Cadiz Province

Cadiz province clockwise: San Pablo, Algeciras, Puerto de Santa María, Sotogrande and Arcos © Michelle Chaplow
Cadiz province clockwise: San Pablo, Algeciras, Puerto de Santa María, Sotogrande and Arcos © Michelle Chaplow

Cadiz Province - Overview

Cadiz province has some of Andalucia's most windswept beaches, prettiest white villages and most celebrated Spanish wine: Sherry. It also boasts one of the region's most-visited protected areas and the rainiest place in Spain: the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. Its coastline has long been peppered with fishing ports that were established by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. Today, the Cadiz coast is a mecca for windsurfers, birdwatchers and anyone who prefers a wilder shoreline with relatively few beachgoers, compared to the busier Costa del Sol.

Cadiz city

The historic centre of Cadiz has an island feel about its streets, lined with centuries-old seafront houses that have been weather beaten by ocean spray. Situated on a peninsula, this part of the city is almost completely enveloped by the sea; the town's beach is easily accessible and a mere pebble's throw from the centre.

The skyline is dominated by the cathedral's gilded cupola that appears to shimmer in the incandescent light reflected by the sea. If you penetrate the honeycomb of narrow streets behind the cathedral, you come across small, pretty squares and pavement bars, which serve up some of Andalucia's tastiest seafood treats. If you're here in February, don't miss the incredible carnival, the biggest in mainland Spain. More>

Areas to explore in Cádiz Province

Cadiz Province Map (c)
Map of Cadiz Province

Cadiz stands on a peninsula jutting out into a bay, and is almost entirely surrounded by water. Named Gadir by the Phoencians, who founded their trading post in 1100 BC, it was later controlled by… More →

The inland pueblos blancos (white towns) are well known for their unique beauty and spectacular settings - invariably hilltop locations, with the whitewashed houses huddled around a ruined castle… More →

Campo de Gibraltar is the name given to the area in the south east of Cadiz province that straddles the transition of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean sea. It is also the inland and mainly… More →

North of Cadiz is the so-called sherry triangle, its corners marked by three towns sprinkled with producers of sherry and brandy whose bodegas (wine cellars) can be visited. Jerez de la Frontera… More →

Apart from its protected nature reserves, Cadiz has a vast inland area in the east of the province that is made up of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and the Alcornocales Natural Park. A… More →

Appropriately christened the Costa de la Luz (Coast of the Light), the Atlantic shoreline of Cadiz province have many wild and windswept beaches, with its strong winds making Tarifa the foremost… More →

Natural Parks and Natural Monuments in Cádiz Province

This vast park covers 167,767ha from Tarifa in the south to the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park in the north. It is named after its handsome and beautifully kept cork tree grove, the largest in… More →

Designated a Unesco Biosphere reserve in 1977, the Sierra de Grazalema was declared the first natural park in Andalucia in 1984 and is one of Spain's most ecologically outstanding areas. The 51,… More →

The Parque Nacional de Doñana is one of Europe's most important wetland reserves and a major site for migrating birds. It is an immense area; the parque itself and surrounding parque natural or… More →

Part of the Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park, this 170ha protected area of saltmarsh is interesting for its rich birdlife. Sancti Petri was a fishing village but is now largely abandoned, overtaken in… More →

These are small walls in the intertidal zone close to the beach at Rota, which cover 110ha and are exposed at low tide. They have been used for collecting shellfish and fish since Roman times and… More →

The Duna de Bolonia, covering around 131m², is protected for its geological interest. It is located at the village of Bolonia, on the headland of Punta Camarinal, exposed to the ferocious easterly… More →

Situated within the Bahía de Cadiz Natural Park near San Fernando is this sandy punta (headland) of 74.5ha, created by the sea, wind and sedimentation processes at work in the Guadalete river… More →

The Tómbola de Trafalgar is a site of geological interest, with a small island joined to the mainland by a sandy tombolo, or bank of sand. The island is called the Cabo de Trafalgar, and its name… More →

This 210ha reserve has two lakes, the Laguna de Las Canteras and the Laguna El Tejón, both of which are prone to drying up in summer. Take the A381 from Jerez de la Frontera. The reserve is… More →

This is the most important reserve of the lagunas (lagoons) close to the Bahía de Cádiz. Like the other lakes in the area (the Complejo Endorreico de Chiclana, Complejo Endorreico de Espera,… More →

The Peñón de Zaframagón is an impressive 600m-high limestone outcrop or crag (peñón) with sheer cliffs located to the north of the Sierra de Lijar close to the Seville/Cadiz provincial border.… More →

Inland near El Puerto de Santa María are a series of three freshwater lakes: Salada, Chica and Juncosa. Salada is the largest, covering an area of 36ha. They are fed mainly by rainwater, which… More →

This 839ha reserve is made up of three lakes, Taraje, San Antonio and Comisario, which are fed by rainwater and a nearby waterworks. From Puerto Real near Cadiz take the CA2012 towards Paterna de… More →

Situated close to the Seville/Cadiz provincial border is the 438ha Complejo Endorreico de Espera Natural Reserve, with three lakes: Hondilla, Salada de Zorrilla and Dulce de Zorrilla. This is a… More →

Within this 567ha reserve are two lakes, Laguna de Montellano and Laguna de Jeli, which together make up a core protected area of 49ha. Montellano lake is situated on impermeable clay and Jeli on… More →

Just west of Tarifa is this magnificent 3km-long beach, the Playa de los Lances, 226ha of which is protected. The fine white sands are backed by a low ridge of dunes and the marshlands of the Jara… More →

The 58ha Marismas del Río Palmones Natural Area is one of the last remaining patches of what used to be extensive marshlands (marismas) in the Bahía de Algerciras, the bay between Algeciras and… More →

Within the Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park is this 525ha protected area, noted for its important wetlands which are a site for migrating birds. It also has saltpans. Like the park area, the birdlife… More →

The smallest natural area in Andalucia with a mere 27ha, the Guadiaro river estuary is nevertheless an important wetland site, since it is one of the few left on the Costa del Sol. It is also the… More →

Just northeast of the Cola del Embalse de Arcos Natural Area, is the Embalse de Bornos, which has its northeastern arm designated as a 630ha protected area. It is similar in flora and fauna to the… More →

This embalse (reservoir), close to the hilltop town of Arcos de la Frontera, is worth a visit for its waterfowl, particularly in winter when there are many more birds here. It is also a stopping… More →

Encompassing a 10,522ha flat landscape of sandy beaches, marshes, salt pans, freshwater lakes and tidal inlets, as well as the two natural areas of Isla del Trocadero and the Marismas de Sancti… More →

Created in 1989, the Breña y Marismas de Barbate park is Andalucia's second largest coastal reserve and has one of the most spectacular stretches of rocky cliffs along the Andalucian Atlantic… More →

Created in 2003, the Parque Natural del Estrecho is the southernmost protected area in Europe. It is made up of a long stretch of coastline covering 18,931ha from Cabo de Gracia in the west near… More →