Cadiz is an old city – 4000 years old, to be exact – and it’s said to be the oldest European settlement that’s been continuously inhabited. It’s also the largest town on the famous Costa de la Luz in Spain, the “Coast of Light.” There are a lot of European vacationers that come to the area, but it’s also fantastic for a day trip through the region, for a mix of beaches, culture, and lively entertainment.
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What’s the best time to visit Cadiz?
Like much of the Mediterranean and the Andalusia region, Cadiz is best visited in the summertime for gorgeous weather and activities. However, this is also the busiest time, so if you prefer to avoid crowds you might prefer visiting during the shoulder season. There are a couple of great festivals in Cadiz, including the Carnival in February, the biggest in Spain, and the Festival de San Juan in late June.
A few facts about Cadiz
There’s a lot to love about Cadiz. It’s usually a bit less touristy and busy than many other Andalusian cities. It’s also right by the ocean so it’s great for beaches and swimming, as well as the culture found in larger Spanish cities. To enter the city by car, you will cross the Constitution’s bridge, one of the highest cross-sea bridges in the world at 185 meters tall.
Because of its age, it’s also full of medieval streets, churches, military installations, and Roman inspiration. It’s the perfect mix of beach and culture that all Mediterranean towns strive for.
One Day in Cadiz Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Cadiz.
Start with the Cathedral
To start your one day adventure in Cadiz, you’ll want to start at an amazing Cathedral in the Barrio del Pópulo. It’s considered one of the top monuments in Cadiz and is very famous. When people think of Cadiz, it’s most often of its golden dome, the classic landmark of the city of Cadiz. It took over a century to build and finally finished in 1838, creating a fascinating mix of architectural styles.
At the Cathedral, you should visit one of the bell towers, known as the Western Tower or Torre de Poniente in Spanish. As you climb up a ramp, you’ll see the 127 towers that dominate the skyline of the town of Cadiz.
Once you reach the top of the tower, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the town. You can also get a great view of the building from the ground when you walk along the nearby beach of La Caleta.
Enjoy the beach
This beach is great to visit also for its white Bath House, a striking and strange building. At this point, from La Caleta beach, you can visit two amazing castles on both sides. The first, the Castillo de Santa Catalina, is stunning to see for art exhibitions.
It’s also the top place in the city to see sunsets along the ocean. The second castle, the Castillo de San Sebastián, which became famous during the James Bond Die Another Day movie. It’s accessible via a footpath from the La Caleta beach.
Visit the market for lunch
After your walk around Cadiz, you’ll probably be ready for some tasty food. At this time, you’ll want to head to the Mercado de Abastos. The market dates back to 1837 but has been recently renovated. Located in Plaza Libertad, it’s most likely Spain’s oldest covered market. It’s without a doubt the place to go for the local delicacies and specialties of the region when you’re feeling hungry. If you’re not feeling Cadiz local food, you can also find international options at the market.
Explore the history of Cadiz
After lunch, it’s time to hit the town again, at this point towards the south of the city. You can find the Casa del Obispo behind the Cathedral, which will show you more about the long history of Cadiz. If you love Roman architecture, you should go to the Teatro Romano, the Roman theatre of Spain. You’ll feel truly immersed in the rich and diverse culture of Cadiz.
Then, head north in the city to the Museo de Cadiz. The museum will truly showcase the Phoenician and Roman heritage of the city, and you can see some fantastic paintings, statues, and canvases, so you can understand the full history of the city. The museum is considered the best in the whole region, and you’ll easily see why.
End the day with Spanish constitution
The last stop of your one day in Cadiz itinerary is the Monumento a la Constitución de 1812. It’s located in the Plaza de España and was actually built in 1912 to symbolize and celebrate the one hundred year anniversary of the first liberal constitution in Spain, signed in Cadiz in 1812. It’s also referred to as the Monumento a las Cortes.
There are a lot of different groups of statues around the monument and they all have a separate allegorical significance. They represent the country of Spain, citizenship, and agriculture, which are all at the base of the pillar in the center. On this pillar is the constitutional text, and it’s surrounded by statues on both sides, representing peace and war.
Where to stay in Cadiz?
There’s a lot of different options to stay in Cadiz, depending on your budget.
Cadiz Inn Backpackers
Botica, 2, 11006 Cadiz
If you’re backpacking on a shoestring, your top option is the Cadiz Inn Backpackers, a hostel just a 10 minute walk from the Cathedral. Reviews of the inn say the unique rooftop terrace is a major feature, and the Wi-Fi is great, for staying in touch with home. The hostel even provides computers for its guests to use, free of charge. If you’re backpacking in a group, the inn has quadruple rooms and even 6-bed dormitory rooms.
Hotel La Catedral
Plaza de la Catedral, 9, 11005 Cadiz
The best value for money is the Hotel La Catedral, also located by the Cathedral. You can get a nice, modern room with breakfast, an outdoor pool, and amazing views of the city. Equally central, this accommodation option boasts decorated bedrooms and “a real hairdryer” according to one reviewer. Of the two, this is the slightly more luxurious option.
Day trips from Cadiz
If you’re in the Andalusia region, there’s a lot that you can see nearby Cadiz. Jerez de la Frontera is a great option and off the beaten path. You can also check out La Suara National Park if you want to spend some time in nature, or even go see wild deer in Doñana National Park.
Extra tips for visiting Cadiz
There’s some practical information you should know about visiting Cadiz. If you’re travelling by train, you can reach Cadiz within two hours from Seville, or rent a car which allows you to stop in Jerez de la Frontera, the sherry wine region, on the way. This takes only an hour but requires toll payments.
To get around town, you can walk everywhere. If that’s not appealing to you, there are some City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off buses. These are accessible near the railroad station. For more tourist information, the Cadiz Tourist Office is in Paseo de Canalejas, the promenade by the harbor. They can give you some tips on how to get around as well as some maps so you don’t have any difficulty finding the landmarks mentioned above.
Cadiz is the perfect town to spend a full day getting your fill of culture and beaches. It’s popular with cruise ships as a stop as well as European holidaymakers. Although you can spend a lot more time here and in the region, you can also leave Cadiz after a day feeling like you saw the best the town had to offer. Happy travelling in this gorgeous Andalusian town!
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Aimee Laurence, an editor with BoomEssays.com and Essay Help, shares her insights on travel and European history and culture. She enjoys finding new destinations that are off the beaten path or less known to travellers, and coming up with travel tips for her readers. Aimee also edits on a freelance basis for Research Paper Help.