THE Express has praised a ‘vibrant’ port town in southern Spain which is loved by local tourists.
Andalucia has long been a favourite holiday destination for Brits abroad, and while many will be familiar with places like Sevilla, Malaga and Cordoba, there are still hidden gems waiting to be explored.
One of these is El Puerto de Santa Maria, a ‘unspoilt’ port town near Cadiz.
Though small, the town is described as ‘vibrant’, with plenty of ‘unique’ things to do such as visiting the castle or tasting local sherry.
The Castillo de San Marcos, located in the charming old town, is described as a ‘stunning 13th castle’.
It is also believed Christopher Columbus stayed at the castle while preparing for his voyage to the Americas, which set off from Santa Maria port.
Another popular thing to do is to visit a local sherry factory such as Bodegas Osborne, to try their dessert wines.
One of Spain’s oldest family run companies, the bodega was opened in 1772 by an Englishman, Thomas Osborne.
Today, the tourists and locals alike enjoy tours and tastings at the venue.
If you’re not tired of sherry yet, you can head to Puerto Sherry to enjoy a glass alongside local seafood in one of the many restaurants overlooking the Bay of Cadiz.
Cadiz is well known for having some of the most stunning sunsets in Spain, so make sure you grab a seat by sundown.
The area is also home to a shopping centre and small beach where families can try various water sports.
The Puerto de Santa Maria is famed for its beaches, such as La Puntilla Beach, Playa Fuentebravía and Playa de Santa Catalina, with soft sand and crystal clear water.
Back in the old town, visitors must check out one of Spain’s biggest bullrings, the Plaza Real de Toros, with beautiful architecture and unique design.
The hub of Puerto de Santa Maria, the Plaza de España is also worth a visit to admire the Iglesia Mayoral Prioral while sipping a coffee from one of the square’s cafes.
The town is also known for its local cuisine including fresh seafood. Take a wander down Avenida Micaela Aramburu de Mora, or visit the Plaza de Cristóbal Colon to try it for yourself.
To get to El Puerto de Santa Maria, the nearest airport is Jerez, some thirty minutes drive away.
It can also be visited from Gibraltar, around an hour and a half away by car.
Although it’s worth staying overnight in this delightful town, it can also be visited as a day trip from the nearby Rota, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Puerto Real and Arcos de la Frontera.