Horses & sherry
The province of Cadiz has some of the most-admired coastline in Spain. The California-style white sandy beaches have become a Mecca for surfers and small towns like Tarifa have grown to accommodate the hip crowd.
The beaches of the Costa de la Luz are, wide, empty and sandy with always a breezes coming off the Atlantic and totally unspoiled. The seaside resort of Chipiona is also a pilgrimage center venerating the Virgin Mary and near the beach stands the sanctuary of Nuestra Senora de Regla.
Cadiz is popularly known as "the silver bowl" and a large spit of land connects the city to the mainland. This ancient Phoenician city known as Gadir is surrounded by water on three sides serving as an entrance to the bay.
The Puerta de Tierra, a 17th century gate, provides access to the oldest inhabited city in the western world. In the crypt of the cathedral the remains of the world famous Cadiz composer Manuel de Falla are buried.
The tree-lined avenues of Apodaca and Marques de Comillas lead to the colonial style Church of El Carmen, and from the Bateria de la Candelaria, in back of the temple, a beautiful view is afforded of the Bay of Cadiz, sprinkled with boats going in and out of the harbour.
The city has traditional quarters including Populo, Santa Maria and La Vina, and in La Vina area, close to Genoves Park, the small beach of La Caleta is found, flanked by the castles of Santa Catalina and San Sebastian. The shores of the Bay of Cadiz boast millenary towns, the most important being El Puerto de Santa Maria at the mouth of the Guadalquivir river. A landscape of dunes, marshes and pine trees leads travellers to Puerto Real where the old quarter has been declared a historic, artistic complex.
The coast of Cadiz begins at the fishing town of Sanlucar de Barrameda at the mouth of the Guadalquivir river opposite the Donana National Park. The old fishing quarter of Bajo de Guia has a ferry to the opposite bank of the Guadalquivir in the Province of Huelva.
Close to Zahara de los Atunes are golden beaches such as Bolonia next to the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, and Tarifa is the southernmost point of mainland Spain looking out on the North African coast. The town has wide beaches with a strong wind from the east and is a Mecca for wind surfers from around the world.
The Province of Cadiz is a land of sherry wines and horses and one of the best examples is Jerez de la Frontera, the largest city in the province. Numerous wineries are open to the public where it is possible to taste wines from different regions.
Jerez is home to the Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Ecuestre, (Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art). One day a week the prestigious school puts on a show with Cartujano horses, (a cross between Andalusian and Arabian horses), and their skilled riders.
Jerez has elegant mansions of local aristocratic families and one of the most important quarters in the city, Barrio de Santiago has been preserved and has sections of Moorish walls.
The route of the white villages, about thirty municipalities, form one of the most interesting routes in Andalusia. The white towns are situated in the northern part of the province of Cadiz and also the Grazalema Nature Park, noted for the Spanish fir, the Pinsapo, and the vast Los Alcornocales Nature Park located in the south of the province.
The route begins in Arocs de la Frontera with its steep streets and squares fragrant with flowers.
The town of Ubrique is famous for hand-crafted leather goods, and the charming village of Grazalema is set at the foot of the Sierra del Pinar near dense patches of cork and holm oak. A road leads up to the Puerto de las Palomas, a mountain pass where a grove of pinsapo can be admired.
Zahara de la Sierra is set on a cliff overlooking a reservoir. There is a beach for the summer with swimming and water sports. Olvera is one of the most enchanting towns in the region with the Church of San Jose having two graceful towers along with a Moorish castle.
Medina Sidonia is well known for ranches that raise the fighting bulls and Vejer de la Frontera, perched on a hill, is only a few kms from the coast. The old quarter boasts numerous monuments including a Moorish castle, the Church of the Divine Pastor, as well as the sanctuary of Nuestra de la Oliva.