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  Spain Travel Guide
Cadiz Tourist Information   by Gary Cotter

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The historic city of Cadiz is situated on the end of a narrow, rocky peninsular jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. According to legend Cadiz was founded by Hercules, although in reality the Phoenicians first established a settlement here around 1100BC, making this one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. The Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors all came and went, but it was not until the 18th century that Cadiz enjoyed its greatest period of wealth when it became an important centre for trade with the New World. Many of the town's fine neo-classical buildings were built during this time.

Today, this busy port has a compact old town centre dominated by the distinctive yellow dome of the Nueva Catedral. Construction of this Baroque-style cathedral was started in 1722 but funds soon started to run low and the building was not finally completed until 1853. The crypt contains the tomb of the great composer Manuel de Falla. Next to Falla's birthplace in the Plaza de la Mina is the Cadiz Museum. Arranged over three floors, the museum contains a fine collection of paintings including works by Zurbaran, Rubens and Murillo. There's also a display of ancient Roman, Greek and Phoenician artifacts that have been excavated in the province. Another important museum is the Museo de las Cortes de Cadiz, which traces the story of the town's unsuccessful attempt to establish a democratic constitution in 1812 while Spain was at war with France.

The main beach in Cadiz, Playa de la Caleta, is situated next to the Barrio de la Vina district of the old town. It's particularly beautiful at night when the enormous dragon trees are floodlit. The beach was used as the location for one of the James Bond films in which Halle Berry emerges Ursula Andress-like from the sea. Playa de la Caleta can get very crowded in the high season, so the large Playa de la Victoria beach is a better option if you want to do a spot of sunbathing. Nightlife in the town is not particularly exciting; most of the action takes place within the bars and discos located near the harbour.

Cadiz is famous for its February carnival, regarded as one of the biggest and best on the Spanish mainland. Many of the locals spend months preparing their costumes for this 10-day extravaganza, which is marked by a series of parades, concerts, processions and fancy-dress competitions. The carnival attracts revelers from across Andalucia, so accommodation is usually booked up well in advance for this event.

Cadiz train station is at the Plaza de Sevilla just a short distance from the city's main square, Plaza San Juan de Dios. There are frequent trains to Seville, Jerez de la Frontera and the nearby town of El Puerto de Santa Maria.

The Amarillos bus company operates regular services to the resorts of Chipiona, Sanlucar and El Puerto from Avenida Ramon de Carranza, while Comes runs long-distance coaches to Seville, Algeciras, Granada and Cordoba from the bus station at Plaza de la Hispanidad.
 
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Latest update: May 11, 2012