The port of Cadiz is often billed by the cruise ships as the gateway to Seville – but don’t be too quick to dismiss this charming and atmospheric city merely as a route to the (admittedly fabulous) capital of southern Spain.
Cadiz is lovely cruise port! It inhabits a split of land surrounded almost completely by the sea, and is widely believed to be the oldest city in western Europe. This was the place where the first Spanish constitution was drawn up, it has both a thriving Old City and new town, a Roman Theatre and a fabulous museum that displays artefacts from the Phoenician, Greek and Roman periods of the city. The port of Cadiz is the home of the Spanish Navy and has a long history of dramatic sea battles (often with the British – you may remember ‘the singeing of the King of Spain’s beard from your school days!), but Cadiz was also the port for the Spanish treasure fleet sailing back from the New World. So – masses of history – both ancient and not quite so ancient!
There is a great open top bus that takes you around the new town and gives a good potted history – this stops right next to where the cruise ships dock. You can also walk very quickly into the old town and explore the narrow streets and large squares. The streets around the cathedral have great shops, with very competitive prices, and the people of Cadiz are friendly and helpful. This really is a gem of a city, and a great cruise ship destination in Europe – don’t miss it!