Discover the ancient coastal city of Cadiz

The city of Cadiz is one of the province's – and the country's – most beautiful places to see; its historical monuments, long coastline, and white sandy beaches make the perfect travel destination. It was from here that Columbus originally set sail for America, and it's also home to one of Spain's most impressive cathedrals. Small, colourful fishing boats lash at the water's edge of the city's beaches, particularly that of La Caleta.

Picture this: a host of small cobbled streets wind through the Old Town. Notes from a flamenco guitar merge with the warm late summer air. The sun sheds its gentle light towards the long coastline, views of the Mediterranean on the horizon. Cadiz is Spain's uncrowned flamenco capital, and the authentic Gypsy culture ensures the visit is a memorable experience.

The rich, historic past of Cadiz

Cadiz is located in southwestern Spain. A wide boulevard leads to the entrance of the Old Town which located at the end of the peninsula. From here, on cloudy days you may see a glimpse of Africa on the horizon. The city is surrounded by sea and has always been one of Spain's main ports and strategic military points. It is speculated that this is one of the reasons Colombus headed for "The New World" so many centuries ago. Cadiz province is known for its rich Mediterranean cuisine and especially its fine sherry wines, which can be sampled for yourself at any tapas bar in town. Small cozy squares lined with orange trees and flower beds beautify the streets and create contrasts to the modern boutiques that are many in the narrow streets. This Andalusian gem is one of Western Europe's oldest cities, known for a significant past and long history. It is therefore worthwhile to delve into the culture of this port city, where in particular the Cathedral, Santa Cruz sobre las aguas, is worth a visit. The cathedral is located in the district of El Pópulo, Cadiz's oldest area that is also an ideal place for a tapas tour during the late summer evenings.

The Cathedral of Santa Cruz sobre las Aguas

Over 100 years of work lies within the walls of this breathtaking building. The first part was built in the most beautiful baroque and rococo style, but later transferred to a more neoclassical style. It was completed in 1832 and rises so high in the sky, it can be seen from almost any point in the city.

A gigantic staircase leads up to the entrance of the cathedral and creates a sense of what is hiding behind the heavy wooden doors. An admirable room with big arches is opened up to visitors where saints stand side by side and each contributes their story. A small black sign with a number is located at each sculpture, and with the given listening devices, visitors are awakened to the story behind each of the numbered personas.

The main altar is located in the center, surrounded by large silver candlesticks, but closed to the public by burgundy velvet ropes. Underneath the altar is the crypt, where several important people have been buried. Footsteps echo in the silent space, which does not fail to impress with its architectural details, and it is worth exploring this particular room.

The cathedral was also dubbed the "new cathedral", when it was built near the city's Old Cathedral, that due to burnings and wear, eventually had to give way to this gigantic building. It is advisable to take the time to listen to stories through the audioguide while experiencing the beautiful details that this cathedral features.

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday, 10:00 to 19:00. Sunday, 13:30 to 19:00.

Prices: Adults € 5. Pensioners € 4. Discount tickets € 3. Children under 12 are free. For more information, click here

A little oasis: La Caleta

The coast of Cádiz's Old Town is a unique beach area called La Caleta. It is isolated from the rest of the city's wide sandy beaches, but that does not make this little oasis any less attractive. The beach consists of a bay that forms a beautiful resting and viewing point in the middle of the city, where some of Spain's most amazing sunsets can be seen.

The beach has, throughout the years, inspired many Spanish musicians and poets who were amazed by the area's charming surroundings. Small fishing boats in different colors make their home in the shallow waters, creating an idyllic atmosphere which you will not find many other places. A group of young women may practice yoga on the beach while children play in the water, and students take an afternoon break from college to breath in the salty ocean air. 

A small tapas bar is built into the wall that surrounds and separates the beach from the city center, and here they serve both cold beer and traditional dishes from the region. To the left of the beach area, large stones rise to the water's surface and form natural platforms for the many local fishermen in the evening to stand with their rods, hoping to capture a great deal of fish. This is also where the old castle, Castillo de San Sebastián, was built, which today serves as a laboratory for Cadiz University marine biologists. Due to the beach's unique and beautiful setting, many movies have been filmed here, including the James Bond movie Die Another Day featuring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry.

La Caleta is the perfect place for a siesta in the midday heat, or to experience a refreshing wine and Spanish cheese light snack while the sun sets over the ocean. It is a little gem in a city that offers both historical and cultural treasures, a city that is sure to peak interest in even the most experienced traveller or tourist. Ensure you pack swimwear, a camera, and hiking shoes next time you visit Cadiz.

Visiting the Castillo de San Sebastián...

Opening hours: Monday-Sunday, 10:30 to 20:00. 
Price: € 2 for adults. € 1 for groups over 10 persons. Free for pensioners and children under 12 years.
Find out more here!

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