Very close to the waterfront, we soon encountered Castillo de San Marcos - one of the city's main tourist attractions. I stopped for a photo as we approached for a closer look (2nd photo) and four of the locals who were sitting there beside the walls gave me a wave when they realized they would be part of the scene.
This relic actually began life as a mosque in the 900s when Spain was under Moorish rule but was converted to a Christian church following the conquest of this part of Spain by King Alfonso X between 1257-1260. Because of its location on the coast of this important bay used by the Spanish fleet, it was later modified in ~1270 to become a fortress as well as a church, leading to it being referred to as a 'castle' What you see today are the result of extensive modern day renovations to the Gothic style main watch-tower and the eight defensive towers around its walls.
I reached up to try the knocker on its main gate (3rd photo) but was not able to get a response from within, so we continued our circular walk back to the ferry terminal because the time for departure was drawing near.
Because of breakfast, packing up and checking out of our hotel, we missed the 10 AM ferry from downtown El Puerto de Santa Maria to Cadiz by just a few minutes, meaning we then had an hour to fill in before the next departure. Fortunately, El Puerto itself is well worth a few hours of your time if you ever happen to be there!
It is a very clean and well-organized little city with nice open spaces such as these views of Plaza del Polvorita between the Guadalete River (where the ferry terminal is located) and the main downtown area. I loved the look of its Palm, Orange and Jacarada trees combined with the fact that there was not much happening on this winter Wednesday morning.
We consulted there over our city tourist map before heading off to see what else the city had to offer in close proximity.
This is a typical street scene of Vejer. As you can see all the buildings are painted white.
When the sun shines on the buildings they shine and dazzle you. It's incredible how clean and bright they look. The contrast against the brilliant blue sky makes it even more amazing.
Please check out my Vejer de la Frontera page for lots more info:
Take me to Vejer
Only 45mins from Cadiz city it is the home to Sherry. In fact Jerez (pronounced hehreth) means Sherry. The Muslims called the town Scheris and that is where we and the Spanish get she words sherry and Jerez from.
You can visit any number of the local bodegas (wine cellars), for example: Tio Pepe, Osborne, Terry's and may more. Though the biggest are Domecq (Calle San Ildefonso 3, phone:956151500) and Gonzalez Byass (c/ Manuel Gonzalez, Phone 956357000).
Of course it is also famous for its white horses! Why not visit the Real Escuela Andaluz del Arte Ecuestre, on Avenida Duque de Abrantes. Open from 11-1 most days.
Jerez has a pretty centre with lots of Plazas(squares) to enjoy a drink. It also has a lot of history to offer such as the Alcázar, which is a 12th century Muslim fortress near Plaza Arenal. It also includes Arabic baths and the Jerez eye (a type of camera from which you can see the city). Of course the Alcazar nothing like the Alhambra in Granada or the Mezquita in Cordoba.
Don't forget to check out the cathedral to if you've got some spare time.
You can visit my Jerez page for a little more info:
Take me to Jerez
Chipiona is a little white village on the Cádiz's coast. It's famous by 2 things: Rocío Jurado, the famous singer was born here, and its lighthouse, the most high lighthouse in Spain. There are many beaches in Chipiona, Regla is the most famous. In Summer, there are so people on Regla beach that it's very dificult to find some space to put your sunshade and your towel. If you prefer some beach less crowd, you should go to Camarón Beach or to Las 3 piedras Beach. The first, is very beautyful and funny to children because here's "Los corrales". They are some romans or arabs constructions to trap fish. Lot of people go fishing here and the children spend many hours trapping crabs. The other beach, Las 3 Piedras, is fantastic to swim and sunbathing. If you go to Chipiona, you must taste the Moscatel. Chipiona is Moscatel and Chameleon's land. Maybe you'll have the lucky of meeting a chameleon in the dunes!!! If you want to enjoy the nature, "El Pinar de Chipiona" is to 3 km from centre village. At night, you must go to the "Picoco" to drink and to dance with your friends. In February you'll enjoy very much if you go to the "Carnavales". You can get here by car, by plane, by ship and by train. The airport nearer is the International Jerez Airport to 42 km. The train leaves you in El Puerto de Sta. María to 29 km. And if u want come here in bus, there are 2 lines Los Amarillos and Linesur, according to the exit point. In Chipiona is usual the residential tourism so there are fews hotels. I recommend u Brasila Hotel ***. It's very near of the lighthouse, the beach, the centre, the bars and discos. It's very nice although some expensive. The price is around 93 € per night and person in summer. Any way, if u need more information, you can visit the webs: 3w.chipiona.org / 3w.chipiona.net / 3w.farodechipiona.es / 3w.carnavaldechipiona.com
I hope you have a good travel! See ya!!!
Roche is two things: A housing complex and a virtually untouched beach. You drive into the housing complex complete with it's own 'checkpoint'. Here you will find lots of posh houses and nothing much more. Keep on going to Las Calas de Roche where you will come across a pretty amazing little beach.
As you can see from the photos the surrounding area is pretty much untouched and to get to the beach you have to go down some pretty steep stairs along the orange rock face. The colours of the rocks and soil is great; kind of like being on Mars.
Here you can strip off completely and bring your dogs along for the day too.
Most people nestle among the huge rocks protruding from the sand .
Puerto Sherry is actually part of El Puerto de Santa Maria, yet due to it's distinct architecture it has a really different feel to it. It is located next to a marina that joins it to Playa La Puntilla, although it overlooks a small beach of it's own, La Muralla (the wall). This is from where Napoleon bombed Cadiz.
The buildings, as you can see from the photo are very colourful, they are all interestingly shaped too. I will see if I can sneak another photo that demonstrates this on the website.
This area, like Vistahermosa, El Ancla, Las Redes, El Aguila, Fuentebravia and Valdelagrana are the richer and more modern places in El Puerto. Some of the houses in these areas look like dolls houses.
For the best beaches try Puerto Sherry or Las Redes. The worst beach in the area is La Puntilla as it gets all the pollution from the ports at Cadiz and Puerto Real.
Puerto Sherry also has many bars, cafes and Ice-cream parlours. It makes a great place for an afternoon refreshment, looking out over the blue sea.
What can I tell you about this little town. Well I lived there for over three years and worked there for over four years. It is only a small town, though in the summer it gets packed with Spanish holiday makers from Madrid and Sevilla mainly.
El Puerto covers a surprisingly large area including Valdelagrana up to Fuentebravia. It has some wonderful beaches (see separate tip).
You can also visit the local Bodegas (wine cellars) which make up big part of this town and sample some of the local sherry or fino. Try Osborne (956 861600), Terry's (956542413) or Caballero's which is housed in a converted convent. They all offer guided tours.
There is also a really good castle which is a mix of different eras and cultures by Plaza Juan de la Cosa.
The photo shows the Iglesia Mayor (the main church) in Plaza España; it was built by the same person who built the original cathedral in Sevilla (the one that fell down!). The town museum can be found opposite the church. It is very small, but has some interesting pieces.
There are also some nice squares to relax in. Try Plaza Polverista or Plaza Isaac Peral in the centre.
For Family entertainment try Aquasherry a water park located just out of town heading towards Jerez.
Other than that the town doesn't really have anything else that stands out. Walk around the pretty old town and listen to the old Maria's shouting to each other!
Don't go in July or August because finding accommodation will be impossible, the beaches will be crowded and the small town roads will be jammed.
Look out for accommodation, restaurant tips and other info dotted around this page about El Puerto. Also visit my El Puerto web page for more details: Take me to El Puerto de Santa Maria
I probably should have put this tip under off the beaten track as I supose it is for strangers to the region; however as this place is not far from El Puerto de Santa María where I lived for over 4.5 years it doesn't seem so unusual to me.
I remember visiting a good archeological museum there which was free to enter. You can find out information in the tourist info. Otherwise it has a nice square where lots of old men with interesting noses sit and look out into the countryside.
It is another nice little white town which is worth a couple of hours of your time.
I am in a really bad mood in the photo below. Well I was a little sad upset that day, but it makes an interesting photo anyway. It was taken by Douglas Haines who is a fantastic photographer; I only wish he would practice more thesedays. This photo was actually in his reject pile (probably my fault).
How could I have forgotten about little Conil while I was writing Cadiz page. It has a reputation as being a German tourist destination, but there days many more foreign visitors are going, as the province of Cadiz gets more popular in general.
Conil is a small white town which is pretty enough, but was makes it out standing is it's wild unspoilt beach and great blue sea.
Pick your beach wise because there are family beaches or nudist beaches so make sure you read the signs before stepping foot on the beach to avoid any unpleasant surprises!
Vejer is situated in the hills of Cadiz it is called a Pueblo Blanco (White Village) and was built during the period when the moors controlled part of Spain. Therefore it has a North African feel to it. Only 10 or so years
ago the older women still dressed it the traditional black Arabic clothes covering their heads, arms, legs etc.
This village is stunning,wonderful and magical. A Must.
Many people know Ronda or Arcos, but to me Vejer is the best of the while villages.
If you are a surfer dude this is the place to come! Tarifa has beautiful unspoilt beaches but what makes it a main attraction for those surfer dudes is that it is constantly buffeted by wind! Whether it is Lavante or Poniente and even if it's perfectly calm in the rest of the province. Windiness of Tarifa is due to its location near the Gibraltar straights (where Atlantic meets Med).
If you are not a surfer this is also a great place to kite surf or simply fly a kite. It is also incredibly beautiful and has some great camp sites right behind the beach! It not necessarily windy enough to keep you off the beaches or from exploring the town. You can also go dolphin or whale spotting too(956 627008)!
A strange piece of info is that Tarifa town has a high suicide rate. Some put this down to the wind driving people crazy!
Anyway it is a pretty little town and good to walk around. Though I recommend forgetting the hotels in town and going for one of the really well equipped campsites beside the beach. You will see them easily from the road. keep a look out for: Rio Jara,Tarifa, Torre de la Peña and Paloma campsites.
Oh, you can see Morocco from Tarifa too!!
Bolonia basically consists of an absolutely unspoilt stunning beach and blue sea and Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia open from 10-8 Tuesday to Saturday during the summer and to 6 in the winter).
You really need a car to get here. There are a few hostels if you fancy staying. Remember camping on the beach is illegal, though if you fancy doing it just don't pitch a tent and sleep under the stars.
Arcos is a pretty little white town typical of Andalucia. It is set on top of a large orangey yellow cliff which makes for a breath taking sight. It only has a population of 28,000 (most of whom are elderly).
Though for its white renaissance buildings and cobbled streets it is well worth the visit. You should defiantly go to Plaza del Cabildo which has a mirador (viewpoint) where you can look out over the countryside. You often see Eagles flying around there too which is a great sight if you are a bird fan.
Unfortunately the 11th Century castle (Castillo de los Duques) is not open to the public, though Arcos does contain the usual churches, convents and monasteries to visit.
Arcos is also the home of the famous running of the bulls where bulls are set free in the street and ‘crazy’ people try and run away from them!!!! An interesting idea is it not? If you would like to be one of the daring people who take part, or just go to visit, it is held on the 29th September at the same time as the Feria (see my Feria tip located on my Spain Page).
This is a photo demonstrating the interesting look of the buildings at Puerto Sherry, El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz.
Though there are still some unfinished/not going to be finished houses in Puerto Sherry that mar the landscape a little. This is due to the construction laws. The lowest bid may get the constrution rights, but then they must sell the houses or flats first to finace the building work. If they run out of money that's it. If another company want's to take over, they have to pay the last company's debts. For this reason many skeletons of flats or houses litter the whole of Cádiz.