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Huelva province

Huelva province

The Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche natural park encompasses 184,000 hectares, an impressive 90% of it covered by woodland of mainly Mediterranean oak. The landscape is full of contrasts, with gently rolling hills and wooded valleys gradually giving way to dramatic rocky outcrops on high peaks.

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.

The Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) in Huelva Province runs from the Guadiana river, which forms the border between Portugal and Spain, to the Guadalquivir river in the east.

Huelva and its environs is a Mecca for those interested in Christopher Columbus, with a number of significant tourist attractions relating to the famous explorer. Cristóbal Colón (as he is known in Spain), is thought by most to have been born in Genoa, Italy around 1451.

Huelva may lack the region's star attractions of other provincial capitals, but once you get past the industrial sprawl on its outskirts, the centre is a pleasant place with many pretty plazas, absorbing historical monuments and, as you'd expect from a city with a bustling port, a wealth of seafood bars and restaurants.

The Rio Tinto area of Huelva boasts 3,000 years of mining history, from the Phoenicians then Romans, right up to to the 1990s. Today, as part of the Rio Tinto Mining Park you can visit the museum in the old hospital, the Peña de Hierro mine, and a Victorian-era British house; and take a 22km train ride.

El Andévalo is the name of a 'comarca' (region or area) in the west of the province of Huelva. It is made up from 14 municipal districts and even more small villages.

El Condado or 'El Condado de Huelva' is the name of a 'comarca' (region or area) in the south east of the province of Huelva. It is made up from 16 municipal districts and even more smaller villages.

Located in the northern section of the Paraje Natural Marismas del Odiel, this 597-hectare nature reserve is made up of marshland and creeks.

Situated in the heart of the Paraje Natural Marismas del Odiel, the 480-hectare Reserva Natural Isla de Enmedio can be found where its name suggests, in the middle of the Odiel nature reserve. The isla (island) is in fact a series of islands, created by tidal activity in the Odiel estuary, and is made up of saltwater marshes.

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.

The Paraje Natural Sierra Pelada y Rivera del Aserrador is the third largest protected area in Huelva Province. Located in the foothills of the Sierra Morena close to the Portuguese border, it covers 12 sq km of wooded hills south of Aroche and is also just south of the Parque Natural Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche.

This 718ha area southwest of Aroche is a little-visited protected area due to its relatively remote location and rough forestry tracks leading to it. It can be reached via the dirt road that links Aroche with the sparsely populated hamlet El Mustio, that gives access to the Paraje Natural Sierra Pelada.

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 marshland nature reserve of the Marismas de Isla Cristina is situated between the northern edge of Isla Cristina village and the Carreras estuary to the east and Ayamonte and the Guadiana estuary to the west. Within its 2.1 sq km is a variety of habitats and an impressive range of birds.

Part of the Paraje Natural Marismas del Odiel, the Lagunas de Palos y las Madres covers 693 hectares and consists of four lagoons: La Jara, Las Madres, La Mujer and Palos. They are the remains of what once was a nearly continuous line of coastal lagoons linking the marismas at the Odiel-Tinto confluence and those at the Guadalquivir estuary.

Part of the Paraje Natural Marismas del Odiel, the Estero de Domingo Rubio is situated seven kilometres south of Huelva city near the La Rábida monastery. The Estero is a creek that runs south of the monastery into the Odiel/Tinto estuary. The protected area of the Estero covers 480 hectares. It is bordered by saltmarshes and mudflats at the estuary end and freshwater marshes further upstream. Also at the upper end is a freshwater lake.

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.

Andalucia is not alone in its quest for the convenience of large out-of-town shopping centres or commercial centres ( centros comerciales) . Over the past five years shopping centres in Andalucia have become increasingly prevalent and in Andalucia today they form an integral part of most peoples’ shopping experience.