Cádiz is a charming port city located on the west coast of Andalucia.
It's among the oldest cities in Europe, occupied for at least 3,000
years. The Phoenicians called it Gadir, and later the Moors renamed it to
By the 16th century, the city had become the headquarters for the
Spanish navy, who used it as a base for trading and explorations. It was
from here that Christopher Colombus left on his journey to the
Historical landmarks combined with delicious seafood and
paradisiacal beaches is what attracts visitors to Cádiz today. The city
gets especially lively during the Carnival celebrations, with its
energetic flamenco performances.
Discover the best things to do in Cádiz
in our itinerary below. It includes the top attractions, as well as
tips on where to eat and where to stay.
Morning: Santa Catalina Castle
Begin your tour of Cádiz with a visit to the Castillo de Santa Catalina.
Overlooking the sea, this fortress stands out with its star-shaped
walls. It was built in 1596 to protect the city against invaders
following the Anglo-Dutch war. These days, it acts more like a viewpoint,
from which you can capture the beach of La Caleta. Inside the castle,
there's also an exhibition area dedicated to Andalusian artists.
Continue along the waterfront until you reach La Caleta Beach. James
Bond fans might recognize this coastal stretch from the film "Die Another
Day" when Halle Berry comes out of the water. La Caleta is the smallest
beach in Cádiz, and it can get quite busy in the summer. Spend a couple
of hours lounging here or, if you want more space, you can walk farther
out to the beaches of Santa María del Mar or La Victoria.
From La Caleta, follow the Paseo Fernando Quiñones, a scenic footpath
that leads onto the San Sebastian castle. This isolated fortress dates
back to 1706, but the original construction comes from the Islamic era.
For a while, it served as a prison, but now it's a UNESCO World Site.
Take some time to enjoy the views over the waterfront before returning to
the city centre.
After visiting the castle, make your way to the Barrio del Pópulo. It's
in this historic neighbourhood that you'll find the Cádiz cathedral. The
building stands out from afar with its iconic golden dome rising
above the city's skyline. Construction began in 1722, but it took another
century to complete, resulting in a mix of architectural styles
including Baroque and Neoclassical elements. Once you've seen the
cathedral, make sure to check the Torre de Poniente, a bell tower which
offers splendid views of the city. There's also a small museum on-site
featuring religious artwork.
Just a few steps from the cathedral is an ancient Roman theatre.
Established around the 1st century BC,it has a capacity for 20,000
people, making it one of the largest in Spain. It was uncovered in 1980,
but some parts remain hidden under the city. Visitors can sit near the
amphitheatre and see models of it in the exhibit area.
The Puertas de Tierra marks the division between the historic centre and
the new town of Cádiz. This18th-century structure was initially
designed by architect Torcuato Cayón as a defensive stronghold. These
days, cars ride through its arches on the way to the beach of Santa
María del Mar.
Plaza de San Juan de Dios is a lively square in Cádiz lined with palm
trees and fountains. Its proximity to the port made it especially
relevant during the 16th-century world trade. Today visitors can relax
in one of the square's outdoor cafés and marvel at buildings like the
town hall or the church of San Juan de Dios.
Most Spanish cities have a central food market, and Cádiz is no
exception. Established in 1838 the Mercado de Abastos is one of the
oldest covered markets in the country. Here you can experience local
specialities mixed with international fare. After spending the morning
wandering through the city, you'll probably be hungry, so we suggest
stopping here for a bite to eat. Gadisushi is one of the most
popular stalls. It's a sushi restaurant which makes nigiri and sashimi
using fresh fish from the market itself. Keep in mind, there's no fish on
Mondays. You can also take the opportunity to try some sherry wine at
one of the tapas bars.
There are 129 towers scattered across Cádiz. In the 18th century, these
lookouts were essential to monitor trading arrivals on the port. Since
then, they've become a symbol of the city. Among these towers, the Torre
de Tavira stands out as the highest one at 45 metres. From its terrace,
you can admire the views over the castles and the Cádiz cathedral. Inside
the tower, there's also a camera obscura projecting a panoramic view of
From the tower, take a walk towards the Plaza de España. At the centre
of this square is the Monumento a las Cortes, a monument built to
celebrate the 100th anniversary of Spain's liberal constitution,
signed here in 1812. The statues that make up the monument all have
different symbols, such as peace and war, and texts taken from the
constitution decorate the walls.
Art lovers will enjoy a visit to the Galeria Benot, a small art gallery
near the Plaza de España. The space hosts exhibitions on contemporary
Andalusian artists, which are always changing. If you have some
spare time in the city, have a look inside. Otherwise, you can head
straight to the Museum of Cádiz.
If you want to learn more about the city's history, you should go to the
Museo de Cádiz. Inside this museum, you'll find items from the
Phoenician and Roman times, as well as recent paintings and
statues spread across three floors. On the ground floor is the
archaeological collection with objects from a Phoenician necropolis site.
The collection's highlight is a marble sarcophagus dating back to the
5th century BC. There are also several Greek, Arab and Roman artefacts to
admire. The fine art's section occupies the first floor with paintings
by Zurbarán, Rubens and Murillo. Finally, on the top floor is a
room dedicated to traditional puppets used in the city's folk
After the museum, take a walk through the Alameda de Apodaca park.
Follow the road towards the sea, and you'll soon end up there. It's hard
not to fall in love with this green oasis lined with palm trees
and colourful tiled benches. The terrace overlooking the water is the
ideal place to watch the sunset in Cádiz.
Near the Alameda Apodaca is another city park worth visiting: Parque
Genovés. It's famous for its stunning manicured gardens, sandy paths and a
cave with a waterfall and a footbridge. Surrounding this water feature
are a couple of dinosaur sculptures which kids will love. The park is
full of plants from around the world including maple trees, Canarian pine
and poplars. There's also a viewpoint on-site which overlooks the sea.
Once you finish exploring the area, you can grab a drink at the park's
Established in the 19th century, the Gran Teatro Falla hosts some of the
city's most iconic events. It gets its name from the Andalusian composer
and Cádiz local, Manuel de Falla. If you're visiting during February or
March, you might catch the carnival competitions here. For the rest of
the year, there are other events, including theatre plays and concerts,
so it's worth checking the schedule before you go. Even if you can't make
it to an event, it's worth stopping by to admire the building's
stunning Moorish-style facade.
After seeing the theatre, head over to La Viña. The city's old fisherman
neighbourhood is now home to a series of bars and restaurants where you
can sample fresh seafood. It's busy throughout the day, but it comes
alive at night with some places hosting flamenco shows. Get lost in its
narrow streets and then grab a meal at the Casa Manteca, one of the
oldest tapas bars in the city.
The region of Cádiz has plenty of family-friendly attractions. Playing
by the beach and climbing up the Torre de Tavira will probably be the
highlights of our city itinerary, but there are many other places
and activities for kids.
You can explore the sarcophagus section at the
Museo de Cádiz or take them to the puppet museum near the Puertas de
Tierra, which features puppets from all over the globe.
From the Bay of
Cádiz, you can hop on a catamaran trip around the region, or drive down
to the city of Tarifa and join a dolphin and whale watching tour there.
Further down the coast is the Bahía Park, a fun water park located in
Algeciras close to Gibraltar.
Another idea is to travel up to the
National Park of Doñana, a large nature reserve where you can spot lynxes
and other wild animals.
Best Activities In Cádiz
Flamenco show: Visitors spending the night in Cádiz can book a
flamenco performance. The cultural centre La Perla usually hosts shows
two or three times a week which can have up to six performers on stage.
The local tavern La Cava usually welcomes artists on Tuesday,
Thursday and Saturday.
Hiking: If you're spending a couple of
days in Cádiz, you should take time to explore some of the region's
natural parks. There are three large parks nearby: Doñana, Sierra de
Grazalema and Los Alcornocales. The Doñana National Park is home to a
variety of wild species like the Iberian lynx, the Sierra de Grazalema
wows visitors with its gorges and water features, and Los Alcornocalesis
famous for having one of the largest cork forests in the world.
Stretching from Cádiz to Tarifa is a series of beaches which are ideal
for surfing. Some of the best spots include El Palmar, Los Caños de Meca
and Playa de los Lances. Even if you're just starting out, there are many
surf schools in the area where you can book a class. More advanced
surfers can rent equipment here too.
Horse riding on the beach:
Near the city of Tarifa you'll find many companies offering horse riding
experiences by the beach. You can gallop along the dunes and hear the
waves splashing while looking at the African coast in the distance.
Close to the historic centre is Playa de La Caleta,
sandwiched between the Castillo de Santa Catalina and the Castillo de San
Sebastian. The two castles help shelter the beach from strong waves,
making it ideal for families. It's popular among residents and local
fishermen who rest their boats here.
In the new city, you'll find Playa
Santa María del Mar, a small beach overlooking the city's cathedral
and just next to it is the Playa La Victoria. This last one has a series
of beach bars which get quite lively in the summer, especially during
With the sea so close to the city, it's no surprise that Cádiz
cuisine features so many seafood delicacies. Some local dishes worth
trying include the pescaitofrito (deep-fried fish), the tortillitas
decamarones (shrimp fritters) and the cazón enadobo (dogfish
coated in breadcrumbs and cumin). All of these taste even better when
paired with a glass of cold sherry.
Whether you're looking for a tapas
session or a full dinner, here are some of the best cafés and restaurants
Hidalgo: For breakfast or an afternoon snack head to Hidalgo. Set near
the cathedral this pastry shop serves delicious homemade empanadas and
Mercado de Abastos: Beyond the fresh produce
section, the city’s central market has a food courtyard where you can
order tapas and other international delicacies, accompanied by a glass of
sherry wine. We recommend trying the Gadisushi stall, which serves
delicious sushi with fish sourced straight from the market.
Candela Tapas Bar: This small tapas bar draws visitors with its quirky
design featuring colourful chairs and place mats made of tiles. The menu
includes innovative tapas inspired by the local cuisine, like the
strawberry salmorejo (similar to gazpacho). The place is small, so
make sure to reserve ahead to guarantee a seat.
Manzanilla: Open since the 1930s, this family-run tavern is the ideal
place for a quick drink before lunch. The house speciality is the
manzanilla sherry, poured straight from an oak barrel.
Manteca: Bullfighting and flamenco posters decorate this traditional
tavern in the city's old fishing quarter. Casa Manteca has become one of
the most famous tapas bars in Cádiz. Here you can enjoy a glass of sherry
with tasty tapas like the chicharrones de Cadiz (pork belly cooked in
lard) as well as a variety of cured meats.
Freiduria las Flores
I: Cádiz has many fried fish restaurants, but this is probably the
most popular one. Some dishes worth trying here include the cazón en
adobo and the chopitos (tiny fried cuttlefish). You can also order a
surtido, which combines different kinds of fish and seafood in one
La Tabernita: This bar is only two minutes away from La
Caleta Beach. Grab a seat outside and try out a variety of tapas. Make
sure to arrive early, as it gets quite busy.
Where To Stay In Cádiz, Spain
If you’re planning to spend the night in the city, here are some of the best hotels in Cádiz:
de Cádiz (4 stars): You'll find this modern hotel right next to the
Parque Genovés. Its best feature is the outdoor swimming pool overlooking
the sea. Other facilities include a restaurant, a gym and a spa with a
sauna and an indoor pool.
Hotel Monte Puertatierra (4 stars): Monte
Puertatierra is the ideal choice for those who want to enjoy the beach
but still be near the historic centre. The hotel is three minutes away
from the Santa María del Mar beach and 20 minutes from the cathedral.
There is a gym and a café on-site and, for an extra fee, guests can use
their parking lot.
Hotel Playa Victoria (4 stars): This hotel sits in
the middle of the beach of La Victoria. The building stands out with its
ship-like structure with blue balconies contrasting against its
whitewalls. Guests can access the beach straight from here or enjoy a
swim in the hotel's outdoor pool. It's a bit further from the city
centre, but some buses will take you there.
Hotel Spa Cádiz (4 stars): Also facing Playa La Victoria is
the Hotel Spa Cádiz. Upon
booking, guests can choose between rooms and apartments equipped with
kitchens. Some rooms also come with balconies and sea views. In the
premises, there's a café-bar and a spa with a thermal water circuit.
The best time to visit Cádiz is around May or September. During these
months the weather is pretty mild, and there are fewer crowds on the
beach, compared to the peak summer season. If you decide to come in July
or August, be prepared for the hot temperatures. Another alternative is
to visit between February and March to catch the local carnival
celebrations. This season can be a bit pricey in terms of accommodation,
but it's worth it for the experience. If you don't mind a bit of rain,
you can also schedule your trip for October or November.
Carnival: If you can only go to one event in Cádiz, make it
Carnival. Inspired by the Venice festivities, the Gaditanos created
their version of carnival, which is now one of the most popular parties
in Andalucia. It starts on Shrove Tuesday (around February or March) and
lasts for about a week. The city transforms into a large open theatre
with flamenco performances, colourful parades and firework displays. So
grab a costume and get ready to party all night long.
Holy Week: The Semana Santa or Holy Week is an
annual celebration that takes place around Easter. During this holiday
there are a series of parades led by the local brotherhoods. They wear
masks and tunics and carry floats with saint statues across the city,
usually starting at the cathedral.
Corpus Christi: Following the Holy Week is the Corpus Christi,
another religious event which celebrates the Eucharist. It's usually
held in May or June, on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday. The
highlight is the procession of the Holy Host.
Carreras del Caballos: Close to Cádiz is the town of Sanlúcar de
Barrameda. Every year around August they host an exciting horse racing
event on the beach. Dating back to 1845, it's among Europe's oldest
equestrian competitions. Access is free, and you can place bets if you
All Saint’s Day: On the 1st of November Cádiz celebrates Todos
Los Santos. As in most countries, this holiday has people visiting
cemeteries and leaving flowers on their relatives’ graves, but in Cádiz,
there's also a connection with food. Some traditional sweets served
during this day include the Panellets, the Buñuelos de Viento and the
Huesos de Santo.
By car: It takes about 1h30 to get from Seville to Cádiz by car, which is 100km away. You need to get on the AP-4 road and then follow the signs to Cádiz. Here is a map with the driving directions.
By train: The easiest way to reach Cádiz without a car is to get the train. You can catch it at the San Bernardo station near Plaza de España. The journey takes around 1h45. Tickets cost on average €20 each way, but they can cost less if you purchase them in advance. You can buy tickets directly at the station or online at the Renfe website.
By bus: There’s also a bus connection between Seville and Cádiz run by Transportes Comes.The journey takes about the same time as the train and ticket price is also similar. You can catch the bus at the Prado de San Sebastián station.