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Horses on the seashore, fried fish and sherry: Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Andalucía, Spain | Andalucia holidays

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Even the geology conspires to make Sanlúcar de Barrameda really feel laid-back. Spain slows and drifts out peacefully on this coastal cul-de-sac of estuarine sandbanks, broad seashores and shallow rippling sea within the nook of the province of Cádiz. It definitely helps that there are not any rocky cliffs and surfer waves, and that the thick sand retains the seashores soundproofed and free from the rattling drawl of pebbles.

I dwell amongst uneven inexperienced mountains within the Sierra de Cádiz, so a go to to this flat expanse of navy blue and cream is tantamount to remedy. Every August, horses thunder down the sands in a sequence of night races, however that burst of exertion apart, the temper on its a number of seashores is usually tranquil. Particularly in winter and spring.

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Sandy seashore close to Sanlúcar de Barrameda. {Photograph}: Irina Naoumova/Alamy

My very own routine is to walk the size of Playa de la Calzada – a paseo maritimo lined by quivering palms and quiet chalets – to the low headland at Las Piletas, then return barefoot within the shallows via flitting fish, passing fishing boats lilting at their moorings. Out of season I do that, like virtually everybody, accompanied by frolicking canine.

Fish is a typical denominator of the Sanlúcar expertise: fried, grilled, oven-baked, stuffed in tacos, served uncooked in ceviche by next-generation cooks. Largely because of fish and shellfish – together with its famend langostinosthe city was rightly named Spain’s capital of gastronomy in 2022.

Together with the regionally produced salty manzanilla sherry and the disproportionate variety of cloud-free days, the knowledge of consuming properly drives the spirit of alegria (which means pleasure or happiness) that builds up from midday within the bar and restaurant terraces of Plaza del Cabildo within the centre, and the previous river mouth fishing district, Bajo de Guía.

Lunch choices after a stroll alongside La Calzada embrace Veranillo de Santa Ana, tucked in among the many chalets at first of the seashore: it’s the selection for melt-in-the-mouth bass and halibut served with leeks and clams (reserving advisable).

Night horse driving alongside the seashore at Sanlúcar de Barrameda. {Photograph}: Carl DeAbreu/Alamy

A budget and cheerful chiringuitos (seashore bars) are alluring on a summer time’s day, however the eating places in Bajo de Guía present good meals plus eye-catching, life-affirming leisure. The clattery zinc tables lining the river are invariably packed, with flamenco music, soccer on TV and Europop blaring from competing audio system; and there’s a lot vigorous yelping and shouting. Some clients arrive on their horses and get served within the saddle. The strip is chaotic although surprisingly relaxed as a result of nobody is in any hurry to go wherever else.

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Sanlúcar was as soon as the place to begin for individuals going in every single place else. It was from right here that native boy Juan Sebastián Elcano and Ferdinand Magellan set sail in 1519 for the primary circumnavigation of the globe, and new world expeditions introduced residence the riches evident in lots of the church buildings and small palaces of Barrio Alto, the previous quarter up the hill.

Exploring the shady cobbled streets between the white partitions of previous cloisters and bodegas is peaceable and rewarding. And there’s no higher place to take a seat on a scorching afternoon than within the mighty church of Our Girl of the O, whether or not you’re non secular or not.

Calm, light-filled La Alcoba del Agua, hidden in slender streets 10 minutes’ stroll from La Calzada, is nice worth, with doubles from €55 (€69 in summer time) room-only.

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