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.
The first historical reference leads to the Bronze Age. At this time there was already trade with the Phoenicians and Greeks, and with the arrival of the Romans, the export of salted fish begins.
The Arabs also settled in Matalascañas, and in the thirteenth century became part of the Lordship of Pérez Guzmán after the Christian Reconquest. Later during the fifteenth century, Matalascañas passed on to the Dukes of Medina Sidonia.
During the fifteenth century, a shepherd found an image of the Virgin in the hollow of a tree, the effort of removing her was so great and exhausting that he fell asleep, and when he awoke the image had returned to the hollow tree. He ran to tell the town officials and the news spread throughout Almonte and from that day venerating the Virgen del Rocío.
In the nineteenth century, Matalascañas was invaded by the French and years later became part of the newly created province of Huelva. Currently the area bases its development on agriculture, vineyards and tourism.
THINGS TO SEE
The area consists of permanent sand dunes reaching 10m high over an area of 130 hectares extending parallel to the coast from Matalascañas towards Mazagón. Several restorations of the dunes have been made to improve access.
Museo del Mundo Marino (Marine Museum)
The Marine Museum was located in the heart of Parque Dunar. It featured an audiovisual room and several exhibition halls, with life-size replicas of cetacean skeletons. This Marine World Museum which opened in 2002 costing 6m € closed in 2012 by the Almonte town hall citing aculumulated debts by the managing partner Fundacion Donaña 21 (an Agency of the Junta de Andalucia). It is now abandoned. We leave this page as a historical record and hope it will re-open one day.
The Torre Almenara, also known as Torre de la Higuera, previously a look-out tower, is now where the Interpretation Centre of Doñana is housed. Inside, you will find animal reproductions and models, and its exterior has a small botanical garden. Located in Sector N.
Monday-Friday, 09:00-14:00hrs and 10:00-13:00hrs.
Price: Free Entrance
Tel: 959 49 51 60
Parque Nacional Doñana
Doñana National Park is considered one of the most important protected natural areas of Europe. Crucial crossroads for bird migration routes between Africa and Europe, it is also the last refuge for many endangered species. Matalascañas is the nearest town to the access point of the Parque Nacional Doñana, El Acebuche. This is only 5km away, north of Matalascañas along the A483 towards El Rocío.
Its long and wide beach, the Playa de Castilla, extends for 40km from the Guadalquivir estuary southeast of Matalascañas to Mazagón in the northeast. The best beach nearest the centre of Matalascañas is at Torre de la Higuera, just west of the village.
The main part of the beach in Matalascañas itself has excellent facilities including lifeguards, showers, hire of parasols and deckchairs. In the summer there are many 'chiringuitos' (beach bars). Running alongside the main beach in the village is a 4km promenade, the Paseo Marítimo, lined with good fish restaurants.
East of Matalascañas, there is a spectacular stretch of virgin beach that runs alongside the boundary of the Parque Nacional de Donaña. This part is accessible on foot only, from the eastern part of the town.
All the way along the coast to Mazagón from Matalascañas are stunning fossilized dunes, which you can explore on foot in the Parque Dunar or at the Cuesta de Maneli. The beach and dunes at the Cuesta de Maneli, a beautiful and tranquil part of the coast, are accessible by the A494 to Mazagón. The Cuesta de Maneli is signposted from this road and there is a waymarked walk, the Sendero de la Cuesta de Maneli, from here.
Matalascañas offers freshly caught fish including sardines, mackerel, dab, anchovies, gilthead bream, young hake, sea bass and shellfish, which can all be enjoyed in the local restaurants and beach bars.
Fiesta de la Luz
Celebrated the first weekend of Febuary.
Pilgrimage celebrated in Aldea del Rocío in April/May.
Romería del Rocío
One of the largest pilgrimages in Spain celebrated in May.
Saca de las Yeguas
An old tradition whereby wild mares and foals are collected from the marshes to mark them on the 26 June.
Feria de San Pedro
Celebrated the last weekend of June.
Feria de Ganado
Agricultural fair celebrated in June at the same time as Feria de San Pedro.
Small pilgrimage celebrated 18 and 19 August.
Matalascañas is located 52km from Huelva. To get there, take the H-30 south, leaving Huelva and onto the N-442 over the Río Tinto. Continue on the N-442, passing Mazagón, until you reach Matalascañas.