The port city of Cadiz in the Andalucia region of Spain is an ancient wonder. It is among the oldest inhabited cities in Europe, with roots stretching back to Phoenician sailors over 3,000 years ago. Modern visitors will find dozens of things to do here encompassing the years from then to now.
Get a view of the whole city and the harbor by climbing to the top of the Torre Tavira. Cadiz once proudly boasted over a hundred such towers and this is one of the finest still in existence. It also houses one of the earliest known examples of a camera obscura, a ‘pinhole’ camera device. In this case it’s formed from darkened rooms with mirrors that project views of the city beyond onto screens.
Any tourist lucky enough to find him or herself in Cadiz will want to visit the city’s famed Catedral de Cadiz. The magnificent 50-meter high dome is alone worth the walk. Begun in the early 18th century, the cathedral was completed in 1838. Yet the design harkens back centuries earlier, incorporating many elements of Spain’s Moorish past.
To see some truly ancient works visit The Fine Arts and Archaeology Museum in Plaza de Mina. Here you’ll find a large collection of relics from the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans. But it also houses a number of fine paintings by the 17th-century Spanish master Francisco de Zurbaran.
Naturally, visitors to the Andalucian coast of Spain will want to take advantage of some of Europe’s finest beaches to soak up some sun. With over a mile of golden sand stretching along the warm Mediterranean waters, it’s the perfect place to sit at a sidewalk cafe and have a bit of the local sherry.
Not far away are the giant Ficus trees in the gardens near Playa la Caleta. These wider-than-your-arms-outstretched trees are like nothing you’ve ever seen in a botanical garden. Part of the Alameda Apocada waterfront park, there are also several beautiful tiled fountains in the area. Take a stroll along the stone pier and you’ll have memories for a lifetime.
There are other sites of natural beauty in and around Cadiz apart from the handsome population, that is. Not far from the city the Sierra de Grazalema natural park offers dozens of limestone cliffs, caves and over 50,000 acres of greenery to explore. The cliff walls tower 400m/1300ft above the Garganta Verde gorge and house a colony of vultures that are a must-see for any nature lover.
Cadiz is the perfect place in Andalucia to feel young, among sights that are as old as civilization itself.