Within a twenty minute drive of the home there are four very different towns. From the bustling city of Huelva, through the maritime Punta Umbria, to the more village-like Cartaya and Lepe.
Situated at the estuaries of the Río Odiel and Río Tinto, Huelva is now the fourth largest port in Spain and the capital of the province. Founded as Onuba by the Phoenicians, the town had its grandest days as a Roman port important in the trade of mineral products. However, the city has found its place in history as a vital element in the discovery of the New World and prospered in the early days of trade with the Americas.
Huelva has plenty of shops including the well known department store El Corte Inglés. In the heart of the city is the charming and shady Plaza de las Monjas, an excellent resting place during a day shopping.
Huelva was seriously damaged in the earthquake of 1755, although some churches and monuments from before the disaster still remain. The most important of these are the Catedral de la Merced, with its excellent façade, and the Iglesia de San Pedro, the oldest church in the town, built over the remains of a Mudéjar mosque and modified in a Baroque style
One legacy of the area's mining activity is the curious Barrio Reina Victoria, made up of typically English style houses built by the Río Tinto Company for its English workforce in the early 20th century. Many Britons came to Huelva to find wealth and a new life. With them they brought two main sporting passions - Golf and Football. The oldest football club in Spain is Huelva and the oldest Golf club is Bellavista in nearby Aljaraque.
Located upon gently rolling sand dunes, the town lies between beaches, woods and the still waters of the estuary. 70% of the borough is declared as protected natural heritage which makes Punta Umbría an important link in the chain of natural areas stretching from Doñana to Portugal's Algarve.
Punta Umbría is a modern town that has grown with the fishing industry. The best way to stroll around the town is to follow two parallel lines: the pedestrianised Calle Ancha, the town's commercial centre, and the nautical Paseo de la Ría which starts in the dunes of la Canaleta and passes the yachting club, the passenger jetty, the Marina, the Market and the Lonja de Pescados (Fish Auction Hall).
Cartaya has grown over the years mainly due to its agricultural connections. The town has a large castle which was built in the 15th century to defend the passage of ships along the Río Piedras. Rectangular in shape, it has seven large fortified towers and also houses a cemetery.
Today, Cartaya has pedestriansied shopping streets leading off the main square and has several acclaimed restaurants including the Bodegón El Pato. The town has a relaxed and laid back atmosphere.
Lepe is famous for being the strawberry capital of Europe and is renowned for its fresónes - large strawberries. As you drive to the town you will pass numerous strawberry fields, as well as orange groves, and the smell of these fruits fills the air.
Lepe has a number of churches, one of which is the Capilla de San Cristóbal which dates from the 16th century. The walls of this church are decorated with interesting frescos which are in the process of being restored. In the centre of the town can be found the Ajimez, a window of Mudéjar style divided into two arcs by a pillar, which has been declared an object of cultural interest. Lepe offers a range of small bars - zampuzos - which still conserve traditional styles and are unusual in that their owners press the grapes and make the wine in their own barrels on the premises.