15km Chipiona to Sanlucar

We crawled out of our tent to a very cloudy day. It looked ominous and before long rain was pouring from the sky so we dashed back inside and discussed our options for the day. Rain and bicycles don’t go so well together. Even though we have wonderful rain gear that keeps us dry, we always feel slightly cold and miserable on days like this. We had friends to meet in Sanlucar – Yves and Ingrid, who were on holiday in the region from their home in France – so we packed everything up inside the tent and waited for the rain to stop. Before long there was a break in the clouds and we did a mad dash to get everything on the bikes and get on the road while it was relatively dry. The rain held off until we arrived in Sanlucar, a town famous for its Manzanilla sherry, and then it started to pour again with a new vengance, this time with a bit of wind added in. Our decision was clear, find a hotel and wait it out. Amazingly we found a clean room in a little pension for just €30 and then ran off to join our friends for lunch. Several sherries later and after a lovely lunch in a tapas bar (when in Spain…) we tried to research the options for crossing the Guadalquivir river, our main obstacle for reaching Seville. We’d been told it was possible to cross at Sanlucar and then follow cycle paths through the protected Donana national park. It turned out this was only partially true. Yes, there was a ferry to take us across the river but the “cycle paths” apparently do not exist. Several people told us that if you want to cycle you have to use the beach and a look on Google maps confirmed this. Biking on sand might work for unloaded mountain bikes, but for us with all our luggage we would sink into the sand and sit there. Thirty two kilometers of pushing did not appeal to us (the distance to the first town via the park) so our only option is to head north towards Seville and cross further upstream.


  1. friedel
    30th March 2007 at 11:16 am #

    Road notes: The main road between Chipiona and Sanlucar is the A480, a twinned highway but one with a wide shoulder. A few kilometers before Sanlucar there is a smaller road actually leading into the town. We did quite a bit of research into the question of bike paths in Donana and were told the same thing by everybody: there is only the beach, no path to speak of. Yes people have done it but it is very hard work and you have to be prepared to ride on sand. It is also necessary to take account of tide times as some areas may be cut off by high tides. The ferry goes across the river on demand. Just board and wait for someone to show up. We stayed at the Hostal Blanca Paloma at 9 San Roque Square. Rooms were simple but clean for just €18 for a single and €30 for a double. Email [email protected] or phone 956 36 36 44. The tourist office has a list of hotels and prices and on this we also see on the cheaper end the Casa Rural La Algaida at €20 per person for bed and breakfast (www.algaida.org) and Pension La Bohemia (1 Don Claudio St, 956 36 95 99) with double rooms from €38.

    What we spent: Hotel room €30, lunch in tapas bar €30, coffees and ice creams €10, groceries €12

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