Sanlúcar de Barrameda

by Don Harris | January 2004

Sanlúcar de Barrameda is one of our favorite Andalucían coastal towns, and remains pretty much the way it was a generation ago. It is a short drive along the Atlantic coast from Cádiz to its site at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, which used to be navigable all the way to Sevilla. It is here that Columbus drew the crew for one of his voyages from the local men.

Across the mouth of the river is La Doñana, Europe's largest nature preserve, which you can visit by taking a tour on a small boat. Each spring during Pentecost hundreds of thousands of gypsies and other pilgrims cross the estuary on their way to honor Nuestra Señora de Rocío.

Next to the piers are several remarkable restaurants that feature the freshest of fresh seafood, direct from the fishing boats. Sanlúcar is famous for a rare local langosta, a large shrimp/lobster, which is harvested by hand. The price is not cheap, but worth every Euro cent!

When you head to town from the waterfront's long, wide beaches (where they hold horse races each August), you will stroll along a broad tile promenade lined with palm trees. Along the way, you will pass one of the bodegas that produce manzanilla, the celebrated light dry sherry made only in Sanlúcar. Finally, at the end of the promenade you will enter the old town with its many cafes that surround an animated market brimming with fresh produce. You might be tempted to stay over night so that you could enjoy authentic flamenco at a local peña.

What a nice way to experience the joy of Spain!

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