At the very southern tip of Spain sits Cadiz. A small city with a lot to offer. In fact, there could be so many amazing things to see that just one day in Cadiz might not be enough. To help you make the most of any time you choose to spend in the city, here’s some of the best things you can expect to find in Cadiz.
Maybe you decide to stay a little longer, but just in case, make sure to check out the map below to help you navigate your way around the city so you can see everything there is on your one day in Cadiz.
Is Cadiz worth visiting
The first question you should ask before visiting any place – is it worth it? There are many other great options within Spain, not mention the Southern community of Andalusia itself. So is Cadiz worth visiting?
That’s obviously up to you. But the options below should give you an idea of a city offering plenty to see. Things like welcoming locals, a traditional way of life, picturesque parks and beaches, intriguing streets, beautiful old buildings and impressive viewpoints overlooking the whole thing.
There are easier places to reach, bigger cities and more amazing architecture. But heading down to the very south of the Iberian Peninsula is something to enjoy. When you factor in the many possible day trips from Cadiz, the only question left is why haven’t you been yet?
Best time to visit Cadiz
As with most cities in Andalusia, avoiding the scorching and packed summer months is the best way to go. The shoulder seasons of Spring and Autumn see less crowds and more manageable temperatures. Even in early December the days are warm with perfect weather, few tourists and cheaper accommodation.
To witness the ultimate Cadiz experience, visit in February or March for carnival season. The streets will be packed with parties and many events to keep you entertained.
How to get to Cadiz
Bus from Seville to Cadiz
As the biggest nearby city, most people will travel from Seville. It takes about 1 hour 45 to travel between the two cities and generally costs a little under €15. Prices and times are both similar if going by train.
Airports near Cadiz
There is no actual airport in Cadiz, so you’ll have to fly into a nearby city in order to reach it by plane. The two best options are either Seville or Jerez, which is a slightly larger city within the same province. From there it’s easy to take a bus or train to reach Cadiz.
Another option would be either Malaga, which has a lot of international arrivals, or even Gibraltar.
Plaza de San Juan de Dios
The best place to start a tour of Cadiz is one of its main squares. Located in the El Pópulo neighbourhood, in Plaza de San Juan de Dios you’ll find a church of the same name and the town hall.
At the other end of the square is Cadiz’s port, where huge cruise ships dock full of visiting tourists. In the middle is a long fountain that’s lit up in a range of changing colours at night, while lining both sides are cafes where you can sit and enjoy the views with a relaxing drink.
Just a few minutes’ walk from Plaza de San Juan de Dios is Cadiz’s Roman Theatre. Built around 70 BC, it’s the second largest in Spain (after the one in Cordoba). Entrance is free and can be found down the narrow (and not easy to find) Calle Mesón.
First you’ll learn all about the history of the theatre before passing through the tunnels beneath the banked seating. Most of the seating and stage areas have been uncovered, but houses have since been built on top meaning it’s no longer possible to excavate the remaining areas.
Cadiz Cathedral & Torre Poniente
There are several locations to get a bird’s eye view of Cadiz. One of which is at the top of the city’s cathedral. Where the tower differs from many others around Europe is access is via a circular ramp, so no steps apart from at the very end of the climb. At the top you can enjoy full views of Cadiz and the coastline.
Below that is the cathedral. You get a free audio guide, available in English or Spanish, to lead you around. Below is the crypt (which isn’t as creepy as it sounds). Be sure to stand in the middle of the circular room and listen to the echo.
General entrance for both the cathedral and tower costs €7 combined and they’re open most days from 10am until 8pm with a few restrictions on Sundays.
While not a big city, Cadiz is bustling with life. Especially around the local market. Here you can expect to find the usual local food, such as meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. There’s actually over a hundred different stands and it’s a good spot to grab a cheap lunch while on the go as you navigate your way around the city.
Another of Cadiz’s best viewpoints is at the top of the Tavira Tower. There are actually over 130 towers throughout the city, this being one of the best.
The tower includes several floors with paintings, history of the area and other interesting items on the way. A lot of the information relates to camera obscura, which you’ll find on the penultimate floor. Entrance is €7 and includes a demonstration of the working camera obscura.
At the very top you can see a 360° view of Cadiz from the old town. The narrow streets below you stretching away towards the sea.
Campo del Sur (& the local cats)
Cadiz’s promenade along Campo de Sur is the perfect spot to take a leisurely stroll, enjoying the views of the sea and nearby cathedral, among other buildings. It’s also home to a colony of stray cats.
Peering over the wall you’ll probably spot some of the local tabbies, gingers and black cats as they lounge lazily in the sun. They have temporary shelters among the large blocks of the city’s sea defences and a local charity stop by regularly to keep them fed.
Barrios Pópulo and la Viña
Two areas to capture what Cadiz is all about. Barrio Pópulo is the oldest neighbourhood in the city and where you’ll find the town hall and cathedral. The streets are narrow and twisting and it’s very easy to get confused as you navigate your way to the wide array of restaurants.
Barrio la Viña is the old fisherman’s quarter and still a great place to find cheap but tasty seafood. Wandering through the small, stony streets you’ll come across many small bars and restaurants with plenty of character.
The two neighbourhoods are at almost opposite ends of the old town. La Viña is close to Campo del Sur promenade, while Pópulo is towards the current port.
Castillo San Sebastian and Castillo Santa Catalina
There are two castles in Cadiz. Both a short walk from each other and separated only by La Caleta Beach (see below). Castillo San Sebastian is currently closed but you can enjoy a nice walk along the promenade all the way up to the gates with sea either side of you.
Castillo Santa Catalina is open and entrance is free. The former fort is a nice place to explore and you get picturesque views across the water of La Caleta beach.
La Caleta Beach
In my opinion, one of the best city beaches in Spain. Usually you have to go away from the built up areas to find a nice stretch of sand, but Cadiz has one right on its doorstep.
The sand is soft and golden, the views relaxing and there’s nearby spots to grab food or drinks. It’s also right on the edge of the old town, so it’s close to all of Cadiz’s other main attractions.
If you’re looking for somewhere with more space, then a little further out from the centre is Playa de la Victoria. Another of the best beaches in Cadiz (and there are a few great options), it’s much longer than La Caleta and being away from the city makes it less of a tourist trap.
Parque Genoves and Parque Alameda Apodaca
Not far from the beach are two parks. Parque Genoves is home to the city’s botanic gardens while Parque Alameda Apodaca is a tranquil green area with beautiful mosaic tiled floors. There are several water features around Parque Genoves, which the local ducks regularly make the most of.
Around both parks you’ll find the city’s amazing rubber trees. Enormous and strangely shaped with branches in all directions, they would make the perfect tree house.
Museum of Cadiz
Cadiz’s museum has many collections to check out, all divided into three main sections. The first part is dedicated to Phoenician and Roman archaeology, then the fine arts section and lastly the ethnographic area.
Entrance is free for visitors from the EU (with proof of nationality) or €1.50 for everyone else.
For more information on the Phoenicians and related archaeology, you can check out Yacimiento Arqueológico Gadir (Calle San Miguel).
Plaza de España
You’ll find a Plaza de España in almost every large city in Spain and Cadiz is no exception. The centre piece of the square is a huge monument commemorating the signing of Spain’s constitution in 1812 right here in Cadiz. All of the figures and carvings relate to the signing of the constitution and its political significance for Spain.
Aside from this it’s another beautiful place to wander around or just take a seat and enjoy the relaxing surroundings. Stopping by at the end of the day as the sun begins to set is the best time as the whole park gets covered in a golden glow while boats pass nearby on the way to or from the port.
Other sites of interest
- Gran Teatro Falla – 19th century concert hall and a hugely important part of Cadiz’s February/March carnival season
- Puerta de Tierra – southern entrance to the city and used in the 16th century to defend Cadiz
- Plaza de las Flores – a small, colourful square near the market with plenty of tapas bars close by
- Oratorio de la Santa Cueva – an underground church in the centre of the old town
- Peña Flamenca – the best place to see live flamenco dancing in Cadiz
- Catacumbas del Beaterio – an ancient burial site with a network of tunnels and caves, tours also offered in English