With a history going back more than 3,000 years Cádiz is possibly the most ancient city in Western Europe with various civilizations settling here over the years including Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Romans.
It was named Gadir by the Phoenicians who were the founders of the first settlement in 1100 BC. The Romans turned it into a thriving port and since then has been essentially a seafaring town with ties to Africa and The New World with trading between Cádiz and the rest of the world increasing during the 17th century, as the hub between Europe and the American continent.
Unlike other port cities, which are busy and sometimes dirty, Cadiz is easy-going, relaxed, welcoming and safe.
The climate in Cádiz is one of the most pleasant in Spain with the city enjoying over 300 days of sunshine annually. It has a warm, temperate climate with very mild winters with temperatures ranging between 14º C and 20º C and averaging just over 25ºC in summer.
An ancient catholic tradition stemming from a pagan festival which celebrated the advent of spring, the Cádiz Carnival is held every year before the season of Lent. Shrove Tuesday, at the end of February or beginning of March sees Cadiz burst into a true celebration of life.
A kaleidoscope of colour, music and revelry as “Chirigotas” or groups of locals formed into satirical choirs, singing witty and funny songs mocking everything from celebrities to politicians and decked out in the most extravagant and colourful costumes, wander the streets like groups of troubadours, setting up in improvised locations entertaining passers by with their creative figures and burlesque song to the accompaniment of guitars and lutes. You’ll also see groups in extravagant costumes improvising street theatre.
This carnival is possibly the most entertaining in Spain and totally unlike any other celebration in Europe. The costumes of the Cádiz Carnival are not the showy sequin and feather affairs seen in Rio. In Cádiz, which has a reputation for being funny and witty, the focus is on satire with some very, very clever compositions regarding current affairs, politics, and the state of the nation amongst many other issues being mocked and satirised. Join the fun, you won’t find a shortage of wigs and hats on sale. Just follow the crowds to find the most popular “chirigotas”.
The Boutique Hotel Argantonio has 15 elegantly decorated rooms and is located in the centre of the historic part of Cadiz.
The V Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel in the beautiful hilltop town of Vejer de la Frontera on the Costa de la Luz in Cadiz Province.
Manuel de Falla, the greatest Spanish composer of the 20th century and a native of Cádiz, lies in a tomb within the crypt of this most remarkable cathedral built in a combination of styles, with its Baroque interior, Rococo style ornaments and Neoclassical façade. The cathedral is one of the newest in Spain as its building didn’t begin until the 1700’s to replace the ancient cathedral which had been destroyed in a fire almost 200 years earlier. The cathedral holds a museum with treasures of gold and silver, as well as precious stones.
Lying on a peninsula on Spain’s Atlantic Coast, the many kilometres of fine white sandy beaches along the shoreline of the Cadiz province are known as The Costa de la Luz, or the Coast of Light. Along this coast, the sand is finer and a more golden colour than in the Costa del Sol and the beaches are wider. As this coast has not seen the development of other Spanish coasts, they are usually backed by sand dunes and trees rather than the high-rise developments so common in other Spanish shorelines.
Due to the strong Atlantic winds, the temperatures are milder and the intensity of the waves make Cadiz beaches a paradise for both windsurfers and surfboard enthusiasts alike. Tarifa, on the southern tip of the Costa de la Luz, with its strong winds is a Mecca for surfing and windsurfing, while Barbate, and further up the coast is popular with bathers due to gentler winds.
A popular beach within the city of Cadiz itself is the beach of la Victoria with fine, smooth sand and steady waves suitable for all the family. You may rent beach umbrellas and chairs and enjoy a variety of sports activities such as jet skiing. This beach is close to shops and restaurants. The beach at Caños de Meca is an excellent nudist beach within Cadiz Province. Located in a semi urban area, it is moderately busy and its waters are very clean. It has no amenities.
Cádiz Local Cuisine and Wine
Like the majority of Spaniards, people from Cadiz enjoy food. Gastronomy in Cadiz is typically Andalusian with strong influences of each of its cultural traditions, Phoenician, Roman and Moorish. Being a seaside port and so tied to the sea historically, the main ingredients are the local fish and seafood, for example a wide variety of fish, prawns, squid, and lobsters. Oxtail stew and rice dishes are very popular, while its desserts have a marked Moorish influence with the use of almonds, nuts and honey.
Cadiz is Sherry country, as this is the home of the most important producers of brandy and sherry in its four varieties: amontillado (darker and dry), fino (very dry and very pale), oloroso (full-bodied, golden in colour, medium dry and fragrant) and dulce (sweet).