The province of Cadiz is located in southern Spain in the region of Andalucía. In this province you can find the appropriately named Costa de la Luz (‘Coast of Light’), but it’s not just the coastline that soaked in light – the whole province is bathed in the stuff. Pretty little pueblos blancos (whitewashed towns) feel as though they have been bleached by the intense Andalucían sun – blue skies seem to stretch on forever, clothing the province in rich golds and purples at dusk.
With all this sun, the province generally enjoys a warm, Mediterranean climate. However, there are some significant differences depending on where you are. For example, the city of Cadiz is generally hot, with mild or warm winters, whereas the town of Tarifa is much cooler, especially given its southerly location. Wherever you are in the province, one thing you can be sure of is plenty of sun – at least 300 days worth annually.
The pace of life around here is generally laid back; much of the province seems relatively untouched by the modern, high-rise developments found in other parts of Spain. Rich history and culture seasons the cities and towns with casual abandon; Flamenco echoes full-throated from shops, bars, and taxis; ancient ruins pepper the province. Its most important export – sherry – flows abundantly through pretty coastal towns.
The oldest city in Europe was discovered here, just beneath Cadiz city’s old centre, which itself oozes atmosphere and a kind of faded grandeur reminiscent of Naples. Explore the mountains, fields, forests, salt flats and beaches between the province’s cities and towns and you will find they are strikingly beautiful, elemental, and for the most part, empty. For all its rich history, culture and landscape, the province of Cadiz is a hidden gem which remains relatively undiscovered by tourists.
However, don’t confuse the lack of tourists and relaxed, easy-going way of life for a lack of action – there’s plenty. Go windsurfing on the Campo de Gibraltar, kitesurfing in Tarifa or try hiking, mountaineering, potholing and rock climbing at the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and the Alcornocales Natural Park. For sensual delights, head to the bohemian city of Jerez for one of its many festivals, where you can also experience Flamenco in intimate style in cosy peñas (social clubs) and tabancos (old style bars). If you love food, follow your nose along the unofficial “golden mile of gastronomy”, where you are likely to be tempted off the street by the smell of pescaíto frito (platters of fried fish), freshly caught from the nearby Mediterranean sea. Jerez is the wine-capital of Andalucía, so when you are done you can wash it all down with some delicious local sherry or wine – after all, it would be rude not to…