Getting from El Puerto de Santa Maria to Cadiz by car looked like a big hassle with traffic to reach the city via either the bridge over Bahia de Cadiz or up the congested motorway along the long peninsula on which the city is built - not to mention parking issues. As a result, we decided to just leave our car dock-side at El Puerto and take one of the modern ferries on its short run across the bay.
With a population of about one million in the greater Cadiz area, and with 100,000 of those living in El Puerto, the European Metropolitan Transport Authorities decided that it was time for a ferry service to help relieve road traffic. This service went into operation in the summer of 2006 using two catamaran ferries with a traffic target of 480,000 trips per year. It proved successful and a third ferry was added to include passage to Rota (the large joint Spanish/American naval base just up the Bahia from El Puerto). The local company running the ferries is called Consorcio de Transportes Bahía de Cádiz.
We found the service to be efficient and very modern, with departures from both El Puerto and Cadiz every half-hour during the busy morning and late-afternoon periods. This view of one of the catamaran ferries leaving El Puerto on the River Guadalete was taken just before 6 PM as the sun was beginning to dip. We returned in the morning to try it out for ourselves!
Africa is not very far from Cadiz. You have to head south towards Tarifa or Algeciras(2 hours) and then take a ferry to cross the Gibraltar Strait. In the photo you can see how close is Africa from Spain.
For ferries to Morocco, you can take them from Algeciras to Ceuta, or from Tarifa to Tanger.
There is a very pleasant way to visit El Puerto de Santa María, a little town in the other side of the bay. This new hidrofoil takes you there in just 15 minutes for 4.20 Euros (return ticket).
For schedules, ask at the Cadiz Information Desk. The boat leaves from the left side of the harbour (Estacion Maritima).
There is a direct boat to Canary Islands from Cadiz. It leaves Cadiz every tuesday at 19:00, arriving at:
- Las Plamas de GC at 9:00 next thursday.
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife at 11:00 that thursday.
- Sta. Cruz de la Palma at 8:00 on friday.
Leaves from the main harbour, near Plaza de España.