The rolling, fecund hills to the East of Huelva produce several of Andalucía's finest wines. This part of the region is also rich in history & tradition and is home to one of Europe's largest natural parks.
Doñana National Park
The Doñana National Park is ranked among Europe's greatest wetlands. Together with its adjoining protected areas, the park covers over 75,000 hectares of marshes, forest and sand dunes. In 1969 the area became officially protected as a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve.
The park is a vital stop-over for birds migrating between Africa and Europe. More than 250,000 birds, both migratory and sedentary, gather in the park each year. There are 33 different species of mammal living in Doñana including fallow deer, mongoose and wild boar. The park is also home to two endangered species - the Iberian lynx and the imperial eagle - which find a safe refuge here to ensure their survival.
Numbers of visitors are controlled very strictly and as such you are only authorised to enter the park on a 70km guided tour in one of their four-wheel drive vehicles. The tour lasts four hours starting at El Acebuche and takes in the various ecosystems of the park.
Known as the veranda of Doñana, El Rocío is the International Village of the Horse. The village's sandy streets are universally known and admired. El Rocío is reminiscent of a town from a western film with each of the bars and restaurants having a wooden fence outside to tie up the horses. It is a very special and magical village.
Each year, during Pentecost, El Rocío hosts one of Spain's most popular fiestas. A large scale and extremely impressive pilgrimage converges on the Ermita de Nuestra Señora del Rocío, where the Virgen del Rocío, Queen of the Marshes, awaits. Pilgrims are joined by revellers, who are enticed by the promise of plentiful wine, music and a great party.
The town of Niebla has its roots in antiquity. Its bridge is Roman, but its solid walls circling the town are Moorish, as is the now ruined 12th century Castillo de los Guzmán. Niebla was declared a Monumental Site of Historical and Artistic Interest in 1982. Shops in Niebla sell a variety of craftware, the most traditional of which is empleitas (raffia work) used to make mats, hampers, blinds and baskets. Around Niebla, vineyards spread out over the gently undulating landscape, which is dotted with the villages that have grown up close to the main bodegas
El Condado is the wine-growing district of Huelva Province and comprises the towns of Palma del Condado, Rociana del Condado and Bollullos del Condado. The wines produced are white wines with a golden hue and have a very aromatic bouquet. Only a small part of the production is kept aside for maturing and the rest is sold as young and very pleasant table wine.
Bollullos del Condado has many bodegas where you can learn about wine growing techniques and taste a wide selection of their wines before making a purchase. The town also has an excellent museum dedicated to the production and enjoyment of wine.