Sanlucar de Barrameda
Sanlucar de Barrameda is located 22 km (14 miles) from Jerez on the Jerez de la Frontera - San Lucar route. Sanlucar de Barrameda is situated on the left bank of the river Guadalquivir, just in front of the world famous nature reserve Doñana. Sanlucar de Barrameda is the very quintessence of a south Spanish fishing village.
Sanlucar de Barrameda offers the very best of Spanish sea food and fresh fish and is a very popular holiday destination among Spaniards. Once there: Please do not miss a walking tour in the old part of the town, including the market.is also famous for fabulous fresh seafood. Daily fresh prawns are served in almost all bars. The local prawns are unbeatable together with the local cool sherry wine when it's time for "tapas".
Sanlucar de Barrameda is the perfect place for nature lovers, who plans to visit the nature reserve Doñana where bird watching and untouched nature are the highlights. Cruises on the river Guadalquivir runs all around the year, including stops to visit Doñana with guided tours, by foot or in jeeps.
Another highlight in Sanlucar de Barrameda are the visits to the local and typical Bodegas where the local sherry wines patiently matures in the wine cellars where the river Guadalquivir meets the Atlantic Ocean. Sanlucar de Barrameda also offers a large number of very fine sandy beaches and warm clear water, and of course being located in the south of Spain: Pleasant temperatures and sun, sun, sun and more sun!
In Sanlucar de Barrameda it is more than easy to combine leisure, gastronomy and interesting visits and excursions.
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The name Sanlúcar de Barrameda comes from an ancient temple named Lucero after the goddess Venus, who was worshipped by the Tartessans. Sanlúcar was a key port in the voyages of discovery to America. It was from here that the ill-starred Magellan sailed to circumnavigate the world, a voyage that was eventually completed by Juan Sebastian Elcano.
In the upper part of the town one can see palace-like convents, vast bodegas and lordly mansions. Particularly fine is the church of Santa María de la O, which has a Churrigueresque altarpiece and Mudejar doorways.
Sanlúcar is set on a slope, with streets running from the once important castle of Santiago (now a ruin) down to the district of Bajo de Guía on the banks of the river Guadalquivir. Sanlucar is well known for its fine fish restaurants. The river Guadalquivir was once the regular means of travel from Sanlúcar to Seville. Today, however, only merchant ships and luxury yachts sail upriver and people prefer to make the journey by road.
One can also go from El Puerto de Santa María to Sanlucar following the coast by way of Rota and Chipiona. Now more cosmopolitan thanks to a major naval base,
Rota was always a seafaring town and today is a summer resort. Inhabited over the centuries by Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs, Rota still preserves many monuments, among them the remains of the old town walls, the Castle of Luna and the churches of Nuestra Señora de la O (15th century) and San Roque (Neoclassical); beaches include La Castilla and Punta Candor.
Sixteen kilometers further along the coast, Chipiona lies surrounded by vineyards producing fine grapes and a famous moscatel wine. Besides an immense beach, Chipiona boasts the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Regla (14th century) - an object of great religious devotion throughout this part of the province - the church of Nuestra Señora de la O, the Lighthouse and the Monument to the Cross of the Sea.
One of the most exciting, beautiful and unique sporting spectacle is one of Europe's oldest equestrian contests.
Since 1845, during the evening's low tide in the month of August, the beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda have been used for horse races. Popular tradition has it that the origins of these celebrations go back to the informal competitions that took place between fishmongers, to see who could get to market first.
The event comprises two 3-day cycles. On each day, beneath a spectacular sunset, riders compete for various prizes in a lively atmosphere. Anyone can attend free of charge and at the finish line there are official betting stands to make the races even more exciting. Extra fun is provided by the children, who organise their own bets from original, colourful stands they set up all along the beach. The festivities in Sanlúcar in honour of the local patron saint are held during the same period, and feature parades of carts and carpet of flowers in the streets in the centre of town.
Coto de Doñana and the Romería of El Rocío
Over the river from Sanlucar by boat isCoto de Doñana. One of Spain’s loveliest national parks and one of the largest dune areas in Europe, Doñana provides a refuge for endangered species; when spring comes, the sight of flocks of thousands of birds covering the marshlands is an unforgettable one. The only sign of human habitation in 32 kilometers of beach is Torre Carboneras, a 16th-century watchtower. Inland are stretches of dunes and pinewoods. Early this century the German archaeologist Schulten spent several years in the hills known as Cerro del Trigo in a fruitless search for the legendary city of Tartessos.
Visitors to Doñana can still see, half-hidden among the pine trees, straw-thatched huts like the dwellings of the former inhabitants of the area, people who lived mainly by fishing and charcoal burning. On the far side of the park is the Acebuche Visitor Reception Centre, where visitors can get information, arrange trips through the park and buy souvenirs. The solitude ends as one nears Matalascañas and the residential estates begin. There is a good metalled road leading to the nearby Sanctuary of El Rocío.
El Rocío is a normally quiet village with some bars and restaurants. At the Feast of Pentecost, however, the scene changes dramatically with the arrival of the famous Romería, a religious festival in which millions of pilgrims gather to sing the praises of the Virgin – more popularly known as the Blanca Paloma or White Dove – who appeared in the 13thcentury and has become one of the most important objects of devotion in all Andalusia.