Columbus’ Boats & Museum in Huelva

Muelle de las Carabelas

Muelle de las Carabelas

Columbus Ships and Museum

Located not far from Huelva, there is a museum dedicated to Cristopher Columbus and the discovery of America. Whether you are interested in history or not, you will surely enjoy the visit in this atmospheric place.

The museum is full of costumes, paintings and other items that vividly illustrate the atmosphere of the 15th century Spain. Of course, there are also 15th century travel documents, maps, navigation instruments, ship weapons and some insightful anecdotes that allow visitors to understand the ship-board life during Columbus’s voyages.

Columbus at work

Columbus at work

The museum lies directly next to a small lagoon which is home to the exact full-size replicas of the 3 ships which Columbus used to his voyage to Americas in 1492. The place is called Muelle de las Carabelas. It is possible to get on board and explore the three caravelles in detail: the smallest Nina, the middle size Pinta and the biggest one, Columbus’ flagship the Santa Maria. The walk aboard can be quite exciting as tourists are allowed to wander wherever they like.

Visiting Columbus Caravel Dock Museum is a great idea for a fun family day. It’s likely that small kids will be bored in the museum, but they should love the three vessels. Remember the museum and the ships dock are always closed on Mondays. Also if it’s rainy, the ships might be closed for safety reasons as the decks can be very slippery.

Columbus ship

Columbus ship

Columbus Monastery

In the vicinity of Columbus museum lies the La Rabida, the Franciscan monastery where Columbus took refuge between 1491-92 waiting for his first voyage west, to Indies, which turned into the discovery of the New World.

It is possible to visit the place which consists of several rooms with artefacts and documents that relate to Columbus and his journey. The place has remained unchanged for more than 500 years – it’s very well preserved. The museum is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Entrance to La Rabida monastery

Entrance to La Rabida monastery


beach, El Portil, andalucia, spain, costa de la luz

Huelva is a city located in the west of Andalusia, along the Gulf of Cadiz coast. The centre of Huleva offers little in terms of cultural and architectural pleasures. Most of the monuments in Huelva were destroyed in a powerful earthquake that shook the city in 1755. Palaces, churches, towers turned to rubble. A couple of nice churches, a Moorish castle Castillo de Niebla or a Monument to Christopher Columbus are the major highlights of the city today. It is worth to visit some good restaurants in the centre of Huelva to taste what Huelva is famous for: prawns and white wine Condado de Huelva. The Huelva region is also famous for tourist attractions related to the ‘discoverer of America.’ 

Wide, long, almost virgin beaches with dunes and pines, perfect to escape the crowds, that’s what majority of tourists appreciate about the Huelva region the most. Probably the best beach east of Huelva, and a top-ranked attraction of the region, is Cuesta Maneli. It takes some time to get there but the breath-taking views of the coastline and the feeling of being completely cut off from the world is a reward you would certainly appreciate.

West of Huelva there are three unspoilt by tourism charming towns. Uniquely beautiful El Rompido near Cartaya sitting on the Rio Piedras river estuary, neighbouring  El Portil boasting long stretches of virgin beaches and beautiful Isla Cristina – just stone’s throw from the Portuguese border. All three are perfect destinations for family holidays. In addition to this El Rompido is a real golfing hotspot boasting sensational golf course.

These tranquil coastline resorts abound in green pine forests with various walking paths that cut through dunes, marshes and river deltas. The Atlantic breeze mixes here with pine forest aroma allowing you to enjoy most fresh and pure air. The fine beaches in this area are empty most of the year, never crowded in the summer and easily accessible from the road running just along the coast.

Another advantage of visiting Huelva is it’s proximity to Portugal. One hour drive allows you to reach the beautiful Portuguese Albufeira or Faro.

Huelva is recommended for long summer beach escape, especially for those who want to combine their holidays with a trip to Portugal, or for those who want to follow the Columbus trail.


Located Near Huelva, the magical La Rabida monastery will take you back to the times when Cristoper Columbus was preparing for his first voyage. The old small rooms of the monastery museum are filled with various objects and works of art that bear some relation to the Columbus trip. Among the beautiful botanical gardens surrounding the monastery, you will find a statue of Columbus as well. Nearby the monsatery, lies the Muelle de las Carabelas (Harbour of the Caravels), the wharf from which Columbus ships in 1492 set sail towards the unknown to eventually discover the New World. To celebrate the 500th anniversary of America’s discovery, the three full-size replicas of Colombus ships have been built and moored on an artificial lake. The Niña,  The Pinta and The Santa María now serve as a major tourist attraction.

 Huelva – nearest destinations: Seville, Cadiz, Aracena