This post is also available in: Dutch

Latest update: 27 July 2023

Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Andalusia may not be an obvious choice for a visit. If you’ve never been to the region, you’ve probably never heard of it. But I think the city has plenty to offer for a short visit. There are more things to do in Sanlúcar de Barrameda than I can squeeze into a day. Sherry bodegas, Doñana nature park, and of course, the beach.

This is Sanlucar de Barrameda

Sanlúcar de Barrameda has traditionally been a port city. Ships used to be supplied and repaired here. Christopher Columbus even started one of his discovery voyages here. With Jerez de la Frontera and El Puerto de Santa María, Sanlúcar de Barrameda forms the three points of the sherry triangle. Manzanilla sherry is made in Sanlúcar, nowhere else. So if you’re there, you should definitely try a glass!

The beach of Sanlucar de Barrameda

The most popular beaches of Sanlúcar de Barrameda are Bajo de Guía and La Calzada. The boat to Doñana National Park also departs from Bajo de Guía. It is a wide beach, but certainly not the most beautiful beach in the region. There are a few good restaurants on the boulevard, so a short walk on the beach certainly doesn’t hurt. You will encounter an old bunker from the Second World War and an ancient fortress along the way.

Google Maps location

Horse races are organized on this beach in August. It is a big event that many people come to. If you want to be there, buy your ticket for the Carreras de Caballos de Sanlúcar de Barrameda online in time. Of course you can also bet on the horses.

Eat super fresh fish and seafood in Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Due to its waterfront location, Sanlúcar de Barrameda’s restaurants are very good at preparing fish and seafood. For local fish dishes, you have to go to the boulevard of Playa de Bajo (although you can also eat fish in the center of Sanlúcar de Barrameda). Barra Bigote is the most popular choice and is almost always busy. If you can’t find a place there, I can recommend restaurant Joselito Huerta. The portions are generous, the umbrellas protect you from the scorching sun, and you have a great view of the water.

Google Maps location

Discover Doñana Park with a boat and jeep tour

The Doñana National Park is more than 500 km² in size. It is located in the provinces of Seville and Huelva and consists mainly of marshes and beaches. This area used to belong to the Dukes of Medina Sidonia. Now the area is home to many waterfowl. You cannot visit the park on your own from Sanlúcar de Barrameda. So you have to join a tour. Most people visit the park from El Rocío. There you also have options to discover the park yourself on foot, take a horseback ride, or even a camel ride. The entrance via Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a little less touristy.

Doñana park from Sanlúcar de Barrameda

I’m visiting the Doñana park with Visitas Doñana (website). A tour here costs € 40 (in 2023), including a crossing by boat and a jeep tour. Before leaving, we can hop in the museum in the Fábrica de Hielo (here) and make a quick toilet stop. It’s a short walk to the beach where the boat leaves. It is a large boat on which we get explanations in Spanish and English about the area through the speakers. While sailing, it strikes me how much rubbish there is in the water. Such a shame.

Once on land: not a word of English anymore. Everything is in Spanish. The guide explains something at an old settlement with wooden houses, but she’s such a chatterbox that I can’t comprehend much information. Then we enter a large bus with a ranger. He also talks a lot and judging by the reactions of the Spanish visitors, it is very entertaining, but because it is such detailed information, we don’t understand much of it. My Spanish is far from that level! This is why the visit takes just a little too long for us.

But as I said, there are so many more ways to visit the park. Find an overview of the options here.

Barrio Bajo and Barrio Alto in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

The part of town along the beach, where you will find the fish restaurants and the boarding point to the Doñana park, is called Barrio Bajo. A little further on is Barrio Alto, the upper town. This is the historic center of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Here you will find monumental buildings, churches, and more bars and restaurants. The Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la O is worth visiting (Google Maps location). Also, take the time to find a nice spot for a drink on the Plaza del Cabildo. Casa Balbino (Google Maps location) is a good tapas or drink option.

Walking tours through the city are also possible if you’re into those. I like them because they cover all the highlights of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Try your luck at GuruWalk or Freetour.

Orleans-Bourbon Palace: City Hall

The center of Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a bit away from the beach and is not too big. There are quite a few beautiful old buildings that you can visit. Such as the town hall, or: the Orleans-Bourbon palace. This was once a summer palace of a French duke and now houses the town hall. You can walk through the garden and view the building from the outside. A pretty unique building with the lines and a beautiful entrance.

Google Maps location

Castillo de Santiago in Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Between the sherry bodegas is a large castle from the fifteenth century. You can visit Santiago castle with an audio guide. It has been completely restored, and you have a beautiful view of the city from the towers. There is a museum with costumes from long ago and military weapons.

Google Maps location

castle Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Visit the sherry bodegas in Sanlúcar de Barrameda

Sanlúcar de Barrameda is located in the sherry region of Andalusia. Even if you don’t like the drink very much or aren’t familiar with it, it’s still interesting to visit one of the bodegas for a tour. You will learn more about the drink’s history and how it is made. The manzanilla sherry is made in Sanlúcar. The bodegas in Sanlúcar de Barrameda have the exclusive right to do so. It looks and tastes a bit like the fino sherry and is unfortunately not my taste.

You must book in advance if you want to visit such a sherry bodega. Try it in Sanlúcar de Barrameda at:

Parking in Sanlucar de Barrameda

If you want to park near the Playa de Bajo beach, you can do so here for free. If you want to go into the center of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, you can park for free along the road at the park.

If you have not arranged a rental car yet, please have a look at Sunny Cars and EasyTerra. With them, you arrange everything in one go, including insurance.

Hotels in Sanlúcar de Barrameda

I myself visited Sanlúcar de Barrameda twice for half a day, so I didn’t spend the night there. But there are excellent hotels if you prefer to stay overnight. Be sure to check out:

More Spain inspiration?

  • Accommodation. All-time favorites: Booking.com and Campspace. Rather stay in a hostel? Try HostelWorld.
  • Activities. You book the best tours and activities with GetYourGuide and Viator. Another good option is WithLocals. And Freetour.com and GuruWalk both offer ‘free’ walking tours, while Baja Bikes has bike tours.
  • Attractions and museums. Get a 5% discount at Tiqets on museums and attractions with the discount code: KIMOPREIS22
  • Boat. You can catch a boat to Mallorca from Barcelona, for example. Book your ticket at Balearia. You can also get to the other Balearic Islands with Balearia. Compare ferry prices at Direct Ferries.
  • Bus and train. Travel to Spain with NS International or Flixbus. Other useful companies are Busbud, 12go, and Omio, also for buses and trains within Spain.
  • Car rental. My go-to car rental companies are EasyTerra and Sunny Cars as they have all-inclusive / worry-free offers. Want to compare more prices? Check out Discover Cars.
  • Flights. Have a look at Transavia and Vueling, but do compare prices! Definitely check out Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
  • Money. Your debit and credit cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel. 
  • Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? From The Netherlands, there is plenty of choice. ANWB vakanties, Tui, Shoestring or Sawadee, of rather D-reizen, Sunweb, Corendon or Vakantie Discounter?
  • SIM card. Beware of unexpectedly high calling and internet costs. Buy a local SIM card when you arrive, or arrange one online via Airalo.
  • Travel gear. Buy your gear at Bever or Decathlon, or simply at Bol.com.
  • Travel guides. Let’s get you ready for your trip! Order a travel guide to browse through. For example, at Bol.com or Amazon.
  • Yoga retreat. Or why not treat yourself to a yoga retreat in Spain!

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