El Rocío is a pilgrimage village located in the municipality of Almonte, in the province of Huelva. It is a small town of white houses and albero streets where the sanctuary of the Virgen del Rocío is located. In this temple a small carving object of devotion is guarded and thousands and thousands of pilgrims come to it in the famous pilgrimage of El Rocío.
The village is located in a spectacular natural environment. It is surrounded by marshes where wild birds and horses roam freely.. In addition, it is located a few kilometers from Matalascañas beach, one of the most famous in Huelva and a unique space in which to walk.
What to see in the village of El Rocío
Walking through the streets of the village is already a wonder. Its white houses are a perfect example of popular Andalusian architecture. Its squares, the marshes and the sanctuary are a permanent attraction throughout the year. And it has restaurants where you can taste the best of Andalusian cuisine. But of all this, we advise you not to miss the following places.
The hermitage of the Virgen del Rocío
The hermitage of the Virgen del Rocío is an impressive white temple in Andalusian baroque style. It stands out for the large veneer or shell that is on its façade and is a symbol referring to the Virgin.
Inside highlights the opulence of the rococo-style altarpieces in gold, especially the one located on the main altar. There is the White Dove, as her devotees call her. It is a small carving from the 13th century in the Gothic style that has undergone several transformations to turn it into a dress image.
For her, the village of El Rocío goes from having just 1,500 inhabitants to concentrating almost a million people. The reason is the hundreds of brotherhoods that come from all over the country to make the Rocío pilgrimage.
Pilgrims circumvent rivers, rural paths, lagoons and highways to reach the village on the weekend of Pentecost Monday. After that, tradition commands ‘jumping the fence’ to carry the Virgin on a litter and procession with her throughout the village.
There are four traditional paths that these brotherhoods travel: the Sevillian way; the Sanlúcar de Barrameda path, which runs through the entire Doñana National Park; the Moguer path, which starts in Huelva; and the Camino de los Llanos, which comes from Almonte.
The marsh walk
Right on the side of the hermitage of the Virgen del Rocío there is an area of marshes that are part of the Doñana National Park. It is a space called the charco de la Boca and in which you can see birds and horses in freedom.
This is formed thanks to the Rocina stream and maintains water throughout the year, something of vital importance for the fauna that is found there. You can see various types of ducks, storks, herons, hoopoes And a long etcetera. In addition, a path runs through this area that will take you through various landscapes of impressive beauty.
The bridge of the Ajolí or the King
It is a bridge of great importance for the pilgrimage, since the brotherhoods pass through it on their way to the village. It was a wooden bridge that crossed the Santa María stream. After the 2003 flood, a steel bridge with a wooden floor was erected on which the names of the brotherhoods that travel hundreds of kilometers to pay homage to the Virgen del Rocío are engraved.
Festivities in the village of El Rocío
As we have already mentioned, the village of El Rocío is the pilgrimage center for thousands of people who travel there to pay homage to the Virgin. But this place is also the venue for another beautiful celebration, the so-called ‘Saca de yeguas’which takes place on June 26.
It is a tradition that dates back to before the 16th century. and that consists of bringing together all the mares that live in the marshes, in front of the village of El Rocío. The goal is for them to be blessed before reaching Almonte.