Commonly cast aside for more extravagant city targets in Spain, let alone in Andalusia, Cádiz is a compact throwback and much more than a Moorish gateway to Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the Canary Islands.
The city of 130,000 has a singular history that took root in 1100 BC as a colony of Pheonicia. As the doyen of the Most Ancient European Towns Network then, Cadiz has ample reason to brag and exude a modicum of civic pride. A sprawl of impressive landmarks dot a small cityscape resonant with architectural diversity, from the Plaza de Mina to Catedral de Cádiz, Gran Teatro Falla to the unusual Pylons of Cadiz.
Come for the city Carnival and Cadiz unfurls a different side altogether. The annual springtime bash is a riot of revelry held in universal reverence in the country and, indeed, all over the continent as well. Carnival is the exuberant exclamation point of a cultural heritage very much on display throughout the rest of the year in what is a bona fide gem of southwest Spain.
Cadiz’s Top 10
10. Barrio del Pópulo, a remarkable new target of urban renewal, proves that Cadiz is not content to fixate on past glory.
5. Cadiz Cathedral is less opulent than others but is a fine archetype of baroque, rococo and neoclassical.
9. Plaza de San Antonio contains a lovely and colourful church.
4. Torre Tavira is the grand old watchtower of the city and sports a workable camera obscura.
8. Playa de la Victoria is the number one beach for visitors and locals alike.
3. Plaza de Topete brims with life and a wonderful Mercado Central.
7. Castillo de Santa Catalina is a late 16th century fortress with a vital civic museum inside.
2. Plaza de Mina is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
6. Gran Teatro Falla is the theatre of record in the city and a neo-Mudéjar marvel.
1. Museum of Cadiz has a major collection of fine art and a trove of priceless archaeological finds.
- Archaeological Museum (Plaza de Mina) – This fascinating museum exhibits interesting artefacts from Cadiz’s historic past.
- Old Cathedral – Here, the remains of a Roman theatre are tucked behind the cathedral.
- San Sebastian – An ancient fort built to protect Cadiz from attacks.
- Santa Catalina – In the Old Town, this fort is a popular tourist attraction.
- Oratorio de San Felipe Neri – The church in which the first Spanish Constitution was signed.
Cadiz Art & Culture
- Carnaval – One of Spain’s best festivals, typically held in February.
- Semana Santa – An authentic and emotive experience that takes place in Cadiz over Easter.
- Plaza de Falla and the Gran Teatro Falla (Falla Grand Theatre) – Built between 1884 and 1905, this theatre is named after the composer Manuel de Falla.
- Admiral's House – A palatial house constructed in 1690 by the family of the admiral of the Spanish treasure fleet.
- Old Customs House – A neoclassic house built in 1765.
- Central Market – This popular Cadiz market is home to a great fish department.
- Casa Rodrigues – An excellent place to purchase home décor goods.
- Belle Epoque – A shop selling traditional handicrafts, including ceramic and wicker goods.
- Hecho – A Cadiz store that specialises in the sale of fine food and wine.
- El Corte Ingles – A large shopping centre, which offers pleasurable spending experience to those with an abundance of money.
Gay & Lesbian Cadiz
- Bar Poniente – A gay-friendly tavern to visit for a few drinks.
- Bar Averno – A bar in which the gay community can mingle with like-minded locals and tourists.
- Gran Teatro Manuel de Falla – The cultural centre of Cadiz in which fine performances are on offer throughout the winter months.
- Café Levante – A gay-friendly bar which attracts mainly students.
- Barabass – The place to enjoy themed parties.
- Santa Maria del Mar Beach – One of the best beaches in Spain, ideal for kids.
- La Playa de la Victoria Beach – Just a short journey from the Old Town, this beautiful beach boasts clean water and an abundance of water sports activities.
- Tavira Tower – Take a walk to witness this 18th-century tower, the tallest remaining watchtower in Cadiz.
- La Playa de la Caleta Beach – One of Cadiz’s best-loved beaches, located in the Old Town, between two castles.
- Plaza de España – A large square dominated by the Monument to the Constitution of 1812.
- Catch the Cádiz Club de Fútbol at their home ground, the Estadio Ramón de Carranza.
- Watch the CR Atletico Portuense play rugby at the Polideportivo "La Puntilla" sports centre.
- Enjoy a game of football courtesy of the Xerez CD at the Estadio Municipal de Chapín.
- Witness the Sunshine Tour show jumping competition at the Dehesa Montenmedio between February and March.
- Catch the Sunshine Tour dressage event at the Dehesa Montenmedio at the end of January or start of February.
The Cadiz Carnival is a phenomenal event with a worldwide reputation. The foremost fiesta takes place over two weeks every Lent.
Easter, predictably, is a major holiday in the city.
Consult the monthly programme of the Gran Teatro for a list of musical events.
Cadiz has a desirable peninsula coastline. For a memorable beach experience, discover Playa de la Caleta, Playa de la Victoria and Playa de Santa Maria del Mar, to name just a few.
When To Go
Carnival is the best time to visit Cadiz, so target Ash Wednesday as a date if the holiday schedule permits.
The city enjoys a mild climate on the whole, with very hot summers and winters that seldom see temperatures below 50°F (10°C). With 300 plus days of sunshine and minimal rain, even in January and December, the weather is most desirable in southwest Spain.
The busy tourist season from May to October is hot enough for beach time, with temperatures between 64°F (18°C) and 91°F (33°C) in July and August.
Jerez Airport is the primary gateway to Cadiz for those who choose to fly in, with service to and from the likes of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, London and Paris.
Seville is also a popular platform to the city, most notably by rail. Of course, a solid highway network links Cadiz with Seville, Malaga, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and even Lisbon.
Cadiz is not a big city area-wise and is amenable to pedestrians. A small public bus network helps, however.
Cádiz, the city and province in Spain of the same name, is one of those gem destinations travellers almost stumble upon by accident and rave about for years to come. Not that the city of 130,000 is under the radar mind you - nor the province as a whole. The fact is that in comparison to other areas in the tourist magnet that is Spain, it sometimes just seems that way.
Any way you slice it, Cádiz the city is the oldest continuously inhabited community in the entire Iberian Peninsula. With that fact in mind, there's a lot of meat on the bone here, as it were. From a splendid historic quarter with attractive plazas to dozens of significant landmarks, the city's promenades are lined with priceless photo ops at every turn. In Cádiz province, the sherry region and town of Jerez stands apart as a matchless destination for authentic culinary experiences and tours. With beaches galore, nearly one dozen national parks and the iconic Straits of Gibraltar, Cádiz is a brilliant getaway in Spain.
Attractions & Activities
- Cádiz Cathedral
- Museum of Cádiz
- Falla Grand Theatre
- Straits of Gibraltar
- San Francisco Church and Convent
- La Caleta Beach
- Natural Parks
- Carnival of Cádiz
- Jerez Feria
- Route of the Bull
- Holy Week
Restaurant & Nightlife
- El Faro
- La Mesa Redonda
- Vento Pinto
- El Bolero
- El Hoyo
Cádiz has a warm temperate climate, typical of Mediterranean coastal regions in Spain. Of course, towns within the inner part of the province do not benefit as greatly from the sea breezes. The city of Cádiz receives more than 300 days of sunshine a year.
- Winter (December to February) 8-18°C
- Spring (March to April) 11-21°C
- Summer (May to September) 16-28°C
- Fall (October to November) 12-23°C
Cadiz & Province official guide
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