El Puerto de Santa María
Location and Activities
El Puerto de Santa María is a picturesque and lively Spanish town (photo – town hall square) situated on the Costa de la Luz, 20 minutes across the bay from Cádiz. It is located around the mouth of the river Guadalete. There are 22 km. of Atlantic coastline around the town, with 8 beaches of fine golden sand. This coastline is known as Costa de la Luz because of the unusually clear and intense quality of the light.
The town is an important fishing port with a number of historic buildings including the Castle where Christopher Columbus stayed, a palm lined alameda, a maze of narrow bustling streets, a lively central market and a busy shopping and commercial area.
The drive into El Puerto can be misleading, as the roads into town are lined with factories and large stores, such as the enormous shopping and leisure complex surrounding a Carrefour hypermarket. This first impression should not deter you. The centre and beaches will more than compensate.
Puerto Sherry (photo) is located on Muralla Beach (named after the old city walls which still stand at the western end of the beach). It has a large marina and is a delightful place for a stroll or to sit in a seafront bar and enjoy the view across e bay and out to the Atlantic. Wonderful at sunset!
The town’s principal activities by now are the production of sherry and tourism. It is a popular resort with Spanish people. My friend, Antonio,
has some interesting pictures of El Puerto de Santa Maria on his web site
Don’t come here if you want an English breakfast or a pint of Worthington’s - it is a typically Andalucian town.
(Population : 75,000)
Climate and Natural Environment
El Puerto enjoys a very pleasant microclimate. The average Summer temperature is around 25 degrees with almost constant sunshine. Spring and Autumn are mild and warm, and even in Winter the daytime temperature rarely falls below 15 C.
El Puerto is surrounded by two natural parks, and is an important area environmentally
- Parque Natural Bahía de Cádiz, : this area consists of 200 hectares of pine forest which provide green vegetation and a haven for wildlife; Los Toruños salt marshes, a protected area where a variety of fauna, birds, fish and invertebrates proliferate and the 22 kms. of sandy beaches
- Complejo Endorréico de El Puerto de Santa María : this natural reserve consists of 3 lagoons, Salada, Juncosa and Chica. These are home to rare breeds of waterfowl and other migrating birds including flamingos, storks, teal and lapwing
Three other natural parks are within accessible distance :
- Parque Natural de Donaña on the Guadalquivir delta, an unique ecosystem which supports a wide array of native and migrating birds. The park has 14 pairs of Imperial Eagles and the only lynxes left in Spain live here. It is possible to go on a jeep safari through the park
- Los Alcornocales (photo): a vast mountain area characterized by forests of cork oaks (photo) and other natural woodlands
- Sierra de Grazalema : famous for its spectacular limestone cliffs and gorges. The area is rich in bird and animal species. The Pueblos Blancos, the White Villages, are located here and are a popular route with tourists
The town is long established and has a number of buildings dating back to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries its origins are Phoenician
- An important port in Moorish times
- Links with Christopher Columbus who lived in the Castle from 1483 to 1486 before setting off for the Americas
- The Summer residence of Felipe V and his court during the 18th century
El Puerto is renowned for its good food and wines.
The town has several Sherry Bodegas, including Osborne and Terry, which you can visit.
As a fishing port, its cuisine centres on a wide variety of fish and shellfish.
Specialities from the surrounding countryside include asparagus, figs, melons and snails.
Around the harbour, you will find a plethora of tapas bars and restaurants which come to life at lunch time (1330-1630) and after 2100. “Romerijo” (photo) is one such restaurant which sells fresh seafood by weight and then cooks and serves your selection.
- Bar Jamón Molino Platero s/n, Tel: 956850513 – Traditional Cuisine
- Casa Flores Ribera del Rio, 9, Tel: 956543512 – Traditional Cuisine
- Casino Ctra N-IV, KM 649, Tel: 956871042 – local Products
- El Ancla Avda de la Libertad, 5, Tel: 956541371 – Traditional Cuisine
- El Faisán Ctra de Fuentebravía, KM 4.1, Tel: 956480754 – Fish and Seafood
- El Faro Avda de Fuentebravía, KM 0.5, Tel: 956870952 – Fish, Salads
- Guadalete Avda de la Bajamar, 14, Tel: 956850601 – Fish Stews
- Hong-Kong Luna, 1, Tel: 956857204 – Chinese Cuisine
- La Goleta Ctra de Fuentebravía, KM 0.75, Tel: 956854232 – Mediterranean Food
- Los Portales Ribera del Rio, 13, Tel: 956542116 – Fish and Seafood
- Romerijo Ribera del Marisco s/n, Tel: 956541254 – Shell Fish
- San José Avda de la Paz, Tel: 956562962 – Fish and Salmon
- Vaca Ctra Puerto-Rota, KM 6, Tel: 965480255 – Home Cooking
Bodegas - Wine cellars you can visit
- OSBORNE 956869100 Mon – Fri (am) By appointment English tour : 1030; Spanish : 11.30, 1200
- TERRY 956857700 Mon – Fri (am) By appointment Visit cellars, horse & carriage museum
- 501 956855859 Mon - Fri By appointment
- GUTIERREZ COLOSÍA 956852852 Sat, 1230 Without reservation
- GRANT956870406 Mon - Sat By appointment 1230 - 1330
- CABALLERO 956851751 By appointment
The town has a number of museums and historic buildings.
- Saint Marcos Castle, built on the site of a mosque, dates back to the 13th century
- Bullring – one of the oldest in Spain, built in 1880
- Casa de los Leones
- El Puerto Museum
There are regular concerts, art exhibitions and music festivals (particularly Flamenco music).
- February : Las Fiestas del Carnaval
- Mar/ Apr : Semana Santa : Easter week processions
- May : The Spring Festival : celebrating the “fino” wines of the region
- June : Corpus Christi : a religious festival with procession
- Jul 16 :The “Virgen del Carmen” fishing festival
- Sep : International Sailing Week : prestigious sailing competitions in the Gulf of Cádiz
- Sep 8 : Festival of the patron saint, “Virgen de los Milagros”, during the wine harvest period
Sporting and Leisure Facilities
- El Puerto has a historic bull ring, sports centres and swiming pools
- Two golf clubs : Vistahermosa (9 hole); Golf el Puerto (18 hole)
- Sailing : Puerto Sherry : 1000 moorings, scuba diving school; Real Club Nautico : 140 moorings, canoeing, sailing
- Numerous other sporting facilities and leisure centres
- Riding schools : Villa Julia Tel.956856694; Las Marías Tel. 652129911
- Windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, kitesurfing courses : ACTIBA2000, S.L. Tel 956416891
- Skating rink and bowling alley : Playa de la Valdelagrana
In addition to the main pastime of frequenting restaurants and bars, the town has a Casino, cinemas, nightclubs and Flamenco bars.
I have just discovered a Web Site giving details of the town's nightlife:Puerto de Noche
- El Puerto has a hospital and a range of medical and public services. The town centre has a bustling market and a range of small shops. A large weekly market takes place on Tuesdays in the Bajamar district. On the outskirts of El Puerto, there is a large Carrefour Hypermarket and shopping centre and numerous stores selling furniture, lighting, electrical goods, sports equipment etc.
- The town has a prestigious English school - El Centro Inglés, which was set up 30 years ago as a nursery school by a lady from Swansea, and now has 1200 pupils aged between 3 and 18.
- There are also language schools where you can study Spanish :
School, c/ Ave del Paraíso, 6 (tel. 956871926), offers a range of private classes.
- Tourist Office : c/ Luna,22 tel. 956542475 9
- You can take the A4 Sevilla-Cádiz route or drive along the Costa del Sol and take the new Motorway from Gibraltar to Jérez.
- Train : Cádiz – Sevilla line stops at El Puerto station. Links to Madrid, Malaga, Córdoba
- Boat : nearest major port, Cádiz. Regular lines to the Canary Islands; also Tarifa – Tangiers; Algerciras - Tangiers.
- Air : Jérez Airport, 20 minutes; Gibraltar ( 2hrs); Sevilla ( 1.5 hrs); Malaga (3 hrs); Faro (3 hrs)
- There is a good bus service in town and connecting with other towns
- Ferry : El Puerto – Cádiz : 40 mins across the bay
- Taxis : 956 858584; 956 872050
- Autos Santo Domingo 956853024 c/ Pagador, 29
- Autos Santo Domingo 956875001 c/ Micaela Aramburu, 8
- Bahia Rent A Car 956541270/441803 c/ Misericordia, 1