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Of all Spain’s provinces, Cádiz perhaps offers the greatest
variety for a visitor; it has everything, whether you’re a wine
buff, windsurfer, seafood fanatic, horse fancier, architecture
aficionado, beachcomber or notorious night owl.
Blessed with an Atlantic coastline, Cádiz attracts those who
love long, sandy beaches with no golf hotels or all-day English
breakfasts. The very wind that has kept development to a
minimum is what makes the Costa de la Luz a favourite for
wind- and kitesurfers. Clear views of the Moroccan coast add
a spicy African feel to relaxed places like Tarifa, while curious
Gibraltar, one of the ancients’ Pillars of Hercules, marks the
entrance to the Mediterranean.
Cádiz itself appeals for its setting on a promontory, its maze
of narrow streets, a fabulous beach and wonderfully irreverent
inhabitants. The city that celebrates Spain’s most cutting-edge
Carnaval still carries whispers of its past maritime greatness;
it also has a cracking nightlife. Its larger counterpart, Jerez de la
Frontera, is a complete contrast: a staid, dignified place, centre
of the wealthy sherry trade and the famed Carthusian horses.
There’s more sherry in the towns west of Jerez: the favoured
summering spots of El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de
Barrameda. Sanlúcar’s dry sherry, known as manzanilla, is the
perfect accompaniment to seafood, in itself a revelation.
The province’s hilly interior is speckled with whitewashed
villages; many conserve their original Moorish street plan. As long
as you don’t go when it rains, the hills and mountains around
Grazalema offer some of Andalucía’s best and most varied walking.