Muelle de las Carabelas

Muelle de las Carabelas (Wharf of the Caravels) © Michelle Chaplow
Muelle de las Carabelas (Wharf of the Caravels)

Muelle de las Carabelas

Muelle de las Carabelas (Warf of the Caravels) is a waterfront exhibition with life-size replicas of Columbus's three ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa María, built for the 500th anniversary celebrations. The construction of Muelle de las Carabelas was carried out by architect, Pluvio Fernández Heredia, and inaugurated on 15 March 1994.

Before the end of the five hundred anniversary of the Discovery of America, the Spanish State held a scientific, cultural, educational, economic and social project with two main objectives: to repeat the first Columbus trip, exactly the route followed by Spanish sailors in August, September and October 1492, as well as strengthen the research on the three ships, including their construction, navigation and marine life for seamen of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Investigation of the ships started in 1983 and later built to sail following the same route taken by Columbus and his crew from Palos de la Frontera, at the express wish of the Kings Isabel and Fernando.

Visitors are able to climb onto the ships and enter the replica of Columbus's cabin. Most visitors are struck by how small the ships actually were. In addition to the three replicas of the Columbus ships, there is the Museo Muelle de las Carabelas; a museum or interpretation centre detailing the life of Columbus, along with regular video screenings, a café, a medieval recreation and Isla del Encuentro (The Meeting Island).

The medieval recreation shows a harbour along with an idea of the atmosphere prior to the discovery that people lived on a daily basis, such as a market, a potters barn, horse and cart, along with other trades of that time. The objects found in the market, such as ceramics, pieces of iron and esparto etc, give us an idea of the load that would occupy the holds of the ships. This space demonstrates the fundamental neighbourhoods of Palos de la Frontera and its role played during the discovery of America. It is here that you may find most of the visitors who have paused for a drink or even a bite to eat in the taberna (café).

The Isla del Encuentro has been created in such a way to replicate the indigenous culture of the Island of Guanahani, which was the first island that Christopher Columbus discovered on 12 October 1492, and named it San Salvador.

Muelle de las Carabelas is an ideal space for children and families to enjoy and the museum is huge fun. To get there, one must remember to be very attentive to the signs as it can be easy to miss where one needs to go. There is plenty of parking available.

Opening Times:

16 September-15 June, Tuesday-Sunday, 09:00-19:30hrs
16 June-15 September, Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00-21:00hrs.

Adult: 3.60 euros.
Family: 7.50 euros.
Under 5 years and Disabled: FREE.
Groups, Students, Pensioners:1.50 euros.

Tel: 959 53 05 97

To organise a guide, one must ring in advance only for groups of more than 20 people.


RESTORATION WORK  in 2016/2017

The Museum was closed from 17th October 2016 for restoration works before the 525 Anniversary of the Encounter between Two Worlds, celebrated in 2017. However, investigation carried out underneath the walkway showed corrosion damage of the steel beams more severe than expected.  The restoration works also consisted  of the cleaning of the  lagoon in front of the main entrance, waterproofing the roof of the museum, adaptation of the disabled toilet to the current regulations, replacement of the museum floor, replacement of plants, painting of the ships and the replacement of lighting within the museum. The museum reopened on the 6th July 2017 in time for some of the 525 Aniversary events.   


Carrera Nocturna
The night marathon of 8.5km has been held since mid 2000's and attracts many contestants. It is held toward the end of August.

Las Estrellas de Colón. Una Noche Diferente
On various dates as from the end of July through August, a theatrical group put on a performance showing the history of the Discovery of America. It is held in the Barrio Medieval. Seats are limited; reservations must be made in advance.
Tel: 959 53 05 97.

Cine Bajo las Estrellas
A large outdoor cinema is set up with chairs lined up underneath the stars. One film is shown on a selected night and up to 5 or 6 films are shown throughout July and into August. The location of the event does vary from year to year, however at least one date usually occurs within the Muelle de las Carabelas.

Taller de Fotografía Infantil ‘Encuentro entre dos mundos'
An annual workshop for children to learn about photography through the history of Columbus and the changes that came to the province of Huelva. The workshop starts at the end of July and several dates are scheduled through to the end of August. Inscriptions must be made in advance.
Tel: 669 36 84 02.

Jornadas de Puertas Abiertas
A family event that provides entertainment of all kind, including music, theatre productions, activities and much more. A few of these ‘Jornadas' are organised to take place throughout the year, however the biggest and most visited is on the 12 October.

Every year, this festival is held on the 12 October (National Day of Spain) to commemorate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's first arrival in the Americas, with musical performances, markets, gastronomic exhibitions, theatre shows and endless activities with the three discoverers ships as the main attraction for visitors.

One of the events is the Jornadas de Productores Artesanos de la Gastronomía de Huelva, which celebrates the producers of homemade gastronomy in Huelva, including an exhibition, selling and tasting of wines, oils and sweet treats. 


See and Do

Living in Andalucia