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Pocket Guide: Cadiz

Visiting Cadiz

Cadiz is an ancient port city in the Andalusian region of southern Spain. This atmopsheric city, from where Columbus sailed off to the new world, is considered to be the oldest in western Europe and is guarded from the Atlantic by eroding seawalls. Once a booming 16th century seaport, Cadiz has both old and new town areas, plus a variety of parks. It’s known for its amazing history, friendly locals and bustling tavernas, plus its beaches of pale golden sand. Cadiz also has plenty of museums and heritage sites to keep you occupied, and a vibrant carnival every February. This is a city where the aromas of traditional Andalusian cooking mingle with the fragrance of citrus trees, and you’ll find that there are multitude of hidden plazas, squares and gardens for you to discover. Turn a corner in any one of Cadiz’s winding streets and you will find something to charm, tempt or intrigue you.

Where to stay in Cadiz

You have a number of interesting areas to choose from when deciding which of the various hotels in Cadiz to stay in. The old town is split into various quarters, including El Populo, La Vina and Santa Maria, plus the whole city is handily divided into colour-coded walking routes.

True to its name, El Populo is one of the most popular quarters, and it’s easy to be charmed by its winding alleyways and charmingly dishevelled palaces. La Vina is a small, friendly, traditional neighbourhood known for its lively, music-filled bars. Santa Maria is formerly the old Romany People quarter and is called the “temple to flamenco”. It’s thought to be the oldest part of Cadiz and has some beautiful old churches. Alternatively, you could choose to stay in the new town area, which has a much airier feel with its wide avenues and modern architecture. Whichever Cadiz hotel you choose, you’re bound to become utterly fascinated with this vibrant city.

Accommodation choices in Cadiz

Hotels in Cadiz offer accommodation to suit a range of budgets. There are many good Cadiz hotels so you are spoiled for choice, it’s just a question of deciding which area and facilities are right for you. A budget option is the Cadiz Inn Backpackers, which is based in the centre of the city and offers both private rooms and dormitories. Facilities include a rooftop terrace, free Wi-Fi in public areas and barbecue grills. A mid-price option is the 3 star Alquimia Albergue-Hotel, a pension in the heart of Cadiz with a cafe, free Wi-Fi in public areas and multilingual staff. Luxury accommodation can be found in the 4 star Parador De Cadiz, located centrally near to the university. Facilities include a pool, Turkish bath, terrace, cafe and two bars (one poolside).

What to do during your stay in Cadiz

Cadiz is a fascinating city where old meets older. Pass through the 16th century arched gateway, Las Puertas de Tierra, and you will be moving through time from the past to the present and vice versa. It’s good to start a tour of Cadiz by strolling along the promenade, where you can watch the Atlantic ocean crash against the city’s ageing walls as boats sail into the port and seagulls cry overhead. Then it’s time to explore the city itself. Cadiz’s winding streets could seem mystifying if it wasn’t for the city’s handy system of colour-coded walks, split into orange, green, blue and purple.

The green line walk is the oldest part of the city. It takes you through the narrow, cobblestoned medieval district and is home to the 1st century Roman theatre, the town hall, the Church of San Juan de Dios, the Convent of Santa Maria and the Bishop’s House. It’s also the home of the oldest quarter, El Populo. The orange line area follows the outskirts of the city and the 17th century San Carlos Walls, where you can explore historic fortresses, including castles and bastions, plus sights like Genovese Park, Alemeda de Apodaca Gardens and the charming La Caleta beach. The purple line is the old sea merchant’s area which thrived during Cadiz’s golden age in the 16th and 17th centuries. Highlights include the golden-domed Cathedral of Cadiz, City Hall, the Admiral’s House and Tavira Tower, plus both the flower market and central market.

The blue line (known as Cadiz Constitution) takes in areas of civic importance during the past 200 years, including the soaring Monument to Parliament, the Museum of the Cadiz Parliament, Cadiz Provincial Council Palace, Alameda Park and Plaza de Espana square. This area includes examples of Baroque architecture. Cadiz is also notable for having more than 100 watchtowers to explore, including the majestic 17th century Torre Tavira. Offering amazing views of the city, Torre Tavira is open to visitors and includes a camera obscura. Other must-see attractions include the Equestrian Art Museum, the Palace of Time, the Andalusian Flamenco Centre, the Villamarta Theatre, and both the San Sebastian and Santa Catalina castles. Exploring Cadiz is pretty close to time travel.

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