Costa Occidental Huelva
The West Coast of Huelva is a little known gem located in the south western corner of Andalusia. Though it isn’t as famous as the Portuguese Algarve or the Costa del Sol, Huelva offer beaches with a tranquillity that is hard to find these days. Add to that the chance to witness magnificent sunsets in its unique environment of coastal dunes and marshland and this area of Spain quickly rises up the list of places to visit.
The coastal municipality of El Rompido, about 30 minutes away by car from the centre of Huelva, is one of the many charming locations in the region. Nestled in the Marismas del Rio Piedra y Flecha del Rompido Natural Park, the iconic image of this fishing village is its 12 km long stretch of sand, on which you’ll find the Nueva Umbria beach. El Rompido also has two lighthouses and offers a variety of local dishes, which are well worth trying.
West of El Rompido, you’ll find Isla Cristina. This city is one of the most important fishing ports in all Andalusia and it is well worth the visit to feel the hustle and bustle as the prized catches come ashore. If you want to try some of this highly-esteemed sea food, then we recommend that you go to Casa Rufino. This family restaurant has been running since 1957 and is renowned for its delicacies on the isle.
Heading closer to the Portuguese border, along the western coast of Huelva, you’ll encounter Isla Canela. Sitting on the estuary of the Guadiana River and surrounded by marshes, the island lies in a truly beautiful coastal area. The wetlands that surround this town are seasonal homes and breeding grounds for many species of birds, including flamingos, seagulls, terns and spoonbills. With 7 km of white, sandy beaches, a variety of hiking trails and a marina with plenty of shops, cafes and eateries, Isla Canela provides plenty of relaxing activities and locations to enjoy during your break.
Following the Guidana River inland, you’ll come to Ayamonte, which is located about 7 km away from Isla Canela and easily accessible on foot or by car. It’s well worth taking the time to contemplate the town’s white-washed houses or witness one of the stunning sunsets over the Guadiana River. It wasn’t by chance that Joaquin Sorolla chose to immortalise this site in his painting La Pesca del Atún, which is one of the most eye catching images from his collection ´Visions of Spain’. From Ayamonte’s historical centre, you can see the Portuguese coast and, also, rest in some of its beautiful corners like Patio de la Jabonera or la Plaza de la Laguna. When it comes to cuisine, Ayamonte not only offers wonderful seafood, but also dishes which make the most of the fruits of the earth. We particularly recommend the two restaurants, Merkajamón and Ultramarinos Orta.
If looking across the Guidana towards Portugal isn´t enough for you then, thankfully, in only 20 minutes, you’ll be able to cross the border and get to Vila Real de Santo António. This charming town had its historical centre rebuilt, under the direction of the Marques de Pombal, after a destructive earthquake in 1755, and contains plenty to see and do.
Covering more than two thousand hectares, this wetland is home to many species of waterfowl. Enjoy its trails on foot, by bicycle or even on horseback.
Surrounded by marshlands teeming with wildlife and some of the best beaches on the Costa de la Luz, the seaside town of Isla Cristina will surely win you over as it has thousands of visitors before.
Idyllic beaches, wetlands and golden sand dunes all await on the natural paradise that is Isla Canela.