What to do in Cadiz
Visit Cadiz is to discover a city very pleasant to live: the beach, the seaside, a beautiful old town with magnificent historical monuments.
Close to Seville (1h30 by car), it is the ideal stage for a day trip during your tour in Andalusia! Once parked in one of the underground car parks of the city, you will take a lot of fun to walk all over the city and visit all the places of interest of Cadiz.
So what to do in Cadiz? Or sleep ? Follow our guide to the 12 things to see absolutely, and discover how to visit Cadiz in 1 day.
Visit Cadiz: the must-sees
1. The Plaza de San Juan de Dios
Start your discovery of Cadiz by the Plaza de San Juan de Dios. Existing since the 16th century, it was for a long time the heart of the city and the place of the public market, because of its proximity to the port. Many exotic products from India were exchanged.
From this square you can admire 2 beautiful buildings: the town hall and the church of San Juan De Dios. This square, decorated with water jet and fountains, surrounded by cafes and restaurants is very pleasant and more pedestrian.
- After crossing the bridge of the constitution, continuing straight on the cortes de Cadiz avenue and Astilleros avenue, you will reach the port and its underground car park. Park there you will be close to the historic center which is the starting point for the day’s visits.
- At the entrance of the square, on Ramon de Carranza Avenue, you will find the tourist office of Cadiz to get a map of places to visit.
2. The Roman Theater
Take the calle San Juan de Dios, then go to the Roman theater of Cadiz. Dated from the end of the 1stcentury BC, it was only discovered in 1980 and totally by chance. It is the oldest of all known in Spain and also one of the largest with a capacity of 20,000 people. Today, the proximity of surrounding buildings prevents further excavations.
Feel free to enter, the museum and theater visit is free. Personally, I loved the way the tour is organized, you can walk in an underground hall under the bleachers.
3. The Cathedral of Cadiz
With its golden dome, it is the most famous monument and can be seen from everywhere while walking in the city. Started in 1722, the construction of the Cathedral of Cadiz was completed only a century later and thus mixes several architectural styles such as Baroque and Neoclassical.
The cathedral, located in the historic center, has been nicknamed “Catedral Nueva” by the inhabitants of Cádiz, in opposition to the “Catedral Vieja” also known as the Church of Santa Maria and which served as cathedral before the construction of the new.
Do not hesitate to visit also the Church Santa Maria, it does not cost anything to take a look in passing, the entrance is free.
During your visit to the “big” Cathedral, I recommend the rise of the tower of Poniente, one of the steeples of the cathedral. Once at the top, you can enjoy a nice panorama of the whole city. The view is particularly impressive. A place of interest in Cádiz.
4. Cádiz Market
Then continue this tour through the city by taking a short tour through the Cádiz market. For me it is a must when you discover a city or region to soak up the typical scents and colors. From the Cathedral, take Calle Compania to Plaza de las Flores (so called because you will find many flower stalls).
Next door is Plaza Libertad, and its central mercado. Unlike other markets, I have not found it so big, but enough to feast with its sellers of fruit and vegetables, fresh fish and the opportunity to concoct a good sandwich of cold cuts and cheese of your choice .
5. The Tavira Tower
Close to the market, via Alcala Galiano street and turning left on Sacramento street, you will come across the Tavira Tower, one of the 126 towers (just that) that Cadiz owns and one of the most visited buildings after Cathedral.
These towers generally served as watchtowers for the port but Tavira Tower, due to its culminating situation was the main lookout. All the attractions of the tour of the tower rests on its dark room, equipped with optical lenses and mirrors that allow you to admire the entire bay of Cadiz in a magnificent panorama.
See also the exhibition halls and audiovisual projections.
All information on the official website of Tavira Tower
6. The Castle of San Sebastian
Your walk along the campo del sur, will take you directly to the entrance of the paseo fernando quinones, path to the castle.
Connected to the city by this pier, the castle of San Sebastian is on a small island whose legend says that it is here, that stood the temple of Cronos in antiquity. It was the Venetians who called him “San Sebastian” to invoke his protection.
Indeed, in the 15th century, the sailors of a Venetian ship contaminated by the epidemic of plague, were allowed to settle there and built a hermitage there.
A watchtower was then erected to counter any attacks. Then, in 1706, the castle was built in itself to strengthen the defense of the city.
Today, the castle San Sebastian is especially the opportunity to make a beautiful walk along the ocean and admire a beautiful view of the seafront of Cadiz. Inside you will have access to free exhibitions. The outside is used to host concerts and other events.
Anecdote : The castle is world famous for having served as a film location for a James Bond movie: “Die another day”.
7. The beach of Caleta
Enclosed between the two castles of Cadiz is the beach of Caleta. This beautiful sandy beach is a perfect stop for swimming and cooling off. However it is relatively small and located in the historic center, so it may be that in summer you find yourself a little cramped.
You will find all the amenities: restaurant, bar, toilets, showers. Note that it is a supervised beach to bathe safely and that the advance of the 2 castles protects it from strong waves.
The small fishing boats moored next door give it an authentic charm.
8. The Castle of Santa Catalina
Located at the other end of the Caleta beach, this fortress that rises on the rocks served as protection for the city.
It was after the plunder of Cadiz by Anglo Dutch troops that the King of Spain decided to build the fortress to strengthen one of the most vulnerable points of the city.
The building is in the form of stars with several defensive bastions and a parade ground surrounded by different pavilions and a chapel dedicated to Santa Catalina.
The castle of Santa Catalina can be visited and hosts several exhibitions of art and painting. The opportunity also to walk on the ramparts and to observe the beach and the fort of San Sebastian.
9. The Genoves Park
A hundred meters from Santa Catalina Castle is the entrance to Genoves Park, the largest public garden in the city.
This park along the ocean contains several botanical species from different countries and various small monuments including the very popular Children ‘s fountain under an umbrella. It also has a cave and a lake, a waterfall and ducks.
It is the ideal place for a short break in the shade and on a bench.
10. Alameda Apodaca Park
To continue your momentum and enjoy a little more of the greenery, I then advise you to continue the path to the park Alameda Apodaca. No difficulty to find it just continue along the seaside.
With its many trees, fountains, wrought iron lamp posts, sculptures, colorful ceramic benches and checkerboard beds, it’s for me the most beautiful park in the city.
I did not have the opportunity to see it but it seems that the park is particularly beautiful at sunset.
11. The Museum of Cadiz
A little culture now! At the end of Alameda Apocada Drive, turn right onto calle Zorrilla to reach Plaza Mina .
If you have time to visit a museum, I recommend the Cádiz Museum on this square. In the program 3 floors, 3 different periods:
- On the ground floor you will find the Phoenician and Roman archaeological remains
- On the first floor, Spanish painters from the 16th to the 20th century are honored
- On the second floor, rooms presenting the customs of Cadiz including the famous puppets of Tia Norica and more contemporary works.
12. The Spanish Steps
We will end this day in Cadiz with a stop at the Spanish Steps to admire the famous Monument to the Constitution of 1812 or “Monument to the Cortes”. At the exit of the museum, take Calle Antonio Lopez to get there.
The monument was built in 1912 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution that was signed in Cadiz in 1812.
This monument is very symbolic. The lowest part represents a semicircle and an empty presidential chair. Several silhouettes hold texts of the constitution and on the sides figures of horses symbolize peace and war.
Several themes also evoke agriculture and citizenship.
Where to sleep in Cadiz
Here are the best hotels and hostels to sleep in Cadiz, depending on your budget:
- Cadiz Inn Backpackers : Hostel located 10 minutes walk from the Cathedral. Bed in dormitory from 14 € per night. Most: its roof terrace and the reception staff.
- Hotel La Catedral : As the name suggests it is located right next to the Cathedral. Modern and elegant room from 60 € per night, including breakfast. Most: big favorite for the rooftop terrace with outdoor pool and breathtaking views of the cathedral! This is our favorite for its price performance ratio.
- Parador de Cadiz : Located in front of the ocean and 5 minutes walk from the beach of La Caleta. Very nice modern and bright room from 138 € per night, breakfast included. Goodies: outdoor pool with nice views, quality of service, well-equipped rooms, original and modern architecture. To have a little fun or if you have a budget travel consequent.
My impressions of Cadiz
And here I presented you the essentials of the city of Cadiz in an easily achievable route in one day.
For my part, I found that the visit is very pleasant and the city of Cadiz a little less touristy than the other cities we visited in Andalusia. The presence of the ocean, gives even more the impression of being on vacation as the possibility of bathing and it is very pleasant after having visited more urban cities like Seville or Cordoba .
The arrival by car by the bridge of the Constitution is also a good memory of travel because it is particularly impressive to cross it. Its height of 185 meters makes it one of the highest maritime bridges of the world, in front of the Golden Gate of San Francisco.
And you, what did you plan to do in Cadiz?
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