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Situated on Spain’s south-west coast, Cadiz offers a very different account of the country and its history to some of the bigger cities and Mediterranean resorts. Located as close as it is to Spain’s southernmost tip, the Andalucian city has a distinctive flavour as a result of the combined Mediterranean and North African influences that have exerted themselves on it. It is unsurprising, as Cadiz was under Moorish rules from 711 until 1262. Even the name, Cadiz, comes from the Arabic Qadis.

Tavira Tower
Tavira Tower

Because of its location on Spain’s western coast, it is possible to sail there directly on Southampton cruises, and the unique Moorish spires are likely to be the first impression you have of the city as you approach its port. If you’re interested in discovering the hidden gems of this hidden city, get booking –  MSC Cruises offers excursions to Cadiz from the UK. Once you’ve done that, the next thing to do is figure out what you want to see when you get there. So read on for our list of some of its best attractions.

Tavira Tower

The historical beauty of Cadiz is such that you can spend an age exploring every inch of the old city. To truly take in its majesty, a trip to the top of  Tavira Tower is in order. In a city famed for its watchtowers, this is the most impressive – located in the centre of the old city and climbing 45 metres above sea level. From the top, it is possible to gaze upon an unhindered panorama of the city and its surrounding ocean. This would have been useful in the 18th century, when Cadiz was one of the most important trading cities, with ships approaching from all directions. Today, the tower also contains a camera obscura, for a unique look at what’s going on in the city.

San Sebastian and Santa Catalina

To get a sense of Cadiz’s charms, check out . The imposing fortress is situated at one end of the beautiful and sandy La Caleta, a beach right in the historical centre of the city. This is a site that has been of great importance to various empires over the centuries, including the Phoenicians, the Romans and the Carthaginians.

The approach walk up the beach is certainly a worthy activity on any trip to Cadiz. The castle itself is situated on an islet and was built in the early 1700s atop a Muslim tower, which was itself said to have been constructed over an ancient temple to the Greek titan Kronos. Thanks to its location on the sea, the castle also serves as a lighthouse at night. Head down the beach in the other direction and you’ll come upon another castle, Santa Catalina, a fortress positioned on a rocky outcrop that extends into the sea. Although it once served as a military prison, today the castle houses a museum.

Cadiz Cathedral

Built during the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Cathedral de Santa Cruz de Cadiz is situated in the Plaza de la Cathedral, along with the baroque Santiago Church, which was built in the 1600s. Because the cathedral was built over such a long period of time, it actually incorporates several different architectural styles, including baroque, rococo and neo-classical. Visitors can climb Poniente Tower for some amazing panoramas of the city.

 

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