Cadiz is a cultural gem. reputed to be Europe's oldest city. It is steeped in history, naval history. Cadiz has beautiful squares, old winding streets full of atmosphere and walks along the old city sea walls. It has an unique position at the end of an isthmus. On its approach there are sandy beaches on one side and the famous Bay of Cadiz on the other.
Cadiz’ geographical position is exceptional, surrounded on three sides by water. It is set on a promontory, at the end of a sand-spit, where the isthmus is flanked on one side by lengthy sandy beaches and dunes and on the other side by the Bay of Cadiz. Strolling along the city walls and around the outskirts of the city is a memorable experience because the sea is ever-present. Its unique position affords magnificent sunsets. Robert Browning wrote:
‘Sunset ran, one glorious blood-red, reeking into Cadiz Bay’.
(from the poem ‘Home Thoughts, from the Sea).
Cadiz as a beautiful bay, ancient walls, elegant squares and parks, an impressive cathedral, theatre and an old quarter full of atmospheric narrow streets to wander through. It also has plenty of shops and restaurants, together with broad, sandy beaches eg Playa Victoria.
Plaza in Cadiz
Naval history is an intrinsic part of Cadiz. Sir Francis Drake sacked Cadiz in 1587, hence the expression ‘singeing the King of Spain’s beard’. The Spanish Armada sailed out of Cadiz, led by the Duke of Medina Sidonia. The Spanish and French fleets sailed from Cadiz to engage in the famous ‘Battle of Trafalgar’.
Sea walls of Cadiz - along which you can walk
Laurie Lee described Cadiz as:
‘a scribble of white on a sheet of blue glass, sparkling in the African light’.
Hugh Cornwell, of ‘The Stranglers ‘ group ,on his album ‘Beyond Elysian Fields’writes: ‘I can’t imagine what the world would be like without her sunset to brighten up the sky. Walked down her streets and the cool shadows in which I lingered before bursting into light.Opened her door I was beckoned inside into a fairy tale I climbed up to her heights’. (track ‘Cadiz’)