Discover the best things to do in Cadiz in this travel guide on one of Spain’s prettiest coastal cities. Cadiz is located in Southern Spain on the coast where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean. The city itself was occupied by the Romans and is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in Western Europe. The buildings are white, and old fortresses and roman theatres are mixed amongst them. Whether you’re after a relaxing beach holiday or an immersive cultural experience the best things to do in Cadiz will have you covered.
A note to make your exploring easier. Cadiz is located on a headland that stretches out into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a very long city with the newer part of town closest to the mainland and the old city at the very end of the promontory. All of the best things to do in Cadiz are in the old town. This is perfect as you can walk from one side of the city to the other in ten to fifteen minutes. You can very easily see everything you want to in two days.
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Cadiz Roman Theatre
One of the best things to do in Cadiz is definitely the Cadiz Roman Theatre. According to historians it was one of the largest theatres ever built during the Roman Empire and was operating for almost four centuries. It was abandoned and only just discovered in 1980. The entrance is free. You start with a small informative museum and then walk into the tunnel beneath the ancient stands. This then leads into the amphitheatre and the exit on the street above. It’s fascinating to see the ancient history of Cadiz on display.
The Cadiz Cathedral is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Cadiz. You can see the golden tiled dome from all the way down the seafront. The Cathedral is relatively new for Europe. They began building in 1722 but finished 116 years later. As it is a Cathedral you have to pay to enter unless you’re attending a mass. For an adult, it is six euros and it opens most days from 10:00 am for tourism.
Plaza de las Flores
A beautiful part of Cadiz is the Plaza de las Flores (The Plaza of Flowers). This beautiful plaza is located between the Central Market and the Cadiz Cathedral. Make sure you wander through it on your way to the cathedral. It’s a small plaza with white stones, a statue in the middle and many different flower stalls. All the flowers smell lovely and the colours really turn the plaza into something special. Grab a bouquet and continue exploring.
Abastos Central Market
The Abastos Central Market is near the Plaza de las Flores in the old town of Cadiz. It was built in 1838 and is a covered market. The inside is a traditional Spanish market with stalls selling fish, meats, and fruit and vegetables. The market is then ringed by another covered area where little restaurant stalls are set up selling drinks and lots of different food. You can have hamburgers, traditional Cadiz cuisine, paella, sushi and much more. This is one of the best things to do in Cadiz, especially to grab a bite to eat. It gets busy for lunch and dinner so you might have to wait for a table, or just eat your food standing up.
Tavira Tower and the Camera Obscura
The Tavira Tower is an old watchtower located in the centre of the old town of Cadiz. It was once used to watch the ships coming and going from Cadiz. It is now a great vantage point to see Cadiz from above. It also has a Camera Obscura. This projects an image of Cadiz in real-time onto a table, allowing you to view aspects of Cadiz from close up. The normal price of a ticket is seven euros and entry starts at 10:00 am and closes at 6:00 pm in winter and 8:00 pm in summer.
Castillo de Santa Catalina
Castillo de Santa Catalina, or Santa Catalina Castle, is the fortress located next to Caleta beach in Cadiz. It is a star-shaped fortified castle that was built in 1598 to defend Cadiz after it suffered an invasion. It opens at 11:00 am and closes at 5:45 pm. Take a walk around the walls to view the city and famous Caleta Beach.
Castillo de San Sebastian
Castillo de San Sebastian, or San Sebastian Castle, is located on a small island just off from Caleta Beach in Cadiz. It has been joined to the mainland since 1860. Its beginnings are rumoured to be a temple to Kronos, one of the Titan Gods. It then became a chapel and later a fortified castle and prison. You can walk out to visit the castle and lighthouse.
La Caleta Beach
La Caleta Beach is located at the tip of the Cadiz Promentary. The beach is a lovely slice of pale sand ringed by the city of Cadiz. It has inspired stories and poetry and is featured in several movies, the most famous being 007 Die Another Day. La Caleta is a small, protected beach with easy swimming and is great for families. An old promenade building stretches out onto the sand, which creates helpful shade if you don’t bring an umbrella.
Genovés Park is one of the best things to do in Cadiz. The Park is on the edge of the city with the Atlantic on one side. It’s a beautiful place to wander and escape the heat of Andalusia. The city holds Jazz evenings and music in the park here if you’re lucky enough to be in Cadiz on the right day. There is a water feature with a grotto to explore and a playground for children. Make sure you walk the entire length into the smaller Paseo de Carlos III gardens. There is a beautiful walk with a very Instagrammable bougainvillea located here.
Grand Theatre Falla
The Grand Theatre Falla in Cadiz is a beautiful building. It is built with red brick and has white and red arches over the doorways and windows. It is located in a plaza quite close to the Genovés park. The theatre holds artistic competitions during the famous Cadiz carnival. During other times it hosts many different plays and music concerts.
La Viña Neighbourhood
La Viña Neighbourhood is in the old part of town. It stretches from La Caleta beach to El Pópulo Neighbourhood where the cathedral is located. La Viña is full of ancient buildings and small plazas. Many amazing seafood restaurants can be found here, especially on Calle Virgen de la Palma. This pedestrian street has many restaurants and ice cream shops and is lined by palm trees. The Church of the Lady of the Palms sits at the very end of it. La Viña is a central location but is still very much a local area.
El Pópulo Neighbourhood
El Pópulo Neighbourhood is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Cadiz. This is where the Cadiz Cathedral is located and the Roman theatre. The streets are narrow and full of leather shops, souvenir shops and tapas bars. You can also see remnants of the old Cadiz city walls here like the Arch of Roses.