Cadiz –
Fortress Pearl at the Atlantic Ocean

Date: May 2019
Style: Individual trip with car
Location: Cadiz and Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia, Spain
Author: Dirk Röder, translation Sophie Dobek


Cadiz first impresses when crossing the Puente de la Constitución de 1812 (also Puente de la Pepa), by car via the CA-35 coming from Puerto Real. The bridge stretches lightly and elegantly on its cables high above the port. From its angular point, it clears the view over the city, which was in front of us shining white surrounded by the greenish blue of the Atlantic Ocean.


We followed the navigation and stowed between the cruise port and the train station to the Calle Honduras, which finally lead us through a small gate to the inner part of the fortress city. Along fortress walls, passing the bastion Candelaria, until the Castillo de Santa Catalina, with a large secured parking space, which was the final destination of our navigation system.



We took our backpacks and cameras and explored directly the scenic fort at the small fishing port. The entrance is free and you can watch the fortress architecture of the late 16th century at ease, either with a view on the small port with the beach, the Atlantic Ocean or the Castillo de San Sebastian in front. A few museum rooms offer interesting insights in the history of the fort and the city, in the courtyard two elementary school groups who ran out their energy and brought a lot of life into the old walls.


After the extensive inspection, we left the fort and rounded the Playa de la Caleta in a 10-minute walk, a beautiful beach at the quiet fisher port. Passing the center of underwater archaeology and turning right behind the school, we entered through a small fortified gate with inner restoration the Paseo Fernando Quinones, a 3 meter wide fortified levee, which leads to the far outside Castillo de San Sebastian, which was built in 1706.

On windy days, the 800m walk to the Castillo can be trappy, as the waves can break over the levee, if non-local photographers stay on it too long. The pictures are still great and the shirt dries very fast with 24°C and a stiff breeze. Unfortunately, it stopped after the panorama pictures as the gates to the Castillo were closed for visitors. Still satisfied with our results and rewarded with a nice view over the skyline of Cadiz, we went back to the parking space.


We changed our location to a car park at the ferry port (Interparking Canalejas – Carranza), to explore the city from there. As worthy destinations, we chose the cathedral to the holy cross over the ocean and the Torre Tavira, both easy to reach by walking if you do not get lost in the maze of streets in the old city.


On our way to car park, the navigation lead us along the Western quay wall, in which a giant cannon battery with 4x6 cannon opening showed up in the distance.


Back on foot, from the car park we chose the route via Plaza de San Juan de Dios, went until the quay wall at the Avenida Campo del Sur and rounded the cathedral, which is worth seeing, from there. Entrance and access control were to elaborate for us (with a complete understanding) and so we walked directly to the 5 minute away Torre Tavira. The tower from the 18th century hides a camera obscura inside, in which the city shows in real time.

Unfortunately we were told in German, that this room is only to be visited during the showings and the next one in English or German will not start until 6pm. Nevertheless, we paid the 6 € entrance fee per person and walked up the 45m high terrace of the tower. The great panoramic view is worth every penny!


Back on the ground, we strolled a little more around the old city, before we left Cadiz to spend the afternoon in Jerez de le Frontera.



Jerez de la Frontera

This time lead by the google navigation of the phone, the way lead again over the bridge to Puerto Real and from there to Jerez, altogether around 32 funny kilometers, because the google navigation turned street names like CA-35 to “circa 35”.


We parked, thanks to accurate navigation, directly at the famous Alcázar de Jerez de le Frontera, which, compared to the bubbly Cadiz, almost seemed abandoned. Soon we realized why. Contrary to the regular opening hours until 5.30 pm, now everything is only open until 2:30 pm. We forwarded the carelessly attached note at the entrance directly to Google, to keep other tourists from this disappointment.


Nevertheless, we were impressed by the medieval walled fortress, which presented itself together with the beautiful violet flowers of the Jacaranda trees and the palm trees.


Afterwards we visited the worth-seeing Catedral de Jerez (entrance 6 € per person) with museum-like parts and strolled through the empty old city. At least we saw two other sights, for whose Jerez is famous: a horse carriage and the Tio Pepe sculpture with wine barrel. A bigger snack in one of the tapas bars around the Plaza del Arenal completed the afternoon.


We left Jerez in the direction of North East, hoping to be able to visit the famous racetrack of Jerez at the end and maybe even see it in action. Sometimes besides official races, there are trainings and public race times, but not today.


Our day trip ended in the West of Andalusia with many beautiful impressions and great pictures, but also a feeling of not being touristically satisfied.