Fast Question: What is Europe’s oldest city?

Rome – right? Nope.

Of course not, it has to be a city in Greece. Natch, no doubt about it!

Wrong again. Well then,….

How about Cádiz? You know, Cádiz – in Andalusia, in Spain!!

While there is probably no way to answer this question with absolute certainty, some people think Cádiz is the oldest city in Europe.

Castillo de Santa Catalina

Cádiz was founded in 1100 BC by the Phoenicians. They called it “Gadir,” which means “walled stronghold.”

Situated on the Atlantic coast, the city has always had a maritime history. For the Romans, Gades was a strategically important port and only Rome had more inhabitants. Over the centuries the name evolved to “Cádiz,” but the inhabitants are still known as “gaditanos.”


At any rate Cádiz is the oldest continuously inhabited city still standing on the Iberian Peninsula.

Cádiz was the first point in the Iberian Peninsula to be invaded by the Moors from nearby Africa. Columbus sailed from Cádiz to the Americas on his second and fourth voyages.

Castillo de Santa Catalina is now an enchanting venue for concerts and exhibitions

In the 16th century Cádiz was an unlucky favorite with many of England’s fabled pirates. Sir Francis Drake repeatedly raided Cádiz and the coast of Andalusia in a struggle to win control of trade with the New World. In 1587 he captured and destroyed so many ships that he purportedly delayed the Spanish Armada by a whole year.

The old sea wall offered protection against the Atlantic and invaders

In 1598, after Cádiz had been sacked by the English two years earlier, Spain erected a military fortification here, Castillo de Santa Catalina, at the end of the beautiful Playa de la Caleta.

Exhibition space in the Castillo

Beautiful backdrop for art, concerts, flamenco and the history of Cádiz


Outpost on the Atlantic

 When was the last time you ran into a pirate?

Thanks for reading!