Cartaya: things to see and do in one of Huelva’s prettiest towns
On the one hand, Cartaya is the sun and white sandy beaches and on the other, its nature, since it has a 28,417-acre pine grove and is home to the Marismas del Rio Piedras y Flecha de El Rompido Natural Landscape, with spectacular scenery the length and breadth of one of the rivers with the richest and greatest variety of fauna and flora in the whole of Huelva. All of this is complemented by a wide range of leisure activities designed to enable visitors to experience new emotions that will make them want to come back.
How to get there
You can get to Cartaya by car or train. All you need to do is decide which is the best option for you.
To get to Cartaya by car, the best thing to do is to take the Quinto Centenario Motorway (A-49) that links Seville to Ayamonte and, therefore, to Portugal via the Algarve Motorway. If you decide to take the train, choose from the railway station at Huelva or at Santa Justa in Seville.
Cartaya comprises the municipality of the same name, El Rompido and Nuevo Portil.
El Rompido is Cartaya’s tourism jewel. It is a fishing locality that still preserves the traditions of its early inhabitants, with low, whitewashed houses and a lighthouse that is this locality’s main point of reference. It is the sea enclave of this municipality.
Nuevo Portil is Cartaya’s natural point of reference since it is surrounded by pines and junipers. Its main tourism claim is active leisure and nature. It has top level sport, educational and water facilities, where visitors can do whatever activity they want.
Things to see
Convent of Our Lady of Mercy
This convent was founded in the 17th century by the Duchess of Béjar for the Trinitarian Order of Our Lady of Mercy. The building comprises a residential zone and another one dedicated to worship. Both its main façade and tower were built in the late 17th century and their architecture is typical Gothic-Mudejar.
Cruz los Milagros Hermitage
This Hermitage dates back to the 19th century and comprises a small hermitage and an outdoor space. Though the hermitage is currently in a poor state of conservation, it is much loved by the inhabitants and is worth seeing.
Hermitage of Our Lady of Consolation
The Hermitage of Our Lady of Consolidation was founded by a traveller to the New World between the 15th and 16th centuries. The building still preserves it original image and was built with masonry and brick, and covered with wood. Be sure to see its main chapel, the pulpit and the roof, since they are very beautiful.
San Pedro Parish Church
This is a Renaissance-style church and is considered one of the prettiest exponents of Renaissance construction in western Andalusia. Throughout its history, it has undergone renovations that have extended its structure, with three chapels being added in the nave of the Gospel, the current sacristy, the arch, the archives room and the rectory house.
San Miguel Castle
San Miguel Castle is located on the eastern bank of the mouth of the River Piedras. This building originates from the Muslim era, though it was occupied in the modern era, as the town and fortress of San Miguel Arca de Buey developed.
El Rompido lighthouses
At El Rompido, in addition to the new lighthouse, there is a 19th-century construction that is currently rehabilitated. Of the original lighthouse, almost the entire structure has been preserved. Both lighthouses are near each other and enable visitors to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of both the town of El Rompido and the Marismas del Piedras.
La Tavirona Bridge
This iron bridge that crosses the River Piedras is very similar to the one at Tinto Pier, though La Tavirona has the particular feature of being made with the remains of an old railway coach. Today it can be crossed by bicycle and on foot and horseback.
Festivals and fairs
Our Lady of the Rosary Fair in Cartaya
his ia a celebration honouring Our Lady of the Rosary. During the fair, a mass and a procession are held. After this, attendees move to the fair enclosure where they enjoy the stalls and displays of local folklore.
El Rompido Festival in Cartaya
This festival is held on the last weekend of July in honour of the Virgin of Carmen, when sailors disembark at the River Piedras to offers her flowers. This celebration is one of the essential summer dates on the Huelva coast.
San Isidro Procession in Cartaya
This procession is held between Cartaya and the Hermitage of San Isidro. It starts with moving the image of San Isidro to the town and holding different masses along with a floral offering. A three-day procession is then held, during which people eat, drink and, above all, let go of their fear.
Holy Week in Cartaya
During Holy Week, Holy Friday stands out thanks to the re-enactment of the so-called Descent. In this sacramental work, a group of men, called male saints, bring a Christ down from a cross to then parade him through the locality’s streets. Other processions also stand out, including La Borriquita, the Virgin of Carmen, the Padre Jesús and the Virgin of Hope.
Communal fields of Abajo and Arriba
These fields cover an area of over 37,066 acres of forest mass, of which 29,653 are pine trees, making this the largest forest of this species of tree in the whole of Huelva. This zone is considered to be of great ecological and landscape value. You can also find rockrose, mastic and sage-leaved rockrose scrubland.
Flecha de El Rompido
El Rompido has become a destination for water sports and fishing. One of its biggest natural claims is la Flecha, a virgin sandy beach that opens out into the Atlantic. This beach is part of the Marismas del Río Piedras and contains fauna and flora of great natural value.
The landscape and environmental diversity that exists in Cartaya can be enjoyed thanks to the viewpoints that are included in the green circuit system: San Miguel viewpoint, from which you can see the dune cordons; La Barranca, from which you can make out a panoramic view of the town of El Rompido; and Pantano viewpoint, with views of the course of the River Piedras and the reservoir.
Marismas del Río Piedras y Flecha del Rompido Natural Landscape in Cartaya
This natural landscape, one of the most important in Huelva, constitutes an ecologically and ornithologically valuable enclave since it is an area with ideal conditions for the migration of birds such as the common spoonbill and other humid zone species. In addition to bird watching, you can enjoy other leisure activities such as fishing and hiking.
Beaches of Nuevo Portil and San Miguel
These two wild beaches are perfect for enjoying nature and active tourism, all thanks to the wonderful water and sports facilities you can find in Nuevo Portil.
Both beaches are well connected and offer numerous amenities so that your day of sun and sand is as comfortable as possible. Given their location, they are regarded as the prettiest viewpoints of this part of the Costa de la Luz.
Things to do
In Cartaya, the best option for shopping is to stroll through the centre and tour the shops you come across since they offer a wide range of items. Also, each Thursday there is a market where you can buy a wide range of items at amazing prices. You can also visit its recently renovated supply market, where you will find the freshest produce.
Where to eat
Cartaya has an extensive gastronomic offer. As a coastal town, it boasts seafood dishes, such as pepper ray or corvina a la marinera. But its star product is undoubtedly deep-water rose shrimp, though you can also enjoy excellent lobster, langostino or Norway lobster, among others.
Tablao Flamenco Felahmengu
Felahmengu combines the best of traditional Andalusian cuisine with the unparalleled art of flamenco. This restaurant offers dinner along with the pleasure of enjoying great flamenco artists. It is definitely an ideal place to enjoy the famous Huelva shrimp, cold meats and cheeses, or traditional Andalusian tapas accompanied by local wines. An unmissable experience.
Consolación has essentially traditional cuisine, albeit with a modern twist, while maintaining a simple style. It is the perfect place to enjoy fine dining in the company of friends or family. Its star dishes include Iberian ham or filet mignon with foie gras and shitake mushrooms.
Pura Italia will transport you to the purest Italian essence that will entrance you with the most original recipes. The produce it uses is of the highest quality and from the local market. A detail that usually goes unnoticed is its deserts, though here the ice cream is fully artisanal. Try it and tell us what you think.
Nightlife in Cartaya
Cartaya has, thanks to its climate, very lively nightlife, especially in summer. Cartaya at night offers a wide range of activities, ranging from open-air discos to themed festivals or open-air performances.
You can also enjoy one of the most important discos in the province: la Penélope. This disco is also open during winter.
If you are travelling with family, don’t worry because Cartaya has something for everyone, with a wide range of bars and pubs in the centre, where you can have a drink while the little ones run and play on its narrow pedestrian streets.
WHERE TO STAY
In order to enjoy what Huelva has to offer, it is best to trust the hotels from Fuerte Hoteles, for that reason, we recommend you to stay at Hotel Fuerte El Rompido, which has a privileged location dominating the natural landscape of the river called Río Piedras. Its location is a perfect venue for its architecture or Andalusian roots which blends perfectly with the surrounding environment. Guests can enjoy a virgin beach just 14 km away, and there is also the Sierra de Huelva where they can go on hikes to stay in shape while enjoying nature.