When planning extra travel around Spain, most students here in Granada go for the big cities like Barcelona or Santiago de Compostela. If they’re looking for places closer to home, Sevilla or Málaga get the most visits because those are naturally the cities they’ve heard the most about. However, one city that often gets overlooked is Cádiz, which resides in the southwest corner of the autonomous community of Andalusia. Here are a few reasons why it should be higher up on your “Places to Visit” list.
- It includes the benefits of an island without the hassle of booking a ferry trip. Seriously, the peninsula it calls home seems to only need one big tsunami in order to become an island. Many residents refer to it as a lollipop for the disproportionate size of the city compared to the strip of land that connects it to the rest of the country.
- It’s easy to get around. Once you get to the casco antiguo (old town), you can get anywhere within it by walking. In fact, you can walk the entire tip of the “lollipop” within an hour.
- It’s the oldest city in occidental Europe. It has the greatest mixture of cultures because it was founded by the Phoenicians and then consequently conquered by the Romans, Visigoths, Byzantines, Muslims, and finally the Christians. The architecture is a mess but it’s the most interesting mess you’ll ever lay eyes on. For example, there’s a Roman theater right next to a small museum that houses a Phoenician sarcophagus.
- It’s safe and friendly. The streets are as narrow and dark as any in Spain but the people are friendly and there is a very low crime rate, especially in the casco antiguo. I walked around by myself in the early morning to find a good spot to camp out and see the sunrise and I never felt in danger though I passed a lot of people also starting their Sunday mornings early.
- It’s not rife with tourism. Sure, it’s a port for cruise ships and it has a healthy tourism economy, but the city is is often overlooked as a destination, especially in the off season. Make it one of your priorities and you’ll find that hostels are cheap and easy to come by, touristic sites are not packed with people, and the atmosphere is relaxed and unhurried.
When my friend suggested Cádiz as one of our own personal trips, I was highly skeptical. However, I’m glad she pressed us into going because it was one of the most intriguing and yet relaxing trips I’ve ever taken. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a weekend trip in the south of Spain!
Want to read more from Elizabeth? Check out “4 Essential Items to Pack for Study Abroad in Spain”