- What To Do In Cadiz, Spain In One Day? Complete Travel Guide
- Catedral de Cadiz
- Iglesia de Santa Cruz
- Plaza de San Juan de Dios
- Teatro Romano de Cadiz
- Castillo de San Sebastián
- Castillo de Santa Catalina
- Parque Genovés
- Cadiz Old Town Streets
- Mercado Central de Abastos
- Plaza de las Flores
- Museo de Cádiz
- Gran Teatro Falla
- Plaza de Espana & Monumento a la Constitución de 1812
- Las Puertas de Tierra
- Torre Tavira
- Best beaches in Cadiz, Spain
- Puente De La Constitución De 1812
- Carnival of Cadiz
- How to get to Cadiz Spain?
- Restaurants, accommodations, and map
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Are you planning your next trip and wondering what to do in Cadiz, Spain in one day? Look no further, we are to help you! Follow our Cadiz travel guide and discover all the best places to visit in just one day, and there is a lot in this old town to discover. Let’s start!
Cadiz is an Andalusian city located on Costa de la Luz in Spain. It’s situated on a narrow slice of land, surrounded on all sides by the Atlantic Ocean. The area was settled by the Phoenicians 3000 years ago, in 1100 BC which makes Cadiz one of the oldest, and most continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe. Later, Romans settled there and built an impressive city. Over the years it was one of the most important ports in Europe (today still is one of Spain’s leading ports), and it was also a starting point of Christopher Columbus’s journeys.
It’s quaint, charming, vivid, and full of history. It’ll enchant you with landscapes filled with blue water, fishing boats, and sandy beaches, as well as with old buildings on cobbled streets and busy local life.
Yes. Definitely. For us, it was one of the most enjoyable cities in the whole of Andalusia. Inside this walled city, you’ll find many great things to do. Stay with us and learn about the best things to do in Cadiz, Spain in one day.
What To Do In Cadiz, Spain In One Day? Complete Travel Guide
Catedral de Cadiz
Catedral de Cádiz (eng. Cadiz Cathedral) is the most spectacular building in Cadiz and it just has to be on your list of the best places to visit in Cadiz. Thanks to its golden dome and two twin bell towers, Catedral de Cádiz dominates the city landscape. It can be seen 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.
Catedral de Cadiz is located in the old town, on the Plaza de la Catedral, in the historic El Pópulo district. It’s open daily, and entrance is paid (November 2022 – €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 Cádiz 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.
Iglesia de Santa Cruz
While on Plaza de la Catedral don’t forget to visit Iglesia de Santa Cruz (eng. Church of the Holy Cross), 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.
Teatro Romano de Cadiz
Teatro Romano de Cadiz (eng. The Roman Theatre of Cadiz) is from 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. Teatro Romano de Cádiz 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 to Teatro Romano de Cadiz is located on Calle Mesón, through the Interpretation Center. Check out opening hours on the official website, and don’t miss this great opportunity to discover The Roman Theatre of Cádiz as we did. It’s free to visit.
Castillo de San Sebastián
Castillo de San Sebastián (eng. San Sebastian Castle) is another place that has to be among places you can’t miss 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.
Currently (November 2022), Castillo de San Sebastián is closed. 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 no 1: according to the legends, it’s a place where in ancient times the temple of the Greek titan Kronos was located.
Fun fact no 2: some scenes from the Bond film, Die Another Day, were shot in Castillo de San Sebastián.
Castillo de Santa Catalina
Castillo de Santa Catalina (eng. Santa Catalina Castle) 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.
Castillo de Santa Catalina is also a great viewpoint. Just walk around the ramparts and enjoy spectacular views over the ocean and Cadiz bay. Entry cost: free.
Located right next to the Castillo de Santa Catalina, Parque Genovés (eng. Genoves Park) 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 Genovés has appeared in many rankings as one of the most beautiful urban parks in Spain.
Cadiz Old Town Streets
Cadiz old town, its 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 Catedral de Cadiz, Iglesia de Santa Cruz, Teatro Romano de 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 Mercado Central Cadiz, Plaza de las Flores, Gran Teatro Falla, Torre Tavira, Museo de Cadiz, or Oratorio de la Santa Cueva.
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).
Mercado Central de Abastos
Mercado Central de Abastos (eng. Cadiz Market) is another place that has to be on your list of 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. It’s 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.
Museo de Cádiz
If you are into museums, or just want to learn more about Cadiz’s history, you can’t miss visiting Museo de Cadiz (eng. Museum of 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.
Gran Teatro Falla
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.
Gran Teatro Falla (eng. Grand Theater of 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 Cádiz.
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). 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.
Las Puertas de Tierra
Las Puertas de Tierra (eng. the Earth’s Gate) 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. Torre Tavira (eng. Tavira Tower) is one of 126 watchtowers still standing (once there were 160 of them), and definitely the most popular one. It is from the 18th century, and with a height of 45m was the highest point in Cadiz old town. Torre Tavira has two exhibition halls, Camera Obscura, and the terrace from which you can admire spectacular views of Cadiz. Visiting Torre Tavira is definitely one of the best things to do in Cadiz.
Its Cámara 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 is paid. Normal: €7, reduced: 5.5 € (June 2022). 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 Cádiz a great holiday destination. The most popular beach is La Caleta, located between Castillo de Santa Catalina and Castillo de San Sebastian, in Barrio de la Viña. It’s relatively small and in summer it fills up quickly. La Caleta beach was awarded the “Blue Flag”. Other very popular sandy 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?
Cadiz is located 35km from Jerez de la Frontera, 105km from Tarifa and 120km from Gibraltar or Seville. The closest airport is located in Jerez de la Frontera (47km away), and the next one is located in Seville, 130 km away. As always, the most convenient way to get to Cadiz is by car.
Where to park in Cadiz?
We left our car in this parking lot and paid about 10€ for 8 hours. From it, you can walk right to Playa de Santa María del Mar and reach Cadiz Old Town by 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
To Cadiz by train
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to eat in Cádiz?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Cádiz: