One of the best-known cities in southern Spain is The Port of Santa Maria. This fishing village is located in the bay of Cádiz, where marshes, beaches and pine forests come together. Phoenicians, Romans and Muslims left their mark before being reconquered by Christians, a time in which what we know today as El Puerto de Santa María was officially founded.

The current location of the Port of Santa María It dates back to the year 19 BC., in the Roman imperial era, when a canal was built to relocate the mouth of the Guadalete. It would be renamed Portu Gaditus and form part of Via Augusta. The Port of Santa María will experience significant development after the reconquest of Alfonso X the Wise in the 13th century.


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During the following centuries, the city will experience a significant increase in its maritime commercial activity. He even played a role in the discovery of America since he himself Christopher Columbus stayed there.

The “city of a hundred palaces”

Interior patio of the Valdivieso Palace in El Puerto de Sana María, Cádiz.
Interior patio of the Valdivieso Palace in El Puerto de Sana María, Cádiz.

After the discovery of America, the Puerto de Santa María was the residence of wealthy merchants. Many merchants built their palace-houses, thus configuring part of the urban landscape of the city. He Aranibar Palacecurrent Interpretation Center of Shippers to the Indies or those of Reinoso Mendoza, Valdivieso or Purullena are essential when visiting Puerto de Santamaría. When they shine the most is the month of May, during the Patio Festival.

San Marcos castle

Castillo de San Marcos in Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz.
Castillo de San Marcos in Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz.

It is one of the most outstanding monuments of the city of Cadiz, the San Marcos castle It evolved over centuries. Built in the 10th century and with a medieval appearance, it was a mosque converted into a church-fortress after the reconquest of Alfonso X the Wise in the 13th century. Later, it would be residence of the Dukes of Medinacellijurisdictional lords of Puerto de Santa María from the 14th century to 1729. Entry to the castle is free.


View of the port of Tarifa with the Guzmán el Bueno castle in the background (Cádiz).


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Gastronomy: Jerez and sea

Traveling to the south and not eating a good portion of fried fish is not having visited Andalusia.  Anchovies, squid, squid, dogfish...
Anchovies, squid, squid, dogfish…

The seafood products are the protagonists on the menus of the restaurants in Puerto de Santa María, although there is also room for the garden and sausages. The castañitas (a type of choco), the skate or the famous ones Shrimp fritters and little fish fried They are typical dishes of this Cadiz municipality. Yes, don’t forget to accompany it with a good wine.

Puerto de Santa María is located in the wine-growing territory Marco de Jerez and as it cannot be otherwise, it is almost obligatory to have a glass of DO Jerez wines. The typical wine from El Puerto de Santa María is Fino, a dry white wine.

Rafael Alberti Vital House

Statue in honor of Rafael Alberti in Puerto de Santa María, his hometown.
Statue in honor of Rafael Alberti in Puerto de Santa María, his hometown.

Rafael Albertione of the Spanish poets most famous of the 20th century. The artist is native to this fishing village, hence his strong bond with the sea. His childhood home, near Castillo San Marcos, is now the museum Rafael Alberti Foundation, a space dedicated to the life and work of the author. General admission is €4 and reduced admission is €2.

Civil architecture

House of the Lions in Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz.
House of the Lions in Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz.

Walking through the streets of the center of El Puerto de Santa María we cannot miss the Plaza de Toros, the almost blinding white façade of the Town Hall or the Food Market. Other notable monuments are the Old Fish Market, known as “The Slide” or the House of Lions, a baroque-style 18th-century merchant’s building that gets its name from the reliefs of lions on the pilasters.


Plaza Alta de Algeciras, in the background stands the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Palma, province of Cádiz.


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Religious monuments

Facade of the Basilica Nuestra Señora de los Milagros in El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz.
Facade of the Basilica Nuestra Señora de los Milagros in El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz.

The Minor Basilica of our Lady of Miracles (or Iglesia Mayor Prioral) located in the upper part of the city, it is perhaps the most important religious building in the city. With influences of the Cathedral of Sevilledates back to the 15th century, but was rebuilt in the 17th century after an earthquake that destroyed the main nave.

Another notable building in the port city is the Victory Monastery. Built in the 16th century, it was the residence of the Minims of San Francisco, its façade is a beautiful example of ogival artan architectural style that stands out for the arches composed of two curved sections that form a central angle in the keystone.

Exterior of the Monasterio de la Victoria in El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz.
Exterior of the Monasterio de la Victoria in El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz.

There are several convents that El Puerto de Santa María houses that are recommended to visit, such as the Convent of Santo Domingothat of San Miguel Arcángel Capuchin Poor Clares or the Old Convent of San Agustín.

The “chef of the sea” restaurant

From chef Ángel León, in Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz).
From chef Ángel León, in Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz).

The restaurant of one of the most acclaimed chefs in our country is located in El Puerto de Santa María, behind the train station. Aponiente of Ángel León It has an unparalleled connection with the sea and is defined as “the cuisine of the unknown sea.” It was the first restaurant in Andalusia to obtain three Michelin stars.

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