Cadiz is a walled port city sitting on a peninsula almost entirely surrounded by water. It is best known for its long history starting with the Phoenicians some thousands years ago and is often considered the oldest city in Western Europe. It is the capital of the Cadiz Province within the southern Spanish region of Andalucía and with its current population of 128,000 souls, it is one of the most densely populated urban areas in Europe.
Cadiz is packed with history, being first established by the Phoenicians as a trading post in 1,100BC, later conquered by the Carthaginians and then came under control of the Romans. The city was then occupied by both the Visigoths and the Moors, and its most famous days came during the 16th century when it played a key role in the discovery of the new world.
By far the most culturally significant part of Cadiz is the Old Town or Casco Antiguo, located at the western end of the peninsula. It has mostly a Moorish architectural style consisting of small squares, narrow streets and white seafront houses offering a lovely view over the bay. The old town is packed with remarkable churches and various historic buildings, many reflecting Cadiz maritime heritage. The town also has an abundance of magnificent parks filled with a variety of exotic plants brought back from the New World by Christopher Columbus.
Even during the colder months the town has plenty to offer, being host to the biggest Carnival in mainland Spain and considered one of the top 3 in the world. The Carnaval usually starts in February the weekend before Ash Wednesday and continue for a week with all sorts of costumes, singing, dancing and other entertainment.
If you are looking for a glimpse of the real Andalucía, with plenty of historic sites to be discovered and lovely beaches to be enjoyed, then look no further as Cadiz is the perfect choice.
Top 10 Cadiz attractions
Cadiz has a variety of great cultural sites from its famous cathedral to various squares, passing by the ancient Roman theatre and the city walls. The top 10 most interesting attractions in Cadiz include:
- Cadiz Cathedral
- Plaza de Mina
- Cadiz beaches
- Plaza San Antonio
- Roman theatre
- Plaza de San Juan de Dios
- Tavira tower
- Plaza de España
- Gran Teatro Falla
- Plaza de Candelaria
The Cadiz Cathedral, located in the Plaza de la Catedral on the south-eastern coast of the old town is perhaps the most famous landmark of the city. It was built over more than a 110 years between 1722 and 1838, on the same site as a previous church dating back to 1260 and supervised by the architect Vicente Acero, the man behind the Granada Cathedral. One of the key features of this Baroque-style Cathedral , with a mix of rococo and neoclassical elements, is its golden cupola which looms above the old town houses and dominate the skyline.
Plaza de Mina
The Plaza de Mina is considered by many the most beautiful of all the various squares in Cadiz. Situated in the centre of the old town, it dates back to the 19th century, when the orchard of the convent of San Francisco was redesigned into a public plaza by various architects. Today this lovely square is filled with large trees and various statues as well as the Museum of Cadiz which offers artworks by famous artists including Peter Paul Rubens, as well as a variety of objects from Cadiz’s 3000 year history. The beautiful houses surrounding the Plaza de Mina are a mix of Isabelline Gothic and neo-classical architecture.
Cadiz is not only a great cultural city but also an excellent sea and sun destination offering a variety of amazing beaches on its southern front. Indeed the city offers more than 10 km of some of the cleanest beaches of the region, starting from the edge of the old town and continuing alongside the Calle Campo de Sur. Some of the top beaches worth discovering includes Santa Maria del Mar, Victoria, and Cortadura, offering beautiful sand, a refreshing Atlantic breeze and plenty of activities such as volleyball, surfing and kite flying. It is also where most of the most sought after hotels, apartments and restaurants are located.
Plaza San Antonio
The Plaza San Antonio is another famous and beautiful square in the heart of Cadiz, surrounded by splendid neo-classical mansions. It was originally built in the 18th century and was once considered the main square of the city. Its name is taken from the San Antonio church which dates back to 1669 and occupies the southern corner of the plaza. Today the Plaza San Antonio is considered one of Cadiz heritage historic sites, prohibiting all new constructions.
The Cadiz Roman theatre located in the El Pópulo district in the centre of the Casco Antiguo, is considered the second largest Roman theatre in the world. It was built during the 1st century BC by order of Lucius Cornelius Balbus using hand shaped limestones. It was however only discovered recently, when in 1980 a huge fire destroyed an old warehouse built on the site of the theatre. What was first thought to be some medieval remains, have revealed a largely intact Roman theatre after systematic excavations.
Plaza de San Juan de Dios
The Plaza de San Juan de Dios is a very touristic square situated on the eastern side of the old city. It dates back to the 15th century and built on lands reclaimed from the sea. Its main feature is Cadiz’s Old City town hall, a remarkable building overlooking the square. The Plaza de San Juan de Dios is today packed with various terraced cafes and restaurants, serving a variety of traditional Andalucian tapas.
The Tavira tower located on the north western side of the Old Town is the tallest remaining watchtower in Cadiz. It is believed that during the 18th century, there might have been over 160 such towers, usually as part of the houses from which the merchants could view the sea and check for the arrival of its ships. The tower main feature is the cámara oscura, an optical technology that uses a specially-prepared convex lens to project panoramic views into a concave disc.
Plaza de España
The Plaza de España is a large square on the Eastern side of Cadiz Casco Antiguo not far from the port. At its heart lies the Monument to the Constitution of 1812, surrounded by a variety of trees.
Gran Teatro Falla
The Gran Teatro Falla located on the lovely Plaza Fragela in the western side of Cadiz Old Town is set in a spectactular building in a Moorish revival style. It was first built in 1871 by the architect García del Alamo but unfortunately destroyed by fire a few years later. The current theatre was built between 1884 and 1905 by architect Adolfo Morales de los Rios.
Plaza de Candelaria
The Plaza de Candelaria located in the Eastern side of Cadiz old town, not far from the Cathedral is a lovely square packed with various palm trees. Its name is derived from the Candelaria convent which was once on the site of the plaza until it was demolished. The key feature of the square is the statue of the president of the first Spanish republic, Emilio Castelar born in a house facing the Plaza.
Flights to Cadiz
The quickest way to get to Cadiz is through Jerez de la Frontera’s La Parra International Airport (XRY) which is located about 30 minutes drive to the north of the city centre. The airport is used by a variety of low cost airlines.
Top Cadiz hotels
The following are some of the best 3, 4 and 5 stars hotels in Cadiz as voted by the users.
TRYP Cádiz La Caleta Hotel
Avenida Amílcar Barca s/n, Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain 11009 – 4 Stars
Right on Playa Victoria, this beach-side property offers guests direct access to the sand and surf. Suited to those on beach-centric holidays, the TRYP Cádiz La Caleta Hotel is steps from the water, and a ten-minute drive from the centre of Cadiz. Rooms are vividly decorated to a high standard with modern bathrooms and wifi access, and guests driving through the area have secure private parking available to them at a charge. Along the promenade, guests will find all the dining and entertainment one would expect from a Spanish coastal town, including cheap breakfast cafes, tapas bars, clubs and restaurants for every budget. Enjoy a fun filled vacation under the sun from the extremely convenient TRYP Cádiz La Caleta Hotel.
Book a room at the TRYP Cádiz La Caleta Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Senator Cadiz Spa Hotel
Rubio y Díaz 1, Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain – 4 Stars
Some of the features you’ll enjoy are separate shower and tub, desk, non smoking rooms, bathrobes. Guests will enjoy the hotel’s excellent facilities and services including shops, laundry service/dry cleaning, restaurant. For the enjoyment of guests interested in sports or leisure, there are sauna, jacuzzi, gym, spa on the grounds. With a full range of popular amenities and a friendly, caring staff, it’s no wonder guests keep returning to Senator Cadiz Spa Hotel.
Book a room at the Senator Cadiz Spa Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Hotel Patagonia Sur
Cobos 11, Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain – 3 Stars
Every room in the hotel offers guests in room safe, non smoking rooms, balcony/terrace, hair dryer. To make each guest’s stay more complete, this Cadiz hotel offers bar/pub, elevator, shops. With its commitment to service and focus on hospitality, you’ll enjoy your stay at Hotel Patagonia Sur.
Book a room at the Hotel Patagonia Sur now, best price guaranteed.
Spa Cadiz Plaza Hotel
Glorieta Ingeniero La Cierva, 3, Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain 11010 – 3 Stars
To make each guest’s stay comfortable, all rooms feature in room safe, air conditioning, television. Laundry service/dry cleaning, room service, 24hr room service, business centre are some of the extra comforts you’ll find at this Cadiz hotel. For the enjoyment of guests interested in sports or leisure, there are massage, spa on the grounds. The hotel blends expert service with state-of-the-art facilities to provide guests with a memorable stay.
Book a room at the Spa Cadiz Plaza Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Hotel Monte Puertatierra
Avda. Andalucía, 34, Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain 11008 – 4 Stars
Air conditioning, inhouse movies, desk are among the amenities guests will find in every room. This excellent hotel in Cadiz also has shops, bar/pub, laundry service/dry cleaning. Those looking for first-rate sporting and leisure facilities will find tennis courts. With a full range of popular amenities and a friendly, caring staff, it’s no wonder guests keep returning to Hotel Monte Puertatierra.
Book a room at the Hotel Monte Puertatierra now, best price guaranteed.
Hotel Las Cortes De Cadiz
C/San Francisco 9, Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain – 3 Stars
Some of the features you’ll enjoy are air conditioning, mini bar, non smoking rooms, shower. This excellent hotel in Cadiz also has 24hr room service, elevator, laundry service/dry cleaning. The hotel provides superior recreational and leisure facilities including jacuzzi, gym. Everything the hotel does is centred around the guest’ experience, ensuring comfort and relaxation.
Book a room at the Hotel Las Cortes De Cadiz now, best price guaranteed.
Playa Victoria Hotel
Glorieta Ingeniero La Ciervo 4, Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain – 4 Stars
This is a clean and friendly hotel resort right on the beach with a sunny outdoor pool area and spacious rooms. The hotel offers wireless internet and immaculate accommodations with fine balcony areas with pristine sea-views. If you’re here on honeymoon, be sure and reserve one of the top floor rooms with more extensive views. For getting out to the beach in the afternoons you won’t have to fight for lawn-chairs and umbrellas; the hotel offers enough to go around. Lounge around on the beach or return to the hotel pool for a clean and sunny environment. Lounge around poolside and receive attentive care by the wait staff, order up some cocktails and unwind. For lunch and dinner options the hotel offers intimate dining atmospheres for honeymoon and family travellers alike
Book a room at the Playa Victoria Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Parador Atlántico Hotel
Avenida Duque De Najera,9, Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain 11002 – 4 Stars
Excellent seaside location, great swimming pool and outdoor areas and spacious rooms come together with a romantic atmosphere here. The accommodations are colourful and offer plenty of furnishings and sitting areas. Enjoy the large windows looking out over the sea and unwind. Raised above the beach even from the pool area, this hotel features brilliant views throughout. The courtyard area, with its old-world Spanish setting and sunny atmosphere, is the perfect little spot to relax and enjoy a bottle of wine in the afternoons. After exploring the recreational options head back to the marble lounge area in the evenings for a pristine environment and a nightcap. Enjoy the Cadiz Bay from the restaurant and dine on a delectable dinner.
Book a room at the Parador Atlántico Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Barcelo Cadiz Hotel
Avda. de Andalucía, 89, Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain – 4 Stars
The Barcelo Cadiz Hotel is conveniently located on the main avenue of the city and is close to the seafront promenade bordering Victoria Beach. The hotel offers 96 guestrooms fitted with modern amenities. Dine at the a la carte or buffet restaurants. There is also a terrace area during the summer. Additional on-site facilities include a private car park, cyber corner and four meeting rooms (capacity for up to 170 people). Guests will find this service-oriented hotel with superb facilities and amenities provides excellent value.
Book a room at the Barcelo Cadiz Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
Avenida Ana De Viya 11, Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain – 3 Stars
To make each guest’s stay comfortable, all rooms feature in room safe, non smoking rooms, desk. Featuring 24hr room service, room service, bar/pub, concierge, this Cadiz hotel is sure to make each guest’s trip an enjoyable one. Everything the hotel does is centred around the guest’ experience, ensuring comfort and relaxation.
Book a room at the Regio Hotel now, best price guaranteed.