Once you penetrate the more industrial suburbs this is a picturesque and lively town for both business and holidaymakers. Its cobbled, often pedestrianised streets, Ribiera del Marsicos quayside with countless seafood restaurants, imposing silent Bodegas and vast stretches of golden beaches with views of the Bay of Cadiz give it a special atmosphere.
Its origins date back to the Phoenicians though, as so often it was the Roman influence that was more important. However Puerto de Santa Maria only blossomed during the 16th to 18th centuries to date. The massive and extensive walls of Osborne's Sherry Bodegas give the town a special aura and are not far from a substantial bullring, the largest in the area, or, indeed the Castillo San Marcos of Luis Caballero.
One of the three towns in the Sherry Triangle with Jerez [qv] and Sanlucar [qv] Puerto de Santa Maria's wines have their own particular style, not least the Puerto Fino, which can be described as a little fuller than Manzanilla but not as robust as Jerez Fino. Like the others it is delicious with seafood. The port itself was the main point for exporting Sherry for a long time but it is quite small and cannot accommodate the much larger shipping containers used these days. Since then its importance as a fishing port has grown.
This is a place where holidaymakers can enjoy the sun and sea, indulge in canoeing or windsurfing, visit the Puerto Sherry Marina, Real Club Nautico sailing club, one of 2 Golf courses or the Riding School and in the evenings retreat to the bowling alley at Playa Veldelagrana. There is also a wildlife and saltmarsh Natural Park, Bahia de Cadiz. Average summer temperatures are 30ºC, which with the cooling Atlantic breezes is generally comfortable, but the sunrays are still strong, while during winter days the average seldom falls below 17ºC.