48 hours at the Bay of Cádiz
Cádiz - El Puerto de Santa María
Spend the day visiting Cadiz, the oldest city in Western Europe yet the one that is most reminiscent of Latin America and often compared to Havana, was founded by the Phoenicians over 3000 years ago.
In the morning
Start the day with a hearty breakfast of “churros” and a cup of hot chocolate/coffee at one of the bars near the Market, before:
- Visiting the Mercado de abastos, the food market. This is a feast for your senses and you can wander through the market and enjoy the banter between the local residents and stall holders, a people-watching experience par excellence. The market is also the ideal showcase to discover the huge variety of fish and seafood from the Bay.
- Then stroll through the old town: make your way to the Cathedral from the market, and take time to visit the Cathedral Museum, or climb up the Poniente Tower to enjoy the views over the city. A real must is to spend time at the Bishop's House (Casa del Obispo), the archaeological site next to the Cathedral, where you can discover the many civilisations and cultures who have passed through the city. The same neighbourhood, the medieval El Pópulo district and the city's oldest, is home to the Santa Cruz Church or the old Cathedral in the Baroque style and the second largest Roman theatre in Spain.
- Go up the Tavira Tower a typical watchtower from the colonial era to be found in the houses of the merchants and the cargadores de Indias , as the merchants who traded with the New World were known. Currently, around 100 watchtowers remain around the city: the House of the Five Towers (Casa de las Cinco Torres), the House of the Four Towers (Casa de las Cuatro Torres) and the tower known as the Bella Escondida.Tavira Tower can be visited and has a camera obscura where you can watch live images of the city in real time. As you make your way through the old town you will come across many mansions and palaces from the 18th and 19th centuries: Casa de las Cadenas (House of Chains) and those belonging to the Admiral (Casa del Almirante), to the Mora family (Palacio de Mora) and the Aramburu family (Casa Aramburu, etc.)
- The Cadiz Cortes Museum, is within easy reach of the Tavira Tower and its main feature is a mahogany and ivory model of Cadiz in the 18th century. The adjacent building is the San Felipe Neri Oratory. The 1812 Spanish Constitution was proclaimed here, there is a prized painting of the Virgin Mary, "La Inmaculada", by Murillo.We recommend taking time to do the Bicentenary Route, and visiting the 1812 Bicentenary Interpretation Centre at Oratorio San Felipe Neri, where further information is available.
- Cadiz Museum, in Plaza de Mina square, is also worth visiting. Among its artistic works, it boasts one of the largest collections of Phoenician art with 2 sarcophaguses in the world, Roman art... along with paintings by Zurbarán.Also Iberoamerica Museum and ECCO.
For lunch: Cadiz's varied cuisine is based on fish and seafood, which can be enjoyed at the city's many bars and restaurants. If your visit is in November, you should try out the Gastronomy Route. A Gourmet Guide to the province can be downloaded at the link.
In the afternoon
- Stroll through the streets and squares where you can see some of the convents linked to the New World, such as the one of Santo Domingo, of San Francisco, etc.
- Visit the Santa Cueva Oratory where you see the frescos painted by Goya. In this oratory, Joseph Haydn, the Baroque composer, was inspired to compose a commission for Good Friday "The Oratory of the 7 Last Words of Christ .
- From here, make your way to Plaza de España, the square where you can see the Monument to the Cadiz Cortes that was erected in 1912 to commemorate the first Centenary of the 1812 Spanish Constitution, and whose Bicentenary we celebrated in 2012 with a large range of cultural activities. The Neo-classical Provincial Council Building, which was the former Customs Building, overlooks the square.
- Wander along the walled complex next to sea around the old town. The route will take you through charming parks such as the Alameda, the Parque Genovés, and past defensive bastions until you reach La Caleta, a small beach right in the seafaring and popular neighbourhood of La Viña, and the cradle of the Cadiz Carnival. It is also home to two magnificent castles, Santa Catalina and San Sebastian (16th and 17th centuries), and an ancient spa from the early 19th century, which is now an Underwater Archaeological Centre. The nearby bars, such as La Quilla, are the ideal spot to watch the sunset over one of the city's most iconic spots.
- In winter, you can linger over a drink in one of the lively bars, listen to live music in the Pay Pay bar, jazz music in El Cambalache or latin music in Habana Club. If Flamenco is what you are after, we recommend going to the Taberna La Cava. In summer, the night life moves to the beach, with open-air concerts or just chilling out at the different chiringuitos or beach bars.
The cultural highlights of the year are: Cadiz Carnival (February-march), Holy Week (spring) , Flamenco shows on Thursdays in July and August, the Autumn-Winter Festivals: the Alcances film festival (September), the Ibero-American Drama Festival (FIT-October), the Spanish Music Festival (November), etc.
Spend the morning visiting El Puerto, which is the birthplace of Rafael Alberti the poet and you can visit his house-museum. The city played a key role in maritime history and many of its sailors were on the different expeditions to discover the Americas. Juan de la Cosa, the cartographer and navigator on the Santa Maria carrack, drew the first mappa mundi to include the Americas in 1500.
In the morning
- Spend the time discovering the city on foot: San Marcos Castle (10th to 15th centuries), the former Arab mosque was converted into a magnificent fort; the old fish market, the Priory Church (Iglesia Mayor Prioral and its streets still boast some of the Baroque mansions belonging to the Shippers to the Indies: The Vizarrón or Chains Palace, Purullena Palace, the Roque Aguado Palce, etc...The gothic 16th century La Victoria Monastery is on the outskirts of the old town
- Have lunch at one of the bars or restaurant serving fish and seafood from the bay along the Ribera del Marisco and surrounding streets to taste the typical local cuisine
In the afternoon
- A must-do in the afternoon is to visit the Bodegas Osborne a winery that is famous for having the most popular symbol in the world, the Osborne Bull. This city is famous for its sherry making, reflected in its luxurious building and pedigree wineries, of the ilk of Terry, Caballero given the city's heyday in the 16th-17th centuries. El Puerto has some beautiful beaches, which are ideal for watersport activities. Puerto Sherry is a magnificent marina and leisure centre, along with hotels overlooking the Bay of Cadiz.
Other recommended activities:
Enjoy a trip flying over the Bay in a light aircraft. Aeroclub Jerez
Comedy Theatre Festival - August
Flamenco festivals - summer
Sherry and Spring Fair - April-May
| El Parque Natural Bahía de Cádiz y su paisaje cambiante al ritmo de las mareas.
|| Bahía de Cádiz.