***Last updated July 2022***
Did you know Sanlúcar de Barrameda was the departure point of Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan and several Spanish conquistadores? This seaside city not only has fascinating history…you’ll get to enjoy tons of delicious seafood, beautiful sunsets, and fun activities too!
Below you’ll find a list of my favorite things to do in Sanlúcar with family and friends. Be careful not to have too much fun though—you might end up like me and never leave! 😉
If you’ve got any suggestions on other activities I should add tomy list leave a comment below! Si se te ocurre alguna actividad más que debería añadir a mi lista de cosas que hacer en Sanlúcar, no dudes en dejarme tu sugerencia en los comentarios de abajo!
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1. Visit the Plaza de Cabildo and Calle Ancha
The Plaza de Cabildo is one of my favorite places in town. It features a beautiful mosaic stone floor and fountain and it’s the perfect place for people watching. The plaza is also lined with popular restaurants and bars too.
Calle Ancha is the main avenue in town. It’s located just off the Plaza de Cabildo. Both sides of the street are lined with local shops, bakeries, restaurants and pharmacies. Calle Ancha is the perfect spot to eat breakfast too (my favorite place is Casa Dueñas). Make sure to order a zumo de naranja natural and media tostada con jamon, aceite y tomate (fresh squeezed orange juice, toast with spanish ham, oil and tomato puree).Most afternoons you’ll find local Sanluqueños strolling up and down Calle Ancha, running errands, or sipping on manzanilla as they watch the hustle and bustle of the city.
2. See the Mercado de Abastos
You’ll find plenty of fresh food and unbeatable prices at Sanlúcar’s Mercado de Abastos. Even if you’re not interested in buying food you should still check it out! It’s the best place to see the variety of local seafood offered in this region—especially Sanlúcar’s famous langostinos (prawns). The market is located on Calle Trascuesta and is open from 8am to 2pm every day except Sundays.
3. Walk along the Paseo Marítimo
If you walk 10 minutes down the Avenida Calzada Duquesa Isabel (aka. “the calzada”) from Sanlúcar’s center you’ll find yourself at the paseo marítimo. The paseo is a walkway along Sanlucar’s beach and ends in Bajo de Guía (learn more below). Here you can watch the sun set over the water and enjoy the view of all the boats anchored just off the beach.
4. Check out Bajo de Guía
Bajo de Guía is Sanúcar’s maritime neighborhood. You’ll find the city’s nautical club here along with a variety of fantastic seafood restaurants and cool bars. Definitely stop by this area while you’re in town and check out the old ice factory (visitor’s center). The visitor’s center has a free exhibit on Doñana National Park and replicas of archaeological items that have been discovered there.
5. Visit Doñana National Park
Doñana National Park is one of the most important wetland reserves in Europe as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also rumored to be the location of the ancient city of Atlantis. The park is a favorite spot for bird watchers and is home to a variety of wildlife like lynxes, deer, wild boars, etc. You can visit the park with a guided tour or take a ferry in Bajo de Guía (6€) and cross the Guadalquivir River to Doñana’s beach. You’re allowed to enjoy the beaches of the park, but to go inland you must go with a tour. Visitas Doñana in Sanlúcar offers two Doñana tour options:
- River tour with guided walk through the park (English & Spanish): The tour costs €10 for 5 – 12 year olds, €20 for adults, and kids 4 and under go free.
- River tour with 4×4 excursion through the park (Spanish only): The tour costs €35 for 5 – 12 year olds, €40 for adults, and kids 4 and under go free. It’s a bumpy ride, and is not recommended for pregnant women.
I’d recommend going to their office at the Fábrica de Hielo (at the entrance of Bajo de Guia) to discuss available tour options and times as their tour schedule changes throughout the seasons.
Image source: santlucarturismo.com
6. Visit the Castillo de Santiago
Theis castle was originally built in the late 1400’s to defend the city of Sanlúcar and the mouth of the Guadalquivir River (the second longest river in Spain). Isabel the Catholic saw the sea for the first time from the castle’s tower, and the likes of Columbus and Magellan have been there too. You can take guided tours in the castle with companies like Sanlúcar Smile or do a self-guided tour (available Monday through Sunday 10:15am to 3pm / 7:15pm to 9:30pm). The guided tour should include access to the museum, which contains clothing from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century.
7. See the Medina Sidonia Palace
The Medina Sidonia Palace was built in the 12th century. Nowadays it functions as a unique hotel and historical archive filled with 6 million documents. You can take a tour of the palace on Sundays at 11am or 12pm. I would recommend visiting the hotel’s cafetería to have a café con leche and enjoy the views of the palace gardens and interior courtyard. The café is open all week from 9am to 9pm but Mondays and Tuesdays it’s closed from 1pm to 4pm.
8. Visit the churches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Nuestra Señora de la O in Barrio Alto is one of the most important churches in the city. It was founded in 1360 and features Mudejar architecture. The Ermita de Nuestra Señora del Carmen (1896) in Bajo de Guia is another one of my favorites because of its unique interior—the inside of the chapel is covered in a huge fresco painting of local Sanluqueños and fisherman (the Virgin Carmen is the patron virgin of fisherman in all of Spain). You’ll come across a number of beautiful churches as you explore the city and I encourage you to go inside each one and take a look!
9. Enjoy the rooftop view from Hotel Guadalquivir
The Hotel Guadalquivir is the tallest building in Sanlúcar de Barrameda and has some of the best views in the area. Go into the lobby of the hotel and take the elevator to the rooftop bar, order some Moroccan tea (té moruno) and enjoy the scenery.
10. Visit a local winery in Sanlúcar
You can’t visit Sanlúcar without doing a wine or sherry tour! There are tons of bodegas (wineries) located all over town where you can enjoy tasting tours and learn how the famous manzanilla (sherry) is made. Bodegas Hidalgo-La Gitana, Bodegas Barbadillo, Bodegas Herederos de Argüeso, Bodegas Yuste Miraflores, Bodegas Alonso, and Bodegas Portales Pérez-Los Caireles all offer guided tours in English, see page 2 for more info.
11. Eat like the locals
Sanlúcar is known throughout Spain for its delicious and affordable food, in fact, this year Sanlúcar was named the Gastronomic Capital of Spain. Definitely try tapas at the places I mentioned in #1, but don’t miss out on Sanlúcar’s modern gastronomy too. The city’s famous prawns or langostinos are a local delicacy and definitely worth a try, and you should also enjoy as much almadraba tuna as possible, or atún rojo as it’s known here. 80% of the almadraba tuna is exported to Japan to make sushi and sashimi, so take advantage of this local delicacy and order your share right here in Sanlúcar.
12. Attend local events and fiestas
Sanlúcar hosts a variety of local and cultural events throughout the year. Three of my favorite annual events are feria, the horse races and the Ruta del Mosto. Before visiting the city check out the local tourism site to see if anything is going on when you plan to visit.
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