In the past El Puerto de Santa Maria was best known for its fine sherry and fresh seafood. Visitors arrive from all over Europe, just to sample the sherry and seafood.
Nowadays, El Puerto de Santa Maria has become a popular tourist destination in Andalusia with lots of things to do and see. The town also has great nightlife during the summer months.
You can do anything from sailing across the bay of Cádiz in a giant replica of 'La Niña' (Columbus's ship) to gambling at the Bahia de Cádiz casino.
There are also some fascinating historical sites that you can visit. The town's castle and bullring are a must for any visitor. The San Marcos castle is built on the site of an old Moorish mosque. It dates as far back as the 13th century, to a time when the Cadiz coastline was under constant threat from pirates.
One of the many famous inhabitants of the castle was Christopher Columbus. He stayed here whilst trying to finance his trip to the Indies. Juan de la Cosa, the owner of Columbus's ship, also stayed here. They produced the first world map in El Puerto de Santa Maria in 1500, including the Americas.
The bullring is spectacular - one of the most attractive in the whole of Spain. Not quite as old as the castle, it was built in 1880 and can seat well over 12,000 people. At that time there were enough seats for the entire population of El Puerto de Santa Maria. Joselito, the famous bullfighter, once said 'He who has not seen a bullfight in El Puerto does not know what bullfighting is'.
Most visitors head straight for the wine cellars. El Puerto is part of the 'Sherry Triangle', where some of the best sherry in the world is produced. You can learn all about the sherry making process. Head down to the age-old Terry and Osborne building and the guides will run you through the entire process. You will see the endless rows or sherry butts…each containing 500 litres of the stuff.
El Puerto is very chilled out town. It is popular with the Spanish but still relatively unknown to foreigners. You won’t find your full English breakfast and pint of bitter here. It has managed to avoid the mass tourism and construction that exists on the Costa de Sol. The town still remains unspoilt, natural and extremely beautiful.
El Puerto de Santa Maria is steeped in history and culture. At the same time it is a popular tourist town with all the modern facilities you expect from a top of the range resort. It has the perfect location and climate too.
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