With 300 days of guaranteed sunshine a year, it’s no wonder Cadiz’s golden coast is known as Costa de la Luz, which translates to ‘Coast of Light’. The region is located on the western side of Spain’s south, an Andalusian paradise bursting with understated charm. Neighbouring regions like Seville and Granada may be better at self-promotion, but it’s precisely Cadiz’s laid-back vibe and relatively isolated location that make it so special.
The city feels and looks a lot like the Spain of old, with cobbled streets, faded pastel facades and sleepy open squares. Wonder around the city and you’ll learn about its tumultuous past; the Mudejar architecture speaks of Muslim heritage even after the Moors were defeated and the cathedral and Churches of Santa Cruz still bear the marks of the British attack on the port. Despite the city’s history, there is nothing unwelcoming about holidays to Cadiz today. Head south and you’ll find an array of vibrant beach resorts perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying watersports.
Many surfers travel to Costa de la Luz to catch some waves in Cadiz and Tarifa, while the Atlantic Ocean gives Cadiz a rich and distinct marine life – you can even go whale watching. Yet, despite the Atlantic, Cadiz is Mediterranean at heart, a fact best-proved through its cuisine.
Donata National Park
Nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts are spoilt for choice with Cadiz’s wealth of natural parks and reserves. This one is a lynx and migratory bird hotspot.
Castle of Santa Catalina
This epic fortress was built in the 17th century and, along with superb sea views, it showcases local artists’ work in regular exhibitions.
Cadiz old town
Step through the city gates and explore ancient neighbourhoods like La Vina, the old fishing district, and El Popula, the hypnotic gypsy quarter.