Cádiz and its Victoria Beach – best urban beach in Europe

Cádiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight that make up the autonomous community of Andalusia, Atlantic Ocean.

Cádiz, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, with archaeological remains dating to the 8th century BC, was founded by the Phoenicians. It has been a principal home port of the Spanish Navy since the accession of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century.

Situated on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea‚ Cádiz is, in most respects, a typically Andalusian city with well-preserved historical landmarks.

It’s a popular part of the Costa de la Luz of the Atlantic resorts of Spain.

Tourism and main attractions

One of Cádiz’s most famous landmarks is its cathedral. Unlike in many places, this cathedral, known locally as the “New Cathedral,” the Cathedral of Cádiz is officially the Cathedral de “Santa Cruz sobre el mar” or “Santa Cruz sobre las Aguas.” It was not built on the site of the original Cathedral de Santa Cruz. The original Cathedral of Santa Cruz was completed in 1263 at the behest of Alfonso X. The old cathedral burned in the Anglo-Dutch attack on the city in 1596.

Plaza de San Juan de Dios and the Old Town Hall: construction of this plaza began in the 15th century on lands reclaimed from the sea. With the demolition of the City walls in 1906 the plaza increased in size and a statue of the Cádiz politician Segismundo Moret was unveiled. Overlooking the plaza, the Ayuntamiento is the town hall of Cádiz’s Old City.

The Plaza de España is a large square close to the port. It is dominated by the Monument to the Constitution of 1812, which came into being as a consequence of the demolition of a portion of the old city wall. The plaza is an extension of the old Plazuela del Carbón.

Plaza de Falla and the Gran Teatro Falla (Falla Grand Theater): the original Gran Teatro was constructed in 1871 by the architect García del Alamo, and was destroyed by a fire in August 1881. The current theater was built between 1884 and 1905 over the remains of the previous Gran Teatro. The architect was Adolfo Morales de los Rios, and the overseer of construction was Juan Cabrera de la Torre.

In the 18th century, Cádiz had more than 160 towers from which local merchants could look out to sea to watch for arriving merchant ships from the New World. These towers often formed part of the merchants’ houses, but this particular tower was located on a high point in the city, 45 meters above sea level, and was chosen by the Navy as their official lookout in 1787 (after eliminating several other locations previously.) The Torre Tavira, was named for its original watchman, Don Antonio Tavira, a lieutenant in the Spanish Navy. Today it is the tallest of the towers of the cit6y.

The Casa del Almirante is a palatial house, adjacent to the Plaza San Martín in the Barrio del Pópulo, which was constructed in 1690 with the proceeds of the lucrative trade with the Americas. It was built by the family of the admiral of the Spanish treasure fleet, the so-called Fleet of the Indies, Don Diego de Barrios.

Situated within the confines of the walls which protect the flank of the port of Cádiz are three identical adjacent buildings: the Customs House, the House of Hiring and the Consulate. Of the three, the former had been erected first, built in a sober neo-classical style and of ample and balanced proportions. The works began in 1765 under the direction of Juan Caballero at a cost of 7,717,200 reales.

Palacio de Congresos: Cádiz’s refurbished tobacco factory offers international conference and trade-show facilities. Home to the third annual MAST Conference and trade-show (12 to 14 November 2008).

The Roman theatre was discovered in 1980, in the El Pópulo district, after a fire had destroyed some old warehouses, revealing a layer of construction that was judged to be the foundations of some medieval buildings; the foundations of these buildings had been built, in turn, upon much more ancient stones, hand-hewn limestone of a Roman character. Systematic excavations have revealed a largely intact Roman theatre.

La Pepa Bridge, officially “La Pepa” and also named the second bridge to Cádiz or new access to Cádiz. It opened 24 September 2015. It crosses the Bay of Cádiz linking Cádiz with Puerto Real in mainland Spain. It is the longest bridge in Spain.

The Pylons of Cádiz are electricity pylons of unusual design, one on either side of the Bay of Cádiz, used to support huge electric-power cables. The pylons are 158 meters high and designed for two circuits. The very unconventional construction consists of a narrow frustum steel framework with one crossbar at the top of each one for the insulators.

Full list of the monuments:

Civil architecture: 

Monument to the Constitution of 1812.
Tavira Tower.
City Hall.
Electricity Towers (Pilones de Cádiz).
Admiral’s House.
Customs Palace
Royal Jail


Castle of Santa Catalina
Castle of San Lorenzo del Puntal
Castle of San Sebastián.
Candelaria bastion.
Cadiz Museum.
Arch of the White.
Arch of the Rose.
Hospital of Our Lady of Carmen.
Torre Tavira II, also known as the Pirulí de Cádiz, is a 114 meter high communications tower.
Bridge of the Constitution of 1812.
Former National Tobacco Factory of Cádiz, current Conference and Exhibition Center.

Religious architecture

Cathedral of Santa Cruz de Cádiz.
Church of San Jose.
Oratory of the Holy Cave.
Church of Santa Cruz.
Oratory of San Felipe Neri.
Church of Carmen.


Church of San Lorenzo Mártir.
Royal Chapel of Our Lady of Pópulo.
Church of the Conversion of Saint Paul.
Conventual Church of Santo Domingo.
Chapel of the Divina Pastora.
Church of Santiago Apóstol.
Church of Our Lady of Mercy.
Chapel Sagrario de María Santísima de los Dolores.


Church of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Conventual Church of San Francisco Convent of San Francisco (Cádiz).
Church of Santo Tomás.
Chapel of Blessed Diego José de Cádiz.
Shrine of Mary Help of Christians Crowned.
Church of Our Lady of Pilar.
Conventual Church of Santa María.
Military Church of the Holy Guardian Angel.
Church of Our Lady of La Palma.


Convent of the Sisters of the Cross.
Hospital of Our Lady of Carmen.
La Piedad Monastery.
Monastery of the Stmo. Corpus Christi and San José.
Church of San Agustín.
Church of San Juan de Dios.
Church of Santa Catalina (Capuchins).


Church of Mary Reparatrix.
Church of San Severiano.
Chapel of Las Angustias (Caminito).
Church of San Servando and San Germán.

Beaches

All the beaches in Cádiz are urban, except for a section of approximately two kilometers from Cortadura beach. The sands of the beaches are fine and golden in color, although they show a siliceous nature. The beaches of Cádiz are:

La Caleta beach. The smallest beach in the entire city, and isolated from the rest. Its main attraction lies in its location, in the center of Cádiz. The people of Cadiz consider it one of the most emblematic places in their city, being a recurring theme in Carnival songs. It is defended by the Castles of San Sebastián and Santa Catalina.

Santa María del Mar beach (Playita de las Mujeres).

Victoria Beach. Best urban beach in Europe. It has an approximate length of 3 kilometers and has been receiving the blue flag continuously since 1987, it is also the first beach in Spain that also has the AENOR certification for great environmental management and that of the Q seal for Tourism Quality.

Cortadura Beach. The longest beach in Cádiz, 3.9 kilometers long.

Puntales beach. At present it is non-existent, but in the 90s it was considered a small urban beach and frequented by the residents of the city and, above all, those of the Puntales neighborhood.

Torregorda beach. The beach borders the Camposoto beach in San Fernando. It is the beach furthest from the urban center of the city and is quite dehumanized, despite the fact that some families live in the rural neighborhood of Torregorda next to the military installations, the Torregorda Test Center. The sands are golden and clean.

Cuisine and restaurants

The typical gastronomy of Cádiz includes stews and sweets typical of the region and typical of the city. As in all Andalusia, tapas stand out. Seafood products such as fried fish (which consists of frying a variety of floured fish in abundant olive oil that is consumed throughout the year), bienmesabe or dogfish in adobo, shellfish (cooked, grilled or fried), the moray in adobo sauce, the shrimp omelette, the roasted mackerel, and so on. Especially among the shellfish, the prawns, the coquinas, the muergos (or razor clams), the cañaillas, the lobster, the cockles, the spider crab, the shrimp and the prawns stand out.

There are four Michelin list restaurants in the city:

  • Código de Barra, San Francisco 7, 50 – 60 EUR • Modern Cuisine
  • Sonámbulo, Plaza Candelaria 12, 15 – 40 EUR • Fusion
  • Contraseña, Plaza Candelaria 12, 28 – 42 EUR • Modern Cuisine, Traditional Cuisine
  • La Curiosidad de Mauro Barreiro, Veedor 10, 20 – 50 EUR • Modern Cuisine

Shopping

The city’s old town is like an open-air shopping mall. Its streets are lined with endless shops and stores of every kind: shoes, cosmetics, clothes, toys, handicrafts, etc. The best place to start is in Plaza San Juan de Dios, next to the Town Hall.

How to get to?

Cádiz is connected to European route E5 which connects it with Seville, Cordoba and Madrid to the North and Algeciras to the South East

The city is served by Jerez Airport, which is approximately 40 km (25 mi) north of the city centre.

Cádiz railway station is located just outside the old town. It offers regional and national services. The connection to the Madrid-Seville high-speed rail line was finished in 2015 after 14 years of construction, which extends the high speed Alvia trains to the city. Local services make the outskirts and regional destinations accessible along the line to Jerez and Seville.

Distances by car from main cities of Andalusia:

From Seville 1 hr 18 min (121 km), via AP-4

From Malaga 2 hr 41 min (235 km) via AP-7 and A-381

From Almeria 4 hr 26 min (436 km) via A-7

From Granada 3 hr 22 min (292 km) via A-92

From Jaen 3 hr 41 min (371 km) via A-4

From Huelva 2 hr 6 min (210 km) via A-49 and AP-4

Main information

Area: 12 sq. km (municipality)

Coordinates: 36°32′06″N 6°17′51″W

Population: 115 439

Languages: Spanish

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

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