ROL Cruise recommends…
A wealth of history
Ancient Cádiz has long been a sought after location. Founded by the Phoenicians in 1,100BC, it has seen the rise and fall of the Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths and Moors, as well as a raid by Sir Francis Drake and a siege by Napoleon's army. Thought to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe, it was also the port from which Christopher Columbus departed on his 1493 voyage to establish permanent colonies in the New World.
Fascinating titbits of this rich history make themselves apparent as you explore the characterful old town centre. Narrow, cobbled streets lead you past towering, weathered homes and towards light-filled plazas where handsome churches and fresh orange trees are waiting to welcome enchanted visitors.
In Plaza de la Catedral is one of Cádiz's most famous landmarks. Built on the site of an older cathedral, Cádiz Cathedral took 116 years to complete, meaning its reconstruction transcended architects. As a result, the imposing and exquisitely carved edifice is mostly Baroque, yet includes Rococo and Neoclassical elements. Its golden cupola looms high above the houses, sharing the skyline with the Torre Tavira watchtower, which projects panoramic city views onto a concave disc through a camera obscura.
El Pópulo district
The El Pópulo district boasts the partially excavated remains of a Roman theatre that was discovered in 1980 following a fire, while the Monument of the Constitution of 1812 commemorates the liberation of Spain. Older artefacts can also be found in the local museums and galleries.
Modern Cádiz and beyond
Beyond the Puertas de Tierra (main gates) is modern Cádiz, where the roads and walkways widen, buildings become more minimalist and exotic plants flourish in the numerous parks.
Further afield is scenic Seville, where visitors can admire the intricate filigree stonework and lavish decoration of St Mary of the See Cathedral, Europe’s largest Gothic building. Wildlife fans can also take a tour to Doñana National Park, a World Heritage Site where almost 300 species of birds may be sighted annually.