Cadiz is the largest Spanish port on the Atlantic. It is strategically situated on an isthmus that carries the city three miles out into a fine bay. The history of Cadiz is long and impressive. Its origin can be traced to the Phoenicians, who founded a port here some 3,000 years ago. In time, Cadiz became the main depot for ships laden with treasures from the mines of the New World. The city prospered, but prosperity also made it a tempting target for raids, ranging from Barbary corsairs to English admiral Sir Francis Drake.
Cadiz defies most expectations of a port city thanks to its Andalusian character, with whitewashed houses lining narrow streets that lead into lovely squares. The magnificent baroque cathedral and impressive mansions were built with the gold brought back from the New World. Cadiz's modern-day treasure lies 30 minutes to the north in the rolling hills of Jerez. Here the production of the liquid gold, as the famous sherry is often called, ensures a booming economy. Jerez is also home to some of Spain's most prestigious horse breeding farms.