Are you planning your next trip and wondering what are the best things to do in Cadiz, Spain in one day? Look no further, we are here to help you! We were there, we saw it all, and we can tell you that there are quite a lot of amazing things to do and places to explore in one of the oldest cities in Western Europe. So follow our guide and discover all the best things to do in Cadiz. Amazing day guaranteed! Ready? Vamos, let’s go!
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Cadiz, Spain FAQ
Yes, definitely. Cadiz is quaint, charming, vivid, and full of history. It’ll enchant you with amazing landscapes filled with blue water, fishing boats, golden sandy beaches, as well as with a charming old town full of cobbled streets and busy local life. For us, Cadiz is one of the most enjoyable cities in the whole of Andalusia.
Cadiz is one of the oldest, and most continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe. The Phoenicians settled the area 3000 years ago, in 1100 BC! Later, Romans settled there and built an impressive city. Over the years the city became one of the most important ports in Europe. Cadiz also was a starting point of Christopher Columbus’s journeys. Nowadays, the city is most famous for its spectacular Cadiz Cathedral, ruins of the Roman Theatre, super charming old town, sandy beaches, and one of the best-known carnivals in the world – Carnival of Cadiz.
Cadiz is a perfect destination for a one-day trip, great weekends, and even a home base for longer stays to slowly discover Costa de la Luz. Without rushing we managed to see all we wanted in one day and even spent some time on the beach. But if you want to know Cadiz even better, we recommend staying for at least 3 days.
Cadiz is a fairly flat city, so most people shouldn’t have any problems getting around it. It’s also not that big so you can get to all the main attractions on foot.
Yes, there are beautiful sandy beaches in Cadiz, as well as its surroundings. Add to that warm Mediterranean climate and lovely blue ocean waters, and you’ll get a great holiday destination that attracts thousands of people every year.
15+ Best Things To Do In Cadiz, Spain In One Day
Cadiz Cathedral (es. Catedral de Cádiz) without a doubt is the most spectacular building in the city and it just has to be on your list of the best things to do in Cadiz, Spain. Thanks to its golden dome and two twin bell towers, Cadiz Cathedral dominates the city landscape. It’s visible from many places, but it’s best to admire it from the seafront. Cathedral was designed by Vicente de Acero and its construction started in 1722 and has only been completed in 1838, thus it combines several architectural styles such as baroque and neoclassical.
Cadiz Cathedral is located in the old town, on the Plaza de la Catedral, in the historic El Pópulo district. It’s open daily, and entrance cost is (May 2023) – €7 for adults, and €5 for kids. To check the current opening hours and entry prices visit the cathedral’s website.
If you’ll decide to visit the Cadiz Cathedral be sure to go up to one of the cathedral’s bell towers – Torre de Poniente (eng. Tower of Poniente). From there you can admire spectacular panoramic views of the whole Cadiz.
Church of the Holy Cross
While on Plaza de la Catedral don’t forget to visit the Church of the Holy Cross (es. Iglesia de Santa Cruz), the Old Cathedral of Cadiz. It’s the oldest church in the city, built-in 1262 by the order of King Alfonso X. Originally the building was Gothic-Mudejar style, but after suffering serious damage in 1596 (due to a fire caused by an Anglo-Dutch fleet) it was rebuilt in the 17th century in Baroque style. Iglesia de Santa Cruz was a city cathedral until 1838 when it was moved to the New Cathedral. Since that date, it has s been only a parish church. The entrance is free.
Plaza de San Juan de Dios
Only a few steps from Catedral de Cadiz, you’ll find a square that is teeming with life – Plaza de San Juan de Dios. The square is from the 15th century, located outside the walls of the medieval city but within easy reach of the gates and the port. Since then it’s the commercial center of the city, currently with many tapas bars, and restaurants. Plaza de San Juan de Dios is home to many beautiful buildings and monuments, like Town Hall, a church of San Juan De Dios Casa de Los Pazos Miranda, and a monument of Cádiz politician Segismundo Moret.
Roman Theatre of Cadiz
Roman Theatre of Cadiz (es. Teatro Romano de Cadiz) is dating back to the 1st century BC which makes it the oldest Roman theatre in Spain. Lucius Cornelius Balbus, a friend of Julius Caesar ordered to build it. Roman Theatre of Cadiz is also the second-largest Roman theater in the world, surpassed only by the Theater of Pompeii. In its days, the theater could hold up to 10000 people. An interesting fact is that it was discovered only in 1980 after a fire had destroyed some warehouses and revealed a layer of construction that was judged to be the foundation of some medieval buildings.
The entrance is located on Calle Mesón, through the Interpretation Center. Roman Theatre of Cadiz is free to visit. Before visiting, be sure to check out opening hours on the official website, so you won’t miss one of the best things to do in Cadiz, Spain.
San Sebastian Castle
San Sebastian Castle (es. Castillo de San Sebastian) is another great place to visit in Cadiz. It’s a former fortress located on an islet, at the end of Paseo Fernando Quiñones which connects it to the city. Fortifications were built in 1706 in order to strengthen the defenses of Cadiz. San Sebastian Castle was also used as a prison. Nowadays various exhibitions, concerts, and cultural events take place there. Also, some scenes from the Bond film, Die Another Day, come from here!
Currently, Castillo de San Sebastian is closed (May 2023). But don’t let this put you off and take a walk along the ocean and admire a great view of the Cádiz seafront.
Fun fact – according to the legends, it’s a place where in ancient times the temple of the Greek titan Kronos was located.
Santa Catalina Castle
Santa Catalina Castle (es. Castillo de Santa Catalina) is a fortification located on La Caleta Beach. It was built at the end of the 16th century, after the plunder of the city by the Anglo-Dutch fleet, in order to strengthen one of the most vulnerable points of the city. Castillo de Santa Catalina is star-shaped with several defensive bastions, it also served for some time as a military prison.
Castle has survived to this day, practically intact. Nowadays the fortress is a multi-purpose recreational and cultural space, it hosts several art and painting exhibitions.
Santa Catalina Castle is also a great viewpoint. Just walk around the ramparts and enjoy spectacular views over the ocean and Cadiz Bay. Entrance to the castle is free.
Located right next to Santa Catalina Castle, Genoves Park (es. Parque Genoves) is an ideal place for a short break from sightseeing in Cadiz. This peaceful green piece of land is actually the largest public garden in the old part of Cadiz. Inside you’ll find a pond with a waterfall, plants from different countries, and many species of birds. Since its inauguration in the 18th century, Parque Genoves has appeared in many rankings as one of the most beautiful urban parks in Spain.
Cadiz Old Town Streets
Wandering among Cadiz Old Town streets is definitely one of the best things to do in the city. The historical center is full of charming streets filled with beautiful old buildings, local shops, bars, and restaurants. However, Barrio del Populo, Barrio de la Vina and Cadiz Centro neighborhoods deserved a little bit more attention.
Barrio del Pópulo is the oldest neighborhood in Cadiz, it’s the original medieval center dating back to the 13th century. Must-see places in Barrio del Pópulo are Cadiz Cathedral, Church of the Holy Cross, Roman Theatre of Cadiz, Arco Del Populo, Arco de la Rosa, Plaza de San Juan de Dios, Casa del Almirante, and Plazuela de San Martin.
Barrio de la Vina was initially a fisherman’s quarter, which began to expand in the 18th century due to the strong demographic increase. The name of this neighborhood comes from its past when it was a place of cultivation of the vine. Nowadays this neighborhood is full of bars and restaurants serving local food and drinks, like famous fino sherries.
Cadiz Centro is teeming with local life. Here you’ll find places like Cadiz Market, Plaza de las Flores, Grand Theater of Falla, Tavira Tower, Museum of Cadiz, or Santa Cueva Oratorium.
In the Cadiz old town you’ll also find Barrio de San Carlos (with Monumento a la Constitucion de 1812), and Barrio de Santa Maria (guarding the city with Las Puertas de Tierra).
Cadiz Market (es. Mercado Central de Abastos) is another place that has to be on your list of the best things to do in Cadiz. It was built in 1839 and is considered Spain’s oldest covered market. On this lively buzzing market you’ll find dozens of stalls selling various products, like fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, and meat, as well as alcohols like wines, beers, and sherry. There’s also a gastronomic corner where you can buy freshly-prepared food, as well as the typical bars that serve tapas.
Plaza de las Flores
Located right next to Mercado Central, Plaza de las Flores is a very lively and colorful square, full of stalls selling colorful flowers. Here, you’ll also find many cafes and restaurants, where you can rest for a moment with a cup of coffee, inhale the scents of flowers and observe the vibrant life of Cadiz’s old town.
Museum of Cadiz
If you are into museums, or just want to learn more about Cadiz’s history, you can’t miss visiting Museum of Cadiz (es. Museo de Cadiz). Inside, on three floors you’ll find exhibitions from different periods. On the ground floor, there are Phoenician and Roman archaeological artifacts with outstanding Phoenician sarcophagi from the 5th century BC. On the first floor, there’s a collection of Spanish paintings from the 16th to the 20th century, including works by Zurbarán, Murillo, and Rubens. And on the third floor, you can see Tia Norica traditional puppets and learn about the puppetry tradition.
Entrance to Museo de Cadiz is free for EU citizens, €1.50 for others.
Grand Theater of Falla
Grand Theater of Falla (es. Gran Teatro Falla) is a beautiful red-brick building built in the Neo-Mudejar style. The original Gran Teatro was constructed in 1871 by García del Alamo and was destroyed by a fire in 1881. The current theater was built between 1884-1905 over the remains of the previous theater. In the 1920s the theater was renamed the Gran Teatro Falla, in honor of composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) who was born in Cadiz.
All year long the theater hosts numerous theater plays, concerts, and dance performances, but every February Gran Teatro Falla hosts artistic competitions for the Carnival of Cadiz, one of the best-known carnivals in the world.
Plaza de Espana & Monumento a la Constitución de 1812
Plaza de España is located in Barrio de San Carlos, very close to the port. It’s a large square, dominated by the famous Monumento a la Constitución de 1812 (eng. Monument to the Constitution of 1812). The monument was commissioned by the Spanish government in 1912 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution, which was signed in Cádiz. The monument was completed in 1929.
The Earth’s Gate
The Earth’s Gate (es. Las Puertas de Tierra) guards the southeastern entry to Cadiz’s old town, it separates the old and new Cadiz. Gates were built in the 16th century and reinforced in the 17th. During the first half of the 20th century, it was necessary to remodel the entrance to accommodate modern traffic, due to the growth of the city.
The tower that you see above the gate, The Torreón de Puerta de Tierra, is from the 1850s and served as an optical telegraph system that could send messages from the Ministry of the Interior in Madrid to Cádiz in just two hours (if weather conditions permitted).
Cadiz is well-known for its watchtowers. Tavira Tower (es. Torre Tavira) is one of 126 watchtowers still standing (once there were 160 of them!), and definitely the most popular one. It dates back to the 18th century. With a height of 45m was the highest point in Cadiz old town. Tavira Tower has two exhibition halls, Camera Obscura, and a terrace from which you can admire spectacular views of Cadiz. Visiting Tavira Tower is definitely one of the best things to do in Cadiz, Spain.
Its Camara Obscura was the first one installed in Spain, in 1994. During 15 minutes, the guide will explain how it works, and show you a 360-degree live view of Cádiz, identifying buildings and places of interest.
Entrance to Torre Tavira cost is: normal – €7, reduced – 5.5 € (May 2023). Booking in advance is necessary. Check current opening hours, and prices and book your visit on the official website.
Best beaches in Cadiz, Spain
Beautiful sandy beaches and a warm Mediterranean climate make Cadiz a great holiday destination. La Caleta Beach, located between Castillo de Santa Catalina and Castillo de San Sebastian, in Barrio de la Viña, is famous for being the best beach in Cadiz. It’s relatively small and in summer it fills up quickly. La Caleta Beach was awarded the “Blue Flag”.
Other very popular Cadiz beaches are located beyond the old town, in the new part of Cadiz. Those are Playa de Santa María del Mar and Playa de la Victoria. Both of them offer great views of the old town. Playa de la Victoria is 2.8 kilometer-long and is often rated as Europe’s best urban beach.
Puente De La Constitución De 1812
Puente De La Constitución De 1812 (eng. Constitution’s Bridge) is one of the highest bridges in Europe – the maximum height above sea level is 69 meters. The bridge links Cadiz with Puerto Real in mainland Spain. Looks impressive!
Carnival of Cadiz
Carnival of Cadiz is one of the best-known carnivals in the world. It’s famous for the satirical groups – chirigotas, who perform comical musical pieces. Usually, a chirigota consists of 7-12 performers who sing, act and improvise accompanied by various instruments like guitars, or kazoos. There are of course many other groups of performers, like choruses, comparsas, cuartetos, or romanceros.
Each February these diverse spectacles turn Cádiz into a colorful open-air theater for two weeks.
How to get to Cadiz, Spain?
Airports near Cadiz, Spain
The closest airport to Cadiz is located in Jerez de la Frontera (47km away) The next ones are located in Gibraltar (115km away), Seville (130km away), and Malaga (225km). All airports offer bus/train connections with Cadiz. You can check them on rome2rio.com website.
Where to park in Cadiz?
We left our car in this parking lot and paid about 10€ for 8 hours (February 2022). From it, you can walk right to Playa de Santa María del Mar and reach Cadiz Old Town by the promenade in just 25min. There are of course many more parking lots to choose from – but the closer to the city center, the more expensive they get.
To Cadiz by bus
You can get to Cadiz by bus. For example, the journey from Tarifa will take about 1.5h (€10-23), from Seville 1h 45min (€11-26), and from Malaga 4h (€18-35). To learn more about bus connections that might interest you visit rome2rio.com website.
To Cadiz by train
From some places, mostly bigger cities like Seville, Malaga, Granada, or Jerez de la Frontera, you can also easily get to Cadiz by train. You can check out a map of available train connections on acprail.com.
Best Things To Do In Cadiz, Spain In One Day – Summing up
Now you know what are the best things to do in Cadiz during a one-day trip. We’re sure you will enjoy the visit. Have a great time in Cadiz on Costa de la Luz and let us know how you liked it.
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to eat in Cadiz?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Cadiz:
Where to sleep in Cadiz?
Goodnight Cadiz Apartments
Goodnight Cadiz Apartments is a set of elegant apartments situated in the heart of Cadiz's old town. The apartments are modern, well-equipped, and offer comfortable accommodation with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and a flat-screen TV. Some of the apartments also feature a balcony with views of the city.
Planeta Cadiz Hostel
Planeta Cadiz Hostel is a charming hostel located in the heart of Cadiz's historic center, just a short walk from the city's best attractions and beaches. The hostel offers a variety of comfortable and affordable accommodations, from shared dorms to private rooms, all of which are tastefully decorated and equipped with modern amenities.
Hotel de Francia y Paris
Located in the heart of Cadiz, Hotel de Francia y Paris is a historic hotel that offers a blend of traditional and modern features. The hotel features comfortable rooms with balconies that offer stunning views of the city, and is just a short walk from popular attractions.
Tandem Ancha 34
Tandem Ancha 34 is a charming guesthouse located in the historic center of Cadiz, just a few steps away from the Cathedral and the Central Market. The guesthouse features comfortable rooms with modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi and air conditioning, and a rooftop terrace with stunning views over the city and the sea.
Parador de Cadiz
Located in the historic center of Cadiz, Parador de Cadiz offers stunning views of the sea and the Cathedral. The hotel features modern facilities while maintaining the charm of a 19th-century palace, with comfortable rooms and a rooftop terrace with a pool and bar. Additionally, guests can enjoy delicious local cuisine at the hotel's restaurant.
Plazuela del Carbón Suites
Plazuela del Carbón Suites is a stylish and modern accommodation located in the heart of Cadiz. The suites are fully equipped with a kitchenette, dining area, and comfortable living space, making it a perfect choice for those seeking a homely and convenient stay. The location is ideal, with the historic old town, shops, restaurants, and attractions just a few steps away.
Accommodations photos source: booking.com