The Phoenicians founded Cadiz in 1100 BC, and today, the city has transformed into a pastel-colored canvas of vibrant activities and sights. If you’re planning to spend a few days, there are many things to do in Cadiz.
From a walk along the seafront to taking in the golden dome of the cathedral. In Cadiz, you’ll sample local cuisine in the traditional neighborhoods of the Ppulo, surrounded by sea breeze air. Here are all the essential sights and attractions and adventure activities in the area.
- QUICK TRAVEL INFO
- Top Hotel/Apartments In Cadiz: Plaza Mina Suites
- Popular Hostel In Cadiz: Casa Caracol Cádiz
- Going Around Cadiz: Hop-on Hop-off Bus
- Get To Know City Highlights: Cadiz Medieval Tour
- Popular Day Trip From Cadiz: Jerez: Yeguada de la Cartuja Carthusian Horses Tour
Most Popular Thing To Do In Cadiz
Step Back In Time (Or Into A James Bond Movie) At The Castles Of Santa Catalina, And San Sebastián
Santa Catalina Castle dates back to the 17th century. It served as a defense for the city against potential pirate attacks while also being used as a military prison. This pentagonal architecture serves as a way to protect the region’s cultural past and is also used for hosting events – a Cadiz must see!
The second castle, San Sebastián, is located on an island of smaller size. And just like the previous one, it acts as a safeguard for the capital.
The fortress has been the setting for some of the most famous scenes from the movies “Alatriste” starring Viggo Mortensen and “Die Another Day,” another iconic James Bond movie, played by Pierce Brosman. An excursion to explore these ancient structures is one of the main things to do in Cadiz.
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Best Local Things To Do In Cadiz
Reward Your Taste Buds At The Mercado Central
If you visit Cadiz, your trip won’t be complete without taking a stroll at Mercado Central. Las Flores Square is the location for this bustling market, where tourists and locals alike come to buy, explore, and relax.
The market is filled with fresh and local products, from fish and cheese to chorizo and chicharrón. You can find an abundance of options when it comes to fruits, vegetables, and spices. There is also a large patio with tables and parasols, where you may find locals enjoying a nice Spanish breakfast in the morning.
This is one of the most authentic things to do in Cadiz where visitors can find interesting purchases at great prices.
Pretend You’re A Fisherman At The Barrio La Vina
La Viña, the old fisherman’s quarter of Cadiz is a vibrant and exciting place to explore.
With buzzing taverns and Andalusian tapas bars offering up sherry and some of the best seafood in the city, it’s a Cadiz must-see. You can also enjoy traditional Spanish food and cuisine amidst the charming surrounding.
Between the old stone laneways, you can catch views of the beautiful Parroquia de Nuestra Senora de la Palma. This is one area that just has its own unique vibe.
Feast On Seafood
Cadiz is located by the Atlantic Ocean and is consequently renowned for its incredible fish and seafood restaurants.
Plaza de Juan de Dios, a short distance from the port, is home to many of the best. Popular dishes include Cadiz-style platters of deep-fried fish with lemon and white wine. Fish stews are also popular, with recipes that fishermen have passed down for generations.
While Spanish soups and stews are great comfort food, Tapas is also an integral part of the Cádiz lifestyle – order a beer or sherry (fino) and get a complimentary tapa too! When you visit Cadiz, don’t miss out on the local experience.
If you are looking to sample all the hidden local gems, the Cadiz Tapas Tour is a great way to find the best of them.
Spend A Day (Or Two) At The Beach
If there’s one thing the region is known for, it’s the stunning beaches in Cadiz.
La Victoria, La Cortadura, Santa María del Mar, and La Caleta all extend for about 7.2 kilometers. Each is a great place to spend the day under the sun in. La Caleta, in particular, is the central beach in the old town and is 450 meters long.
It’s a popular spot for locals and travelers to take in the beauty of the sunsets and ships sailing the Atlantic. This beach is bordered by an old spa and has two castles, Santa Catalina and San Sebastian.
Best Indoor Things To Do In Cadiz
Discover The Artistic Contrasts Of Oratoria De La Santa Cueva
Exploring Oratorio de la Santa Cueva is a must-do when it comes to things to see in Cadiz.
The building belonged to the Spiritual Withdrawal Congregation, a mystery to leading figures in Cadiz in the 18th century. Once inside, you will find a starkly austere chapel with bare pillars and washed-out stone walls downstairs. However, the upstairs is a different story.
The High Sacramental Chapel is ornate, with dappled sunlight coming through beautiful stained glass windows. It’s a beautiful sight – and there’s a secret stash of paintings by Goya hidden in the arches above the alcoves.
Tour The Three Floors Of The Museum Of Cadiz
The Cadiz Museum is made up of three levels, displaying a vast collection of historical art and archaeological artifacts that have been gathered over the past century – some of which have been confiscated from charter houses.
Art lovers can admire the classical paintings of Baroque artists such as Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and Peter Paul Rubens. Archaeological pieces, like the Phoenician sarcophagi found at the Navantia shipyard in San Fernando, Cadiz, are also on display.
On the first floor, you can explore the impressive puppets of La Tía Norica. Citizens and residents of the European Union can access the museum for free, making it one of the most popular things to see in Cadiz on a budget.
Examine Neoclassical Art At The Cádiz Cathedral
The magnificent Cadiz Cathedral, a baroque and neoclassical masterpiece stands tall in a picturesque square. Tapas bars, ice cream parlors, and café terraces line the area, all offering views of this impressive structure. You won’t run out of things to do in Cadiz here (or things to eat).
To reach the bell tower, Torre de Poniente, you can take in the sights of the city and the blue waters of the Bay of Cadiz. Inside, feast your eyes on the vaults overlooking the high altar and the choir, adorned with neoclassical artwork and sculptures.
Watch A Play At The Gran Teatro Falla
The Falla theater is the beating heart of the Cadiz carnival event as well as a Cadiz must-see. It was previously known as ‘Gran Teatro de Cádiz’ before it was renamed in honor of composer Manuel de Falla in 1926. This neo-Mudejar building is located beside the Casa de las Viudas and the Faculty of Medicine in Plaza Fragela.
The earliest theatrical activities within the city walls can be traced back to the 17th century. This magnificent theater was first built in 1885 by Adolfo Morales and was completed in 1910. Inside, the premier activity of the region takes place – the official competition of the Carnival groups of Cadiz – as well as other theatrical events hosted in the city.
Tours of the inside of the building are available by reservation, and the prices vary depending on the current program. This is one of the most popular things to do in Cadiz for fans of culture and history.
Best Outdoor Things To Do In Cadiz
Monitor The Boats Coming In From America At The Torre Tavira
Visit the Tavira Tower, or “Torre Tavira,” for a mesmerizing view of Cadiz. Located 45 meters high, it was originally used as a watchtower to monitor boats from America. The darkroom gives visitors a 360° look at the city with the help of a network of lenses and mirrors.
Discover Ice-Cream-Shaped Trees At The Parque Genoves
Genovés Park is an oasis of lush green on the northwestern tip of Cadiz, boasting sculpted gardens with tree-lined pathways. Some of the trees are old and massive. Here, you can also feed the ducks at the ponds with artificial waterfalls.
There’s also a small playground with benches in the shade where parents can relax while the kids play. On the cliff edge, the park offers a coastal promenade for peaceful strolls with a view of the ocean.
Grab some local Spanish snacks and chill at this green paradise within the city. This is one of the best things to do in Cadiz for families.
Take A Journey Through Time At The Barrio Del Populo
Take a journey into the heart of old town Cadiz, home to one of the oldest squares in Europe. Its 13th-century medieval walls feature the Arcos de La Rosa, El Pópulo, and Los Blancos.
There are plenty of popular attractions in Cadiz located here: discover the wonders of Plaza de San Martín, the Baroque-style Casa del Almirante, the 17th-century Santa Cruz Church, the ancient Roman Theatre, Café Teatro Pay Pay, and the Posada del Mesón.
You can also explore the culture and cuisine of the area with insightful guided tours.
People-Watch In The Heart Of The City At The Plaza De San Juan De Dios
If you find yourself wondering what to see in Cadiz, this lively spot is an ideal destination. Its postcard-perfect decor and fountain make it the perfect spot to relax.
Dating back to the 16th century, it once served as the city’s marketplace. The large rectangular square is located near the port and has a long fountain facing the Town Hall.
The two impressive buildings – the Town Hall and the Church of San Juan de Dios give the square its name. You can also find restaurants, tapas, bars, and cafes, making it an excellent spot for day or night.
The best part? It’s pedestrian-only – an ideal spot to mingle with locals and tourists or explore things to do in Cadiz! You can also find small shopping streets and, occasionally, craft markets.
Send A Message To Madrid At The Puerta De Tierra
A narrow isthmus surrounds Cadiz’s old city. In the 16th century, a stronghold was built to bolster its defenses, and it was reinforced in the 1700s.
While the tower above the gate looks like a defensive feature, it is actually a semaphore tower built in 1850. Using an optical telegraph system, information could be relayed from Cadiz to Madrid in just two hours.
Until the 20th century, the area outside the wall was surrounded by deep trenches with only one opening. It wasn’t until the ditch was filled in, and two more arches were added, that road traffic could pass through.
Today, if you visit Cadiz, don’t miss out on the chance to gaze at this historical piece of architecture.
Cheap And Free Things To Do In Cadiz
Pretend You’re A Roman, Pretending He’s A Gladiator At The Roman Theater
The Roman theater, dating back to the 1st century BC, was surprisingly discovered in 1980. It is the oldest theater in Spain and boasts a capacity of 20,000 people.
The museum and theater are free to explore, so take a walk through the underground corridors and the bleachers. If you’re looking for things to see in Cadiz, this one is as memorable as they get!
Take A Stroll At The Alameda Apodaca Park
This 18th-century park is surrounded by the walls of the city and stands out for its remarkable beauty. It is located near the beach and the Cadiz old town.
The gardener Eduardo Genovés y Puig has transformed this park into a botanical heritage with over 100 species of plants. Today, visiting it is one of the best things to do in Cadiz.
It features a pond, popularly known as “La Gruta,” complete with waterfall decorations. People often visit the park to feed the birds in the pond. At the back of the park lies “la Alameda Apodaca y del Marqués de Comillas,” which includes the Church of Carmen and has amazing views of Rota and Puerto de Santa María – a Cadiz must-see.
Explore Cape Trafalgar’s Note-Worthy Coastline
On the stunning coast of Cape Trafalgar, 58 kilometers from Cádiz, lies the peaceful seaside village of Los Caños de Meca. This beach destination has plenty of amenities, such as water sports rentals, restaurants, snack bars, and evening entertainment.
Those who want to make the most of their trip can enjoy swimming, windsurfing, surfboarding, and taking a scenic nature walk in the Parque Natural de la Breña y Marismas de Barbate.
Just 1.5 kilometers away, tourists can visit Playa del Faro de Trafalgar after a 20-minute seaside walk or a short drive. This beach is admired for its untouched surroundings, golden-sand shoreline, and crystal-clear waters. However, be aware of the strong ocean currents and powerful waves.
The Faro de Trafalgar, a lighthouse built in 1862, stands tall on the beach. You can enjoy the breathtaking views and stunning sunsets from here, so don’t miss out on this gem.
Best Things To Do In Cadiz At Night
Explore The Coastal Promenade And End The Day With A Drink
Located in the new area of town, the Malecón de La Habana is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. It is made up of a five-kilometer stretch that runs through the main beaches.
There are several restaurants here where you can sample the traditional local cuisine. If you’re looking to start the night with a drink, this is the place.
There are also many other things to do in Cadiz here. You can take advantage of the cycle path to explore the city differently. Nearby attractions include the Ramón de Carranza football stadium and the Church of San José, the first to be built outside the city walls.
Best Day Trip From Cadiz
Pay A Visit To Sanlucar De Barrameda
At a distance of fifty kilometers from Cádiz lies the picturesque fishing town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, with its quaint and historically rich center. Its narrow, winding streets are truly atmospheric.
Sanlúcar de Barrameda also offers a variety of delectable seafood restaurants and stunning golden-sand beaches. This nearby village makes for a relaxing day trip from Cadiz.
Take The Ferry To El Puerto De Santa Maria
This historic harbor town can be reached by ferry or a 15-minute drive. It has all the characteristics of an Andalusian city, including its pavements surrounded by orange trees and buildings with hand-painted tiles and wrought-iron balconies.
The port is famous for being the departure point of Christopher Columbus’ second voyage to the Americas. It is also part of the “Sherry Triangle.”
Where To Stay In Cadiz
Cadiz offers many different districts for you to explore! When it comes to picking accommodation, the old town is the perfect place for those who want to take in the city’s beauty all on foot.
Going further south from the city, you’ll find more modern areas close to the beach and things to do in Cadiz. Here are some of the best hotels and hostels in Cadiz for all budgets and travel styles.
Budget Accommodation In Cadiz
Casa Caracol Cádiz: Caracol Hostel is a cozy, social and soulful place focusing on making visitors feel right at home. The staff is multilingual, friendly, and always looking to make everyone’s stay memorable. Located in the center of the old town, the hostel is just a few minutes from the main transportation hubs.
Planeta Cadiz: A deluxe accommodation with low-cost rates. It offers top-notch service, with capsule bunk beds, auto-check-ins, and more. Plus, it’s in the heart of historic Cadiz! Guests can access bars, restaurants, tourist attractions, and public transportation within walking distance.
You can also take advantage of the hostel’s amenities, such as the 300 m2 terrace, fully equipped kitchen, children’s room, meeting room, and more. They offer free Wi-Fi, breakfast service, laundry service, daily cleaning, and personal lockers.
Casa Nautilus: A quaint and inviting guesthouse situated in the heart of Cadiz. Their team possesses extensive hospitality industry experience and knowledge of the city to ensure a great stay for guests. They are situated in one of the most renowned areas of Cadiz, near the most popular attractions like the Cadiz Cathedral, the Roman Theater of Cadiz, Castillo de San Sebastian, and many more.
Mid-Range Accommodation In Cadiz
Hotel Cádiz Bahía: This is an accommodation right on the beachfront. It features a seasonal outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a garden. The hotel also has a restaurant, room service, a 24-hour front desk, and free WiFi.
Some rooms have a terrace with a city view. A buffet breakfast is offered. Popular attractions close to Hotel Cádiz Bahía include La Victoria Beach, La Cortadura, and Santa Maria del Mar, as well as other things to do in Cadiz.
Plaza Mina Suites:700 m from Playa de la Punta San Felipe and 300 m from the downtown area, Plaza Mina Suites – Adults Only offers air-conditioned accommodations with free WiFi and a terrace.
Each unit has a fully-equipped kitchenette, a dining table, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and a private bathroom with a shower, complimentary toiletries, and a hairdryer. Popular attractions near the aparthotel include La Caleta Beach, Santa Maria del Mar, Genoves Park, and other Cadiz attractions.
La Sal by Pillow: Situated in the old town, this hotel offers a tour desk and is only 200 m from the city center and less than 1 km from La Caleta Beach. The rooms are equipped with a wardrobe and a private bathroom with a shower and hairdryer.
Each room is also outfitted with a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, and, for select rooms, a terrace. Popular attractions near the hotel include Playa de la Punta San Felipe, Santa Maria del Mar, and Genoves Park.
Luxury Accommodation In Cadiz
Hotel Monte Puertatierra: This charming hotel is situated just 100 meters away from Santa María del Mar Beach and a 20-minute walk from the old town of Cádiz. The rooms at Hotel Monte Puertatierra are air-conditioned and have wooden floors. Visitors can reach the renowned Puerta de Tierra in just 10 minutes by foot. The Cathedral, Torre Tavira, and the Gran Teatro Falla are all within walking distance.
Boutique Hotel Casa Cánovas: This 4-star hotel in the center of Cádiz offers room service, a 24-hour front desk, a terrace, a restaurant, a bar, and free WiFi. The non-smoking property is located less than 1 km from Playa de la Punta San Felipe and 1.2 km from La Caleta Beach. Some rooms include a balcony and city views, and all are fitted with bed linen and towels. Nearby attractions include Santa Maria del Mar, Genoves Park, and Cadiz Museum and other things to see in Cadiz.
Hotel Boutique Convento Cádiz: This accommodation is housed in a 17th-century convent in the center of Cádiz. It offers a charming interior courtyard and retains its original design, complete with picturesque archways, Baroque marble pieces, and ornate stonework.
The convent is also home to a Dominican Order, with a church, cloisters, and listed chapel dating back to 1635 – another secret Cadiz must see! The hotel is conveniently located for access to a range of restaurants and tapas bars along the same street and Cádiz’s seafront, port, and beach, all within a 5-minute walk.
Discovering All The Things To Do In Cadiz
Cadiz is a unique destination for travelers with its historic buildings and seaside atmosphere. Regardless if you are visiting on a day trip or staying for longer, you can explore all the things to do in Cadiz in a variety of dimensions.
From the quaint old town, with its cobbled streets and charming architecture, to the beautiful beaches, be prepared to uncover a place with rich history while wandering through Cadiz.