Culture / Sanlúcar

Sanlúcar de Barrameda is synonymous with Manzanilla, a wine that has been and continues to be living history in the town where it was born. A seafaring town full of joy, beauty and vitality.

Sanlúcar is a “sanctus locus” meaning it’s a place with a holy past where, since time immemorial. visitors, tradesmen and seafarers have flocked from the remotest of places. The spirit of congeniality and hospitality that characterises Sanlúcar has earned it a reputation as an open and welcoming town that offers visitors a wealth of flavours…not only of food and wine but also of festivals and celebrations, of its vibrant history, beautiful natural surroundings and its most well-kept traditions.


Sanlúcar is perhaps best known and loved for its gastronomy. The delicacies it has to offer fall under three broad categories: local vegetable produce, wine from its bodegas and the local catch from the sea. Sanlúcar’s fish and seafood is famous, but the prawns from Sanlúcar steal the show and have rightfully earned their fame. A wide variety of seafood stews and rice dishes feature freshly caught fish from the Bay of Cádiz: seafood rice, stingray in bitter orange sauce, monkfish in fried bread sauce, mantis shrimp soup, etc. All of these dishes need look no further than Sanlúcar for their perfect match, Manzanilla!

Bajo de guía

Bajo de Guía is where the local fishermen once lived. Now, it’s become one of the most popular dining venues in Sanlúcar. Its picturesque promenade is lined with bars and restaurants where local dishes like seafood rice or the locally-sourced prawns are served with chilled Manzanilla—accentuated by the impressive views of Doñana National Park on the opposite bank of the river. Sunset in Sanlúcar is one of the most beautiful sights to behold on the entire coast of Cádiz.

Doñana National Park

Visitors can cross the estuary of the Guadalquivir on a barge operating between Bajo de Guía beach and the opposite shore, part of Doñana National Park. There, the unspoilt beauty of the wetlands, home to over 300 bird species, never fails to impress. The Ice Factory (Fábrica de Hielo) Visitors Centre located in Bajo de Guía provides details about routes and itineraries.

Bodegas in Sanlúcar

Winemaking is in Sanlucar’s DNA and its bodegas, a key part of the town’s cultural legacy. Known as “wine cathedrals” for their large dimensions, these impressive buildings are a beautiful way to delve into the history of these world-class wines.

The bodegas of Sanlúcar are home to centuries of winemaking tradition and incalculable heritage that has been kept alive and handed down from one generation of winemakers to the next.

The silence that reigns among the long rows of wine casks offers visitors the chance to reflect upon the history and distinctive features of this town.

The Manzanilla Museum

Next to the historic Bodegas Barbadillo, with over two centuries of winemaking tradition, is the Manzanilla Museum, a place wholly devoted to every aspect of the winemaking, ageing and bottling of Manzanilla. Visitors to the museum can learn about its origins and the Barbadillo family, who first bottled Manzanilla in 1821.

Plaza del Cabildo

Sanlúcar’s Plaza del Cabildo with its beautiful fountain is the main focal point and best-known landmark in town. The square is always brimming with conviviality and is the ideal place to sit and contemplate the town’s comings and goings with a glass of Manzanilla and some crunchy shrimp fritters in hand.

Castillo de Santiago (St. James Castle)

The Castle of St. James, located up in the Barrio Alto, was built in the 15th century by the House of Medina Sidonia. The view of the town from aloft its towers is truly spectacular.

Its late-Gothic defensive architectural features are a fabulous reminder of its 500 years of history. Particularly striking is the doorway that joins the Patio de Armas with the barbican on the north side, known as the “Door of the Mermaid”.

The Palace of Medina Sidonia

Located in the Barrio Alto, this beautiful Renaissance-style palace was built in the 16th century by the influential Duke of Medina Sidonia on the remains of a 12th century alcazar, a Moorish fortress-palace. It is known for housing the largest and oldest private archive in all of Europe.

Nuestra Señora de la O (Our Lady of the O)

Our Lady of the O is a 16th century chapel adjoined to the Palace of Medina Sidonia by a private balcony from which the duke’s family could attend religious ceremonies held in the chapel.

The palace was declared a Monument of Artistic-Historical Interest in 1931 and is currently Sanlúcar’s main parish church. Inside, the Chapel of Our Lady of Antigua, a figure venerated as the patroness of the discovery of America, is richly decorated with beautiful paintings. It is said that many a sailor stopped by the chapel to pray to her for protection before departing for the New World.

Horse Races On The Beach

If you happen to visit Sanlúcar in August, you mustn’t miss the famous horse races on the beach. The oldest horseracing competition in Spain, it has been a declared a Tourist Event of International Interest and is part of Spain’s official horseracing calendar. Considered one of the world’s most unique sporting events, the races are held at sunset on the town’s pristine beaches that flank the mouth of the Guadalquiver River.

Manzanilla Day

Every year, Sanlúcar sets aside a day to pay special tribute to the wine that made it famous, declaring June 26 Manzanilla Day in commemoration of the day the Designation of Origin was created. The day is a rare opportunity for winelovers to take part in an exceptional programme of activities centred around Manzanilla at the many bodegas or hotels and establishments across town.

Manzanilla Fair

Manzanilla, as you can imagine, is the heart and soul of Sanlúcar’s annual fair, a popular celebration whose origins can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages. Held near the seaside promenade, Calzada Duquesa Isabel, fairgoers can enjoy the stunning views of Doñana National Park on the opposite shore.

Don’t miss...

Places to visit

Its historical legacy and valuable wine heritage lend Sanlúcar de Barrameda a wealth of cultural assets and a personality that has won over legions of visitors. The town’s character is best lived and enjoyed at its many bars and restaurants.

When it comes to visiting Sanlúcar, food and wine go hand in hand (no pun intended). As an epicentre of winemaking, the town’s bars and restaurants play a crucial role in helping visitors discover and enjoy Manzanilla.

Here’s a list of places we recommend and the specialities you can find at these establishments. You’ll won’t want to miss them on your next visit to Sanlúcar de Barrameda.