This article was produced by National Geographic Traveler (United Kingdom).
Cádiz, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, has maintained a character of its own. More than 120 watchtowers dominate the city’s skyline, a legacy of its former life as a busy trading port, and a gold-domed cathedral is an emblem of the prosperity it enjoyed. The heart of the city is the whitewashed Old Town, where a labyrinth of narrow streets takes visitors through tree-lined squares, baroque churches, and elegant 18th-century merchants’ houses.
Start the day in classic Spanish style with some crunchy churros and chocolate. Cafe La Marina It’s a local institution, but to avoid the higher prices, join the ‘gaditanos‘, as the locals are known, in line for Churreria La Guapaon the other side of Liberty Square.
Around the corner, the 150-foot-tall building Tavira Tower It is the highest watchtower in Cádiz. Once used to watch ships arriving into ports from the Americas, its observation deck reveals the best panoramas of the city and there’s even a fun camera obscura. After climbing up, head underground in Gadir Archaeological Site, just a few meters away. Cádiz was founded by the Phoenicians in the 9th century, and this archaeological site preserves intact remains of the original settlement.
Next, wander through the old town’s maze of small bars and former barbershops, admiring the unique iron balustrades and art nouveau tiled doors. A hidden church, the Holy Cave Oratory is a neoclassical gem, with three splendid paintings by 18th-century Spanish master Francisco Goya. For souvenirs, try Sasha Espadrilles, which specializes in espadrilles in a variety of styles and shades. Or head near look look for a selection of colorful jewelry and bags.
Major Summits, right next to Plaza de Mina, is the place to refuel. This restaurant and tapas bar has been offering traditional Andalusian food since 1966: sit at the bar under hanging hams or in the beamed dining room, feast on grilled pork ribs or garlic prawns. For dessert, return to the streets of the old town. Thanks to the enduring legacy of the Moors, you will find almond sweets in most of southern Spain; the local specialty, cadiz bread This cake-like sweet made with marzipan and candied fruits is sold in almost all bakeries.
If you are here in summer, the sandy beaches along the coast are perfect for spending lazy afternoons. The Caletanear the old town, and Victory, a short drive away, are among the best known, but Cortadura, heading south out of town, is wonderfully wild. Alternatively, take a train to the nearby town of The Port of Santa Maria. It is part of Andalusia’s “sherry triangle”, home of the popular fortified wine; try it in the Osborn Wineriesmy winery, where guided tours include tastings.
From there, stroll through the cobblestone streets of Santa María. If you’re still hungry, come in Romerijo, a family restaurant and fishmonger with prawns, prawns and barnacles to take away and eat on the go. Then, cross the road to the promenade and board a catamaran for the half-hour trip back to Cádiz.
Sunsets in Cádiz are best enjoyed in bars. In summer you will find everyone near La Caleta beach, but in the winter months, Ajola —a cozy place a 10-minute walk away—is hard to beat. When it’s time to end the day, The Plocia Winery It is one of the best tapas bars in the area. Join gossiping friends and older gentlemen in flat caps, savoring fried anchovies or sipping a super-smooth manzanilla.
This story was created with the support of Visit Andalucia and the Cádiz Tourist Board.
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