Having traveled to not one but several coastal Spanish cities this year, Cadiz has some competition as a potential long-term home. The city feels more local than some resort towns like Marbella, but is that enough to consider it livable?
It’s apparent even simply by the number of dogs you see on the street that most people in Cadiz at any given moment live in Cadiz. This is a nice change of pace from almost any European destination. It’s a town that happens to have a beach, but it’s not a beach town – an important distinction. Nonetheless, the city feels laid back and relaxed without being full of souvenir shops. When you venture out from the main tourist sites and the port where cruisers arrive, Cadiz gets quiet, especially in the afternoon as locals all head to their siestas. Restaurants are lively and busiest late at night, which is par for the course for all of Spain. Since Cadiz so small, it would be pretty nice to have beach access less than 5-10 minutes’ walk from my apartment and even nicer to have all the character and charm of a smallish town.
Though there are a lot of tourists that arrive by cruise and train on a daily basis, Cadiz has a pretty strong Spanish character that isn’t obscured the way it can be when a city becomes an empty vessel for visitors. The people are both nice and welcoming but straightforward, and they all have adorable dogs, many of which are rescued greyhounds. You can tell a lot about people by the way they treat animals so this is a big plus for Cadiz.
One big downside to living in Cadiz is that it’s not the most convenient place in the world. It’s way down south, with the closest airport in Jerez, but nothing worthwhile flies through Jerez, so you’ll likely be flying in and out of Sevilla a couple of hours away when you’re traveling to and from home. It might be a better city to visit on short trips while living in another southern Spanish city.
Though the city itself is walkable and has a network of local bus transport, the streets are narrow and have to be shared with cars. It’s kind of uncomfortable to have to plaster yourself against the wall every time a van drives by. Though cabs are affordable, taxis may be difficult to find unless you’re at the bus or train station. And ride-sharing apps are not available there.
Since most people flock to bigger cities in Spain, cost of living is probably one of the biggest upsides of Cadiz. Housing would be cheap, food even cheaper. So I could potentially save a lot of money while living in a pretty spectacular beach destination if I moved to Cadiz. This is one biggest advantages of potentially living in Cadiz.
Though we had really amazing and affordable meals, it’s really hard to find anything in town that isn’t Spanish tapas. I’ve only been in Spain a week and I already never want to see jamón serrano again. So it would be kind of disappointing to have so few dining options when I want to go to a restaurant. A girl needs a burger or sushi every once in a while. Its size would probably also hinder my ability to get variety when it comes to groceries. Most grocery stores are fairly small corner stores and anything larger is probably a nightmare to get to.
Total livability score 3/10
As nice as Cadiz is for a restful beach and sightseeing vacation, I don’t think I can commit to a life of nonstop tapas… there really can be too much of a good thing.