Explore: How to Spend a Weekend in Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain’s Gastronomy Capital in 2022
ELECTED Spain’s Capital of Gastronomy in 2022, Sanlucar de Barrameda is rightly famous for its fabulous fish and seafood, but the town has more to offer than a great lunch.
Its sherry bodegas, castles and palaces, a busy calendar of cultural events, centuries of history and a quiet beach to stroll, all bathed in the unique translucent light of the Costa de la Luz, are worth a stay. longer.
About 100 km south of Seville or a 40-minute drive northwest of Cádiz, the city is located on the bank of the Guadalquivir estuary. The fact that you can’t go any further except by boat helped keep the place intact and full of character.
For a quick visit, it’s easiest to think of Sanlucar as having three distinct areas: historic Barrio Alto, up the hill; Plaza del Cabildo flanked by bars in the middle; and Bajo de Guia and the beach. To avoid stress, use the underground car park near Cabildo (on Avenida Calzada Duquesa Isabel).
YOU HAVE arrived in the Spanish capital of gastronomy: celebrate with a feast of fish. At Casa Bigote on the waterfront in Bajo de Guia, you’ll find the widest possible selection of them, from local classics, Sanlucar langoustines and sole (acedia), to the likes of plaice, sea bream and red mullet made in all directions. , and the house specialty, cazuela de huevos a la marinera – stew of eggs, prawns and langoustines.
El Espejo, an elegant terrace restaurant inside a historic building in Barrio Alto (Calle Caballeros 11), offers what is arguably the most sophisticated menu around. Three courses (for example: tartare of wild red tuna and ajoblanco, squid stuffed with black pudding, chocolate fondant coulant) will set you back just over €40 per head: excellent value for money for such good cuisine. Reserve in advance.
Where to stay?
For unique and quirky accommodation, try Hotel Posada de Palacio (Calle Caballeros 9) or Hotel Palacio de los Guzmanes, practically opposite (Plaza Condes de Niebla). Both date from the 15th century and have interior courtyards, large rooms with old floor tiles and antiques. The second also has a lovely cafe and mature gardens, and is handy for a guided tour of the main part of the Palacio de los Guzmanes, preserved as a museum (Sunday 10:30am, 11am & 12pm, otherwise it’s Wednesday 11am & 12pm).
Two boutique hostels a staggering distance from Plaza del Cabildo offer bright, contemporary chic accommodation and personal attention: La Casa Sanlucar (Calle Ancha 84) and, literally around the corner, Casa de las Especias ( Calle Regina 44) – a labor of love by a group of people who came together and renovated an old building during the pandemic.
SANLUCAR is a corner of the sherry triangle (along with Jerez and El Puerto de Santa Maria) and the source of all manzanilla. Start the day learning all about it at CIMA, an interpretive center under the Gothic stone arches of Cuesta de Belen. Their website (cimasanlucar.es) has details of visiting 18 bodegas in Sanlucar – it’s always best to check before embarking.
Stroll through the market, housed in a bright white 18th-century building with an ecclesiastical feel, and pause for a toast at Tartessos Bar (Calle Carmen Viejo 2). Agui and his team are masters at inventing revolutionary toasts (Arenque pâté, smoked fish, onion and caramelized sugar is a perennial favorite). Sanlucar’s gourmet offer comes in all forms and for all budgets.
Well refreshed, climb the hill to Barrio Alto, a dense cluster of palaces and convents, and the high white walls of bodegas that used to be convents but are now owned by the powerful wine producers, Barbadillo. Even City Hall is a palace – a pink and ocher stripe. Former summer residence of the Dukes of Monpensier, it stands among the fig trees, palm trees, fountains and kumquats of a slightly exotic botanical garden that can be visited.
Turn left at the town hall and follow a narrow street which soon becomes Calle Luis de Eguilaz, in the opposite direction. All the churches in Cadiz are great places to visit if you’re hot or religious, but Our Lady of the O is exceptional. The facade dates back to the 14th century and is quite plain, but the stone carving and inside, the chapels, silver, gold and art are breathtaking.
The Castillo de Santiago, further on, looks like a giant fort and is the largest in Cádiz, with cannons and costumes on display, and splendid views from the tower. (Open 10am-2pm last entry & 5pm-7pm last entry)
Finally, the mighty Bodegas Barbadillo (barbadillo.com/visitas-bodegas-barbadillo), where you can stroll through the museum, enjoy an educational tour, and taste four wines, before buying more than expected from the shop. There are seven tours scheduled in Spanish on Saturdays, but only one, at 11 a.m., in English.
Navigating opening hours can be a palaver, so consider leaving that to the experts. The Calzada Duquesa Isabel tourist office has information on local businesses that offer tours that combine attractions and sherry tastings, some taking place in the cool of the evening.
But if your evening is free, join the crowds in Plaza del Cabildo. The plaza with its fountain and palm trees is the best known of many better hidden piazzas, and a lively, friendly spot for a few glasses of cold crispy manzanilla sherry and warm, crispy tortillitas de camarones. You can visit five great bars within walking distance, but be sure to include the traditional upmarket Barbiana for papas aliñas, and Casa Balbino, which serves a huge selection of exceptional fish and seafood tapas to locals. lucky and visiting movie stars. , peñas and bullrings since 1939.
TIME for the beach! It is a 10 minute walk from the center, and inevitably, whichever route you take to get to the sea, the river and restaurants of Bajo de Guia will be on your right, and many sandy beaches 50 meters wide with boats, moored and dancing. in the shallows, to your left.
The Chiringuitos offer sun loungers and umbrellas for hire, as well as good fried fish. If you’re hungry, don’t want to stray far from the beach, but crave something more – well, gastro, head to Doña Calma Gastrobar (Julián Cerdán street manager) for tacos from langoustine or tuna and octopus empanadillas.
However, for a traditional Sunday lunch, a la Sanlucar, it has to be a fish dish in Bajo de Guia. Restaurants run the length of the pedestrianized river, their tables tightly packed together overlooking the estuary beach. The choice is overwhelming, so watch what the people next to you are ordering and have it.
If you’re wondering what the white-sand natural paradise is on the opposite shore, it’s Doñana National Park. Real Fernando makes the crossing, stopping for an hour before returning. Tickets and information on longer tours are available at the Fabrica de Hielo Visitor Center at the start of the Strip.
A horse racing season has taken place on Calzada de Sanlucar beach every August since 1845, so if you plan on laying on the sand with a book, avoid August 9-11 and 23-25.
The first voyage around the world was completed when Elcano returned to Sanlucar on September 6, 1522. Sufficiently large celebrations are planned to celebrate the 500th anniversary.