Cadiz is on a small peninsular in the south of Spain. It is reputed to be the oldest city in Europe. Approaching it on a cruise ship is a wonderful experience as the skyline with the gold domed cathedral and the city walls is breathtaking as well as distinctive.
This city of Cadiz is virtually totally surrounded by water and at only about 1.5km long and just over 0.5km wide it is very easy to explore on foot and there is little chance of getting lost.
The starting point for our explorations was the Plaza de Espana, this attractive square houses the impressive monument to the liberal assembly with benches and beautiful planting. Heading north then leads straight to the sea. It immediately becomes apparent that Cadiz is an extraordinary city. The area beteen the road and the sea front is lines with the most amazing gardens that are abound with fountains, amazing mosaics, pergolas dripping with bougainvillea and statues. Everyeher you look there are further pathways and since we visied in the height of smmer the speckled shade and tinkling water offered a delightful relief from the heat.
Following the Alameda de Apodaca leads to what is called the coastal walking path, here you find yourself walking around the edge of the old city, the white and pink painted buildings and narrow streets cry out for exploration and there are plenty of street cafes to offer refreshment. Eventually you will reach the Parques Genoves which is another elaborate area of planting and decoration and this also contains a small children’s play area to entertain the young ones. Here you will come across the two fortresses that guarded the city from attack from the sea, you can see Las Puertas de Tierra which was originally the only entrance to the old city and was built in the 16th century. The original city walls are evident all around and are another reason that you cannot get lost, just keep them within sight and you can orientate yourself.
The area around the fortresses is where you will find Caleta Beach. This expanse of golden sand is beautiful and it also has the advantage of some rock pools to explore when you have had enough of sitting in the sun. You can walk along the raised roadway towards one of the fortresses but be aware that cars do use this and it is very narrow so be prepared to sit on the walls as vehicles pass you. The water here is actually the Atlantic Ocean so although it is alright for swimming it is not as warm as the Mediterranean.
Approaching the city the dome of the cathedral is eye-catching but once you are amongst the winding streets it becomes more difficult to locate. Following the coastline will eventually lead you to the magnificent Iglesia de Santa Cruz. From the outside the golden dome cannot really be seen but the imposing frontage is certainly worth the trip. The plaza in front of the Cathedral is huge and is buzzing with music, street cafes and shops and is a wonderful place to rest and people watch. From here it is best to turn inwards towards the old town and explore the crowded streets packed with interesting shops, otherwise you end up in the more modern and not particularly attractive end of Cadiz that is attached to the mainland.
Cadiz is truly a delightful city to explore and the fact that it is small, flat and enclosed makes it easy for the tourist to get around. There are maps everywhere and there are various walking routes that have different coloured lines on the pavement to help you discover more and the locals are extremely friendly to tourists.