Puerto de Santa Maria + Cadiz
In May I visited cadiz. I was going to be there for 4 days and I quickly found out the selection of day trips that you can take at short distances away. The public transport from Cadiz City is excellent. We decided to take a day out to the lovely town of Puerto de Santa Maria. (St Mary´s Port)
The plan was to leave Cadiz that morning by train. The return to Cadiz in the early evening by sea on the Catamaran service back. The train service is known as Cercanias runs through the bay of Cadiz. The route goes from Cadiz through Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa Maria and also stops at Jerez airport too. Trains run every 40 mins more or less. You can get the exact times at: Renfe Cercanias Cadiz Get a ticket before boarding at these machines (pictured below)
I had pre booked a tour of Bodegas Caballero that morning. This family has been in the wine business since 1830 and the Caballero name is a Spainish classic. As well as the huge premises where they bottle the sherry the family also owns this fairytale style castle from 13th century. The Castle of San Marcos.
The visit was a guided tour of their wine cellars in English followed by a tasting and explanation of their best selected wines. (90 minute duration approx) To book you can see the link further below or contact tourist information when you arrive who can help you too.
Through the tour we were shown lots of different cellars and thousands of barrels in different stages of the fermentation process. We even got to see the bottling area and warehouse. I noticed that most of the boxes were labelled for Sainburys, Morrisons, Waitrose and other British importers of Spanish wine and Sherry.
Wishing that I had eaten a more hearty breakfast we began the wine tasting. Starting with the driest of Fino wines, you can see on the photo above the lightest colour to darkest. The darker the wine, the sweeter. Moving along the scale getting to the sweeter sherries and finally ending with the renown Ponche Caballero.
A sweet fruit punch. This was all well explained and an interesting visit, even non wine lovers will enjoy it. Tours are usually Mon, Wed & Fri from 11am – 1pm.
I left the wine cellars a little more giddy that when we arrived. I headed into the old town to get some lunch. Puerto de Santa Maria is famous for the fresh fish and seafood as well as Sherry production. We saw this amazing boat full of very fresh looking fish and headed into the restaurant to see if it would live up to the expectations caused by their impressive display.
I choose this fresh sole. I was assured that it was catch of the day, they used get their fish from the Coast off Conil. Just after bringing the plate over, the waiter actually came along and filleted the fish at my table. This was prepared for me expertly just seconds after taking this shot. The food we had was divine. The people in Cadiz, Puerto de Santa Maria and Jerez de la Frontera are especially welcoming and cheerful. The service was excellent and very attentive. After lunch we walked along the harbour looking at the boats along the shoreline. The restaurant is La Esquinita on Calle Misericordia (tel. 676 908329)
I noticed this impressive fountain not far along from the main part of the old town. This was built at the beginning of 1735 it was used for many years to fill Galley ships with water when setting sailing for America. The name in Spanish is Fuente de las Galeras. (Fountain of the Galleys)
After a wander around the old town it was time for the ride back to Cadiz. The journey on the Public Catamaran service cost me just 2.35 euros. This was one way from Puerto de Santa Maria to Cadiz (in May 2012) What a lovely way to get back. The Catamaran leaves every hour, although on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank holidays has a reduced timetable. There is a ticket office at the departure point.
On the way back to Cadiz, enjoying the pleasant sea breeze on the top deck of the Catamaran and the fabulous views. I saw a sailing lesson in the bay and of course as was approached Cadiz you see the Skyline of the city and see the golden dome of Santa Cruz Cathedral twinkle in the evening sun as sailors did years ago when arriving to the port.
Want to read more about Cadiz? See what I did during another day out I took to Jerez : A day out in Jerez de la Frontera