More than a hundred watchtowers gaze out across the waves surrounding this ancient Andalusian city. Sprinkled with evocative cobbled side streets, you’ll explore 3,000 years’ worth of history, while stumbling across palm-tree lined plazas of shaded coffee sippers. Cadiz claims the mantle of Western Europe’s oldest city, and every piece of architecture - and every wrong turn - offers a chance to discover fascinating new tales.
Founded by the Phoenicians in 1100BC, Christopher Columbus used the city as a base for his exploratory, map-defining voyages of 1493 and 1502. The port grew in importance and wealth as Cadiz’s strategic location close to Africa’s northern tip helped it blossom into a centre for New World trade. Catedral de Cádiz, is a display of the city’s wealth and importance, looming spectacularly over the Atlantic’s waves, with cawing seagulls sweeping between its twin bell towers. Inside, treasures from the city’s trading exploits in the West Indies and beyond - which helped fuel the growth of this historically prosperous city – are on display.
Enveloped by ocean on almost every side, Cadiz has something of an island feel, and you can cool off from southern Spain’s unrelenting sunshine on the sweeping golden sand beach of Playa Victoria. The two towers of the new El Puente de la Constitución de 1812 mark a contemporary landmark in this most ancient of cities, in the form of a spectacular new road bridge. Torre Tavira, meanwhile, is the most famous of Cadiz’s army of watchtowers, and the highest point in the city. Reach the top for a view of the ocean fringing the city’s expanse, and to learn about the towers - constructed so trading merchants could survey the harbour from their lavish homes. The Central Market is a chaotic place of bartering, where flashing knives dissect fresh fish. Stop in at the orbiting bars to enjoy tapas, freshly prepared with the market’s produce.