Cadiz province situated in the southwest of Andalusia is a region of outstanding natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage. Boasting a coastline of 250 kilometres, the stunning white
villages (pueblos blancos) and the oldest city in Europe, Cadiz is a wonderful holiday location for those seeking an alternative to the busier and more commercial Costa del Sol.
Actually very few European tourists make it as far as Cadiz, opting to stay along the Costa Blanca or
Costa del Sol; however it is a very location for Spanish tourism, who appreciate the beauty of the region.
The capital city of the province, Cadiz, is the oldest city in Western Europe; records suggest that the city dates back more than 3,000 years and was the location for the original Iberian settlers. From there the region was occupied by the Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians – for whom it was an important trading post, the Romans, who were then defeated by the Visigoths.
Due to its location, so close to the continent of Africa, it has always been seen as an important strategic and trading region. It was also where Christopher Columbus set off on his adventures to the New World.
Towns & Villages of Cadiz
The capital city of the province, Cadiz, dates back more than 3,000 years and the city has a rich
cultural heritage, which is evident through its streets and buildings. However, it isn’t a stuffy historical city, on the contrary, it has a wonderful upbeat, friendly atmosphere.
The city stands on a peninsula jutting out into a bay, which is almost entirely surrounded by water.
Ascend to the top of the city’s cathedral and you will almost feel like you are standing on the stern of a boat, all you can see is water.
The old city is distinctly Moorish in appearance and a gem to explore with its narrow cobbled streets, beautiful plazas (squares), fabulous fish market and numerous tapas bars, which serve up typical Tapas Gaditanas (typical tapas from Cadíz). However, there is also a part which has a distinct Cuban feel, with colourful buildings and even more colourful people, residing there.
The bohemian town of Tarifa is situated at the southern most point in Europe, just 14 kilometres from Africa, where the Mediterranean meets
the Atlantic Ocean, enjoys spectacular views of the Rif Mountains of Africa across the water. The town is an excellent destination for lovers of water sports, and it’s a party town, yet with a distinctly chilled out atmosphere.
The stunning castellated town of Vejer de la Frontera is a magical place, and if you’re exploring the N340 coast road, you’d be wise to
take time out for a visit to this classic white hilltop town, with its wealth of cultural attractions.
El Puerto de Santa Maria is located in the north east of the Cadiz province, on the Guadalete River outlet, in the Bay of Cadiz. It’s one of Cadiz’s best kept secrets, with wonderful beaches, cobbled streets lined with orange trees, some of the best seafood in Spain and the best sherry!
Canos de Meca is a small community on the windswept but stunning Costa de la Luz, on the
Atlantic coast. Deep in the Parque Natural del Acantilado, Canos de Meca boasts beautiful beaches, backed by cliffs and pine trees.
Conil de la Frontera is a former fishing village, which has become a popular, low-rise resort. It has good beaches and the streets still have a village feel to them.
Jerez is the capital of sherry production and lies some nine miles inland from the sea between Cadiz and Seville. Dating back to the Moorish Occupation, visitors to Seville should expect to be charmed by the beautiful city, it’s famous sherry
bodegas, wonderful flamenco and Andaluz horse displays.
Isla Canela is a natural island joined by a bridge to Ayamonte (Huelva), a town with the purest Andalusian enchantment. It is located in the south-west of Spain, between the Andalusia Atlantic and the Portuguese Algarve.
The relatively high population density of this region on Andalusia's west coast hasn’t affected the near virgin state of its lowlands. The marshes, dunes and salinas between Cadiz and San Fernando present a distinctive flat landscape.
Salinas are salt pans, where sea water is evaporated by the sun to yield salt. This activity dates back to the Phoenicians, and has continued unchanged for three thousand years.
Its privileged position makes Cadiz bay the winter home and resting place for many species of aquatic migratory birds along their routes to and from Africa. The bay region also has many virtually untouched beaches.
The rugged hills known as the Sierra de Cadiz are densely wooded with pine groves and cork trees. White villages and fortified towns cling to the side of river gorges and valleys.
There is no doubt that one of the main natural resources of the province of Cadiz is its great variety of beaches. These are characterised by white fine sand and crystal clear waters. Along the 250 kilometre coastline you find a variety of beach types: from natural, virgin beaches, sand dunes, to urban beaches with lots of facilities, small creeks and bays, and extensive sandy
beaches stretching several kilometres, where you will find the windsurfing community hang out.
Many of these obtain the Blue Flag distinction for clean beaches and waters, year after year.
Between Malaga and Huelva lie mountain ranges and Natural Parks, where all kinds of outdoor sports can be practised, including equestrian, hiking, paragliding, ballooning, and many other adventure sports. The town and surrounding beaches of Tarifa is especially popular with the windsurfing community and water sports enthusiasts.
The excellent seafood from the bay is a staple for locals, as well as being the main economic activity. Shellfish are particularly delicious, including mussels, langoustines, clams, crab and
razor-shell molluscs, that are easily found by rooting around in the shallows. In Puerto de Santa Maria there is a seafood restaurant with a shop attached, you shop for your seafood, and then the restaurant cooks it for you. Simply delicious!
The cuisine of Cadiz has many influences from its past, Moorish, Phoenician and Roman, but all of these add up to a typically Andalusian gastronomy. Aside from seafood dishes, specialities include guiso de rabo de toro (oxtail stew) and perdiz estofado (partridge casserole).
The province of Cadiz enjoys a mild climate; the hottest period of the year is during the summer months of July and August, when the temperature
rises to around 32 degrees, and the winter months drop to around 18 degrees. The provinces receives
about 300 days and 3200 hours of sunshine per year.