CÁDIZ serves up blissful beaches and terrific tapas with a side of history.
Here, writer Jill-Starley-Grainger details why you should make the city in southern Spain your next weekend away.
Chill on sandy shores
You’re never more than 10 minutes’ walk from the sea in Cádiz, and for all-day lounging you can’t beat the mile-long stretch of Victoria Beach in the New Town, backed by bars and restaurants.
For people-watching in the Old Town, choose La Caleta, tucked between two 17th-century fortresses that protect it from the wind.
But the city’s prettiest beach is also its quietest – Cortadura, a dune-backed beauty on the causeway that connects Cádiz to the mainland.
Scoff torta with tea
Start your day with a cortado (espresso with milk), £1.50, at the delightful La Clandestina, a cafe with a small bookshop to peruse before or after (La-clandestina.com).
Later, head to La Lectora for a slice of gooey chocolate-orange torta, £3, and a cup of tea (Facebook.com/lalectoracafeliterario).
But save room for a scoop of delicious salted pistachio ice cream, £2.50, from Verde Pistacchio, served from the back of a vintage green VW campervan (Verdepistacchio.es).
Climb the tavira
Nip into the Museum of Cádiz to see artefacts dug up from this three-millennia-old city, including two fancy fifth-century BC caskets carved to look like their human inhabitants, £1.50 (Museosdeandalucia.es/web/museodecadiz).
Then climb the 45-metre-high Torre Tavira watchtower, £7 – an 18th-century Old Town building that’s the tallest point in this low-rise city (Torretavira.com).
Later, breathe in the scent of more than 100 shrubs and flowers in the green oasis of Genovés Park.
Shop like a local
After checking out Cádiz Cathedral with its impressive Baroque façade and ornate carved-wood choir, £6, (Catedraldecadiz.com), pick up fruit and cheese for a beach picnic at Central Market in Plaza Libertad (9am-3pm; closed Sundays).
Or stock up on Andalucian olive oil, honey, jam and charcuterie at foodie haven Alándalus Club (Alandalusclub.com).
Want a non-edible souvenir? Get artsy postcards, hand-printed gift wrap and watercolours by local painters at stationers Maspapeles on Calle San José.
Tuck into tapas
Munch on manchego and spicy sausage beneath old photos of bullfighters at long-time favourite Bar Manteca on Calle Corralón de los Carros, where tapas costs from £1.70.
Then prop up the sleek bar of El Faro de Cádiz to eat beautiful small plates of fish salad, chickpea and shrimp stew and smoked sardines, from £2.50 (Elfarodecadiz.com).
Glam it up at swanky Musalima, an Asian-Spanish fusion restaurant serving tempura prawn tails and lip-smacking wok-fried Iberian pork loin, from £13 (Musalima.es).
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Rest your head
Apartamentos Maier is a bargain collection of smart studios and one-bedroom apartments in the Old Town, complete with a roof terrace to catch the rays on, from £65 room only (Apartamentosmaier.com).
But for sea views from your room and a sensational pool, book into five-star Parador de Cádiz, a modern design hotel right next to Genovés Park with an impressive breakfast spread of local specialities. Doubles cost from £115 B&B (Parador.es).
Cádiz served as a double for Cuba in the James Bond film, Die Another Day. Halle Berry shot the scene where she emerged from the sea at La Caleta beach.
Return flights from the UK to Jerez start from £60 (Ryanair.com).
From Jerez Airport, it’s approximately a 40-minute transfer to Cádiz.