March says farewell to winter with an explosion of color and greenery as temperatures begin to rise with the first rains. It is spring, when the arrival of birds into the Park on their migration to Africa coincides with others that have not yet left Doñana, which turns the green marsh into a splendid display of dances, courtships and copulations. Without a doubt, the best time for bird watching. Large flocks of flamingos, herons, storks, swallows and other species reaches Doñana in search of food and mild weather.
In the forest, Iberian lynx cubs and new fawns enjoy the rockrose and lavender, rosemary and thyme, excellent ingredients for the most traditional cuisine of the Doñana region. In Matalascañas paths and trails are situated in an area of dunes and pine trees from where the visitor can contemplate the endless Atlantic Ocean on one side, and a vast sea of green pine trees on the other. Is the Dune Park, a true place of delight, where a ride on the back of a dromedary on the dune surface, or horseback riding on the shore is an unforgettable experience for nature lovers.
And in the middle of the splendor, the Queen and Shepherdess, Rocío Virgin . Hundreds of pilgrims cross the pine forests and Doñana trails to pray to the Queen of Almonte at El Rocío, to the feet of the Mother of the Marshes. Religion, folklore and culture melts on the International Horse Village during Pentecost, giving to the visitor the most beautiful picture of harmony between nature and man.
D´Flamenca Pasarela Huelva offers during spring to fashion lovers the latest designs of flamenco dresses and accessories, making Huelva the reference in flamenco fashion inside and outside the province.
Almonte has an appointment with sustainable development and seekers of new experiences, in the Ecotourism Fair ‘Doñana Natural Life’, which in its previous edition welcomed more than 50,000 people and was a great international meeting of professionals in the sector; more than 1500 square meters to expose, promote and enjoy Doñana in all its versions: science, sport, trade, cultural activities, leisure… all to please an increasingly demanding and respectful tourism with nature.
Spring gives way to the Summer season with the San Juan Holidays. The shore of Torre La Higuera beach breaks its silence with the bustle of people around a huge campfire and the music that liven up during the longest night of the year. At Doñana “the silence is broken by marshland songs, the crackle of the fire and the neighing of the colts”.
June marks the beginning of the dry season and with it, La Saca de las Yeguas, a centuries-old tradition that offers visitors the most impressive images of mares and their colts, who graze for a whole year in a semi-wild state in the marshes of Doñana, a different way of understanding livestock. Every June 26th, coinciding with the San Pedro Fair, those men who takes care of Almonte’s mares go into Doñana to collect their livestock, offering a marvelous spectacle of images and sounds, traveling through the streets of El Rocío and passing through the gates of the chapel to enter Almonte through El Chaparral. In the livestock enclosure the works of cutting the mane and ironwork of the colts for their sale or return to their marshland spaces is carried out.
Temperatures rise and water becomes scarce; Doñana changes by the day, and so do the conditions for animal and flora life. The fields dry up and the swamp starts to crack. Spoonbills, stilts, damselflies and many other species take advantage of the shallower waters to find some food in the Marismas del Rocío or in the Caño Guadiamar, a refuge and oasis for waterfowl and raptors, while small migratory birds and booted eagles can be observed flying south. The large mammals of Doñana, the deer and fallow deer, only show themselves in the fresh air and those that were small lynxes are already hunting with their parents.
Matalascañas beach is in high season. Considered as one of the main centers of tourism during Summer season, this ecobeach has been receiving the Blue Flag since 1993, showing itself as an accessible destination with the quality, cleanliness and adequate equipment that allow visitors to enjoy its white sands and and endless coastline.
Matalascañas has the privilege of having the unique pedestrian access to the beaches of Doñana National Park, at the same time it becomes the gateway of Doñana’s entrails, from the El Acebuche Visitor Center.
Countless gastronomic and leisure options, outdoor activities, nightlife and water sports, as well as dromedary and horseback rides thru the dunes and shore makes of Matalascañas beach an incomparable setting and a must for adults and children. A privileged place where light, nature and climate blend together to offer the most beautiful sunsets and the most unique views of Torre La Higuera. Evening races makes sport an enjoyable activity.
In August, who visits Doñana can enjoy the El Rocío Chico celebration, Thanksgiving vow that the people of Almonte made to the Rocío Virgin in 1913 after being liberated from the French troops. A range of colors transports the visitor to a luminous and sonorous night in which the drums, the prayers and the dust become a beautiful religious spectacle.
In September, all the visitors will hear the male deer in the forest, with their large antlers fighting for their females during the rutting season, bellowing loudly to demonstrate their power and strength.
The end of summer is marked in Almonte by the smell of grape harvest and zalema grapes, whose cultivation is carried out using traditional methods, contributing to the sustainability of the Doñana. Fruity, white, red… the best wines for a fall stew A lamb stew, a ‘Mostrenga’ cow stew, sea bass in almond sauce, and for dessert, the best alfajores and “espoleás”, tasted with orange and raisins desserts wines.
In October the first storms begin to flood the marshes, and with the first rains thousands of common geese arrive into Doñana in search of food. Avocets, snipe, spoonbills, spoonbills, fighters, teals and other ducks recently arrived from northern Europe can be seen in Doñana’s wetlands. At the same time, warblers, stonechats, hawks and gnatcatchers cross Doñana on their journey to Africa.
In the cork oak forest fallow deer, deer and wild boar enjoys the fallen acorns and the visitor can discover in the Raya Real the tracks of the Iberian lynx, foxes and badgers, saying goodbye at the same time to the last short-toed and booted eagles, wagtails, terriers and Montagu’s harriers.
Athletes who seeks to travel through environments of extraordinary beauty have an obligatory visit to the Andalucía Desafío Doñana and Doñana Trail Marathon races, testing their endurance and resistance. But at the same time they will enjoy paths and tracks that begin to be drawn in blue and white with the flowers of mandrakes, bluebells, daffodils and autumn crocuses. The resin smell is unmistakable because of the hundreds of kilos of pine cones that are collected in Doñana at this time; the conservation of the stone pine is necessary and profitable for the region.
In Almonte visitors can enjoy the Autumn Cultural Program offered by the Salvador Távora Theater: concerts, theatrical plays for children and adults, festivals, dance … a whole host of activities to liven up the cooler evenings of this gray and sunny season at a time.
Walk lovers can not miss, between November and December, the landscapes of strawberry trees and palmettos, on the Ribetehilo Trail, in the old forest villages of Cabezudos and Abalario. A row of lagoons fulls of peat bogs runs along this trail with a gentle relief of white forest and pine trees.
In winter the firsts swallows arrive from Africa, and the marsh is at its optimum water level. The higher elevations are bright green in contrast to the bluish wetland, teeming with waders, geese and other water birds. The “mostrenca” cows and marsh mares can be enjoyed grazing in the marshes, forming part of the Doñana landscape. At the same time, the Iberian lynx and the imperial eagle are in full mating time.
Temperatures are cold but on sunny days visitors can enjoy a pleasant walk along the Arroyo de la Rocina, which is at its most splendid, thru the paths of an important riparian forest and can also delve into the past by visiting a marsh hut, home of the ancient inhabitants of Doñana. In the Acebrón Palace the visitor will discover the most human relations with Doñana: their activities, uses and explotation, new agriculture… The visitor will be delighted walking through its enchanted forest.
In Almonte, Christmas is announced with lights and multiple activities dedicated especially to children, and El Rocío takes advantage of this time for its horse, harness competitions and the traditional San Silvestre race.
Matalascañas beach show their wild waves and a quiet stay. In early March, the animation is provided by the costumes and ‘chirigotas’ in their traditional carnivals. During the day, parents and kids get ready to spend a fun day where music, gastronomy and joy take over the town square. Dozens of night life locals open their doors to welcome hundreds of young people ready to vibrate with their music and fun.
And in mid-March… back to start.