About Cadiz

Indeed, Cadiz exudes a certain mystic – attractive, fascinating and almost magical. This city is deemed the oldest city in Europe. Established some 3,000 years ago, it stands on a peninsula that juts into the Bay of Cadiz, on the southern tip of Spain. This port city is almost entirely surrounded by water. Hence, the Phoenicians called it “Gadir”, meaning “enclosure”. It is connected to the mainland only by a thin strip of land.

The city’s high and thick walls, gardens and towers provide a picturesque view as seen from the sea. Its honeycomb of narrow cobble-stoned streets, alleys and squares shows it to be a typical Andalusian city. There are highly fascinating historical and cultural monuments – churches, towers, museums – all close to the blue waters of the Bay of Cadiz.

Gaditanos, as the locals are called, are fun-loving. They love to party – and how! The Cadiz Carnival is probably one of the most exciting and colorful events in the region. People in bright costumes flock the streets. Singing, dancing and general revelry can be found everywhere.

Cadiz, Spain is a thoroughly enchanting city; even during these modern times, it has still managed to retain its sense of history, character and authenticity. Come to Cadiz, Spain and get to know this historic city, its sights, its sounds and its people.

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Start your day in Cadiz with the Plaza de San Juan de Dios. This square built in the 16th century was for a long time the heart of the city, because of its proximity to the port. Many exotic products from India were exchanged.

On this square, you can admire 2 beautiful buildings: the town hall and the church of San Juan De Dios. The Plaza de San Juan de Dios, decorated with water jet and fountains, surrounded by cafes and restaurants is very pleasant for pedestrians.

The Plaza de San Juan de Dios

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Dated from the end of the 1st century BC, it was discovered by chance in 1980. It’s the oldest in Spain as well as one of the largest, with a capacity of 20,000 people. Today, the proximity of surrounding buildings prevents further excavations. Feel free to enter, the museum and theater visit is free. It’s small, but I loved the way the tour is organized, you can even walk in an underground hall under the bleachers.

The Roman Theater

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With its golden dome, Cadiz most famous monument can be seen from everywhere while walking in the city. Started in 1722, the construction of Cadiz Cathedral was completed only a century later and thus mixes several architectural styles such as Baroque and Neoclassical. The Cathedral, located in the historic center, was nicknamed “Catedral Nueva” by the locals, in opposition to the “Catedral Vieja“. Catedral Vieja is also known as the Santa Maria Church which, you guessed it, was the former cathedral.

Cadiz Cathedral

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After the catehdral, you should walk to Cadiz market. For me, going to the market is a must when discovering a city or region. The best way to discover local products! Unlike other markets in Andalusia, it’s not super big, but for sure enough to taste some fresh local products. It’s your best bet if you want a good cold cuts and cheese sandwich!

CADIZ MARKET

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The Tavira Tower, one of the 126 towers (yes, only!) in Cadiz. It’s one of the most visited buildings after the Cathedral.

These towers generally served as watchtowers for the port, and Tavira Tower was the highest and main one. The main attraction of the tower is the Camera Obscura, a room equipped with a set of optical lenses and mirrors: it allows you to admire the entire bay of Cadiz in a magnificent panorama.

THE TAVIRA TOWER

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Connected to the city by this pier, the San Sebastian Castle is located on a small island. The legend has it that this is where the temple of Cronos stood, in antiquity. It was the Venetians who called it “San Sebastian”, to invoke his protection. In the 15th century, sailors of a Venetian ship contaminated by the plague epidemic were allowed to settle there and built a hermitage. A watchtower was then erected to counter any attacks. Then, in 1706, the castle was built to strengthen the defences of the city.

SAN SEBASTIAN CASTLE

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Between the two castles of Cadiz, La Caleta beach is the perfect stop for swimming and cooling off. However it’s relatively small and located in the historic center, so in summer, it may be a bit crowded!

You will find all the amenities: restaurant, bar, toilets, showers. It’s a supervised beach, and the 2 castles forms a sea wall that protects it from strong waves.

LA CALETA BEACH

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Located at the other end of La Caleta beach, this fortress was part of the city defence infrastructures. After the plunder of Cadiz by Anglo Dutch troops, The King of Spain decided to build the fortress to strengthen one of the most vulnerable points of the city. The building is star shaped, with several defensive bastions. The parade ground is surrounded by different pavilions and a chapel dedicated to Santa Catalina.

SANTA CATALINA CASTLE

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About a hundred meters from Santa Catalina Castle, you can find the entrance to Genoves Park, the largest public garden in the city. This park along the ocean contains botanical species from different countries and various small monuments including the very popular Children under an umbrella fountain. There are also a small man-made cave and lake, a waterfall and a few ducks. It is the ideal place for a short break in the shade!

GENOVES PARK

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If you want to enjoy the freshness of the gardens a bit more, You should then head to Alameda Apodaca park. It’s very easy to find it, as you just have to walk along the sea. With its many trees, fountains, wrought iron lamp posts, sculptures, colorful ceramic benches and checkerboard tiles, it’s for me the most beautiful park in the city.

I didn’t have the opportunity to see it but it seems that the park is particularly beautiful at sunset.

ALAMEDA APODACA PARK
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