Cadiz, founded in 1100 BC on a peninsula 76 miles (122km) south of Seville as a Phoenician trading post, is said to be the oldest inhabited city in western Europe and is a very popular holiday destination. Cadiz had to wait, however, until the 16th century before it came into its own as a launching point for journeys to the newly discovered lands of the Americas. From here Columbus set out on his second voyage. Sir Francis Drake later famously raided the city, as did Napoleon. The city's Old Town is picturesque and Moorish, with cobbled streets and squares presided over by the golden cupola of the Cadiz Cathedral. There is a gallery displaying some of Goya's works, and some lush parks on the headlands which offer panoramic views of the bay. The city is also home to some of Spain's loveliest beaches, including La Playa de la Caleta, situated between two castles of the Old Town, and La Playa de la Victoria, which is the most visited by holidaymakers due to its safe bathing and water sports. Cadiz is a fantastic destination for those keen to combine a lazy beach holiday with a wealth of cultural and historical diversions.
Cadiz is an ancient city and a popular holiday destination with all the shopping opportunities one would expect. Some great shops can be found on Calle Pelota, Calle Compania, Calle San Francisco and the Plaza de Candelaria. A great place for quality Andalucian items such as ceramics and leatherwork is Belle Epoque, close to the Museo de Cadiz. For incredible local foods, travellers should go to Hecho in Cadiz. There are excellent food markets at Mercado Central de Abasto (the Central Market), La Merced and San Jose where high-quality wine, sausages, and cheeses can be bought.
The city boasts numerous great restaurants and a wide variety of cuisines, catering to all budgets and palettes. They say that Cadiz is home to the best fried fish in the world, and the best in town can reputedly be found at Las Flores Freideria on Plaza Topete.
Cadiz has a lively nightlife scene, with something for everyone, from laid-back beach bars serving tapas and ambient music to all-night clubs. The foundation for most evenings out is laid by tapas and sundowners, and the practice of botellón, which involves buying your own alcohol and drinking while strolling the plazas or the beach. The main nightclubs are on Playa Victoria beachfront, and tend to open around 10pm. The most popular club in town, from 4am when it opens, is El Hoyo on Calle Manuel Rancés.
Travellers should take a tasting tour along the Jerez wine route, or stroll the cobbled stone alleys of the beautiful ancient Old Town. They can also visit Puerto del Cabrito for a view across the Straits of Gibraltar to Africa. Ancient archaeological remains are strewn all over the Old Town of Cadiz, including a Roman Theatre behind the cathedral, and the forts of San Sebastian and Santa Catalina are open to visitors. Tourists should also be sure to include on their holiday itinerary a trip to the town's cathedral and the Fine Arts and Archaeology Museum. Kite surfing in Tarifa is a popular activity in Cadiz, and many other water sports are on offer. There is so much to see and do!
Cadiz is a well-developed city and a hugely popular tourist destination and is therefore not suitable for those wanting a quiet holiday or looking to experience a traditional Spanish village.