"HUELVA" Top 5 Page for this destination Huelva by vibi68

Huelva Travel Guide: 28 reviews and 91 photos

Of course the major event that put Huelva on the map is the discovery of America. Allthough Huelva holds a history over 3000 years old, I rather trace the moments of that event to present this great industrious province, famous for its beaches, sea food, ham and of course, thse great discoveries...
Not having been able to convince the King of Portugal, Christopher Colombus went to Spain to share his projects with the Spanish Kings. In 1484, he obtains an interview with the priest of Huelva's monastery la Rabida; Juan Perez, which was the confessor of Isabel the Catholic, Queen of Castilla, showed great interest in the project of Colombus and so, arranged an appointment with the Queen of Spain. Colombus impressed Isabel, very much, as her imposing allure and presence had him describe the return of ships charged with gold and spices. Unfortunately, the war of reconquest which was being carried out against the Arabs was more urgent and the projects of Colombus are postponed. January 1st, 1492, the Catholic Kings took over the town of Granada putting an end to the Arab domination in Spain; the euphoria was general throughout the kingdom and Isabel successfuly convinced her husband, King Ferdinand, to finance the voyage of Christopher Colombus. April 17th, 1492, the King signed the "Capitulations" of Santa Fé, making Colombus Lord, High Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Viceroy, owner and governor of whatever lands he was to discover. In Huelva's Palos de Moguer, Colombus recruited men but the candidates for the trip, but there were very few, frightened by such an immense adventure, many sailors refused to follow him. He therefor had to recruite unadvisable men as one hundred Basque and Andalusian sailors were finally committed. To hold bar of the three frail caravels granted to Colombus, he obtained through a contest, the Pinzon brothers. Martin Alonso Pinzon held la Pinta, Vincente Yanez Pinzon directed la Nina, while Colombus took over the Santa Maria. The ships names contrary to popular belief were not holy names, pricesses' or famous people's but simply prostitutes names. The day before departure, the sailors meet in the small church of Palos and prayed, frightened by the voyage which awaited them, remembering the tales of terrible stories roaming over the large ocean. August 3rd at dawn, the three caravels started their course towards the Canaries. Before departure, Christopher Colombus had ensured his companions that they would touch ground at 750 miles (4000 km) through their course, about a month of navigation. Until August 22nd, the voyage occured as everyone had hoped, but certain sailors started to be afraid they would never see the Spanish coast again. Colombus successfuly gave them confidence again as the voyage continued without problem until October 6th. The wind was dead, the ships did not move, the Basque sailors with their fear of loss, started a mutiny and tried to have Colombus walk overboard. Pinzon managed to reason them, but on October 10th, it was almost the totality of sailors who wanted mutiny as they felt misled by Colombus. At this point in time the Admiral proposed them to take control of the fleet if the wind did not rise or if they did not see traces of a close ground, in the next few hours. By chance a cut of wood came to pass very close to the Pinta's hull, later after a sailor collected a branch carrying small flowers from the water; there were no more doubt, the ground was close. During the night from October 11th to 12th, all eyes scaned the horizon and sure enough, at 2h00 in the morning a gun shot was fired from the Pinta, as Juan Rodrigez the Sevillan sailor, yelled "Tierra"! Unfortunatly he never touched the premium promised by the Queen, to whom would first see the ground; Christopher Colombus was to adapt the story in order to claim he had seen it first. With the sunrise, the vision was marvelous. The sailors admired a tropical island covered with a luxuriant vegetation, bordered with white sand beaches, in the middle of turquoise waters with visions of dark skinned, naked men and women.

We were now, October 12th, 1492, when Christopher Colombus and some sailors first set foot onto this unknown land. Once arrived on the beach, the Admiral kneeled down and thanked God, then holding up his sword in the name of the Caholic Kings he started cutting branches as a way to take posession of the land in the name of Isabel of Castilla and Ferdinand of Aragon. The natives accomodated the Spanish sailors with much kindness; intrigued by their clothing from abroad, they observed them with much astonishment as their beards also disturb them. They were Tainos Indians who populated the archipelago of the Bahamas; their island was called Guanahani but Colombus renamed it San Salvador, in honor of God, being faithful to the promise he had made to Queen Isabel, to carry the divine word across the Ocean. Christopher Colombus was under the spell, charm and beauty of this land as well as the kindness of its inhabitants. But what intrigued him most, was the gold ring which the men wore through their nose; his mission was not only evangelistic but also a way for him to bring back gold to the impatient Kings of Spain. It seemed the island carried very little gold, but after conversing witht the natives, Colombus understood that he would find much more of this metal on other neighbouring islands. He therefor, took the sea again to go and discover a large island he named Hispaniola, Santo Domingo. The day before Christmas, a catastrophy happenned: the Santa Maria, now the ghost of exploration, crashed to pieces against the reefs of the coast's northern shore. With its remains, the Spanish sailors builds a fort, they called Navidad, where Christopher Colombus left 39 men who could not embark in the two remaining caravels. January 4th, 1493, the Pinta, ordered by Colombus, and the Nina, directed by Martin Alonso Pinzon, took once again the sea towards Spain. Each of the two ships followed a different course as Pinzon hoped to arrive well before Colombus and be alloted the honors of the discovery. March 15th 1493, Colombus touched the port of Palos after Pinzon, who hastened everyone to get the message to the court and receive all the honors. But corroded with disease, he died little after his arrival. Christopher Colombus celebrated like a king, decided to go to Barcelona where Isabel and Ferdinand awaited him. He could very well have made the voyage by sea, but ne wanted to enjoy the honors that the Spanish people reserved him, so he undertook the way by ground, with his sailors and naked natives carrying feathers and parrots at the head of the procession. The Catholic Kings, though impressed by the procession, are disappointed by the "richness" brought back by the Admiral. Stiffened by the cold, the few natives who survived the voyage and diseases, made pale figures along with their plucked parrots. The few objects made of gold that Colombus presented to the Spanish monarchs were not even enough to replace the costs of his trip. However, King Ferdinand confirmed to his Admiral of the Ocean Sea and Viceroy of the Indies, as it was the land he had claimed to have discovered, that he kept all faith as he granted him the possibility to set out sail once again for another voyage.

Today, Huelva, on the Costa de la Luz, is bathed by clear water of the Atlantic Ocean adorned by splendid beaches, it has a marvelous landscape, extending throughout the 120 kilometers of coast and is composed of immense extention of beaches, pine forests, dunes and charming fishing villages. This exceptional site, which shelters a great number of natural spaces of great ecological value, is also impregnated of history: it is indeed from there that Christopher Colombus left towards his discovery of America. A fantastic unit which, associates excellent hotel infrastructures and leasure equipments servicing the entire zone; everything to guarantee an unforgettable stay. Aside the long and quiet beaches, favourable to the relaxation, the coast of Huelva offers many other activities such as the visit of fishing villages in which one can taste the best tasting products from the sea as well as the famous cured ham of Jabugo. In summer, Punta Umbría, is an area where one is able to reach Huelva, chief toen of the province, by using the curious means of transport that are "canoas", a river service in function since the beginning of the 20th century. For those who are in search of night animation, Matalascanas is one of the most popular places. In this part of the Costa of Luz, there is also a place for people with a passion for nature, culture and sports. Two sites of great ecological value, of an incomparable beauty, and both declared biosphere reserves of UNESCO, are mandatory to visit: the Marshes of Odiel and the National park of Donana, which has one of the most important sets of dunes in Europe. For the art and history buffs, amongst other sites of interests: Palos de la Frontera, starting point of Christopher Colombus where today the replicas of the three caravels can be visited at la Muelle de las Carabellas; or the locality of Moguer, where the visit of the house-museum of literature Nobel Prize, Juan Ramon Jimenez, is possible or to simply to admire the bell-tower of the Nuestra Senora de Granada's church, known as "giralda chica" for its similarity with the famous tower of Seville. As for the sports amateurs, they will be able to practise the best or all types of activities in connection with the sea: from sport fishing to sailing, to scubadiving and water skiing.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful wild beaches and soft climate make this province very welcoming
  • Cons:For industrial reasons, Huelva is the least typical of all Andalucian provinces
  • In a nutshell:For those who long to see and be part of history, if only for a short moment in time
  • Last visit to Huelva: Aug 2005
  • Intro Updated Oct 2, 2005
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Reviews (10)

Comments (3)

  • nenaviajera's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2006 at 1:29 PM

    Hello Valerie! You have done a wonderful tour by the province of Huelva, my small home land. Good job!!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2006 at 8:06 AM

    One year in February I cycled through southern Spain and spent two nights in Huelva. On March 1st the river flooded and the owner of the pension waded around in rubber boots serving sherry. When the water went down we helped him sweep out the mud.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      It was fifty years ago today that the Odiel and Tinto rivers overflowed their banks in Huelva. I enjoyed re-reading your informative tips and intro page.

  • Bokhari76's Profile Photo
    Dec 7, 2005 at 2:32 AM

    Hi Valerie. Happy Birthday. Many happy returns of the day.


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