Cadiz is Europe's oldest city. Originating from 1100 and founded by the Phoenicians, although legend has it that Hercules himself founded Cadiz. The city sits on a fist shaped piece of land sticking into the sea.
Cadiz is a lovely place to visit with seafront, gardens and open squares, big, wide avenues and the old town with high turreted houses and narrow alleys. Take time to wander through the streets, eat al fresco in the squares and soak up the sun on Cadiz's beach.
Cadiz's tourist office can provide you with a map showing four different routes through the city to make sure you see the main points of interest.
Main places of interest in Cadiz
The highlight of Cadiz is its cathedral. The cathedral took 116 years to build. Most is in a Baroque style but later parts include rococo and neo-classical elements. It is a beautiful white building with a golden dome which is one of the largest cathedrals in Spain. You can climb on to the roof of the cathedral to see its yellow-tiled dome up close and get some great views over the Cadiz coastline.
Behind the cathedral a first century Roman theatre has been excavated. North of the cathedral is the Torre Tavira, an eighteenth century mansion with a tall tower which was the city's watchtower in the eighteenth century. This has now been converted into a camera obscura. This is another place to get great views of the city.
The old town is a warren of narrow streets with occasional sunny plazas These are often surrounded by impressive buildings in Gothic and neo-classical styles. The Plaza San Antonio is a particularly nice square and at one time was the main square in Cadiz. Plaza de Mina is probably the most beautiful of all the squares and is also the location of the museum of Cadiz.
The second largest Roman theatre in the world is at Cadiz, unfortunately it was hidden until the 1980s by subsequent buildings. However some has now been excavated.
The Museo de Cadiz has a large art gallery including works by Rubens and Miro. Art enthusiasts should also visit the chapel of the Hospital de las Mujeraes which houses 'St Francis in Ecstasy' by El Greco.
Whilst in Cadiz be sure to go to one of the 'freidurias' - fried fish shops. Cadiz is apparantly the inventor of take-away fish and it is a firm favourite with tourists and locals alike.
The main beach at Cadiz is the Playa de la Caleta. Nearby is the Santa Catalina castle which once defended the beach and is now used for concerts and exhibitions.
The Cadiz carnival takes place at the end of February/begining of March each year and is one of Spain's biggest festivals. If you like to party this is one to head for.
Note: Cadiz is the Ibero-American Capital of Culture 2012 and this is particularly special as it is the first time the title has been help by a European city. The city will host the 22nd annual Latin American Heads of State and Government Summit.