Spain Guide


Cádiz Spain

Cádiz is the capital of the province of the same name in the Spanish region of Andalucia. The city is sited on a long narrow peninsula in the southwest corner of Spain, surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean. Founded in 1,100 BC, it's credited with being the oldest continuously inhabited city in the western world.

Christopher Columbus started two of his major voyages from here and secured a glittering future for the port which was to become the major trading centre with the Americas.

Cádiz is still a working port and both the city and wider province are popular holiday destinations for thousands of Spaniards who flock here each summer. Foreign students and business travellers make this a port of call but international tourists have largely overlooked the many attractions of Cádiz.

It's a relatively small city, with a population of about 160,000, divided into two distinct sections the charming old quarter with its narrow alleyways, delightful plazas and flower filled balconies and the modern industrial area where wide boulevards overlook the Atlantic.

Unlike many of Spain's coastal towns these days, tourism is not the prime source of income here. Cádiz is mainly a commercial seaport exporting local produce including sherry, cork, figs, fish and olives and importing commodities such as coal, iron, timber, coffee and cereals.But take the time to explore its intriguing ancient streets and you'll find plenty of fascinating stopping points, not least of which is the beautiful 18th century cathedral with its golden dome. The cathedral receives relatively few visitors but its museum houses a priceless collection of gold, silver and jewels brought over from the New World and the crypt of the great Cádiz born composer Manuel de Falla.

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There's a wealth of museums, ancient monuments and churches to be found in Cádiz along with a mouth watering array of traditional tapas bars and restaurants offering some of the country's finest seafood and typical Andalucian cuisine.

Venture beyond the city boundaries to explore the unspoilt coastline and miles of sand dunes which make up the Costa de la Luz (Coast of Light) stretching more than 100 kilometres to Tarifa, the southernmost tip of Spain.

Tarifa, known as "the windy city", is the windsurfing capital of Europe and attracts devotees of the sport all year round. From nearby Algeciras you can pop over to Morocco by ferry or hydrofoil for a day's haggling in the Kasbah.

A short hop to the north of the city is Jerez de la Frontera, famed for its sherries and awesome equestrian displays. Visit this area in August and you'll be able to join the 40,000 spectators who descend on the seaside town of Sanlucar for the spectacular horse races which take place on the beach at low tide. The event has been attracting top jockeys from all over Europe since its inception in 1845.