The people, the beaches, the atmosphere and places to visit. There are lots of things to do in Cadiz
Cadiz is perhaps best known for its Carnaval celebration held each year before Lent. But there is a lot more things to do in Cadiz than this festive party and (normally) relaxed way of life. Cadiz is actually one of the oldest cities in Europe. It was founded in the year 1100 BC by the Phoenicians. At that time, it was called Gadir (hence why people from Cadiz are called “gaditanos”) and it was a strategic point for trading.
The Romans also used Cadiz as a naval base, and later it was taken over by the Muslims. The city came into its own during the golden age of trade with the Americas in the 18th century. Nowadays Cadiz is a welcoming, Andalucian city with tons of history, delicious food, and an enviable ability to slow down and live in the moment. Rushed on time? Here are Rusko’s top picks of things to do in Cadiz!
La Torre de Tavira
Cadiz is a city with lots of towers, originally built to keep watch when there was more trade by way of ships. The Torre de Tavira became the official tower due to its height and position. Today, you can go up the tower, enjoy a presentation in a Camera Obscura, and get the best views of the city.
Why go? This is a great way to begin your visit to Cadiz and get your bearings, as well as enjoy unparalleled views of the city. More information about Torre Tavira.
Museum of Cadiz
Located in the beautiful and centrally located Plaza de Mina, the Museum of Cadiz is a great place to learn more about the history of the province. I had no idea of just how much history this Andalucian city enjoyed, but here you can see two Phoenician sarcophagi, roman statues, as well as fine arts such as paintings by Andalucian artists such as Zurbarán and Murillo.
Why go? Stories like this one. Pelayo Quintero, an archeologist and director of the fine arts museum in Cadiz in the early 20th century, found the male sarcophagus in 1887 and spent the rest of his life searching for the female companion. He was told that it must be located nearby, so he spent years digging up the foundations of surrounding buildings, sinking a lot of money into the affair. When he eventually passed away, irony of ironies, the female sarcophagus was found under the exact building where this man lived. More information about Museum of Cadiz.
Playa de la Caleta
Located between the castles of San Sebastián and Santa Catalina, this isolated beach has inspired many poets and muscians. It is also located close to the historic center and offers a beautiful view.
Why go? This is THE place to enjoy the sunset. Absolutely gorgeous, romantic and well worth your time.
Plaza de las Flores
This traditional plaza is really called the Plaza Topete, although everyone calls it by the nickname Plaza de las Flores because it is filled with flower vendors. Flanked by the beautiful post office building, winding side streets from the historic center of town, and located just next to the central market, this plaza smells of delicious fried fish (you should try the “pescaíto frito” or traditional fried fish at the Freiduría Las Flores). It is a busy place, perhaps a bit too overrun by tourists, but everyone in Cadiz will tell you to visit this emblematic plaza.
Why go? The fried fish. On a hot day in Cadiz it is a luxary and a pleasure to sip an ice cold beer and have a lunch of fried fish. This is where the locals go, and they have good reason. Delicioso!
Cathedral of Cadiz
Cadiz actually has two cathedrals. The first one burned down in the year 1596, and the modern was built over 116 years starting in 1776. This Cathedral was designed by the same architect who built the gorgeous cathedral in Granada. Due to the fact that it took so long they had to use two different types of stone, and you can see this in the façade. There are also different styles of architecture including both neoclassical and baroque elements.
Why go? The chapels have a lot of paintings and relics from the old cathedral as well as other monasteries throughout Spain. Also, the interesting architectural story of the building. More information about the Cathedral of Cadiz.
By now, you should know that we love a good marketplace. This one, located just off the Plaza de las Flores is one of the oldest covered markets in Spain. It dates back to the year 1837 and it is still bustling on a Saturday morning with people buying fresh fish, snails and vegetables.
Why go? To get a feel for the local atmosphere and get a look at all those delicious fishies that you will be eating for lunch. This is one of the centers for local day to day life.
Barrio del Pópulo
This area of the city, long overlooked and recently renovated is actually the oldest area of Cadiz. I loved its old cobblestone streets, beautiful arches and just thinking about how thousands of years ago, people were walking on those same streets. This is a great area for tapas and entertainment at night, and best of all, its located steps away from the Cathedral, so you really don’t have to go far!
Why go? The history and the tapas. Enough said!
I know, those of you who frequently read our travel blog are probably thinking…when are they going to tell me about an unique café in Cadiz??? It’s true. I enjoy a good cup of coffee…but not just anywhere! In Cadiz we found the Café Levante where you can sit on a narrow cobblestone side street and enjoy a coffee or a drink in the late afternoon.
Why go? This is a local spot with an artsy vibe. A great place to stop on your visit to Cadiz! More information about Café Levante.
This beach, found right in the city of Cadiz is considered to be one of the best urban beaches in Europe. Beautiful clean sand, and a great way to cool off on those hot days that are so common in Andalusia. This beach is frequented by locals and tourists alike- just remember your sunscreen and beach umbrella!
Why go? The beautiful views, areas dedicated to sports, and the cine de verano (a movie on the beach! What could be better?!?)
This park dates back to the 19th century and it is one of the most relaxing and beautiful places to take a walk in the capital. There are lots of different species of trees brought over from the Americas when Cadiz was mainly a trading city. There are lots of fountains, statues and even parakeets in the park.
Why go? This is a beautiful park to take a romantic stroll or just escape the busier down town area, as well as the variety of plant life!
Where to stay in Cadiz
We stayed in the center of Cádiz and the truth is it was worth it. If you want to find the best hotel for you; here’s a link for all the hotels in Cádiz.
**We were invited to visit by the Office of Tourism of Cadiz. In no way were we swayed to write a positive review. As always, all opinions are our own.