Located directly on the Atlantic coast of Andalucia in Spain, Cadiz is a real alternative to other city-based locations. With an approximate population of 130,000, it is large enough to have plenty going on but retains the intimate feel of a small and friendly town.
Often referred to as “Little Havana”, its people are proud of their openness, warmth and love of life.
Cadiz city boasts 10 kilometres of fine sandy beaches (La Caleta, Santa Maria, Victoria and Cortadura) and an abundance of low-cost water sports for the more active trainee (sailing and surfing, and wind and kite surfing are particularly popular). However, its attractions are not limited to the sun-lover: for the cultural buffs Cadiz is the real Spain. Founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC, Cadiz is the oldest city in Europe, and its rich history is deeply ingrained in the city. The old city (“el Casco Antiguo”) is an amazing place to discover with its cobbled streets, landscaped plazas, amazing architecture, ruins and monuments.
The new area known as “Puerta Tierra” was built on land reclaimed from the sea and links Cadiz with the mainland. It is an area of avenues, pretty squares and parks, kilometres of beach and a vibrant summer entertainment program including open-air films shown on the beach, volleyball and football tournaments and numerous high-quality beach restaurants and bars.
Cadiz has a long and illustrious tradition of flamenco; among the many flamenco stars from Cadiz was the legendary “El Camarón” renowned for his overwhelming, haunting passion and great range. Today’s stars include Sara Baras, the guitarist Manolo Sanlúcar and Niña Pastori whose jazz – and Latin – influenced flamenco is a real force in flamenco fusion.
Flamenco is not the only music to be found in Cadiz; live music of all genres can be found on a weekly basis in many of the bars, and the week-long February carnival is world renowned for its music competitions matching Rio in its vibrancy – for the locals there is no rival! Theatre is also very important in Cadiz and the Latin American Festival of Theatre is celebrated here in October each year.
Cadiz is also ideally situated for visits inland to the Sherry Triangle, Jerez de la Frontera (which has an international airport), the clifftop town of Arcos de la Frontera and the beautiful moorish town of Vejer de la Frontera. Seville is only a short train journey away and well worth a visit for a trip to the Alcazar, cathedral or just a spot of shopping and people watching.
Along the coast are unspoiled and often wild beaches of fine-white sand and towns such as the nearby Tarifa which is quickly becoming a favourite for board, wind and kite surfers. And if that is not enough to keep you occupied in any spare time, both Portugal and Morocco are virtually on your doorstep!
Andalucia enjoys one of the mildest climates in Europe with a year-round average temperature of 18-20°C on the coast and an average of over 300 days of sunshine throughout the year. While temperatures soar inland, Cadiz remains temperate during the summer with maximum temperatures in July/August of 30°C compared to Seville’s maximum 40°C in July and August.
FOOD AND DRINK
Gastronomically, Andalucia is well known for its fantastic tapas tradition and Cadiz boasts one of the top restaurants in the south of Spain. The “Ruta del Tapeo” is an excellent way to sample the best that Cadiz has to offer. This is a local competition whereby a number of restaurants and bars compete for the title of “Best Tapas”, “Most Original Dish” “Top restaurant” etc to be voted for by customers. In addition to the typical jamon andmanchego cheese Cadiz offers an enormous array of excellent seafood in its many beachfront restaurants and city bars. Local specialities to try include cazon en adobo (marinated dogfish),gambas al ajillo (garlic fried prawns) and tortillitas de camarones(shrimp fritters).
North of Cadiz is the sherry triangle comprising the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlucar de Barrameda and the neighbouring Puerto de Santa Maria. These towns house some of the most important sherry and brandy producers in the World, and many have cellars (bodegas) which can be visited. Alternatively, a glass of the acclaimed manzanilla, a dry sherry, while watching the world go by in Plaza Flores is a wonderful way to relax.