I am the first to admit that Huelva as a city doesn’t hold a candle to other cities in Spain. It is not a tourist city and doesn’t attract a lot of attention. However, there are many sights in and around Huelva that are very worth seeing.
Getting to know Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón in Spanish) is, of course, an important figure in Spanish history. What many people don’t know is that Columbus had his ships equipped and then sailed from a port in Huelva. Columbus lived in a monastery, Monastery de la Rabida while planning for his venture. The monastery is still used by friars of the Franciscan covenant who offer tours of the monastery. It houses some original documents signed by Columbus and a number of artefacts that are related to his role in history.
Relive history on Columbus' ships
This is fun and educational interpretive centre that you and your children will enjoy. History comes alive as you explore the exact replica’s of Columbus’ three ships—La Pinta, La Nina and La Santa Maria. Clambering aboard the ships gives you a feeling of what it was like for the sailors to live for months in these tiny spaces. You can go into the hold and see what type of food they brought along, where they slept and how life for a sailor in the 15th century was.
You will be amazed by is how small the ships seem. It is hard to imagine setting off into the vast Atlantic ocean to search in uncharted waters on such tiny vessels.
Before you even look at the ships you can watch a 15 minute documentary in the interpretive centre that talks about the navigation in the late 1400’s, where the ships were built and some interesting facts about the journey. The centre also houses a museum with displays of the same time period.
Outside of the museum in the lagoon, you can walk through a representation of an Andalusian village in the late 15th century as well as what Columbus and his crew encountered in the Americas when they arrived.
Directions to the Muelle de las Caravellas:
From Huelva take the M30 to the N442. Once you cross the Rio Tinto River you will see clearly marked signs.
Adults 3.55 Euros
Children 1.50 Euros
Children under 5 years old are free
Visit the horizontal Eiffel tower in Huelva
Along the port of Huelva is a bridge designed following the premises of Gustave Eiffel’s school. This less well-known structure than the Eiffel tower in Paris is a work of art. Looking at pier it is easy to see the Eiffel stamp as this 1.2-kilometer structure has the appearance of a horizontal Eiffel tower.
The bridge was originally built as a way to directly connecting the rail lines coming from the Rio Tinto mines to the ships that were docked in the Huelva harbour. Vast riches never even touched Spanish soil once they were extracted from the mines—they were put on the ships and sent to their new destinations.
The pier was designed with two platforms. The upper platform is where the mineral trains ran, and the lower housed two lines for freight trains.
Walking on this restored piece of history—now a pedestrian bridge—gives you a port-side view of the cargo ships in the harbour and offers spectacular sunsets.
You access the bridge by road from the Avenue of Mexico alongside the port of Huelva.
Head to the best beaches in Spain
I have already gone on at some length about the wonderful beaches near Huelva in my post Spain's best kept secret. I can't say enough about the breathtaking beauty you will find here. These beaches go on forever and are generally uncrowded, especially in the off-season which is any time of the year except for July and August.