Located in southwest Spain, Cádiz is an ancient port city that is built on a peninsula surrounded almost entirely by the sea. This unique town first became famous in the 16th-century when it was used for trade and exploration, and Spain’s first Constitution was declared here in 1812. With more than 100 watchtowers and historical landmark buildings situated in multiple plazas that are connected via narrow streets, Cádiz is a relaxed and easygoing city that makes for an interesting and enjoyable visit.
The Cádiz Carnival is the premier celebration in mainland Spain, made up of satirical song groups and creative characters in elaborate costumes. The music and performances are what draw people far and wide to this annual celebration, which dates back to the 16th century and starts the weekend before Ash Wednesday. While strolling around town, be sure to stop in one of the many freidurias, which are fried-fish shops located around just about every corner that offer tasty fried seafood dishes. Another popular tourist attraction is Torre Tavira, formerly part of an aristocratic palace and now offering stunning panoramic views. Visit the numerous baroque churches in town, including the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri and the Oratorio de la Santa Cueva on Calle Rosario, which maintains its 18-century interior and includes a crypt-like space in the basement and a chapel on the ground floor. Casa del Almirante is an ornate palace with marble doorways that is now the city’s first boutique hotel—it’s worth stopping in here for a drink and to peek around. Get in some beach time at Victoria Beach, which can be easily spotted as a result of the colored umbrellas that line the sand.
There are many other cities near Cadiz in the Andalucia region that make for great day trips. Seville is just over an hour north and is famous for its flamenco dancing scene, while Malaga is a resort city with beautiful beaches that is two-and-a-half hours away. At three hours and 20 minutes, Granada is a slightly longer drive but well worth the travel with its sprawling hilltop fortress and gorgeous gardens. Cordoba is just under three hours north and is known for its Islamic influence and architecture.
When booking your vacation rental in Cádiz, you’ll find that there are numerous neighborhoods to choose from, with each one offering its own unique charm. Santa Maria is the gypsy quarter where the flamenco center is located, while La Vina is the old fishing quarter that has lots of popular bars. El Populo is the main urban area, with narrow streets located around the cathedral and Casa del Almirante palace.
The most common forms of transportation in Cádiz are taxis and city buses. Local city buses run regularly throughout Old Town and into New Cádiz, and includes two lines that run along the coast and stop at various beaches. Public transportation is cheap and convenient, and there is also a train that has connects to other towns and includes two stops in New Cádiz.
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