Cartaya is a small town located a few km inland fromt he coast on and close to the Rio Piedras. The centre of the old town has a beautiful historical and artistic heritage. Cartaya is set in a natural rural environment with beaches, pine forests and marshland. El Rompido is the pretty costal village and local holiday resort on the coast within the municipal district. Cartaya has about 19, 100 inhabitants.
It is situated west of Huelva, around the minor resort and fishing village of El Rompido. The Piedras river has formed an estuary surrounded by marshlands. Where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean a long sandy spit has formed, called the Barra or Flecha del Rompido.
The Paraje Natural de las Marismas del Odiel is the second most significant wetland reserve in Andalucía after the Parque Nacional de Doñana. This large estuary and marshland of the Odiel and Tinto rivers covers 72-sq-km between Huelva City, Punta Umbría, Gibraleón and Aljaraque. It was granted protected status in 1989. The best time to visit is in spring during the breeding season and in winter when there are lots of waterfowl.
The El Rocío pilgrimage is the most famous in the region, attracting nearly a million people from across Andalucia and the entire country, and beyond. Every Andalucian city, town and village has its own pilgrimages, for its patron saint, virgin or other much-loved local figure, but the El Rocio has cult status, and is the most important and most colourful.
The Parque Nacional de Doñana is one of Europe's most important wetland reserves and a major site for migrating birds. It is an immense area; the parque itself and surrounding parque natural or Entorno de Doñana (a protected buffer zone) amount to over 1,300 sq km in the provinces of Huelva, Sevilla and Cádiz.
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.
Ayamonte is situated on the estuary of the Río Guadiana, second longest river in Europe. Ayamonte's development has been inextricably linked to its position on the border with Portugal and has more foreign tourists than other locations on the Costa de la Luz, partly due to its proximity to the Algarveand its position far west on the Andalusian coast. It has about 19, 600 inhabitants.
Matalascañas is a popular, modern resort, located in a beautiful area of extensive coastal dunes and sandy beaches. Despite the village's tasteless high-rise development, which is one of the worst along the Huelva stretch of the Costa de la Luz, Matalascañas has some redeeming features; namely, its beach and its proximity to the Parque Nacional de Donaña. It has about 780 inhabitants.
El Rompido is a fishing village out on a limb, 8km from the nearest town of Cartaya. It is one of the most tranquil and un-crowded spots on Huelva's Costa de la Luz. Up until now, it has managed to remain unscathed by the tourist development that has marred other resorts along Huelva's Costa de la Luz, perhaps because of its relative distance from the new A-49 Portugal-Seville motorway, compared with the more popular neighbouring coastal towns.