By Christine Medina
Though Cádiz can’t contend with the likes of Sevilla and Granada in terms of wow-factor, it’s a destination with a rich history and a just-right size that’s worth squeezing in on a visit to Spain’s sunny south.
I first traveled to Cádiz on a day-trip during my first few months in Spain. This was back during my honeymoon phase with the country–when every city was new and beautiful and exciting (which for the most part, hasn’t changed). I came to Cádiz with zero expectations and left knowing I’d return–I’ve been back twice since for the city’s famous Carnaval celebrations.
My three visits to this city have left me with these impressions:
For great walkability, Cádiz is the perfect size. It isn’t overwhelming like Madrid or Barcelona can be, and it isn’t small like the white pueblos you’ll find outside of the city. I personally wouldn’t bother with spending time outside of the old town–all of the interesting stuff is there! Besides, getting lost in the labyrinth is part of the fun. If you ever get lost, find your way to the seaside promenade that snakes around the city and you’ll quickly regain your sense of direction.
Its historic significance. Cádiz is known as the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Europe, reportedly founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 B.C. As a city built on the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, its maritime history boasts Columbus as sailing from here on his second and fourth voyages to the New World.
Its low cost of living. I’ve enjoyed many a cheap beer and café con leche (coffee with milk) on my visits to Cádiz. Since not as many tourists come as here other cities in Andalusia, its prices stay low in comparison, with the exception of the time during and surrounding Carnaval.
Its relaxed ambiance. Even though the majority of the time I’ve spent in Cádiz was during one of the rowdiest Carnaval celebrations in the world, my first visit alone was enough to give me a feeling that this port city was unique in its laid back feel. From the friendly shopkeepers to the less-hectic way of life here, Cádiz may be a city, but it doesn’t feel like one.
Overall, Cádiz isn’t a place that’s captured my heart like the bigger Andalusian cities, but it is a worthwhile day-trip to make from Sevilla if your itinerary allows. Get lost in the alleyways of the old town, order up some fried fish to-go (they invented it here, not the Brits!) and if you come in the summer, reserve a couple of hours to lounge on the beautiful Playa de la Victoria.
To get from Sevilla to Cádiz book a ticket with RENFE. The journey takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Christine Medina shares her travel advice, anecdotes and photographs on http://www.christineinspain.com/