Amazing beaches, narrow cobbled streets, interesting history, super tasty tapas and quality sherry. This is Cadiz! What not to love about this city?
One day in Cadiz can be enough to visit all the major sites of the place. However, Cadiz never gets boring, so it can also be a perfect destination for a longer stay.
Here you can find what are the top things to do in Cadiz.
- Stroll around the old town
- Relax on the beach
- Visit the castles
- Explore the cathedral
- Stop over the market
Stroll around the old town
The best way to explore the town is getting lost between the narrow street of the old town. People who are from this part of the town like to say they are from “Cadiz, Cadiz, Cadiz”. The first “Cadiz” indicates the province, the second the city and the third “Cadiz” is used to indicate that they proudly live in the old part of the town. The oldest neighbourhood of Cadiz is “El Pópulo”, where you can find the amazing Santa Cruz Cathedral and the Roman theatre.
Another neighbourhood that you cannot miss is the former fishing quarter of La Viña, which occupies the south-western extremity of Cádiz. This is the place where you can find amazing restaurants and tapas bars. It is also the best area to have fun at night.
Did you know that Cadiz is home to one of the liveliest and most dazzling carnivals in mainland Spain? The carnival starts the weekend before Ash Wednesday, and celebrations last 2 weeks. Most of the action takes place in the neighborhood of La Viña.
The best way to get to know the city is to turn off Google Map, grab an old map and get lost. But if you want to know curiosities about the city, then I highly recommend a free walking tour. Guides are really funny and informative.
Relax on the beach
Cadiz immediately feels like a relaxed and laid back city, despite its size. Being almost completely surrounded by the sea, this city can be also a perfect destination to relax.
Playa La Caleta is the most beautiful beach of Cadiz and it is the only one located in the old town. Delimited by the two old castles Castillo de Santa Catalina and Castillo de San Sebastián, this beach is relatively small and can get very busy during the summer. Here you can find a lot of small fishing boats moored, which add charm to the place.
Out of the old town, there are other golden sand beaches. One of the most popular is Playa de la Victoria, which has repeatedly been awarded a Blue Flag by the European Union for its high standards of cleanliness and excellent facilities.
Visit the castles
Located at the extremities of the La Caleta beach, there are the Santa Catalina Castle and San Sebastian Castle. These were part of the city defence infrastructures. Santa Catalina Castle can be visited for free and hosts several art and paintings exhibitions.
Walking on the wall of the castle you can also enjoy a beautiful view of the Caleta Beach and the San Sebastian castle. This second castle is located on a small island at the other extremity of “La Caleta” beach, and it is connected by the city by its pier. Today, San Sebastian castle cannot be visited, but hopefully, soon enough it will be possible again the to take a beautiful walk along the pier and admire a great view of Cadiz seafront from the castle.
Explore the cathedral
Santa Cruz Cathedral is a must see to overlook the city from the top! It is the oldest church in the city and it was built on the site of an old Muslim mosque. The opening time changes according to the period of the year and can be found here. The entrance fee is 6€ for adults and 4€ for students and it includes the audio guide and the visit to the “Torre del Reloj” (the clock tower). The church itself is beautiful but the ticket price is worth especially for the breathtaking view from the top of the clock tower.
This view literally blew my mind! When you are on the tower, better to avoid to stay under the bells. Keep in mind that they ring every 15 minutes.
Stop over the market
In the heart of old Cádiz there is the neighbourhood of “El Centro”, where you can find the wonderfully chaotic and noisy Mercado Central. Just off the market, there is the Plaza Topete, which is nicknamed Plaza de las Flores due to its several colourful flower stalls.
If you stop by Plaza Topete you will see many walled up windows. They were closed during the 18th and 19th centuries, when the government introduced the window tax to fatten its wallet.
The Mercado Central is closed on Sunday and on holidays. But don’t worry, on these days there is a nice flea market right outside the market building, where you can still have some market vibes.
Plus, you can still get a paper cone of hot sugary churros from one of the stalls next to the market and then go by the sea to enjoy the churros you just bought.
How to get to Cadiz
Cadiz is very small, so, if you have a car better you park it outside the old town. You can park for free just outside the Puerta de la Tierra, while the parking rate on city centre streets is about € 0.90/hour. Here you can find additional information about parking in Cadiz.
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