Top 10s - Huelva

Huelva is a mecca for those interested in Christopher Columbus. © Michelle Chaplow
Huelva is a mecca for those interested in Christopher Columbus.

Not the most beautiful of Andalucia’s provincial capitals, having lost many of its historic buildings in the devastating Lisbon earthquake of 1755, Huelva nevertheless has its own charm. Since Phoenician times it has been an important port, serving akey role for exporting minerals from the Rio Tinto mines. These were first exploited by the Romans, but enjoyed a renaissance during the English mining boom of the 19th and 20th centuries. However the city is most famous internationally as the departure point of Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) for the New World in 1492.



1. Columbus Trail

La Rabida monastery where Columbus stayed in 1491-2; Muelle de las Carabelas has life-size replicas of his three ships; his crew largely came from Palos de la Frontera; and he frequently visited two Huelva churches. More>

2. Barrio Reina Victoria

British workers, employed in the Rio Tinto mines in the 19th and 20th centuries, lived in these houses, complete with front gardens and gabled rooves. They're a curious mix of suburban Victorian semi and Spanish seaside villa. More >

3. Casa Colon

This grand colonial-style building was first a hotel to celebrate the fourth centenary of Columbus’ voyage in 1892; then offices, housing and a social club for Rinto Tinto mining staff. Now it's an exhibition and conference centre. More>

4. Muelle del Tinto

Restored in 2003, this 19th-century iron wharf was used for loading minerals from the Rio Tinto mines, which arrived by railway, onto waiting ships. At 1,165 metres long, it offers stunning sea views. More>

5. Museo Provincial

This collection has pieces from prehistoric, Tartessian, Greek & Roman archaeological sites around Huelva province, plus paintings by local 20th-century artist Daniel Vazquez Diaz. More>

6. Gran Teatro

A magnificent neo-classical building dating from 1923, this theatre plays host to a wide programme of opera, dance, cinema and theatre performances throughout the year. More>

7. Playa El Espigon

Huelva city’s only beach is El Espigon, created in the 1970s – a 2.5km-long spit of golden sand across the Marismas de Odiel from the city. It is popular with anglers and kitesurfers. More>

8. Nuestra Señora de la Cinta Chapel

White 15th-century Gothic-Mudejar chapel overlooking the Odiel wetlands. The Virgen de la Cinta was revered by Columbus and his crew, who visited the chapel before their voyages. More>

9. Iglesia de San Pedro

Huelva’s oldest parish church, this was built on the site of a mosque and next to a fortress. It boasts a mudéjar artesonado wooden ceiling, ornate belfry and pretty tiled tower. More>

10. Monumento a la Fe Descubridora

This gigantic cubist statue represents the Franciscan friars of La Rabida Monastery, who helped Colon to prepare for his first voyage, and secure the patronage of the Catholic Kings.  More>

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