Cádiz, Province and City
Even though I spend a lot of time in this part of the world, there are still many places I haven’t visited yet. Each of the provinces has a feel of its own so I enjoy jumping in a car and heading off in a random direction. A few months ago, we drove through the southwestern corner of the country to the city of Cádiz. Strangely, there aren’t a lot of tourists in this part of Spain despite plenty of coastline. Those who do make the trip, though, will find landscapes that stretch from beaches to rugged cliffs, Spain’s famed sherry, and some of the best food I’ve come across while living in my adopted country.
This region is dotted with stunning white villages and makes for an interesting stop, be it for a couple of hours or a couple of days. Vejer de la Frontera, one of the prettiest in the area, blew us away with delicious dinners and an endless sea of blocky white buildings that were so bright they were difficult to look at in the sun.
Restaurants like this are a common sight in Andalucía. This one perfectly captured the things the southern Spanish hold dear: cured ham, music, and bullfighting. Regardless of your position on bullfighting, tradition reigns here and the men and women who step into the ring are some of the most revered in the country.
Can you name the musician in the black and white photo over my right shoulder? It’s Paco de Lucía, one of my favorite Spanish classical guitarists. I knew I’d found my people when we stopped here.
Cádiz is said to be the oldest city that’s still standing in western Europe, founded by the Phoenicians in the 12th century. Today it’s a lively spot with flamenco, breezy plazas, and one of the best carnivals in all of Spain.
The Sherry Triangle, a wine region in Cádiz, is the only place in the world where sherry is produced. My advice is to find a sunny table and pair whatever sherry the waiter recommends with some just-off-the-boat seafood.
I always take time to explore the local markets, and Cádiz has some of the most interesting fishmongers I’ve ever seen. I would have bet good money that you couldn’t make a living by selling just fish faces.
Next time I visit the province of Cádiz, I’m going to take my bike. This region has a series of Via Verdes—designated routes that wind through mountain passes, green landscapes, and tiny villages. I’m convinced that getting out of the car is critical to experiencing the people, traditions, and pueblos that make this part of Spain so special.