Huelva Province - Punta Umbría

A seagull illuminated with light, the night of Punta Umbria. Poetic words from a statue situated on the promenade of P. Gil Mazo. © Michelle Chaplow
A seagull illuminated with light, the night of Punta Umbria. Poetic words from a statue situated on the promenade of P. Gil Mazo.

Punta Umbria

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Punta Umbría is the closest beach to Huelva City and is the most popular resort along the Huelva Costa de la Luz. During July and August it is overflowing with Spanish visitors and it is worth booking accommodation in advance at this time. It sits on the banks of the Río Odiel river estuary and is surrounded by extensive salt marshes, which make up the El Paraje Natural Marismas del Odiel, the most important nature reserve in the area after the Parque Nacional Coto Donaña. It has about 14, 900 inhabitants.

HISTORY

Punta Umbría dates to the last third of the nineteenth century between the arrival of the staff members of the Río Tinto Company Limited and the rise of the fishing industry during that stage on the Costa de Huelva.

The existence of a Roman archaeological site located in the area known as the Eucaliptal, demonstrates the antiquity of the territory of Punta Umbría. Centuries later, the foundation of a Reino Taifa de la Isla de Saltés (Kingdom) during Moorish ruling of the Iberian Peninsula, left its mark on the area.

It would be during the Modern Age when Punta Umbría began to be recognized as a prominent place on the coast of Huelva, first due to the dispute between the Lords of Huelva and Gibraleón, and later due from taking over the site of one of the towers that defended the Spanish coast from attacks by Barbary pirates.

The arrival of the Río Tinto Company in the twentieth century opened Punta Umbría to leisure and summer activity, coinciding with the arrival of families from other parts of Huelva and Andalusia. On 26 April 1963, Punta Umbría becomes independent from Cartaya.

Today, Punta Umbría is a modern town with outstanding tourist and fishing infrastructures, which are perfectly combining the modern history with the most recent.

THINGS TO SEE

Torre Umbría
A defensive tower against the Barbary pirates that plagued the Spanish coast during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but ultimately played a large role in various conflicts maintained by the Spanish Habsburg dynasty. It is currently the oldest construction of Punta Umbría. The tower stands 14.5m high with a wall approximately 4.5m thick. The Torre Umbría was of great importance in monitoring entry of ships in the Ría de Huelva. Located on Calle Jazmín.

Opening Times:
Monday-Friday, 09:00-14:00hrs and 17:00-19:00hrs.
Saturday, 10:00-13:00hrs.

Price: Free Entrance
Tel: 959 49 51 60
Email: torreumbria@puntaumbria.es

Groups of visitors are taken from Casa de los Ingleses.

Iglesia de Lourdes
The first church to be built in Punta Umbría in 1950, by Pérez Carasa. Located on Calle Lepanto.

Iglesia del Carmen
The church was designed by Miguel Fisac, one of the most important Spanish post war architects. The construction of the church was partly carried out by the fishing fleet that helped laying the first stones in 1964 up until the inauguration of the church in 1969. Located on Calle Ancha.

Casa de los Ingleses
The house was designed by architects, González García de Velasco and González Vílchez, inspired by the building models of the Río Tinto Mining Company during the late nineteenth century. Inside the house, you are given an insight into the history of British presence in Huelva, since their arrival in Río Tinto to the creation of Barrio de Salud in Punta Umbría. Located on Avenida Ciudad de Huelva.

Opening Times:
Tuesday-Saturday, 10:30-13:30hrs and 19:00-21:00hrs.
Price: Free Entrance
Tel: 959 49 51 60
Email: casadelosingleses@puntaumbria.es

La Canoa de Punta Umbría
For decades the estuaries of Río Tinto and Odiel were the only means of communication that existed between Huelva and Punta Umbría, creating a regular boat route that linked the two populations. The popular "Canoa de Punta Umbría" continues to make that journey regularly only during the summer season between the port of Huelva and Muelle de Pasajeros de Punta Umbría (Calle Varaderos).

Times:
11th-19th June, Punta Umbría-Huelva, 9:00, 11:00, 13:00, 17:00, 19:00hrs
11th-19th June, Huelva- Punta Umbría, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 18:00, 20:00hrs
As from 20th June, Punta Umbría-Huelva, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 18:00, 20:00hrs
As from 20th June, Huelva- Punta Umbría, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00, 19:00, 21:00hrs

Price: 3.50 euros
Tel: 959 31 19 01
Email: info@canoadepuntaumbria.es

Camping Playa La Bota
Just outside Punta Umbría on the A-497 road to Huelva city is Camping Playa La Bota, claiming to be Andalusia's first ecological campsite, with wooden cabins for rent. From here there are several good walks over the Paraje Natural Marismas del Odiel and the protected area of La Laguna de El Portil.

Puerto de Punta Umbría
The sunset over the harbour is worth seeing from one of the many bars that line the waterfront; the view is slightly marred however, by Huelva's petrol refineries and factories that can be seen across the estuary. Running parallel to the waterfront, Paseo de la Ría is the busy pedestrian main shopping street, Calle Ancha. Here there is a good choice of bars and restaurants to sample some of Punta Umbría's great seafood, much of which is caught locally. In April there is the town's local Festival de la Chirla y la Coquina (clam festival) but these shellfish specialities of Punta Umbría are served in restaurants all over the town. During the summer months there are many late-night bars and clubs open around Calle Ancha.

NATURAL AREAS

The town is surrounded by a total of three protected areas. The most important is the extensive El Paraje Natural Marismas del Odiel reserve, declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, which is situated at the mouth of the River Odiel. It stretches for 7,000 hectares between Huelva city, Punta Umbría, Gibraleón and Aljaraque and can be accessed by any of these places.

The reserve is famous for its distinctive wetland flora and fauna. It is an important stopping place for migratory birds and is home to a third of Europe's spoonbill population. In winter there are many aquatic birds here, including thousands of flamingos. To explore the marismas there are several senderos (footpaths) with bird watching sites, starting from near the visitors' centre, Centro de Vistantes Calatilla (Tel: 959 509 011), just outside Huelva city off the Punta Umbría road. The centre has an exhibition about the marismas and information about footpaths and guided tours.

The nearest nature reserve to Punta Umbría is the 2km stretch of sand dunes, El Paraje Natural los Enebrales, which runs along the beach from Punta Umbría to La Bota beach and is accessible by footpath or cycleway. The small freshwater lagoon in the Paraje Natural La Laguna de El Portil has many breeding birds including black-necked grebes. It has three bird watching observation hides.

BEACHES

There are some superb beaches running along the south side of Punta Umbría. The closest beach to the town is the Playa La Mata Negra, with windsurfing, sailing and boat trips among the activities offered locally. Visit the Punta Umbría beaches page for more information.

GASTRONOMY

As a popular point of destination for vacationers and tourists, the supply of fresh good quality fish and seafood is endless, from the beach bars that offer popular grilled sardines to reputable restaurants with great chefs. Highlights include raya en pimentón (skate in paprika), guisos marineros de rape (monkfish stews), corvina (sea bass), pez espada (swordfish), adobos de pescado (marinated fish), chocos fritos (fried cuttlefish), fideos con caballa (noodles and mackrel) and of course, the seafood.

It is worth noting the quality of the artisan ice cream industry in Punta Umbría, originally of Valencian origin, but has played a part in Punta Umbría for over half a century.

FESTIVALS

Romería de la Santa Cruz
The pilgrimage is celebrated on the 1 May. 

Fiestas del Carmen
Celebrated on 15 August, the patroness is taken aboard a boat on the waters of the estuary.

Feria Nacional de la Gamba y el Boqueron
Celebrated in April. A million prawns are distributed among the public, and boats are available to hire for tuna fishing trips. Must be a contender for the most surreal name of a festival.

LOCATION

Punta Umbría is located 19km from Huelva. To get there, take the A-497 (Autovia Huelva- Punta Umbría) and continue until you reach Punta Umbría.

 

Hover the cursor over Punta Umbria to see bigger map and click to go to the maps page.