Cadiz (including rainfall and temperature averages)
Perched on a narrow spit of land, hemmed in by the Mediterranean Sea, the graceful white port of Cadiz is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Iberian Peninsula. Originally established as a Phoenician outpost around 1100 BC, Gades, as it was then called, also has a place in Greek legend; the story goes that Hercules founded the city after performing his tenth task, the slaying of the three-headed titan Geryon. A tumulus nearby is said to be Geryon’s resting place. Around 500 BC Cadiz fell under the sway of Carthage; it was then conquered by the Romans, under whom it flourished as a naval base and home to the highest echelons of society. Destroyed by the Visigoths in 410, it was rebuilt by the Moors, who gave it its modern name.
Christopher Columbus, who set sail from the port for two of his four long voyages, put Cadiz back on the map and it became the home of the Spanish treasure fleet, thereby becoming a target. Much of the old town was burned in 1569 by Barbary corsairs; what was left was attacked repeatedly over the next two hundred years by British fleets. During the eighteenth century, trade with Latin America sparked a Golden Age for the city, during which most of its historic buildings were constructed. It was one of a handful of Spanish cities that successfully resisted Napoleon and was a centre for rebellion against the Bonaparte kings. Its traditions of liberalism and tolerance were maintained throughout Franco’s dictatorship and it remains one of the most open, friendly places in Spain.
Brushed by the sea breezes, buffered from the worst of the sea storms, Cadiz has a glorious climate. It rarely goes below 10° even in the depths of winter and in summer months the temperature soars as high as 33°. This makes the beach one of the first destinations – long, wide and white, with a castle at each end, this is an ideal spot to see and be seen. Even the sea fortifications are beautiful! The swimming’s not bad, either, and there are a number of water sports to enjoy, including jet skiing and sea kayaking.
In town, the golden-domed Cathedral Nueva hides a simple stone interior of perfect proportions. The Hospital de Mujeres chapel has a wonderful El Greco painting and Santa Cueva has three murals by Goya. Antiquity lovers will be thrilled by the Roman theatre, the second largest in the world; modernists rave over the electric pylons (seriously!). Torre Tavira is an old lookout tower, complete with a camara oscura. The Admiral’s House is an exquisite red and white marble palace, built for the Barrios family in1690. Perhaps the nicest aspects of Cadiz, though, are its crumbling streets and plazas, dramatically white against the bright blue sky, dotted with friendly cafes and quirky statues. Whether you’re strolling along the remains of the city walls or stopping for a bite to eat, you will never feel less than welcome.
Food is extremely important in this town, and it’s almost impossible to eat badly. Fried fish, simply presented with lemon and parsley, is a staple; locals also pride themselves on their espinacas con garbanzos (chickpeas and spinach), champiñones al Jerez (mushrooms fried with sherry) and shrimp omelettes. Washed down with tinto de verano – red wine with lemonade, a surprisingly refreshing drink – or a glass of sherry, it’s all immensely satisfying. And then there are the lovely locals… No one visits Cadiz without leaving a little bit of his heart behind.
Monthly temperature and rainfall averages for Cadiz
Average minimum temperature
Average maximum temperature
Absolute minimum temperature
Absolute maximum temperature
Average daily rain
Avg monthly rain
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