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Matalascañas

Matalascañas is found on the shore of the Atlantic, on a fertile plain along 45 kms fine, golden sands. It is the name of a beach and village within the Municipality of Almonte, at Huelva Province, in southern Spain. It is known for having an ancient upside down tower on the sand called Torre la Higuera. This was one of the seven defence towers built by Phillip II in the 16th century in order to protect the coast from the incursions of Turkish and North African corsairs. In fact, this place was called after the tower until the 70s. Its coast line is surrounded by Doñana National Park. This area was segregated from Coto de Doñana in 1961 in order to build on the beach tourist village, as many people from the nearby villages went to spend the summer there. The beach is 7 kilometres long and the seashore has an average width of 80 meters, amongst which are three very wide beaches known as El Asperillo, Torre La Higuera and Doñana. You can walk for kilometres and even continue into Doñana National Park virgin beach along the Gulf of Cadiz. Its golden and fine sand, its mobile dunes, Mediterranean climate and clean water make it a gift from Nature. It is mainly a beach to enjoy in family, because of its quietness but not so in summer time.

Its long and wide beach, the Playa de Castilla, extends for 40km from the Guadalquivir estuary southeast of Matalascañas to Mazagón in the northeast. The best beach nearest the centre of Matalascañas is at Torre de la Higuera, just west of the village.

On the east side of Matalascañas, there is a spectacular stretch of virgin beach that runs alongside the boundary of the Parque Nacional de Donaña. This part is accessible on foot only, from the eastern part of the town. West of Matalascañas is the large, newly protected area of sand dunes called Parque Dunar, which you can explore on foot or by bike or ridding. Inside this park is located the Museo Mundo Marino (Museum of Marine Life), with interesting displays about the dunes and sea life

This is the most important nature area in Spain with ecosystems: beach, dunes and slat marshes. More than 300 types vertebrates amongst which the Iberian lynx, the mongoose, the imperial eagle, and the coot should be singled out. National Park since 1969. Biosphere Reserve. Area of Special Protection for Birds (ZEPA), World Heritage area since 1994.

    PLACES OF INTEREST

ALMENARA TOWER MUSEUM

Torre Almenara, Sector N s/n
21750- Matalascañas, HUELVA

The “Litoral Doñana Museum” is located at the Centre for Coastal Interpretation of Doñana, known as Tower Almenara and located in the urban area of Matalascañas. It is a reference of the first order in the promotion and awareness of the natural environment of Doñana, because although the exposure is hosting monograph on the Littoral de Doñana, thence provides general information on the entire District.

Its interior can find reproductions of animals, explanatory panels, models, boxes with objects as well as a full scale reproduction of the Asperillo Cliff, one of the most impressive scenery in the region. There is also an area outside where he has created a small tour with botanical plant more characteristics of the coastal strip of Doñana, which includes endangered species such as juniper albar. In this same area there is a compound where turtles are displayed “Testudo graeca”.

The museum offers the possibility for the customer abroad to borrow a booklet with explanations in German, English, French and Portuguese. For groups of more than 20 people at the same price includes a guide to interpret in about 20 minutes explaining the contents of the museum depending on the type of group (school children, senior citizens, academics, etc.). A conclude appointment is required for these tours.

In the main floor of the building is a shop Crafts and Nature devoted entirely to the county Doñana. In the same room is an information point and selling tours and routes within the area of Doñana. Thus the visitor Torre Almenara can apply without committing all sorts of information relating to Doñana.

GOLF DUNAS DE DOÑANA

Sector J s/n
21750- Matalascañas, HUELVA

This nice course is located in one of the most important ecological sites in Europe, “El Coto de Doñana”, and respecting the indigenous vegetation which has been incorporated into the design of the course.

After you have played the 18 holes which make up the round (a wise combination of links-style, American and parkland) you will remember perfectly each and every one of them. The game will keep your interest going all the way round.

The wide variety of situations requires every ounce of the player’s imagination. All of the greens offer several clearly differentiated flag positions, and the tee boxes offer very mobile tee positions. The designer, Fernando Menaya, has achieved a course allows professional players to shine and amateurs of all levels to enjoy themselves immensely.

The practice course, with its wide areas for practising the short game, deserves a special mention.

DUNE PARK

Avda. de las Adelfas, s/n
21750- Matalascañas, HUELVA

The Dune Park consist of an area about 130 hectares beside the nucleus of Matalascañas, in the direction of Mazagon, based on a system of fixed dunes forming a cliff about 10 meters high.
This Park is situated near the town and it is integrated inside the Natural Park of the Asperillo Dune, and in the protected area of Doñana National Park.
A great fossil dune runs from east to west parallel with the beach, along the whole Dune Park; in this dune there can still be found vestiges of the Mediterranean coastal vegetation typical of the zone, as well as a good representation of the fauna that colonizes this type of coastal habitat.

The Dune Park is, at the same time, a leisure and educative centre where you can find the Marine World Museum, like one of the main attractions.

This space is a mosaic of colours and forms where the visitor can appreciate one of the examples of the succession of the vegetation which takes place in the settling of a dune.

Apart from the room dedicated to the cetaceans inside of the Marine World Museum, there is also one of the three unique Ecospheres on public show in Europe. The Ecosphere is a live ecosystem it is completely closed yet auto sufficient. It is one o the lines of investigation developed by the NASA to take live ecosystems with different levels of complicity into space. This is another highlight of this museum.

Come to visit this open space with public access to walk and taking the very best views to the Shoreline / Atlantic Balcony Walk and the Doñana Mirador Walk.

MARINE WORLD MUSEUM

Avda. de las Adelfas, s/n
21750- Matalascañas, HUELVA

In the middle of the pine grove of the Dune Park, the visitor can find the Museum of the Marine World, a centre of interpretation, communication and formative with a clear didactic sense in the frame of the environmental education.

It offers a different product, a high class visit guided by biologist’s expert in interpretation and great variety of education activities for the public of all ages.

As well as this, the museum explains the relationship that exist between man and the sea, both from the point of view of the scientist , who study the sea as a ecosystem, and from the point of view of the people who have lived and still live for the sea, their customs, their traditional uses of it…
The opinion of the fishermen from Huelva and Cádiz whose life has been tightly tied up with the sea is expressed as their testimony.

Also the museum has a room dedicated to shipping routes and ships. To recreate this room we have been lucky enough to count one of the few ship writers that are still alive in Andalusia, José Zamudio, who has built a life size sailing ship with a Latina sail. Besides this one of the oldest and best collections of a ship writer are on exhibition.

This museum is dedicated to the least known part of Doñana, even though it is a very important part of the whole. We have the largest extension of virgin beach, completely inbuilt on, in Spain. Many marine animals, including the giants of the oceans, the cetaceans, can be seen along this coast.

Fundamentally the exhibition is dedicated to marine mammals and to everything related to them. We have thirteen real skeletons of species that are representatives of these waters, some of them are very spectacular a fin whale twenty meters long, for example.
Apart from this, sixteen life size models have been made of these animals to shown what they would have been like, one of them weighs more than 4.500 kg. They are suspended from the ceiling of the central room which makes them spectacular.

C.I.E.C.E.M. (Doñana Investigation Centre)
International Centre for Ecological Studies and Environmental Conventions (CIECEMA)

Avda. de las Adelfas, s/n
21750- Matalascañas, HUELVA

The Centre for International Studies and Ecological and Environmental Conventions (CIECEMA), situated at the Dune Park (Matalascañas) is a center of the Plan Andaluz dependent Research at the University of Huelva.

The CIECEMA is created within the Operational Program Doñana (POD) and on the recommendation of an international commission of experts appointed for the purpose by the chair of the Board of Andalusia. To that end, the University of Huelva constructed a building of 2,700 m2 with FEDER funds from the POD.
The CIECEMA arises as a mechanism of coordination, planning and research management within the Plan Andaluz de Investigación (EPI), in order to foster a work of RDI quality in the field of environmental science.
It is intended that the CIECEMA this will be a centre that provides services to the scientific community involved in environmental research and will benefit the development of science in Spain and Andalusia.
The CIECEMA configured as an operational structure of scientists specialized services available to research groups who need to develop competitive projects in the field of the environment.

    Festivities

  • – Fiesta de la Luz, first weekend of February
  • – La Candelaria, will be held at the Rocío Shrine. Vigil on Saturday and Rosario of Aurora on Sunday, A presentation to the “Virgen del Rocío” of children under 3 years old.
  • – Romeria del Rocio, Whit Saturday, Sunday and Monday “Lunes de Pentecontes”. On Saturday begins with the parade of the Brotherhoods. It is considered the greatest pilgrimage in Spain. It is done in honour of the Virgen del Rocio, Queen of the Marshes.
  • – Saca de las Yeguas, June 26, has been celebrating for centuries, reflecting the mares and foals that are wild in the marshes and then re-marked and drop.
  • – Feria de San Pedro, Last weekend of June-Fair livestock, also known as the ‘Fair of the Burros’
  • – Rocio Chico, August 18 and 19, is celebrated in thanksgiving to the Virgen del Rocio.

For further information: www.almonte.es

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