The Spanish city of Cadiz is thought to be the oldest in Western Europe, lasting for over three millennia. This beautiful port with around 150.000 residents is situated in Andalucía, a peninsula on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Because of its exquisite position (surrounded by sea from almost every side) the city has always been an important strategic fort.
Cadiz was established 80 years after the Trojan War by the Phoenicians, in 1100 AD. According to a Greek legend, the city was established by Hercules, after he murdered the giant Geryon. There is a tumulus nearby Cadiz, which is thought to be the location of Geryon’s grave, according to the legend.
Since its emergence Cadiz became an important trading post. After the city was turned into a Roman port his importance faded away, which continued even during the occupation by the Moors. Only after the city was taken under the wing of King Alfonso X, in 1262, a more prosperous period started for Cadiz. The city’s turbulent past can be seen at every corner of the melancholic Cadiz.
The facades and the balconies of the old, narrow houses are decorated with floral garlands. Hidden from the sun and the passengers’ views, watch the restless sea, the residents of Cadiz used to control the entry to the port. Many locals were eagerly awaiting ships from the Americas. Today, the Torre Tavira is just a mere decoration, silent witnesses of time long past.
The narrow cobblestone streets take you to a small square, with a melancholic view of the coast. The popular Promenade de las Palmas take you Plaza Fiori where you can try the local fresh fish and enjoy the hot summer breeze passing through the dark passages.
The Orange Square is surrounded by trees with branches full of ripe fruit. Do not miss to visit the main cathedral, built in the 18th century. Still, the Cathedral Nueva is not very popular among the locals because of the hordes of tourists that visit it daily, making it impossible for them to deliver their prayers. Many visitors come to enjoy not only the elegant exterior, but also the interior, known for the rich collection of relics in the crypts.
The beautiful beaches of Cadiz are a must-do. The most popular (and most beautiful) among them is Playa de La Caleta. It is 4 km long in the close vicinity of the historical center of Cadiz; Playa de La Caleta is surrounded by the picturesque castles of San Sebastian and San Catalina.
The most prominent feature of Caleta beach is the never ending song festival. By the way, did I mention that the locals are very hospitable and ready for party? Well, there you go! After relaxing by the shore you can go to lunch in one of the many restaurants. It would be a great shame to visit Cadiz and not try some of the delightful cuisine of Andalucía.