Cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia have been the face of Spain until now. However, Cadiz is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, which is still a hidden gem and worth discovering. Cadiz is an exotic, marvellous, mid-sized city in the very south of Andalusia one can’t help but fall in love with. Even the New York Times has dedicated an entire article wondering how this place can still be little known.
Thank God, new age travellers are looking beyond usual tourist hubs and are eager to discover another Spain, a Spain that looks like Cadiz
Travellers now are in quest of self-discovery, authenticity, culture, gastronomy, sports and adventure. And yes, Cadiz offers all of this. The irresistible charm of Cadiz is mainly due to the authenticity of its old streets scattered with quaint bodegas serving fresh fish and seafood. The streets dotted with flower markets and no less than 133 ancient watchtowers date back to the 18th century.
Cadiz is not only about its glorious history but also one of the hottest European spots for beach sports and leisure
Cadiz is undoubtedly your go-to destination if you are into beach volleyball, surfing, windsurfing or paddle boating. Cadiz has Europe’s most extensive urban beach: no less than 2,5 km of pristine, sandy beach at your feet. Moreover, Cadiz boasts crystal clear and clean water and 24 blue flags. Want to soak up the sun and the sea and have soul-nourishing food? No worries; the beach is lined with “chiringuitos” (beach bars) that serve lip-smacking food and from where you can enjoy picturesque sunsets.
A natural blue light that will enchant you and elevate your mood
The first thing that captures the attention of any visitor to Cadiz is the brilliant azure light emanating from the sky and the sea. No wonder people come to Cadiz to get their fix of dopamine, serotonin and endorphins to recharge their drained batteries! In addition, the city is a source of inspiration for artists and people with creative pursuits facing a creator’s block.
Slow food, slow living, football and Carnival
After you let yourself enamoured by the allure of Cadiz, you would probably want to prolong this feeling of tranquillity. Since there is nowhere to rush to, you can while away your time living, eating and exploring things slowly and mindfully, without a care in the world and take life as it comes. Once you are on a terrace restaurant, let the waiter tell you the complete list of fresh fish of the day. Don’t be surprised if the waiter also first tries to know more about you, your nationality, and what brought you to Cadiz. Oh, and together with the carnival, you should know that in Cadiz, football is another raison de vivre.
No Costa Café, no tourist trap, no gentrification: welcome to the unspoilt side of Spain
If big brands and standardized commerce put you off and small, niche things interest you, Cadiz is definitely your place. Cadiz has, at least for the time being, been spared from gentrification and the invasion of global brands. Have your coffee in a little café round the corner; enjoy buying your food in the local market; experience buying in small boutiques without pressure and small talks with the salespeople. Note that 80% of the tourism in Cadiz is national, a key fact if you are looking for an authentic immersion into the Spanish culture and way of life.
Yes, you heard it right: 500€ is the average monthly accommodation cost in Cadiz. Feel wealthy in Cadiz!
The cost of living in Cadiz is way more affordable than in most other cities in Spain. You can get a 45 SM apartment for 500€ a month, a monthly bus ticket for 40€, 8€ for the latest movie in a cinema, less than 3€ for half a litre of beer and so on. A fancy dinner in a gourmet restaurant in Cadiz will probably not cost more than 40€. Start comparing with cities such as Madrid (960€ for a 45 SM apartment, 55€ is the monthly bus ticket, 10€ to get into a cinema, 5.50€ for half a litre of beer and so on)
“Cadiz has caught the eye of many filmmakers from the west to the east; The local beach of La Caleta was one of the locations of the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, and even the Indian film industry has moved over from Switzerland and France to Cadiz shooting films with prominent actors.“
More Cadiz for you: Marvels of nature are just a stone’s throw away!
It would be very unfair not to mention the other wonders around Cadiz city. The whole province of Cadiz unravels a series of unique spots that will surely astonish you. For example, the white Village of Vejer de la Frontera is worth a tour. This old unspoiled village nested on the top of a hill is among the most beautiful villages in Spain. Not to mention one of the best wild beaches in Europe, the Bolonia beach is a long sandy beach crowned by a magnificent sand dune throwing itself in clear blue water. Not only will you see cows grazing just behind the beach, but the impressive ruins of Baelo Claudia. If you are more into trendy bourgeois boheme destinations, bet you will not be disappointed by Tarifa, where surfers and kite surfers come from all over the world to enjoy the quality of waves and long summer days.
Ready to allow Cadiz to enthral you? Then, here is the icing on the cake for you: the Don’t Miss list of Cadiz!
- The local beach of La Caleta was the stage of a James Bond movie, “Tomorrow never dies”. Even the Indian film industry has moved beyond Switzerland and France and recently shot a film featuring the industry’s most renowned actors: Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone.
- The Carnival of Cadiz is the most famous in mainland Spain. A fascinating aspect of the Cadiz Carnival is that the celebration is based on parodies related to the world’s social and political environment. Don’t be surprised to see many caricatures of Putin around in 2023!
- The Torre Tavira – A watchtower offering 360 degrees view of the city and the highest point in the city, 45 meters above sea level
- The beach of la Cortadura is a 4 km virgin beach right next to the city.
- The magnificent 300-year-old cathedral of Cadiz was built extremely close to the sea, which makes it unique and entirely visible from the beach.