We have just returned from a delightful week with Saga holidays to the lesser known resort of Punta Umbria in southern Spain. The hotel chosen was along the lines of a Moorish building which I will review separately and its position with direct access to miles of white sands was idyllic. We were extremely fortunate with the weather having chosen to go for Easter week and the temperatures were in the mid-80s with clear blue skies even at the end of March.
The hotel is the last building on the beach side of the town and from there onwards stretch 3 km of the Los Enebrales nature park which consists of sand dunes and mixed pine forest, interspersed with shrubs, which is full of birds, unusual plants and lizards etc. The dunes are crossed at intervals from the main road to the sea by wooden walkways – 5 in total – which gives ease of access to beach lovers and also helps protect the environment.
Most of the areas away from the sea consist of forests of European pine, or umbrella pines with eucalyptus, broom, cistus and many other flowers, that we pay a fortune for here, growing wild. The bird watching was great too, and we saw at least 30 different species just taking short walks from the hotel.
The small fishing town of Punta Umbria was within easy walking distance and was fairly traditional although mainly modern and as the whole area is a peninsula within the salt marshes you soon reached the fishing boats moored along the estuary and there was a fish market held every day.
The town does have an historical connection with the UK in that it was used initially by the British as a holiday resort for the workers at the Rio Tinto mines and there is a house on stilts now used as a museum which shows the style of building used. The area set within salt marshes has quite a history of salt production and a visit to these is very interesting as some are still working independently and another has been taken over as a fish farm which proved to be an interesting walk as well.
Slightly further afield, a half-day excursion was to the extensive strawberry growing fields which together with other fruits have become the primary industry in the Huelva province. My favourite fruit – and was available with cream & sugar at lunch and dinner every day! We saw miles of polytunnels laden with fruit and saw the planters, pickers and packers at work.
This unspoiled resort is within easy reach of many other sights locally which we did not have time to enjoy due to only being there for a week, but we were only 1.1/2 hours from Faro airport, the same to Seville and in the area are the Rio Tinto mines to visit, the Donana National Park, and the Botanical Gardens. A real bonus for more active silver travellers are the wonderful cycle paths – beautifully maintained – seem to go everywhere and with a cycle hire shop locally. Would definitely make another visit.