Discover here what to do in Cadiz, the places and experiences you should not miss. Be sure to check out our tips!
Cadiz is a popular port of call on Mediterranean cruises and transatlantic voyages so the regular visitor spends half a day at most. But, trust me, the city has so much more to offer. Do not miss our tips and get to know the must see places of the city!
The historic center of Cadiz has an exceptional location, on a small peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on all four corners. In the tight space of the center, you will find all the city highlights.
Old town Cadiz is a collection of squares linked by a series of narrow streets. There is no main square in Cadiz, although Plaza San Juan de Dios which is home to the ayuntamiento (city council) building is the largest one. However, the Plaza de la Catedral (guess what you’ll find there!) along with Plaza de la Candelaria, and Plaza de la Mina should definitely be part of your itinerary.
In addition to this, don’t miss the Hospital de Mujeres, and the Torre Tavira, with its panoramic view of the city.
Due to its strategic location, Cadiz has been the target of attacks and invasions over the centuries. This forced its rulers to build walls and fortifications to protect the city from attacks from the sea. Some of the ancient fortifications have been preserved in great condition.
Connected to the city by this pier, the Castillo de San Sebastián is located on a small island. To get there, take a beautiful walk along the ocean and admire a great view of Cadiz seafront.
Located at the other end of La Caleta beach, the Castillo de Santa Catalina is also part of the city defense infrastructures. It’s also a great viewpoint: just walking on the ramparts and enjoying the view on the coastline and the Castillo de San Sebastián is really cool.
Cadiz has not one, but two cathedrals…
The Cathedral, located in the old town, was nicknamed Catedral Nueva (New Cathedral) by Gaditanos, in opposition to the Catedral Vieja (Old Cathedral) which, you guessed it, was the former cathedral.
With its golden dome, you can see the Catedral Nueva from pretty much everywhere. And you should definitely go up the Torre de Poniente, one of the cathedral’s bell tower. Once at the top, you can enjoy a nice panoramic view of the whole city.
The Catedral Vieja is also known as the Iglesia de Santa María, a beautiful building that you should also visit.
Even though it is almost completely surrounded by the sea, the historical center of Cádiz does not have very large beaches.
The most important of all is Playa de la Caleta and it is located between the two castles of Cadiz. The little fishing boats moored beside give it an authentic charm.
It is a very nice spot for cooling off and, eventually spending some time on a sunny day. But it may be very crowded in summer…
In most Spanish cities a trip to the permanent central market is a good way to see locals going about their day, and the best place to buy fresh produce. In Cadiz the market is an absolute must.
The Mercado Central of Cádiz has more than 100 stalls. You will be surprised by the extraordinary amount of fish stalls, a reflection of the importance of fishing in the history, culture, cuisine and economy of Cadiz.
Take the opportunity to discover unknown fish species and contemplate the wonderful tuna for sale in many stalls. Almost all the fish sold in the market is caught along the coast of Cadiz, an infinite source of delicacies.
There is also a gastronomic corner where you can buy freshly-cooked shrimp and oysters, as well as the usual bars that serve local produce (cheese, ham) and other delicacies with a crisp glass of beer.
Before the arrival of the Romans, Cadiz was an important Phoenician city. The Phoenicians, coming from the region occupied today by Lebanon and Syria, expanded across the Mediterranean arriving in Cadiz, where they settled and founded the Gadir colony.
That’s what makes the archaeological site of Gadir so valuable, because 10 meters beneath the surface of Cadiz are the ruins of a settlement from the 9th century BC. A great deal of what historians know about Phoenician life in Spain has been informed by this site, beneath the Puppet Theater in the old town.
In 206 BC, Gadir became a federated city of Rome, beginning a period of growth and development. The Roman Theater of Cadiz is the most monumental memory of the Roman past of the city.
Dated from the end of the 1st century BC, it was discovered by chance in 1980. It’s the oldest in Spain as well as one of the largest, with a capacity of 20,000 people. Today, the proximity of surrounding buildings prevents further excavations. The site offers an excellent chance to walk through the remains of the theater and understand them in their historical context.
Cadiz is a lovely and colorful city with an extremely diverse cuisine shaped by the many cultures who once lived here.
The best tapa of this destination are the tortillitas de camarón, which are made from a dough made of wheat flour, chickpea flour, onion, parsley, water, salt, and, of course, shrimp. When the dough is done it is fried and has to be served very crispy!
The most typical thing to order in any bar in Cadiz is a brown paper cartridge with pescaíto frito. Marinated dogfish, cuttlefish or puntillitas are a must.
This article is part of a complete guide about Cadiz where you can read all the information you need to plan your trip to this amazing destination in Spain.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
‘Cadiz In One Day’ is a complete 40+ pages guide featuring exclusive content, relevant websites, rich designed maps and dozens of photos, allowing you to explore Cadiz before you set a foot in Spain.
It contains a detailed step-by-step walkthrough of a full day self-guided walk with all the directions and practical information necessary to go from one highlight to the next.
Everything that you will read is based on practical and organized Cadiz first-hand advice. The self-guided walk has been personally tested to make sure that you can do it on your own. So all you have to do is download it to start reading immediately, all with one click.