Cádiz - An Andalusian Treasure
In anticipation of Rick Stein’s stop in Cádiz as part of his culinary Long Weekends (9pm on BBC Two on Friday 25th November), we would like to share our knowledge and experience of this truly exceptional city. The magnificent Parador – Cádiz Hotel Atlantico – enables guests to take a relaxing break. In addition to the charming atmoshphere, there could not be a better place for cultural outings, seeing as the city is often referred to as the ‘cradle of Western European civilisation’. History-lovers, however, are not the only ones the city takes care of, as foodies will find in Cádiz an incredible wealth of fresh products and traditional dishes.
A short history of Cádiz
Located in Andalucía, the Southern region of Spain, Cádiz is the definition of a perfect coastal city. It features hot summers and warm winters which favours tourism all year around. A historically rich city, Cádiz dates back to almost 3000 years ago and was founded by the Phoenicians but since then, the city and the region have undergone many rulers including the Moors,and the Kingdom of Alfonso X The Wise, who in the middle of the 13th century merged the city with the Kingdom of Castilla. Due to its exceptional history, Cádiz owns the title of oldest city in Western Europe.
Cádiz was also a key port for Spain during the Napoleonic period; in fact, the province and the city played an important part in the colonization of the Americas during the 15th century. During this time, Columbus chose the city as a departure point for his second voyage in the New World and this has resulted in Cádiz experiencing an incredible growth in regards of international trade.
Today, Cádiz remains a city steeped in history, with the famous neighbouring quarter of Santa Maria, believed to enclose most of the city’s historical monuments. Some neoclassical buildings include the Royal Jain, the Barroque Casa Lasquetty, La Santa Cueva and The Holy Cave, featuring Goya paintings.
Located a few kilometres away from Cádiz, El Puerto de Santa Maria highlights many features of the Andalusian coast. Enjoying 300 days of sunshine a year, El Puerto is a main destination for tourists visiting the region. Some of the city’s main attractions include 15km long golden sand beaches as well as excellent places to taste the local cuisine. With fish caught locally, typical dishes feature seafood specialities accompanied by vegetables, noodles as well as an extensive range of wines. El Puerto is also home to many historical buildings; from the Castle of San Marcos to the Great Priory Church, the city highlights its history with museums and many sites of cultural interest such as the Monastery of La Victoria.
Spain’s capital of Flamenco, Jerez, is situated just further inland from Cádiz. Jerez hosts the world’s largest Flamenco festival from February to March which includes dances and music from performers coming from all around Spain and the world. The Jerez Flamenco district is located in the inner part of the city, in the Barrio de Santiago. This district offers an opportunity to find out more about Flamenco but also houses many museums. Jerez is also famous for its dancing horse spectacles and its sherry production.
Cádiz Hotel Atlantico
If Cádiz is the oldest city in Western Europe, the Parador it is home to, by contrast, is one of the most modern in the entire network. The Parador’s architecture proves to be particularly striking: the smoothness of concrete materials has been used to build the hotel, which can be characterised by clear architectural line sand the transparency of glass and water is also a key element in creating the Parador’s relaxing atmosphere. Each room has a glass-panelled balcony providing unrestricted views onto the endless ocean and the Parador’s very name pays homage to the Atlantic. Spectacular sea views can also be enjoyed from the multiple outdoor swimming pools and the restaurants’ terraces.
Spanish gastronomy plays an important role in making your stay at the Parador de Cádiz particularly exceptional. Haute cuisine is served at the hotel’s three restaurants, and transforms the region’s traditional products into dishes of outstanding quality at an affordable price. To complete the Parador’s luxurious facilities, a spa has been built outside of the main building adjacent to the pools. If offers a wide variety of treatments, as well as a circuit including a Finnish sauna, a Turkish bath and hydro-massages bathtubs. Once you treated yourself to a full-body regeneration, we would recommend sitting at the spa’s back terrace to enjoy a glimpse of Western Europe’s most mesmerizing traces of ancient civilisation.
Reaching Cádiz and the Parador is very easy from several airports in Andalusia. Seville airport is approximately 90 minutes away from Cádiz (130km) and welcomes a number of international flights. Many companies fly daily into Málaga from a wide range of UK airports and from there, the drive to Cádiz takes approximately 3 hours (240km). Ryanair also fly into the more local airport at Jerez which is only 40km from Cádiz (approximately 40 minutes’ drive or 45 minutes on the train).