One of the cities in Andalusia you are likely to enjoy the most, despite the unbearable heat if you travel in summer, is Cadiz, the ancient Gadir, one of the oldest European cities located on a peninsula near the border with Morocco. Founded by the Phoenicians and transformed by the Romans into Gades, Cadiz has always based its wealth on the sea, both for its local products and for the trade with other countries and civilisations. Boasting some 3,000 years of history, a stunning landscape and a rich culture, here we tell you 20 top things to do in Cadiz, Spain.
Top 20 things to do in Cadiz
1. Cadiz Cathedral (Catedral de Cádiz)
The majestic Santa Cruz Cathedral, an 18th-century Baroque-Classic church built between 1722 and 1838 with a golden dome, is a perfect way to kick off your Cadiz holidays. Cadiz is definitely not as crowded as Seville, Cordoba or Granada, so you can enjoy the cathedral at your own pace and in silence. Go up the tower Torre del Reloj to admire the cityscape and the sea, one of the top things to do in Cadiz.
Address of Cadiz Cathedral: Plaza de la Catedral
Visiting hours for Cadiz Cathedral: July and August 10 am-9 pm, from April to June and September until 8 pm, from October to March until 7 pm.
Entrance fee to Cadiz Cathedral: 5 €, including the Museo Catedralicio and the Torre del Reloj; free entrance for children.
2. Museo Catedralicio
Right beside the cathedral, Museo Catedralicio is also one of the things to do in Cadiz. The museum displays the cathedral’s religious artefacts, paintings and sculptures. Here, you will see the beautiful Custodia del Millón Monstrance, a 17th-century 4-mt-tall silver monstrance adorned with a huge amount of precious gemstones.
Address of Museo Catedralicio: Plaza Fray Félix
Opening hours of Museo Catedralicio: Tues-Sat 10 am-4 pm, Mondays until 3 pm. Closed on Sundays and bank holidays.
Entrance fee to Museo Catedralicio: 5 € including the cathedral and the tower.
3. Castle of San Sebastian (Castillo San Sebastián)
Located in the scenic causeway Paseo Fernando Quiñones, this 18th-century fortress is an important piece of history and UNESCO-listed since 1993. The imposing building we see today dates back to 1706, but its first construction originates from Islamic times. It’s such a fascinating landmark and set in scenic surroundings that it was chosen for some scenes of the Bond movie Die Another Day. At present, there is some renovation work going on so the interior is not accessible and you can only admire it from outside, but it’s absolutely one of the best things to do in Cadiz.
Address of Castle of San Sebastian: Paseo Fernando Quiñones.
Opening hours of Castle of San Sebastian: Closed for renovation.
Entrance fee to Castle of San Sebastian: Free
4. Cadiz Museum (Museo de Cádiz)
Spread over three floors, Cadiz Museum is the main exhibition hall of the province and displays relics from the Phoenician and the Roman civilisations. On the ground floor, you will find two big human-shaped Phoenician sarcophagi dating back to the 5th century BC and on the other floors Roman archaeological finds and a collection of Spanish paintings from the 16th to the 20th century.
Address of Cadiz Museum: Plaza de Mina
Opening hours for Cadiz Museum: Winter: Tues-Sat from 10 am to 8.30 pm from Tuesday to Saturday (to 5 pm on Sundays and bank holidays). Closed on Mondays. Summer: From June to September: Tues-Sat from 9 am to 3 pm (to 5 pm on Sundays and bank holidays). Closed on Mondays and on January 1st, May 1st, December 25th.
Entrance fee of Cadiz Museum: Free for EU citizens, € 1.50 for the others.
5. Barrio El Pópulo and Roman Theatre
Cadiz oldest neighbourhood, Barrio El Pópulo is a treasure trove for anyone in the lookout for winding alleys, traditional architecture and local lifestyle. In this district lies the cathedral and you can also visit the ancient Roman theatre built around the 70 BC, by Lucius Cornelius Balbus The Elder, born in Cadiz and adviser of Julius Caesar, and his nephew, Balbus The Younger, when they decided to expand the urban perimeter of Gades, the old name of Cadiz, and build the new city.
Address of Cadiz Roman Theatre: Calle Mesón 11-13.
Opening hours of Cadiz Roman Theatre: Temporarily closed, you can visit from outside.
Entrance fee to Cadiz Roman Theatre: Free.
6. Archaeology and Fine Arts Museum
The archaeology museum on the ground floor displays beautiful glassware and jewellery, and a great collection of amphorae taken from the city’s historic port. The Fine Arts Museum on the second floor displays paintings from Rubens and Zurbaran among the others.
This great museum is one of the best places to visit in Cadiz on your Andalusian holiday.
Address of Archaeology and Fine Arts Museum: Plaza de Mina.
Opening hours of Archaeology and Fine Arts Museum: Tues to Sun 9 am-9 pm (to 3 pm on Sundays and public holidays), closed on Mondays.
Entrance fee of Archaeology and Fine Arts Museum: Free for EU citizens, € 1.50 for the others.
7. Parque Genovés
An old green area from the 18th century, the layout we see today at the Parque Genovés dates back to 1892 when Mayor Eduardo Genovés decided to carry out some remodelling. Today the park hosts several plant species from different countries, many species of birds, monuments and a lake with waterfalls.
Address of Parque Genovés: Avda. Doctor Gómez Ulla.
Opening hours to Parque Genovés: Daily from 8 am to sunset, in summer 8 am-10.30 pm.
Entrance fee of Parque Genovés: Free.
8. Castle of Santa Catalina (Castillo Santa Catalina)
Like San Sebastian Castle, also 16th-century Santa Catalina is a fortress part of the walls surrounding the city. Built after the Anglo-Dutch war in 1596 by the order of King Philip II of Spain, it’s a design of engineer Cristobal de Rojas who aimed at protecting the city from one of its most vulnerable points. Today one of the most popular Cadiz attractions, you can admire its architecture from outside and also its interior, where there are often events, exhibitions and concerts.
Address of Santa Catalina Castle: Paseo Playa de La Caleta – Antonio Burgos.
Opening hours of Santa Catalina Castle: Mon-Sun 11 am to 7.30 pm, until 8.30 pm in summer.
Entrance fee to Santa Catalina Castle: Free.
9. Gran Teatro Falla
Named after Spanish composer Manuel de Falla, Cadiz native, in this beautiful red-brick neo-Mudéjar Grand Theatre takes place the local annual Carnival while all year long it hosts theatre plays, concerts and dance performances. Built in the 19th century, its style voluntarily hints at old Moorish features that give it a romantic look. Majestic and elegant, it’s one of the top Cadiz attractions.
Address of Gran Teatro Falla: Plaza de Falla
Opening hours of Gran Teatro Falla: Tues-Fri 11 am-2 pm and 6-9 pm.
Entrance fee to Gran Teatro Falla: Depending on the event, inquire at the ticket booth.
10. Benot Gallery (Galeria Benot)
If you are still wondering what to see in Cadiz, the Galeria Benot is an original alternative. In this art gallery, you will find the exhibitions of contemporary Andalusian artists always different.
Address of Galeria Benot: Avenida Ramón de Carranza 10.
Opening hours of Galeria Benot: Mon-Fri 10 am-1.30 pm and 5-9 pm, Saturday 10.30 am-1.30 pm.
Entrance fee to Galeria Benot: Depends on the exhibition.
11. Plaza de Topete
Some 250 metres from the cathedral, this beautiful square should totally be added to the list of things to see in Cadiz. Close to a central local market and filled with flowers, here you will breathe the authentic Andalusian spirit. Flower shops, boutiques and cafes make it one of the busiest plazas in the city centre.
12. Mercado Central de Abastos
Launched in 1838, Mercado Central de Abastos is the first covered market in Andalusia. Today, modern and recently remodelled, is the place to go to buy fresh fruits and veggies, fish, meat and anything you need for your grocery shopping, as well as having some delicious tapas.
Address of Mercado Central de Abastos: Plaza de La Libertad.
Opening hours of Mercado Central de Abastos: Mon-Sat 9 am-3 pm. The gastronomy area opens Monday to 4 pm, Tues-Fri 9 am-15.30 pm and 7 pm-12 am, Saturday 9 am-4 pm and 8 pm-1 am.
Entrance fee to Mercado Central de Abastos: Free.
13. Torre Tavira
If you are photography fan and like to stare at breathtaking views, Tavira Tower is one of the best things to do in Cadiz. Also close to Plaza de Topete, it was built in the 18th century when Cadiz was at its greatest splendour also thanks to the trades with the West Indies. The highest watchtower of the old town, on the last floor you can visit the Camera Obscura to see the luminescent images in real time of what’s happening outside the tower in that specific moment projected on a white screen. Some 45 metres from the sea level, from its top you can admire a gorgeous panorama of the city and its fortresses.
Address of Torre Tavira: C/Marques del Real Tesoro 10.
Opening hours of Torre Tavira: October–April: 10 am–6 pm, May-September: 10 am–8 pm.
Entrance fee to Torre Tavira: 6 €.
14. Church of Santa Cruz (Iglesia de Santa Cruz)
This is the oldest church in Cadiz and it was built on the site of a previous Muslim mosque by order of King Alfonso X and was turned into a cathedral in 1263. The original building was Gothic-Mudejar style, the external facade is very simple also because many of the elements of the entrance were later used to decorate the New Cathedral. Inside it’s definitely more opulent, with the main altar in a local Baroque style in gilded wood designed in 1640 by Alejandro Saavedra. The sculptures are by Alonso Martínez in 1658.
Address of Iglesia de Santa Cruz: Plaza de Fray Félix.
Visiting hours for Iglesia de Santa Cruz: Mondays 5.30 pm-7.30 pm, Tuesday to Friday 9.45 am-12.45 pm and 5.30 pm-7 pm, Saturdays 9.45 am-12.45 pm, Sundays 10.30 am-12.30 pm and 5.30 pm-6.30 pm. Closed on public holidays (open for mass at 11 am).
Entrance fee of Iglesia de Santa Cruz: Free.
15. Museo de las Cortes de Cádiz
Museo de las Cortes de Cádiz was opened in 1912 to celebrate the centenary of the Cadiz Constitution. It’s set in a building adjacent to the San Felipe Neri Orator, where the members of the Court met to work on the country’s charter. Among the objects displayed at this museum, a beautiful model of the city of Cadiz made in 1777 by military engineer Alfonso Jimenéz and requested by Carlos III.
Address of the Museum of Las Cortes de Cádiz: C/ Santa Inés 9.
Opening hours of the Museum of Las Cortes de Cádiz: Tues-Fri 9 am-8 pm, Sat and Sun to 2 pm. Closed on Mondays and bank holidays.
Entrance fee to the Museum of Las Cortes de Cádiz: Free.
16. La Caleta Beach (Playa La Caleta)
Playa La Caleta is a small Cadiz beach located between the two old fortresses Castillo de Santa Catalina and Castillo de San Sebastián. One of the most photographed beaches in the city of Cadiz, it’s popular among local residents and also fishermen especially after sunset. Fully equipped with the necessary facilities, here you can find bars and the typical beach kiosks for drinks and snacks.
17. Victoria Beach (Playa de la Victoria)
Another popular Cadiz beach is the long and wide Playa de la Victoria. Lined with bars, restaurants and hotels, this beach is a favourite both day and night. You can reach by buses 1 and 7.
18. Puerta de Tierra
A majestic stronghold, 18th-century Puerta de Tierra is located at the entrance of the city of Cadiz. It was built by architect Torcuato Cayón and today’s appearance is the result of several later additions and remodelling. It was reopened to the public in 2013 and it adds to the wealth of Cadiz riches available to visitors.
Address of Puerta de Tierra in Cadiz: Plaza de la Constitución.
Opening hours of Puerta de Tierra in Cadiz: Tues-Sun 9 am-3 pm and 5-8 pm.
Entrance fee of Puerta de Tierra in Cadiz: Free.
19. Oratorio de la Santa Cueva
This religious monument consists of two chapels, one for the Passion and one dedicated to the Holy Sacrament. A stunning example of Spanish neo-classical style, many artists took part in its construction, such as architects Cayén and his disciple, Benjumeda, and painters Zacarías González Velázquez, Antonio Camarón, Antonio Cavallini, Franz Riedmayer an even Francisco Goya.
Address of Oratorio de la Santa Cueva:
Opening hours of Oratorio de la Santa Cueva: Tues-Fri 10.30 am-2 pm and 4.30-8 pm, Saturday 10.30 am-2 pm, Sunday to 1 pm. Closed on Mondays and bank holidays.
Entrance fee of Oratorio de la Santa Cueva: € 3, for groups and retired people € 1.50. Free on Sunday.
20. Peña Flamenca La Perla
If you want to witness a great flamenco show in Cadiz, Peña Flamenca La Perla is your place to enjoy this sensual traditional dance.
Address: Calle Carlos Ollero.
Showtime: Shows are usually on Friday but check their website for more up-to-date information http://perladecadiz.com/noticias/
Entrance fee: Prices vary depending on the show and the day.
Cadiz hotels, best places to stay in Cadiz
If you are planning your trip and looking for where to stay in Cadiz, you can find some pretty nice Cadiz hotels without spending a fortune. If you don’t mind spending a bit and pampering yourself at a stylish high-end hotel, Parador de Cadiz is near the beach and features a spa, an outdoor pool, great sea views, a bar and a restaurant. For a luxury stay, check out also Hotel Playa Victoria, a modern resort on the Atlantic Ocean that features an outdoor pool, a terrace with a view on the Ocean and a great restaurant among the other amenities.
Another good choice for accommodation in Cadiz spending a little less is Hotel Monte Puertatierra, a stone’s throw from the beach and with a fantastic breakfast buffet, its rooms feature the pillow menu, free WiFi and minibar among the other facilities. A lovely budget hotel in Cadiz is also Argantonio, located in the old town and decorated in traditional Andalucian and Moroccan styles. Rooms are equipped with modern facilities and its restaurant serves Mediterranean and Arabic dishes. A charming and not too expensive accommodation is Hotel Boutique Convento Cadiz, set in a 17th-century convent and located in the heart of the city.
El Faro restaurant. Located in the old district of Cádiz “La Viña”, The Vineyard, El Faro (Calle San Félix 15, +34 956 211068, elfarodecadiz.com) is considered one of the best fish restaurants in the whole region, so if you like fish and seafood dishes, don’t miss it in your Cadiz holidays.
Casa Manteca. On another note, if you are a meat-eater, especially cured pork, Casa Manteca (Calle Corralón de los Carros 66, +34 956 213 603) is your place. More of a corrida-themed bar than a restaurant, here you can have tapas and drinks before (or for) dinner.
Taberna La Manzanilla. A quaint sherry tavern where you can enjoy your tapas and match them with all possible wines, Taberna La Manzanilla (C/ Feduchy 19, +34 956 28 54 01, lamanzanilladecadiz.com) is a great place to unwind and relax after a whole day of Cadiz sightseeing.
La Marmita Centro. Serving delicious dishes of Spanish cuisine with a contemporary twist, at La Marmita Centro (Calle Buenos Aires 5-7, +34 956 215227, grupolamarmita.com/en) you can have brunch, lunch, dinner and even a late night.
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