Essential things to see in Medina Sidonia
In this article you’ll find the essential information on what to see and do in Medina Sidonia :
- A few words about Medina Sidonia
- Where is Medina on the map?
- What to see in Medina Sidonia
- What to do in Medina Sidonia
- Booking accommodation
- Some useful links (bookings and visits in Andalucia)
- What to see near Medina
- Continuing your trip to Andalucia
A few words about Medina Sidonia
Medina Sidonia is a beautiful white village in the province of Cadiz, in Andalucia. It has also been declared a historic and artistic site. The village contains an incredible number of Roman and Arab remains.
I have wonderful memories of Medina – locally, the word Medina is only used to refer to Medina Sidonia. If you’re interested in the history of the region, there’s so much to see in this village that you’ll want to stay longer than expected.
The origin of the name Medina Sidonia
The origin of the name is thought to be Phoenician. It is now assumed that the name comes from the Phoenician colony of Sidon that settled here.
The village has borne several names, reflecting its rich history:
- Sidon (Phoenician period)
- Asido Caesarina Augusta (Roman period)
- Asidona (Visigothic period)
- Madinat Saduna (Al-Andalus period)
- Medina Sidonia after the Reconquest
Where Medina Sidonia is on the map
What to see in Medina Sidonia
- Arco de Belen
- Tower of Doña Blanca de Borbón
- Church of Santa María la Coronada
- Arch of the Pastora
- The ethnological museum of Medina Sidonia
- Strolling through the streets and alleys
- The pastry shops of Medina
- Buy pastries at the Convent of Jesus, María y José…
- Archaeological Museum of Medina Sidonia
- The Roman cesspools
- La calzada romana
Medina Sidonia is best known for its excellent pastry shops.
But it has to be said that Medina is not just a journey of taste. The village is also a journey through time, back to the Roman and Al-Andalus eras.
Walking through its streets of low whitewashed houses is a real pleasure, where you go from discovery to discovery. This is one of the most culturally enriching villages.
It has to be said that they have two treasures right in the centre of the village: a curious ethnological museum and a hell of an archaeological museum.
I also have another wonderful memory of my visit to Medina. It’s the kindness of the inhabitants of this village. The good spirit of Gaditano is well known throughout the province, but in Medina I found the people to be incredibly kind.
Arco de Belen
This arch – arco de Belen – is one of the passageways leading to the top of the village, near the church of Santa María la Coronada.
This is one of the three gates of the Medina from the Muslim period (10th-13th centuries).
From here, you can access to :
- Church of Santa María la Coronada
- Tower of Doña Blanca de Borbón,
- Villa Vieja neighbourhood
- Roman and Arab ruins of the castle
- Caballerizas del Duque
Church of Santa María la Coronada
The church of Santa María la Coronada is a beautiful church at the top of the village. It is a Gothic-Mudejar style temple. Inside, you can see a beautiful altarpiece!
Just behind it are the ruins of Medina Castle.
Construction began in 1518 and was completed in 1615, almost a century later.
Arco de la Pastora
This arch – Arco de la Pastora – is the village’s iconic landmark. It is an Arabic-style gateway with a horseshoe arch, typical of the period.
It is located in the Plaza de la Pastora, with a pretty little park, the Parque del Caminillo, right next to it.
Medina Sidonia Ethnological Museum
This is the type of museum that I particularly enjoy visiting, as you always learn so much about local life in the past.
I have to say that this is the most beautiful and richest of the museums I’ve visited in Andalucia.
A little information on the price of the visits: it costs 4 euros to visit this museum and the archaeological museum. For 5 euros, you can also visit a third site: the castle. It’s rare to be able to visit 3 such rich sites for so little!
In the ethnological museum, you can also discover all the tools used in farming, as well as the different crafts produced in the village. The section on basketry is particularly impressive:
Strolling through the streets and alleys
In the city center, the stroll is most pleasant in the streets around the Nuestra Señora de la Victoria church.
Before talking about pastries, it is important to say that Medina, like many villages in the province, is known for its dishes of stews, cheeses, retinto beef, seafood and Almadraba tuna.
However, Medina is undoubtedly the most famous village in the region for pastries. They are indeed delicious. Among the specialties there are alfajores – my favorites –, amarguillos, yemas navadas, canutillos…..
Here are the ingredients for alfajor: honey, almonds, hazelnuts, flour, breadcrumbs, anise (matalahúva), sesame and cinnamon.
Two pastry addresses to enjoy:
The Confitería Pastelería Ntra. Sra. de la Paz which is located on Calle San Juan, 14, in the center of the village.
And, at the entrance to the village, you can’t miss it, there is the Aromas de Medina factory.
Pastries from the Convent of Jesus, María and José
Here is another, more unusual address where you can enjoy good pastries. The place is less common, it is a convent. And, what is even less common is that you will not see the nuns, you will not see anyone in fact.
Below, you will find the menu of famous pastries to taste:
Note: as we can see, the nuns also offer a specialty: Rompope. A fortifying drink to discover 🙂 .
The nuns live cloistered in this convent – convento de clausura – the purchase of pastries will be done without seeing anyone, through the cabinet below!
The address of the convent: Plaza de las Descalzas, 31.
Medina Sidonia Archaeological Museum
I don’t usually present museums, but this one is also particularly worth the detour. It is located on Calle Ortega, and allows you to discover an incredible number of Roman remains and from the Al-Andalus period.
In the exhibition rooms upstairs, numerous display cases display vestiges such as these 11th century oil lamps, below.
Another amazing thing about this museum is the display of many coins, some of which date back to before Roman times. Below are more “recent” coins from the Al-Andalus period:
One of the most curious and interesting points of the visit is to discover and explore the ancient Roman cesspools!
With the visit to the archaeological museum is included the visit to a Roman road, calzada romana, which is located in another street 2 minutes away. It is also said that this “piece” of Roman road is the best preserved in Spain.
A must-see in Medina for the number of things you learn on site, with the guide.
Note: this Roman road which is the old main street of Medina in Roman times was recently discovered during the construction of a multi-storey house. An underground car park was to be built there. The town hall was able to negotiate the purchase of the basement by authorizing the construction of an additional floor 🙂 .
Where to have lunch in Medina Sidonia?
In the center of the village, around the beautiful Plaza de España, you will find several restaurants for lunch.
I have very good memories of the dishes at the Paco Ortega Restaurante-bar.
Here is a link to find the exact location of Restaurant Paco Ortega.
Beaches near Medina Sidonia
Medina is quite close to the sea and the beaches of the Costa de la Luz. In the photo below, you can see the Bay of Cádiz in the distance and even see the bridge.
The ideal from Medina is to reach the famous beaches of Conil de la Frontera. It only takes about 30 minutes to find yourself at the water’s edge.
Hermitage of the Holy Martyrs
Just outside the village of Medina Sidonia you can see the Hermitage of the Holy Martyrs – Ermita de los Santos Mártires -. It is the oldest hermitage in Andalusia, it dates from the year 403 and was built on a Roman villa. On the other hand, the tower we see was built over different periods.
What activities to do between medina and Cádiz?
Below you will find the activities and tours offered from Medina and its surroundings.
You can also book them online today (with free cancellation):
Here is an idea for a hotel, a former convent, right in the center of this wonderful white village. This is the centrally located hotel, Hotel Tugasa Medina Sidonia. This hotel is an 18th century manor house, in which there is a very beautiful patio.
Interesting points: it also has a restaurant and there is parking nearby.
For lovers of old stones: inside, there are visible remains on certain walls of the old fortified enclosure from the 10th century!
Here is the link to find out more, see photos and/or book the hotel: Tugasa Medina Sidonia.
Below you will find all the available hotels and accommodation in Medina, after selecting your dates:
Some useful links for your trip to Andalucia
Easy and economical bookings
What to see in the surroundings of Medina Sidonia?
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