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A land of gleaming sands around one of Europe’s oldest cities, sweeping open plains, and rugged mountains marks the scenery around Spain’s southern coast. Between the Atlantic beaches, Moorish landmarks, and whitewashed villages, the land holds relics dating back to the ancient Phoenicians and fortresses that date back to the height of the Spanish Empire, not to mention some warm waves and terrific views of the ocean. You can find plenty of opportunity if you’re looking for things to do in Cadiz, with great food, spectacular sights, and plenty of stories to learn.
The province of Cadiz stretches from the Guadalquivir River to the Rock of Gibraltar, including the southern tip of continental Europe. Its interior features open plains that bound the cliffs and beaches on the Gulf of Cadiz, with natural parks hosting a rising series of mountains to the east.
Centered on the body of water that hosts the province’s namesake, capital, and most famous city, this patch of coast is divided between farmland, historic cities, and sheltered, sandy beaches. Cadiz itself stands on a narrow strip of land with tightly packed houses and narrow streets, and a string of smaller villages line the bay with marinas and beachfront resorts.
This strip of open countryside dotted by palm trees and rolling hills is a perfect example of the Spanish interior’s pastoral charm. The area includes the little town of San José del Valle along with Jerez, the province’s largest city, which has a trove of grand Gothic monuments along with the old Moorish alcazar and the motorcycle racing track of the Circuito de Jerez.
Reaching just to the north of the famous British enclave and peninsular fortress, this swath of rural hinterland is home to a range of low mountains that run down to the mouth of the Mediterranean. The town of La Línea de la Concepción stands just north of the Rock, and together with Tarifa to the southwest makes one of the only places in Europe with a view of Africa’s northern coast.
As the boundary between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, Cadiz hosts a trove of spectacular scenery and heritage dating back more than 3,000 years. Pay a visit to the Old Town for a look over the city from the 17th-century watchtower of Torre Tavira, and browse the vendors set up around the nearby Central Market. The sands and small boats of La Caleta Beach rest between a pair of old fortresses that date back to the height of the Spanish Empire, and you can walk along the levee that connects the mainland to the Fortress of San Sebastian standing over the sea.
Cadiz’s location puts you close to a whole range of attractions. The quickest way to explore the city is to pick up a pass for a hop-on hop-off bus tour that offers an easy ride to some favorite spots. You can try out some of the city’s cuisine on a tapas and wine tasting tour, get a unique vision of the city within the Camera Obscura in Tavira Tower, or hit the waves with a surfing lesson.
A little farther afield, you can find the rich stylings of a flamenco show in Jerez or spend a day touring the iconic White Towns of Andalusia. Take a trip to Gibraltar for a private tour that shows off some of its most famous sights, or head into the Strait on a cruise to see the dolphins who hang around the Rock.