Cadiz is the southern city on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest. Founded by the Phoenicians, Gadir is a different city than all the cities of Spain, as its inhabitants are different. The Cádiz grace is proverbial and its carnivals are famous for their colorful, sense of humor and irony of their chirigots and comparsas, which is the name given to the groups that, every year, between February and March, travel the streets And they perform in the beautiful Teatro Falla, where they hold an annual competition for performance. Cadiz capital is a little gem in the southern tip of Spain, so much so that it is called the silver tacit, because of its peculiar shape and its brightness as a city. But the whole province of Cadiz is an ideal place to visit.
For its beaches and some mythical places, like Jerez de la Frontera, the second city of the province and where some of the best and most famous wineries in the world are located. The Xerez, the Sherry that the English call — some of whose families were founding in centuries past several of the region’s most well-known and important brands– It is a delicious drink known all over the world, as is the manzanilla de Sanlucar de Barrameda, at the mouth of one of the most important rivers in Spain, the Guadalquivir, and whose river port, upstream, in Seville capital, was the destination of all the ships loaded with gold and spices that came centuries ago from South America. Sanlucar is the only place on the planet where due to its special weather conditions of air and temperature you can raise and make this delicious drink.
But let’s go back to Cadiz capital and its beautiful beaches and corners. The main one is the Victoria Beach, wide and of fine white sand, which is in the very center of the city, on the Atlantic and a hundred meters from the Plaza Mayor, emblematic place of Cadiz. The Santa Cruz Church, or Old Cathedral, and the Paseo de Canalejas are also nearby. From there you reach the primitive streets of the old Cadiz, which was, together with Seville, the most important shipping and commercial center on the route of discovery of America.
Cadiz also has a great cultural tradition, with museums such as the Archaeological Museum of Gadir, where sculptures and remains of ancient Phoenician culture are exhibited. It is also important to visit the Reina Sofia Cultural Center, which collects important historical data and is also the center of musical cultural activities, with special attention to flamenco and its universal Cádiz-style, fandango and the “habaneras” which, as the singer Carlos Cano said, they are as much from Cádiz as from Cuba.
Cadiz has a special atmosphere. Light and bright, it is perhaps the most cheerful city in Spain. It exudes joy from every corner, especially in its famous carnivals, as we have already mentioned. And the Cadiz are reputed to be imaginative and ingenious, and to be full of sympathy on all four sides.
But let’s leave the capital and travel through the province, one of the most beautiful in Andalusia and Spain, with towns that are big cities, like Jerez, and others of a surprising type and beauty, like Sanlucar de Barrameda, already mentioned, from where you can see, across the river, the Coto de Doñana, the last great natural bird reserve in Europe, and where you can take the best prawns in the country, especially in the restaurants on the beach, in the mouth of the river, among which “Casa Bigotes” stands out. Or the Puerto de Santa María, a small white town and also with important wineries and where we can find the purest flamenco.
It is advisable to stay in one of the most beautiful Andalusian hotels, the Hotel Monasterio San Miguel, a remodeled old building, in the historic center of “El Puerto” as the town is known. It is also worth visiting the beautiful town of Conil, another place founded by the Phoenicians, such as Cádiz, with its white streets and its viewpoints over the sea from the height where it is located, 40 meters above it. Going down to its banks we find the magnificent beach of La Fontanilla, one of the best on the coast. At the southernmost tip of Spain is Tarifa, a special place for surf lovers, always with great waves and wind, since it is the closest place to the Strait of Gibraltar, where the Atlantic and the Mediterranean meet and from the one that can be seen on clear days the coast of Morocco.
Another town of great importance is Algeciras, actually also a city, since it is the place from where it ships, ninety percent to Africa, with ferries that make the direct journey to Ceuta and Melilla. Undoubtedly one of the ports with the most traffic in Spain and, along with Malaga and Cádiz, the one with the highest volume of passengers in all of Andalusia.
But we are going to stop especially in Jerez de la Frontera, which has always had great rivalry with Cádiz, as it is a city of enormous wealth and tradition, in addition to having numerous monuments. It is, in addition to the city of the most important wineries in Andalusia, the city of horses. Jerez horses are a special breed recognized worldwide for their beauty and intelligence. In fact the Jerez School of Equestrian Art is, along with the Vienna School of Art, the most prestigious in the world.
The visitor should not miss a visit to the enclosure and the permanent show, of exhibition and dressage that has the name “How Andalusian horses dance”. Regarding the wineries, the names impress: from González Byass, to Osborne, to Garvey … the most important brands in Jerez offer visitors guided tours and tastings that are unforgettable for lovers of good “wines”, as they are called in the slang.
Cádiz is a singular province, with its whitewashed villages, its art, folklore and its impressive beaches, some huge and of great natural beauty, such as that of Zahara de los Atunes and others more hidden but well known, such as the paradise of nudism, Los Caños de Meca or Sotogrande beach, a destination, on the other hand, for luxury tourism, are clean water beaches and considered among the best in the world.
But there is one place where the beaches of Cadiz are their main attraction is Chipiona. The beaches of Chipiona, on the sea and only 24 kilometers from Cadiz capital and 30 kilometers from the other great city of Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera, are famous for their extension, clean waters and fine sand. The main ones are: Playa de Regla, Playa de Montijo, Playa de Cruz del Mar and Las Canteras and Playa de la Ballena, one of the best in Andalusia. The beaches of Chipiona are also high in iodine content and are recommended for more than a century for their health benefits.
Cadiz and its province are a wonderful vacation universe and a continuous surprise. Joy, health and beauty make up Europe’s destination closest to the African continent and the last place on the European continent on the way to America.