The best way to discover Sanlúcar’s rich past is to wander its winding streets and squares where history is brought to life. Inhabited since ancient times, Sanlúcar sits prettily at the very mouth of the Guadalquivir River. Although it still retains evidence of its Phoenician and Muslim past, Sanlúcar only began to flourish after the Reconquest when it became a major port and doorway to the New World.
Many of Sanlúcar’s most emblematic buildings and landmarks date back to this glorious period of discovery: palaces, temples, convents, wineries and grandiose houses – for example ‘Santiago’ castle, the churches ‘Santa Domingo’, ‘Nuestra Señora de la O’ and the ‘Merced’ – now the town concert venue. You can also visit the Palace of the Dukes of Medina Sidonia, now fully open to the public.
Sanlúcar’s annual calendar of cultural events makes visiting the city a treat at any time of the year: Carnival, Easter Week, the Rocio Pilgrimage, The Wine Fair (Feria de la Manzanilla), music festivals and the celebrated Horse Races along the beach… plus a whole host of local festivals, processions and many other religious and civic events.
Home to a world renowned wine, Manzanilla, Sanlúcar also offers an extensive range of other exquisite local wines such as Pedro Jimenez, Oloroso, and brandy…all produced according to traditional methods in the centuries-old wine cellars. These local wines provide the perfect accompaniment to a rich and varied local gastronomy based on premium products sourced from the sea and local farms. Try Sanlúcar’s highly acclaimed langoustines, or locally caught fish and seafood, lightly fried or grilled. Traditional casseroles are a firm favourite amongst visitors and a huge range of both classic and innovative tapas are always the flavor of the day.
Sanlúcar enjoys a very special place in the World, nestling under the warmth of the Andalusian sunshine and surrounded by active sand dunes, salt marshes and pine forests. It sits just across the water from the Doñana National Park, recognized by UNESCO as a protected biosphere of global importance. This huge, natural habitat is home to a plethora of fauna such as migratory birds which rest and nest among its wetlands and there are also some indigenous, protected species such as the Iberian Lynx, the Imperial Eagle and the Red Kite.
The city boasts long beaches of fine sand which stretch along the banks of the Guadalquivir River, merging into the waters of the Atlantic. These extend more than six kilometres from the Port of Bonanza, through Bajo de Guia – a typical gastronomical hub of fish restaurants - and eventually widen out to form the beaches of the Calzada, Las Piletas and the Jara.