The only expectation I had of Cadiz was to sit at the same bar as James Bond did in the movie Die Another Day and sip on a Vodka Martini while Carina, wearing a bikini, comes walking towards me after taking a dip at La Caleta below the bar. Unfortunately, it was not fulfilled. But Cadiz had so much more to offer that we would love to return there another time.
Cadiz is located at the northern end of a long sandbar in the delta where the Guadalete and Rio de San Pedro rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean a short distance south of Seville. The guest harbor we chose to stay in, is at 1 on the map. The orange lines are the bike paths and boardwalks we used when we were there.
- Guest harbor
- Park with big trees
- La Caleta
- The old town by the southern city wall
- The 4 km long promenade along the beach that continues 12 km to the south
Since the marina is located some distance from the city, we use our bikes and then we are in the center in 5 minutes. There is a promenade along the water all the way from the marina to the old fortress on the north side of La Caleta.
The big trees
Just before reaching the old fort, there is a park, Jardines de la Alameda Hermanas Carvia Bernal y Clara Campoamor (yes, the park has such a long name), where two large rubber trees grow. The trees were planted around the beginning of the last century and are just over 100 years old. There is also a nice park sofa, it is quiet, here, with a nice view of the water up to the mainland on the other side of the Bay of Cadiz. It is a pity that the sofa is quite uncomfortable and cold to sit on.
The bay of La Caleta is surrounded by forts on both sides and the northern fort, Castillo de Catalina, has been refurbished and is used as an exhibition space for art and history. When we were here, they had an exhibition about a major catastrophe that happened here in 1947. It was the equivalent of 200 tons of TNT, in an old warehouse with mines and torpedoes from World War II, that exploded. It’s a bit like the big explosion that took place in Beirut 2020.
La Caleta has a fine sandy beach and in the middle of it is an old SPA facility, Balnearo de Nuestra Señora de La Palma y del Real, which was used as a bar during the filming of the Bond film Die Another Day. When we were there it was closed, and the possibility of a vodka martini at this classic beach disappeared. On the right side of the bay, there is a bar/restaurant down by the boat pick-up. Here it was always crowded every afternoon it was sunny and it was no problem to order something to drink even if there were no free tables. It would be perfectly okay to say that you were sitting on the wall somewhere and then they got there with the order.
When we were going into the center, we cycled towards the cruise port and parked the bikes in the Plaza de España where there is a large bicycle parking or rather mopeds. In the far corner, there were some bike racks where we could lock our bikes.
We think it’s fun to get to know cities by walking the streets and just looking at all the buildings, shops and people. If you have a map at hand, it is a good way to learn how to find your way around a city. There are as many restaurants and bars as you like. Even if you spent a whole year here, I do not think you would have time to eat food at all.
There are no problems with having food served far from the restaurant itself and the kitchen. This is not allowed in Sweden. It is much that is easier in other countries than in Sweden.
The market in Cadiz was a memorable experience, there were flowers, pastries, vegetables, meat, fish, and a lot of small food services. It was a lot of activity when we were there before the siesta starts. In addition to just looking at everything, we even stopped for a few simple tapas and just enjoyed all the impressions.
All southern European cities seem to have at least one large cathedral, and so does Cadiz. As is so often the case in Catholic churches, they are magnificent buildings with enormous decorations both inside and out, but mostly inside.
We continue our exploration of Cadiz and also start thinking about when it might be appropriate to sail back to Lagos, preferably we will get there on December 15th, but that will probably not be the case because the weather probably has other plans.