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Things to see in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, lying alongside the Doñana National Park

One of the most spectacular things to see in Sanlúcar de Barrameda is, unquestionably, the Guadalquivir river. This city marks the spot where the Guadalquivir river spills into the Atlantic Ocean. Its mouth is framed by the profile of the various plants that cover much of the river area of the Doñana National Park.

The navigable nature of the Guadalquivir river explains why this city managed to acquire such enormous wealth in previous centuries. In short, it is because Sanlúcar was the first city in continental Europe through which the ships coming from America sailed, heading to the port of Seville.

This trade route is the reason as to why there are currently so many things to see in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, such as its beautiful palaces and churches that are adorned with various architectural and sculptural decorations.

Its pedestrianised city centre is also brimming with typical Andalusian houses. Its sea and river beaches are also highly recommended.

Sanlúcar de Barrameda: popular amongst tourists

The valuable goods that arrived from America—and which were transported along the Guadalquivir river— are responsible for the prosperity of the city which lasted practically until the nineteenth century.

Some of the beautiful monuments to see in Sanlúcar de Barrameda include:



Castillo de Santiago

While the current structure only dates back to the late fifteenth century, this plot previously held a fortress which was owned by the noblemen of the Medina-Sidonia family, who were descendants of Guzmán the Good. In terms of surface area, this is the largest castle in the entire province of Cádiz.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la O

It is believed that the first bricks of this church were laid in the fourteenth century. It has a floor plan of a basilica with three naves. Outside, it boasts an impressive Mudéjar-style portico depicting tales of the past through its detailed stone carving.

Palacio de Orleans-Borbón

This was the summer residence of the Dukes of Montpensier, who also owned the Palacio de San Telmo and its former gardens, the Parque de María Luisa, in Seville. Dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, this palace was built in a striking neo-Mudéjar style. It is currently used as the Sanlúcar de Barrameda City Hall.

Palacio de Medina Sidonia

Built in a Renaissance style, this palace dates back to the sixteenth century, when it was the residence of this important family of noblemen. Nowadays, part of the building is occupied by the Medina Sidonia Foundation, with the other part comprising a hotel and restaurant. Tourists are also able to visit its peaceful gardens.

Bodegas Barbadillo

Manzanilla is one of the pillars of the sherry wine scene. Barbadillo is the largest producer of this type of wine. A visit to their bodega always proves to be an enjoyable and educational experience.

A day on the beach in Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Some of the most interesting places to visit in Sanlúcar de Barrameda are its beaches. Between the river and sea beaches, this city boasts several kilometres of sandy coastline. The main beaches are:

  • Playa de la Jara: This urban beach measures 1.5 kilometres long. It has an average width of 40 metres and offers spectacular views across at the Doñana National Park.
  • Playa de la Calzada and Playa de las Piletas: These two conjoined beaches are the longest ones in Sanlúcar, measuring a total of 2.3 kilometres long. They are known as el hipódromo [the racecourse], as these beaches are renowned for hosting horse racing.
  • Playa de Bajo de Guía: This salt water river beach lies alongside the city’s port, close to some of the finest restaurants in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This 800-metre-long beach is also of huge symbolic importance for pilgrims heading to El Rocío.
  • Playa de Bonanza: This beach is located in the northern part of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, located close to the salt mines and the mouth of the Guadalquivir river. This beach has barely any waves. It is 1.8 kilometres long and does not offer any facilities or services.

Good restaurants in Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Here are some of the best tapas bars and restaurants in Sanlúcar de Barrameda:

  • Casa Bigote (Pórtico Bajo de Guía, 10). This restaurant probably serves the best langoustines, seafood and fish a la espalda (splayed whole fish that is grilled and seasoned) in the area.
  • El Bichero (Bajo de Guía, 1). This classic Jerez de la Frontera restaurant also has a branch in Sanlúcar, in the city’s main ‘foodie’ hotspot: Bajo de Guía. We strongly recommend ordering any of its delicious fish dishes.
  • Casa Balbino (Plaza del Cabildo, 14). This restaurant is famous for its prawn fritters. The rest of its menu contains many other typical Andalusian dishes, which are also well worth sampling.
  • Mirador de Doñana (Bajo de Guía, no number). This restaurant offers regional seafood cuisine in one of the most stylish dining rooms of the Bajo de Guía area. As its name might suggest, diners are guaranteed excellent views over the Doñana National Park.
  • Casa Juan (Bajo de Guía, 26). This restaurant is perfect for tapas or a more formal ‘sit-down’ meal. For the latter, its main dining room—with impressive views of the Doñana National Park—enhances the experience.

Other things to do in Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Besides sampling the magnificent langoustines and other typical dishes in one of the city’s many excellent restaurants, there is much more to see and do in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Below you will find a few examples:

  • Horse racing: During the month of August—and depending on the tide—there are various sunset horse races on the Playa de la Calzada and Playa de las Piletas. This competition is one of the oldest in the country, with the first edition being held in 1845.
  • Trip to the Doñana National Park: Bajo de Guía is home to the jetty for the Real Fernando ship, connecting Sanlúcar de Barrameda with the Doñana National Park. Tours around the park begin in the old ice factory, which holds the park’s interpretation centre.
  • Enjoy the sunset from the terrace of the Hotel Guadalquivir: This is the tallest hotel in the city. You simply have to find time in your schedule to enjoy a sunset from its magnificent terrace, gazing over the city’s rooftops with the Guadalquivir river and the Doñana National Park forming a stunning backdrop.

Information of interest

How to arrive

  • By car: Sanlúcar de Barrameda is located 40 kilometres outside of Cádiz. You can get there in around 45 minutes by taking the CA-35, CA-32, N-IV and A-2001 roads.
  • By bus: The M-960, M-961 and M-967 routes depart from the Cádiz transport interchange, taking you from one city to the other in slightly over an hour.

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