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Huelva is a port city on the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) in southwest Spain, close to the border with Portugal. It's famous for its links to Christopher Columbus, and you'll find monuments like replicas of his three ships and a statue in the central Plaza de las Monjas. There's an excellent seafood scene too – Huelva’s residents are sometimes known as ‘choqueros’ thanks to their love of local chocos (cuttlefish), which is traditionally stewed with broad beans, grilled or deep fried.
You can choose a private room in a Huelva hostel, with en-suites and flat-screen TVs. Look out for places with air con to keep you comfortable in the summer months, as well as free Wi-Fi. Most Huelva hostels are within walking distance of both the bus and train station. A place with elevators will help you get your heavy bags up to your room, while on-site vending machines mean quick and easy access to snacks.
The “Columbus Route” links Huelva with neighbouring towns like Moguer and Palos de la Frontera. In La Rábida, 7km south of the city centre, you can visit the 15th-century Santa María de La Rábida Monastery, where Columbus lived when he was waiting for financial support from the monarchy. Back in Huelva, head to Muelle de las Carabelas (Caravel Dock Museum) to see replicas of his ships and learn about the city's seafaring history.
The peculiar Barrio Reina Victoria is a Victorian English suburb transplanted into a Spanish city. Dating back to when British workers worked in the Rio Tinto mines in the 19th and 20th centuries, the area mixes colonial architecture with brightly painted houses. Check out the Museo de Huelva to learn about the region's history through Roman artefacts and modern works from local artists. Just across the river from Huelva you'll find the Marismas del Odiel Nature Reserve, where you can peek out of observation huts to spot wild flamingos.
You can easily walk around the city or make the most of the local bus service with lines starting on Avenida Doctor Rubio outside the bus station. Here you'll also find routes to Seville and towns along the coast, as well as Portugal and the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park. Huelva train station is in the south of the city, on Avenida de Italia, with routes to other major Spanish cities. Seville Airport is the closest, about 1 hour's drive away or 2.5-3.5 hours on public transport.