Cadiz is a little peninsula perched next to the southernmost tip of Spain. Like a jewel that has fallen lose from a crown, it shimmers with a dignified grace, just waiting to be discovered. And what a discovery it will be. Oozing with history and antiquity, this miniature city is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe.
First off, one of the most charming things about Cadiz is that only the very, very touristy spots will have English speakers. In most places, you’ll need to flex your Spanish muscles or dig out your phrasebook. In fact, the town tends to be populated with Spanish tourists in summer time, rather than British ones. The only exception to this is once or twice a week when a cruise ship docks for a few hours. Once these tourists get back on the boat, the lovely haven of Cadiz is yours to share with the Spaniards again!
Steeped in history
A stroll around the ancient winding streets of Cadiz is a historian’s dream. Cadiz has a long and diverse history, so you’ll find a feast of architecture here, from Moorish to Roman influences. You’ll discover lots of gorgeous churches and museums, and many of them are free. You can walk the city easily in an hour or so, so don’t worry about getting lost! Taking the tour bus is another option, but it means missing much of the wonderful lanes in the pedestrianised centre. If you get tired, take a cafe con leche in one of the pretty plazas and soak up the tranquillity of the city.
My advice for making the most out of Cadiz? Rent a bike. There’s a huge expanse of pedestrianised routes to cover and you can also cycle the entire perimeter of the city along the coastline where you’ll be treated to some spectacular sunsets. One of my favourite places to sit and watch the world go by is Parque Genovés where the trees have been skilfully moulded into works of art, and the pathways are lined with shrubs, hibiscus flowers and little water features. Venture to the back of the park and you’ll see a waterfall and a little collection of ducks. One evening I listened to a group of Mariachi singers practising here and it was just magical.
Eat, drink and be merry
What else can you do? Cadiz is also a city brimming with art, and there are several galleries to visit. Sample the local sherry and, of course, eat some of the freshest seafood you’ll find in Spain. Every morning, you’ll see the locals lining the seafront with their fishing rods – a sign that the fish in the region is worth getting out of bed for! Flamenco is a must, and tends to be more authentic than in other destinations. In the surrounding region, there is the option to visit Jerez, and you can even hop on a ferry over to Morocco if the mood takes you. Mostly though, you’ll want to relax within the pretty peninsula of Cadiz, hugged on all sides by the sea, and tucked blissfully away from the mainstream tourism that you’ll find elsewhere in Spain. Enjoy!