El Puerto de Santa Maria
El Puerto de Santa Maria | Source: Texts: Patronato Provincial de Turismo. Photo: Andalucia.org
This bright and open city is situated at the mouth of Guadalete river. The valuable archaeological remains found in the village of Doña Blanca (13th century B .C) show its old history. It reached its peak in the 18th century, being known as the “City of the Hundred Palaces”. Still some of these beautiful baroque palaces are admirable: Casa-Palacio Vizarrón (Casa de las Cadenas), Casa-Palacio de Reinoso Mendoza (City Hall), Casa-Palacio de Aranibar, Casa-Palacio de Valdivieso, Purullena Palace, House of the Varela…
One of its most emblematic buildings is the San Marcos Castle (10th-14th century), an originally Arab mosque and now today a beautiful fort; beside the Victoria Monastery and the Priory Church (both Gothic). Civil architecture includes La Lonja (the market), the Hospital of San Juan de Dios and the Fountain of the Galeras.
A must see are the famous wineries, where the wines that accompany succulent seafood in typical places such as the Ribera del Marisco mature. The port is configured as the bays recreational center. Throughout the year the place is lively, but summer is the best time.
Its beaches (Levante -Los Toruños, Valdelagrana, La Puntilla, Caleta de Agua Santa, Catalina and Fuentebravía) ideal for water activities, its modern sports facilities and a wide variety of entertainment and dining venues, make it a first class tourist destination.