábida Monastery and Palos de la Frontera, from where Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World.
Huelva is an excellent place for any kind of visitor. You just have to ask yourself, what would your ideal holiday look like?
The prettiest towns and villages in Huelva
It’s no surprise that Huelva is most famous for its quaint whitewashed villages that either huddle in the valleys of mountain ranges or are dotted along the coast beside its pristine beaches. These traditional Andalusian sites are well worth a visit and what follows is a list of those that stand out from the rest:
Aracena is the ‘capital’ of the mountain range that bears its name. Made famous by its whitewashed houses perched on steep inclines, Aracena also has a magnificent Moorish castle that was once occupied by the Knights Templar.
The municipality of Almonte is one of the largest in Huelva province and it is home to the famous pilgrimage centre El Rocío, the spectacular Matalascañas beach and Doñana National Park.
El Rompido is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Huelva thanks to its beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast.
Palos de la Frontera
Known locally as the ‘cradle of the Discovery of America’, Palos de la Frontera is the fishing village from where Cristopher Columbus’ three ships set sail for the New World on 3 August 1492.
No less than a third of the population of Moguer signed up to sail with Christopher Columbus to the New World and the village itself donated ships and money to the cause too. This is what makes it most famous, but it was also home to Nobel Prize-winning writer Juan Ramón Jiménez, to whom a museum exists in his honour.
Tucked into the Sierra de Aracena National Park, Jabugo is most famous for the highest quality Iberian ham it produces.
History and beauty are integral to the towns in Huelva
Among the 80 municipalities you can see in Huelva, the following are definitely worth a visit:
Located in Aracena, this pretty Andalusian town is dominated by a castle with a mysterious past and the extravagant Church of the Divine Saviour, both of which have been declared sites of Important Cultural Interest.
Almonaster la Real
Located in the Sierra de Aracena mountain range, Almonaster really is an unmissable stop on any journey through Huelva. Aside from being named a place of Historical and Artistic Importance, it also has the last surviving rural mosque from the Moorish period in Spain.
Sanlúcar de Guadiana
White houses watch the waters of the River Guadiana passing by in this scenic village in Huelva. Historically it has had strong associations with another Sanlúcar, that of Barrameda, Guadalquivir in Cadiz and the Portuguese town of Alcoutin, on the opposite bank of the river, all of which contribute to its unique traditions.
Niebla de Huelva
Niebla is a small town that was once an important cultural centre during the Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, and this can still be seen in the walls that surround it and many other treasures from the time of Al-Andalus.
This is another village with whitewashed houses perched on the steep slopes of the Sierra de Aracena mountain range. Declared a site of Historical and Artistic importance, Alájar will surely charm you into coming back again and again.
Visita a los enclaves naturales de Huelva
If you just wanted to spend your time in Huelva surrounded by nature, then the province would not let you down. Here are just a few of the natural ‘enclaves’ Huelva has to offer:
The Grotto of Marvels
Located in Aracena, the Grotto of Marvels was the first cave to be officially opened to the public in Spain (1914). The combination of stalagmites, stalactites, enormous underground rooms and lagoons make it one of Huelva’s most popular tourist attractions every year.
The River Tinto was named for the reddish tinge of its waters, but it also gave its name to one of the largest mining companies ever created after they began extracting minerals from the area in the 19th century. Mining has since stopped here but their work has left an indelible mark on the land that many people visit each year to admire.
Sierra de Aracena
The Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche Natural Park is one of the largest natural reserves in Andalusia and it is well worth a visit for the views but also to learn how the locals are working towards making the villages in it an example of sustainable living.
Doñana National Park
This nature reserve is the jewel in the crown of Spain’s national parks. Among the many fascinating species that inhabit the park, you will find the extremely rare Iberian Lynx, the Imperial Eagle and the Greek Tortoise.
Marismas del Odiel
Located between Huelva city and Punta Umbría, the Odiel Marshlands are a UNESCO declared site of Natural Importance due to the many water birds, such as flamingos and the very rare Eurasian Spoonbill.