Cádiz: The Complete Guide

Cadiz Spain

Visiting Cádiz offers a unique blend of rich history and vibrant contemporary culture, set against the backdrop of golden beaches and an Atlantic breeze. Known as one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, Cádiz captivates with its narrow cobblestone streets that echo tales of Phoenician traders and Spanish galleons. As you wander through the ancient city, you’ll encounter stunning examples of Baroque architecture, lively plazas, and the sprawling Cádiz Cathedral, whose golden dome gleams under the sun. The city’s old town, encapsulated within fortress-like walls, provides a picturesque setting for a leisurely exploration, where every corner reveals part of the layered history that defines this coastal haven.

Beyond its historical allure, Cádiz is famed for its radiant beaches like Playa de la Caleta, nestled between two castles, offering a perfect spot for relaxation or a sunset stroll. The city’s gastronomy reflects its maritime heritage, with local tapas bars serving an array of seafood delicacies such as fried fish, shrimp fritters, and the regional specialty, tortillitas de camarones. The lively Mercado Central de Abastos provides a colorful insight into local life, brimming with fresh produce and buzzing with energy. For cultural enthusiasts, the annual Carnival of Cádiz, one of the oldest and most elaborate in Spain, showcases the city’s irrepressible spirit and creativity with music, dancing, and satirical performances. Whether you’re seeking a deep dive into Spain’s maritime history or a tranquil retreat by the sea, Cádiz offers an enchanting escape with endless opportunities to create lasting memories.

 

 

History of Cádiz

Cádiz is reputedly the oldest city in Western Europe, with a history that stretches back over 3,000 years. Founded by Phoenician sailors around 1100 BC, it served as a major trading post linking Europe and the Atlantic islands. The city flourished under Roman rule as ‘Gades,’ becoming a thriving port and a center for gladiatorial games.

During the Middle Ages, Cádiz came under Moorish control before being reconquered by Christian forces in the 13th century. Its golden age arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries when it became the launching point for Spanish expeditions to the Americas and a gateway for wealth flowing into Spain from its colonies. This era endowed Cádiz with splendid Baroque and Neoclassical buildings, many of which still grace its skyline.

Cádiz also played a significant role in modern Spanish history: it was besieged by the British in the late 18th century and was the seat of the Spanish government during the Peninsular War. In 1812, it was in Cádiz that the first Spanish constitution was proclaimed, earning the city the nickname “La Tacita de Plata” (The Silver Cup).

Today, Cádiz combines its rich historical heritage with the charm of a lively Andalusian coastal town, known for its carnival, seafood, and vibrant street life, making it a captivating destination for all who visit.

Visiting Cádiz for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Cádiz on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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18 Best places to See in Cádiz

This complete guide to Cádiz not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Cádiz and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

The Museum of the Cádiz Parliament

Museum Of The Cádiz Parliament 6
©
The remodelled Museum of the Cádiz Parliament which consists of three floors, takes you through the city’s 18th- to 20th-century history. The first floor houses one of the museum’s most valuable items: a 1:250 scale model of the city of Cádiz made in the late eighteenth century, made in mahogany, silver and ivory by Alfonso […]
Location: Calle Santa Inés, 9. Cádiz | Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. | Website | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting The Museum of the Cádiz Parliament

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Gran Teatro Falla

Teatro Falla Cadiz
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Anual
The Gran Teatro Falla is a 19th-century  theater in Cádiz. It was built between 1884 and 1905 on the site of the previous Gran Teatro which had burned down in 1881. The exterior of the building is of red bricks in the Mudéjar style or Moorish-Spanish style, and the interior notable for its richness and […]
Location: Plaza de Falla, s/n, 11003, Cádiz | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Gran Teatro Falla

Click here to read our blog about A Day in Cádiz

Torre Tavira

Torre Tavira, Cádiz
CC BY-SA 2.0 / HombreDHojalata
La Torre Tavira is an 18th century lookout tower, in the Baroque style, which is located on the highest point of the old city of Cadiz. The tower is the most emblematic of the watchtowers of Cadiz. The tower stands 45 meters above sea level, and you can climb its ten flights of stairs and […]
Location: Torre Tavira, Calle Marqués del Real Tesoro, 10 11001 Cádiz Spain | Hours: October – april: 10.00 – 18.00 hrs. May – september: 10.00 – 20.00 hrs. | Price: 7 Euro | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Torre Tavira

Gadir - Archaeological Site

Gadir Archaeological Site 6
© digitalavmagazine
The Phoenicians from Tyre, in southern Lebanon were among the greatest Mediterranean traders from approximately 1,500 to 600 BC. It is thought that they founded the city of Gadir which is now known as Cádiz in Spain in about 800 BC. There are very few architectural remains from Phoenician settlements in the Western Mediterranean,which makes Gadir […]
Location: Calle San Miguel, 15, 11001 Cádiz, Spain | Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm. Visit every hour. Closed on Mondays. | Price: Free entrance | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Gadir - Archaeological Site

Parque Genovés

Park Genoves Cadiz 3
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Solundir
The Parque Genovés is a historic botanical garden located in Cádiz. The park has tree and plant specimens from all over the world including Maple trees, poplars, Indian laurels, Canarian pine and Cycads from southern India. There is also an ornamental lake stalked by sculptures of dinosaurs. Its origin dates back to the 18 century […]
Location: Parque Genovés Av. Dr. Gómez Ulla, s/n 11003 Cádiz Spain | Hours: Every day from 8:00a.m. to sunset. Summer from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. | Price: Free | Website | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Parque Genovés

Cádiz Mercado Central de Abastos

Mercado Central Cadiz 2
© Turismo Cadiz
The Mercado Central de Abastos in Cádiz is Spain’s oldest covered market.  It was originally a Doric porticoed plaza, located on the site of the orchard of the Discalced convent, built in 1838.  In 1928 the large central space was occupied with two market pavilions. It was remodeled in 2009, although maintained the the original design […]
Location: Plaza de la Libertad, S/N 11005 Cádiz Spain | Hours: Central Market Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Gastronomic Corner Hours: Monday: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesday to Friday: from 9:00 a.m. at 3.30 pm and from 19.00. at 00.00 Saturday: From 09.00. at 4:00 pm and from 8:00 pm at 01.00 | Price: Free | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Cádiz Mercado Central de Abastos

Museum of Cádiz

Museum Of Cádiz 9
© Turismo Cadiz
The site of the museum of Cadiz is on a land from the Convent of Saint Francis. Since 1935 it was housed the city’s archaeological finds. At first, the fine art and archaeology museums were two separate entities. However, in 1970 they joined to form what is today known as the Museum of Cádiz. In 1980, […]
Location: Plaza de Mina, s/n, 11004, Cádiz. | Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Sundays and public holidays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Closed on Mondays. | Price: Free | Website | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Museum of Cádiz

Playa La Caleta

Playa De La Caleta
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Emilio J. Rodríguez Posada
Playa La Caleta is a small beach located far end of the Cádiz peninsula, Spain. It is located between two old castles: Castillo de Santa Catalina and Castillo de San Sebastián. Although it can get quite busy during the day,  it is still one of the most beautiful beaches in Cádiz and has been regularly awarded a […]
| Hours: 24 Hour | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Playa La Caleta

Santa Catalina Castle

Castle Of Santa Catalina, Cádiz, Spain 4
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Francisco Manuel Esteban Moya
Located at the other end of La Caleta beach, this fortress was part of the city defense infrastructures. After the Anglo-Dutch attack and plunder of Cadiz  in 1596, Phillip II sent a military engineer, Christobel de Rojas, to Cadiz to build the fortress to strengthen one of the most vulnerable points of the city and is […]
Location: Avenida Duque de Nájera, 11002, Cádiz | Hours: Every day from 11 am. to 7 pm. | Price: Free | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Santa Catalina Castle

Cádiz Cathedral

Cupola Of Cádiz Cathedral
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Harlock20
Cádiz Cathedral  is a Roman Catholic church in Cádiz, in Spain. The cathedral took 116 years to build, it was started in 1722 and not complete until 1838 and a consequence of this is that a mix of styles can be seen from Baroque, rococo to neoclassical. The towers and the sacristy were the last […]
Location: Plaza de la Catedral, s/n 11005 Cádiz Spain | Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-4:30pm | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Cádiz Cathedral

Roman Theatre

Roman Theater Cádiz
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Peejayem
On the seaward edge of the Barrio del Populo is Cadiz’ Roman Theater.  Although the ruins can be seen from the Av. Campo del Sur the entrance is actually through a narrow door on Calle Mesón, 11-13. The Carthage Empire occupied Gadir (present day Cádiz) beginning in 500 BC until 206 BC when they were […]
Location: Calle Mesón, 11-13, 11005 Cádiz, Spain | Price: Free | Distance: 0.80km
Visiting Roman Theatre

Arco del Pópulo

Arco Del Pópulo Cadiz 5
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The Almohads – (Moroccans) built a city wall in the 12th century around Cadiz. During the reign of Alfonso X (1252 – 1284), the  Puerta del Mar (Sea Gate) was created to be the main entrance into the city from the port. In 1587, a painting by Antonio Franco of the Virgin of Pópulo was […]
Location: Arco Del Pópulo, S/N, Calle Pelota, 11005 Cádiz, Spain | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Website | Distance: 0.80km
Visiting Arco del Pópulo

Castle of San Sebastián

Castle Of San Sebastián In Cádiz
© Cadiz Economic
The Castle of San Sebastián is located in Cádiz, Spain, although originally built in the built in the fifteenth century, the current defensive structure dates back to 1706.  It was designed to defend the north of the city but for much of its life the Castle was used as a prison or for quarantine. It […]
Location: Paseo Fernando Quiñones, Cádiz | Hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 till 13:00 | Price: 2 € | Website | Distance: 1.40km
Visiting Castle of San Sebastián

Playa Santa María del Mar

Playa Snata Maria Cadiz
© Cadiz Turismo
This beach is located next to Playa de la Victoria and is separated from it by a series of ramps and spiral staircases.  Although small at 650 m long the beach is made up of fine golden sand, held in place by two breakwaters at either end. It is popular with body boarders and families. […]
Location: Calle Guadix, 1E, 11008 Cádiz, Spain | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 1.90km
Visiting Playa Santa María del Mar

Playa de la Victoria

Playa De La Victoria Cadiz
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Pablo Jones (Peejayem)
Playa Victoria is an urban beach located, running up the western side of Cádiz, on the Costa de la Luz. It has about 3  kilometers of sandy beach along on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. At the rear of the beach is the city’s Paseo Marítimo, a long promenade with plenty of hotels, bars and […]
Visiting Playa de la Victoria

Playa de la Cortadura

Cortadura Beach Cadiz
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Ccarlos de celis
Playa de la Cortadura is located just south of the city of Cádiz. It is regularly awarded blue flag beaches and is a continuation of La Victoria and El Chato beach with fine sandy dunes The beach is very close to the dual-carriageway.
Visiting Playa de la Cortadura

Playa del Chato

Playa Del Chato
Wikiloc / carlos.saemba
Playa del Chato is a 70m-wide beach located on the exterior side of the arm of land connecting San Fernando and Cádiz City. Similar to Playa de la Cortada the beach lies alongside the road into Cádiz which it is separated by a line of golden sand dunes. The beach is a little more basic […]
Visiting Playa del Chato

Castle of San Marcos

Castle Of San Marcos, Port Of Santa María, Spain
© El Puerto Info
The Castle of San Marcos was was commissioned by Alfonso X “The Wise” after he took the town in 1260. It was originally a fortified church from the 12th century which was built on top of an old Mosque from the 9th century, on the banks of Guadalete River, in the historical center of El […]
Location: Plaza Alfonso X el Sabio, 3, 11500 El Puerto de Sta María, Cádiz, Spain | Hours: Tours hourly 11.30am-1.30pm Tue, 10.30am-1.30pm Wed-Sat, closed Wed & Fri Nov-Apr | Price: €8, Tue free | Website | Distance: 9.60km
Visiting Castle of San Marcos

Best Time to Visit Cádiz

The best time to visit Cádiz, Spain, depends on your preferences for weather, crowd levels, and activities. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring is a delightful time to visit Cádiz, with mild temperatures and blooming flowers adding to the city’s charm. The weather is comfortably warm, making it ideal for exploring outdoor attractions such as the historic city center, the Cathedral of Cádiz, and the picturesque La Caleta beach. Additionally, spring sees fewer tourists compared to the peak summer months, allowing you to enjoy the city’s attractions without the crowds.
  2. Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Cádiz, with hot temperatures and bustling beaches. This is the best time to visit if you’re looking to soak up the sun, swim in the Atlantic Ocean, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of the city’s streets and plazas. However, be prepared for higher temperatures, crowded beaches, and higher prices for accommodation and activities during this time.
  3. Autumn (September to November): Autumn is another excellent time to visit Cádiz, with warm temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the summer months. The weather remains pleasant, allowing you to continue enjoying outdoor activities such as sightseeing, exploring the city’s parks and gardens, and sampling local cuisine at outdoor cafes and restaurants. Additionally, autumn sees cultural events and festivals taking place, providing opportunities to experience the local culture and traditions.
  4. Winter (December to February): Winter is the quietest time to visit Cádiz, with cooler temperatures and occasional rainfall. While the weather may not be ideal for beach activities, you can still explore the city’s cultural attractions, museums, and historic sites without the crowds. Plus, winter offers opportunities to enjoy seasonal events such as Christmas markets and festive celebrations.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Cádiz depends on your preferences and what you hope to experience during your trip. Whether you prefer the vibrant atmosphere of summer, the mild temperatures of spring and autumn, or the quieter ambiance of winter, Cádiz offers something for every traveler throughout the year.

Average Temperatures in Cádiz

  • January 18°C 7
  • February 19°C 7
  • March 20°C 10
  • April 25°C 6
  • May 27°C 3
  • June 30°C 1
  • July 33°C 0
  • August 32°C 0
  • September 29°C 3
  • October 27°C 8
  • November 22°C 10
  • December 19°C 10

How to get to Cádiz

By Air: The nearest major airport to Cádiz is Jerez Airport, located about 45 kilometers north of the city. It handles both domestic and international flights, though options are more limited compared to larger Spanish airports. Alternatively, travelers can fly into Seville or Malaga airports, which offer a wider range of international connections. From these airports, Cádiz can be reached by train, bus, or car.

By Train: Cádiz is well-connected by rail, with frequent services from major Spanish cities like Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona. The train from Madrid to Cádiz takes about 4 hours, providing a scenic and comfortable journey. Cádiz’s train station is centrally located, making it convenient for visitors to start exploring the city right away.

By Bus: Buses to Cádiz from other parts of Spain are frequent and cost-effective, especially from nearby cities like Seville. The bus station in Cádiz is close to the city center, providing easy access to major attractions.

By Car: Driving to Cádiz offers the most flexibility, especially for those planning to explore the broader Andalusia region. The city is connected by major motorways and well-marked roads, making it accessible from any direction.