Huelva is located in the extreme south-west of Spain. To the north it is bordered by the province of Badajoz, to the south by the Atlantic Ocean, to the east by Seville and Cadiz, and to the west by Portugal.
From the Sierra Morena smaller streams flow down into the Guadiana and the Guadalquivir, the two great rivers that surround the province of Huelva.
Also in the Sierra de Aracena you find the source of the rivers Tinto and Odiel, which are of deep historical and social significance to the city.
Huelva occupies an area of 148 square kilometers and has a current population in excess of 140,000 inhabitants.
With some variations in microclimate, the climate of Huelva is between subtropical (bética variety) and temperate (Mediterranean climate). In regards to the temperature, it is of maritime type, sweet and smooth, with winters that are not very cold, and summers tempered by the breeze.
In short, it has one of the mildest climates in Spain, a further incentive to visit at any time of the year.
Huelva’s population goes back to prehistoric times, with Paleolithic and Neolithic settlements, although it is in the Bronze Age that we begin to see abundant evidence in the area, reaching its peak with the Tartessian civilization (late eigth – ninth century BC) which was linked to the production and trade of minerals, mainly with the Phoenicians (from the first half of the eighth century BC) and the Greeks (seventh century BC), testimony to this are finds such as weapons caches, and a Greek helmet found in the Huelva estuary.
Contact with these populations of the eastern Mediterranean led to a transformation of Tartessian society, resulting in a rapid process of orientalization, as shown in the rich necropolis of La Joya. The importance of Tartessian civilization transcended the limits of the Iberian Peninsula.
In Roman times the area of Huelva covered what geographers called Beturia: a region between the river Baetis (Guadalquivir) and Anas (Guadiana), and was inhabited by the “celtici”. Plinio and Ptolomeo gave Huelva the name of “Onuba Aestuaria”, the city that minted coins.
There are few remains from the Visigothic period in the area. We can only say that the most prestigious civilian and military city of the whole region was Niebla (Elepla), which also included the seat of the Episcopaleans.
Around the year 713 Muslim troops conquered the city, calling it Welba, and for a time became a kingdom of independent Taifa, with the dynasty of the “Bekries”, lords of Huelva and Saltés.
Muslim domination of the area ended with the conquest of Niebla in 1262 by Alfonso X the Wise. Subsequently, in the mid fifteenth century it became part of the estate of Medina-Sidonia, which it remained until the mid nineteenth century. In the late fifteenth century a historic event took place in these lands which was of such importance that it transcended local history, becoming a highlight in the history of mankind. Huelva was to become the soul and the birthplace of the Discovery of America.
In the Monastery of La Rabida, Brother Juan Perez and Brother Antonio de Marchena were the initiators and promoters of the projects of Columbus. Columbus’ ships were from Huelva, as were the captains that manned them, and almost all of the experts and brave sailors that made up their crews. Finally, the expedition of discovery departed from the port of Palos de la Frontera on August 3, 1492.
In the nineteenth century two things of great importance happened for the town: One of them was its appointment in 1833 as capital of the province under the administrative division of Javier de Burgos.
The second was the acquisition by the British company “Matheson and Co.” of the Rio Tinto Mine in 1873. After this the appearance of Huelva underwent a dramatic change. The company proceeded to build a railroad to transport ore (which until then had been done with mules), to construct docks for loading and unloading, and to modernise the system for obtaining minerals.
This produced a large demographic breakthrough, with the incorporation of large numbers of workers, at a time when a considerable number of English families were establishing businesses in the city, becoming a decisive influence over it. The city was improved with new buildings, commemorating the fourth centenary of the discovery of America.
The most recent historical event, in the twentieth century, was the installation in 1964 of the Polo Industrial Development, the driving force of the economy of Huelva in recent years: The population grew from 75,000 inhabitants in 1960 to 140,000 in 1990.
Barrio Reina Victoria (Workers Neighbourhood)
Casa Colón (Columbus’ House)
Casa del Millón (Millóns House)
Cathedral of Ntra. Sra. de la Merced
Convent of las Agustinas
Hermitage of la Soledad
Humilladero de la Cinta
Church of la Concepción
Church of la Milagrosa
Church of the Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
Monumento a la Fe Descubridora (Monument to Columbus)
Riotinto Company Docks
Museum of Huelva
Palace of Congress
Palace of Mora Claros
Palacio Municipal de Huelva (Town Hall)
Parish of San Pedro
Paseo Santa Fe and Old Market
Plaza de las Monjas (Nuns Square)
Sanctuary of Ntra. Sra. de la Cinta
The cuisine of Huelva has its strength in fresh fish and seafood which are sold daily in auctions, and can be purchased at the popular market (mercado del Carmen): choco, white shrimp, tiger shrimp, clams … Besides tasty seafood dishes such as monkfish in white wine, and skate with paprika, you can find rich pork dishes, fresh meat from Andévalo and the Sierra Huelva, and good wines with the denomination of origin “Condado de Huelva”.
There is a good network of highways from various points in the country, with generally very good access
– In your own car there are 2 options from the centre of Spain:.
From Madrid take the National IV (autovía de Andalucía) to Seville, from where you take the A-49 (autopista del V Centenario).
– The other option from Madrid is to take the NV (Extremadura autovia) to Merida, taking a short section to Zafra along the national 630 (silver route) and from here take N-435 to Huelva.
Another option is to continue on the “silver route” to Santa Olalla del Cala and from there head in the direction of the mountain village of Zufre and Riotinto, where you join at Zalamea la Real with the N-435.
From “el Levante Español” take Highway 92 (A-92) to Seville.
From the northwest of Spain, the quickest is the “silver route” (N-630) to Zafra and then take the N-435.
If you are coming from Portugal there are two possibilities, one is the new motorway linking Faro (capital of the Algarve in Portugal) with Huelva and Seville, crossing the Guadiana near Ayamonte by the international bridge, the other is to head down from Rosal de la Frontera on highways A-493 and C-443 and join at Gibraleón with the N-431 and continue to Huelva.
The road network is generally in good condition, although in summer there are often traffic jams at some points in the network.
Huelva’s road network is based fundamentally on the motorway to Seville, which from Seville, joins the toll road to Cadiz and the highways to the rest of the major cities of Andalusia, and Madrid. To the southeast, it joins the A-7 toll road, the “autopista del Mediterráneo”. To the southwest, National Highway 431 leads to Ayamonte (62 km.), which is the gateway to Portugal.
The closest airport is Seville, which is located 95 kilometers from the city of Huelva by motorway.
In addition, the tourist sites of Huelva province are located a very short distance from Faro airport. The capital of the Algarve is only 50 kilometers from the border of the province of Huelva (Ayamonte).
Huelva has a railway station that puts it in direct contact with Seville and Madrid. The regional line A-7 to Zafra is a wonderful journey that takes place mostly in the Sierra de Aracena.
Seville 94 km
Cádiz 211 km
Córdoba 227 km
Granada 333 km
Jaén 321 km
Almería 495 km
Málaga 291 km
Badajoz 235 km
Cáceres 310 km
Madrid 591 km
Lisbon 341 km