Hostals and hostels are a fantastic way to travel Andalucia on a budget. Despite their affordable prices, this doesn't mean to say that you have to compromise on quality, with many well known for their individual character and centralised location.
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.
If you want unspoilt, wild beaches, the Costa de la Luz is for you. From the Coto Doñana Park with its wild boar, lynx and rare birds, to trendy wind and kite-surfing spot Tarifa, this coast, which stretches between the Portuguese border in the west to Tarifa in the east, is a haven of tranquility.
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.
Seven kilometres from Punta Umbría is the small resort of El Portil, with its 13-hectare reserve of a small freshwater lagoon, the Reserva Natural Laguna de El Portil. The reserve is most well known for its population of chameleons.
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.
Just outside of Punta Umbría is an area covering 162 hectares of protected beach, sand dunes and woods, including a juniper grove, one of the few examples of this type in Andalucía. The 50-m wide beach, with fine, golden sand, stretches for 2.3km.
Contemporary and graphic art are exhibited at regular exhibitions in the Sala Siglo XXI, part of the Museo Provincial de Huelva which also has remarkable displays of Tartessic, Roman and prehistoric archaeological remains as well as paintings from the 15th to 20th century.
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.
A 27-hole course, providing three different 18-hole options, it is suitable for all levels of expertise. It borders the Atlantic Ocean and is the first in Spain to be certified according to international standards for quality and environmental systems.
This “water city” (sister to the Aquopolis in Sevilla) in Huelva province has six rides, including a Torbellino, a huge bowl where you slide around the sides, and into the whirlpool at the bottom. For less hectic action, there’s a Jacuzzi, a relaxing pool and wave pool, plus little kids’ area.
The beaches on the coast in the municipality of the inland town of Moguer are actually closer to Mazagon and the famous Doñana Natural Park. This 100-metre wide beach gets its name from the Parador Hotel located here. Playa del Parador is located just a few kilometers from Mazagón along the A494 road but feels like a different world.
Mazagón is a town in the municipality of Palos de la Frontera. This long beach spans 5.5 kilometres next to the town of Mazagon and borders Doñana natural park. The most urban part of the beach to the west of the town and closest to the marina has all facilities including: showers, beaches, lifeguards, parking, parasols and sunbeds for hire, beach cafés and parking.