thintgs to do in cadiz spain

15+ Wonderful Things to Do in Cadiz, Spain for a Memorable Visit

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If you’re looking for a Spanish destination combining history, culture, and beautiful beaches, Cadiz should be at the top of your list. There are lots of things to do in Cadiz that make it a city worth visiting. 

Located in the southern region of Andalucia, Cadiz is known as the oldest continuously inhabited city in Western Europe. With a history that dates back over 3,000 years, this charming city is a treasure trove of architectural wonders, cultural landmarks, and natural beauty.

In this post, you’ll discover the fun and amazing things to do in Cadiz ranging from historical sites, beautiful beaches, peaceful parks, and memorable activities. Let’s dive in! 

A Brief History of Cadiz, Spain

Before we get into the specifics of what to do in Cadiz, let’s first understand what makes this city unique. Compared to its other Andalucian sisters like Seville and Granada, Cadiz isn’t as talked about but it has a lot to offer. 

With a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, Cadiz’s historical significance is evident in its architecture, culture, and traditions. 

The city was founded as Gadir or Agadir by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. The Phoenicians were known for their seafaring skills and established a thriving port in Cadiz, which served as a gateway to the Mediterranean. 

The city’s strategic location also made it an attractive target for other civilizations, including the Romans, who conquered Cadiz in the 2nd century BC. The Romans left their mark on the city in the form of impressive architectural feats, including the Roman Theater, which is still standing today.

During the 8th century AD, Cadiz was conquered by the Moors, who ruled the city for over 500 years. The Moors were known for their intricate architecture and design, and their influence can still be seen in the city’s historic center. One of the most notable examples of Moorish architecture in Cadiz is the Torre Tavira, a watchtower that was used to monitor the city’s port.

In the 16th century, Cadiz played a significant role in Spain’s colonization of the Americas. It became a hub for trade with the New World, and many of the ships that sailed to the Americas departed from Cadiz. The city’s wealth grew as a result of this trade, and many of its most impressive buildings were constructed during this time, including the Cathedral of Cadiz, which was built with money from the Americas.

Whether you’re interested in the Phoenician and Roman influence, the Moorish era, or the city’s connection to the Americas, there’s something for everyone to explore and discover in this fascinating city.

Best Things to Do in Cadiz, Spain

Take a Cadiz Free Walking Tour

One of the best things to do in Cadiz is to take a free walking tour. I love doing this as early as possible on my visit as it’s an awesome way to get to know a city, get oriented on the main attractions, and get some insider tips from the local guide. 

I use Guruwalk to search for walking tours that fit my schedule and interests. I’ve done a Cadiz walking tour from Guruwalk and highly recommend it. Booking is super easy and the walking tour itself was very informative. Our guide was knowledgeable and happy to answer our curious questions. We also got to see different parts of the city on the walk and learned more about its history. 

Tip: Prefer to see Cadiz on two wheels? A bike tour is the perfect option. This 2-hour Cadiz bike tour is an easy breezy way to see the city! 

things to do in cadiz - cadiz cathedral

Admire the Cádiz Cathedral

Cadiz is home to home to some of the most impressive architectural marvels in Spain. When you’re here, don’t miss the Cádiz Cathedral!

Also known as the Cathedral of Santa Cruz, it’s one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. Built between 1722 and 1838, the cathedral is a stunning example of Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. The cathedral’s golden dome and ornate façade are a sight to behold and it’s interesting to spot the different materials used in constructing it (spoiler alert: they ran out of money while building it!). 

If you’re interested in cathedrals, it’s worth checking out the interior which is just as breathtaking. The cathedral also boasts an impressive collection of artwork, including paintings by Goya and Zurbarán. 

Do note there is a small fee to enter the cathedral. It’s typically open to visitors but may sometimes be closed for events or religious services. 

Tip: There are a few cafes located in the square in front of the Cathedral. It’s a lovely spot to take in the monument while taking a break. 

Take in the City Views at Torre Tavira

Another key monument in Cadiz is Torre Tavira, a 45-meter-high tower that offers panoramic views of the city. Built in the 18th century, the tower was used as a watchtower for spotting ships coming into the harbor. 

Today, you can climb to the top of the tower and take in the stunning views of the city and the sea. The tower also houses a camera obscura, which projects a live view of the city onto a concave screen.

Before visiting Torre Tavira, I didn’t know anything about camera obscura. Located at the top of the tower, this optical device projects real-time panoramic views of Cadiz onto a concave screen. It’s actually a rare device and Cadiz is one of the few places in the world that has one! 

As the camera obscura projects views of the city, the guide will point out specific monuments and landmarks. It’s definitely a unique way to see the city. 

After the city tour via camera obscura, you can admire the views with your own eyes but ascending the staircase that leads to the top of the tower. If the weather’s good, you may be lucky enough to even spot the coast of Africa!

I found it very cool to see Cadiz from the top and it gave me a new perspective of the city. There is a small fee to enter the tower and the guided camera obscura experience is optional. In my opinion, this is one of the best things to do In Cadiz – I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

roman theatre in cadiz - what to do

Walk in the footsteps of the Romans at the Roman Theatre

When I visited Cadiz, I didn’t expect that it would still have strong remnants of its past as a Roman City. So I was completely bowled away when I first saw the Roman Theatre in Cadiz.

The Roman Theatre was discovered only in the 1980s and it’s one of the most important archaeological sites in the city. It has since been restored and it’s in amazingly great shape for something that was built in the 1st century BC! 

Now there’s a small museum on-site that details the theatre’s history as a venue for gladiatorial games, plays, and other public events during Cadiz’s Roman era. After going through the exhibit, you have the chance to explore the theatre itself. You can see the remains of the stage, the orchestra, and the seating area. It’s pretty astounding! 

The theatre is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and the best part is that admission is free! Honestly, it’s such a treat that such a significant and well-preserved historical site is free to enter – this is a must-see Cadiz attraction. 

Tip: The actual entrance to Cadiz’s Roman Theatre can be tricky to find. If you’re from the seafront promenade, go around the corner of the theatre gates and turn left into Calle San Juan de Dios. Walk down the street and on your left, you’ll see a big arch. Enter the arch and walk along Calle Meson. The entrance is tucked away to your left before the road goes to the right. You can also get to Calle Meson from the Cathedral square. 

Discover the Old Town

Like many Andalucian cities, Cadiz has a charming Old Town that’s filled with narrow winding streets, picturesque squares, and elegant plazas. Many of Cadiz’s top attractions can be found here, including the Cathedral, Torre Tavira, the Roman Theatre, the Museum of Cadiz and more. 

You can start your exploration of the Old Town at Plaza de San Juan de Dios, which is home to the stunning Baroque-style San Juan de Dios Church. From there, you can wander through the winding streets of the El Populo neighborhood, which is one of the oldest parts of the city.

Some places to look out for include:

  • Oratorio de la Santa Cueva: Visit this 18th-century oratory to admire its elegant architecture and stunning frescoes. Take a moment to appreciate the peaceful ambiance of this hidden gem.
  • Puertas de Tierra: Explore the iconic city gates that connect the Old Town to the modern part of Cádiz. These gates, flanked by two watchtowers, provide a glimpse into the city’s past and offer a great photo opportunity.
  • Plaza de las Flores: Wander through this charming square filled with colorful flower stalls. Admire the vibrant blooms, and perhaps pick up a bouquet as a souvenir of your visit.

In my experience, it was lovely just to wander around without a plan. There are shops where you can browse and shop as well many local cafes and restaurants where you can take a break and people-watch. 

Visit the Museum of Cadiz

Calling all history nerds! (Yes I’ve raised my hand too.) The Museum of Cadiz is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of the city. 

The Museum of Cadiz is divided into three sections: Phoenician and Roman archaeological artifacts, fine art, and ethnography. You can see outstanding Phoenician sarcophagi from the 5th century BC, paintings from the 16th-20th centuries, and traditional puppets, among other things. This is a great place to see Cadiz’s unique history come to life. 

While their fine arts section is not as prolific as other museums in Spain, you can find works from famous artists like Goya, Rubens, and Murillo as well as paintings by local artists.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, art lover, or simply curious about Cádiz’s past, the Museum of Cádiz offers a comprehensive exploration of the city’s cultural heritage. The museum is open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, from Tuesday to Sunday. There is an admission fee, with discounts available for students, seniors, and groups.

Discover Cadiz’s Beautiful Beaches

Cadiz’s location at the southern point of Andalucia means there’s no shortage of gorgeous beaches in the area. So if you need a break from sightseeing, pencil in some beach time!

The easiest beach to get to is La Caleta, a small, picturesque beach that’s located in the heart of Cadiz. This Blue Flag beach is surrounded by historic buildings and has been featured in several movies, including a James Bond film (remember Halle Berry, emerging from the water? Yeah, that was shot here!).

The water is calm and perfect for swimming, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby where you can grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink. Its proximity to the city center means that it can be busy here but it’s still a lovely spot to take in some sun and sea. 

If you’re looking for a bigger beach, then head to Playa de la Victoria, the largest beach in Cadiz that stretches over 2.8 km along the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also a Blue Flag beach and it’s known for its golden sand and crystal-clear water, making it a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. There are plenty of amenities available, including showers, changing rooms, and beach bars.

For more on Cadiz beaches, read our epic post on the best beaches in Cadiz.

sunset in cadiz spain

Stroll Along Cadiz’s Seafront Promenade

If you don’t have the time or inclination to spend time at the beach, you can still enjoy Cadiz’s seafront location by strolling along the promenade.

I personally love the stretch of pavement along Avenida Campo del Sur that lies behind the Roman Theatre and the Cathedral. Here, you can take in the views of the sea and admire the stunning sunsets in Cadiz (seriously, the sunsets here are beyond!). For the best open view of the horizon, I suggest rounding the corner of the avenue to where it leads into La Caleta. 

I did this walk several times during my stay in Cadiz and it’s a simple pleasure that’s shared by locals and tourists alike. 

Wander around Santa Catalina Castle

Another great attraction to visit in Cadiz is Santa Catalina Castle, a 16th-century fortress that was built to protect the city from pirate attacks. The castle is situated on a small island known as Isla de Erytheia, connected to the mainland by a stone bridge. It’s not too far from La Caleta so it’s a good idea to combine these two attractions if you’re in the area. 

Today, the castle is open to visitors as a tourist attraction. You can castle’s interiors, which house exhibition spaces, showcasing historical artifacts, informative displays, and interactive exhibits related to the castle’s history and maritime heritage. And of course, the views! The castle’s elevated position offers breathtaking views, making it a popular spot for photography and enjoying the scenic beauty of Cádiz.

The castle is surrounded by well-manicured gardens, providing a pleasant setting for leisurely walks or picnics. It’s a perfect spot to relax and take in the views of the sea and the city.

Relax at Parque Genovés

If you’re looking for a spot to rest in between ticking off your Cadiz to-see list, head to Parque Genovés. This beautiful park is located in the heart of Cadiz and features a variety of gardens, fountains, and sculptures. 

Take a stroll through the park and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, or relax on one of the many benches and take in the scenery. It’s also a great place to observe local life be it seniors socializing with friends or young ones playing in the park in the afternoon. It’s a little slice of everyday Cadiz life that most visitors miss. 

Eat Your Way Through Mercado Central

Ready to explore the food in Cadiz? A great place to start your culinary adventure in Cadiz is at Mercado Central. 

This central market is a bustling hub of vendors selling fresh produce, meats, and seafood. You can find everything from locally caught fish to exotic fruits and vegetables. Take your time wandering through the stalls and sampling the different offerings. 

There are also food stalls serving cooked food ranging from fresh seafood dishes to traditional tapas and other local delicacies. Come with an empty stomach, see what catches your fancy, and try a little bit of everything! The atmosphere here is so lively and it’s an awesome place to catch the good vibes of the city. 

Oh, and the architecture of the market is pretty too!

For the local market action, I recommend coming early in the morning when locals do their shopping. If not, you can come later for some bites. Do note that the market closes by mid-afternoon. It’s also closed on Sundays. 

seafood in cadiz

Get a Taste of the Local Food Scene 

One of the highlights of dining in Cadiz is the abundance of local seafood restaurants. These establishments pride themselves on using only the freshest ingredients, often sourced directly from the nearby waters. 

Some popular seafood dishes to try include grilled octopus, fried calamari, and paella with shrimp and mussels. Don’t be afraid to ask your server for recommendations or to try something new. 

Tapas bars are a staple of Spanish cuisine, and Cadiz is no exception. These small, casual establishments serve a variety of small dishes, perfect for sharing with friends or sampling on your own. Some popular tapas to try include tortilla española (a potato omelet), croquetas (fried dough balls filled with cheese or ham), and patatas bravas (spicy potatoes). Many tapas bars also offer a selection of local wines and beers to pair with your meal.

Discover Cadiz’s Best Eats on a Food Tour

If you’re looking for a more guided food experience, a food tour in Cadiz is the way to go. 

I love food tours because they often introduce me to dishes that I might not otherwise try and local spots I might not have ever known about. On a Cadiz food tour, your local guide will introduce you to a range of foodie hotspots that highlight the delightful gastronomy in this city. 

If you’re travelling solo, doing a food tour is an awesome way to meet other fellow travellers and enjoy the social aspect of eating out in Spain. But even if you’re travelling in a group, this is a fun activity that will fill your bellies and introduce you to the best of Cadiz’s food.  

Enjoy a Day on the Water 

Want to see Cadiz from a different vantage point? This catamaran cruise on the Bay of Cadiz is an awesome way to spend an afternoon!

You’ll discover the beauty of Costa de la Luz as you cruise along the waters and pass by three brown: Chiclana, San Fernando and Cadiz. You’ll also get to see Sancti Petri Castle. During the cruise, you’ll have the opportunity to swim and play in the water with the water slide and water mats. 

Party at the Carnival of Cadiz

If you’re looking for an exciting and unforgettable experience in Cadiz, there’s no better event than Carnival. 

The Carnival of Cadiz is one of the most famous festivals in Andalucia and for good reason. This lively event takes place in February and is a celebration of music, dance, and comedy. The streets of Cadiz come alive with colorful costumes, parades, and performances, making it a must-see event for anyone visiting the city during this time.

During Carnival, you’ll find people of all ages and backgrounds taking part in the festivities. The highlight of the event is the singing groups, known as chirigotas, who perform humorous songs and skits that poke fun at current events and politics. The competition to be named the best chirigota is fierce, and the performances are always entertaining.

If you happen to be visiting Cadiz in February, Carnival is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in the city. 

Go Hiking in Cadiz

There are many opportunities for hiking near Cadiz and the best thing is there’s something for everyone!

If you’re looking for beautiful coastal walks, check out La Barrosa beach in Chiclana de la Frontera, Playa de Bolonia near Tarifa, and the cliffs of La Breña in Barbate which are popular spots for coastal hiking.

There’s also Sendero de los Acantilados (Cliff Path), a well-known hiking trail that follows the coastline between Zahara de los Atunes and Barbate. This trail takes you along stunning cliffs and provides breathtaking vistas of the sea and the surrounding landscapes.

There are also a few natural parks near Cadiz that are great for hiking. Consider Parque Natural de la Breña y Marismas del Barbate which offers picturesque coastal routes, stunning cliffs, and panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Another option is the Parque Natural de los Alcornocales, known for its cork oak forests, rivers, and diverse flora and fauna.

Up for a challenge? Head to the nearby Grazalema Natural Park scale the summit of El Torreón, the highest peak in the park. You’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic vistas of the surrounding Sierra de Grazalema.

If hiking near Cadiz is on your agenda, I highly recommend renting a car as it’s the best way to visit the natural parks and access the coastal walks. 

Take a Day Trip from Cadiz

If you have more time in Cadiz, you can easily fill up your days by visiting other beautiful towns near Cadiz. There are many day trip options and you can pick one that fits your travel interests, be it a day at the beach, discovering charming white villages, or getting another dose of Andalucian culture. Check out ideas for day trips from Cadiz here.  

If you want someone else to take care of all the details and simply enjoy your day, consider booking a one-day guided tour. Here are some tours from Cadiz worth considering: 

cadiz old town

Essential Cadiz Travel Information

Getting to Cadiz

Cadiz is located in the southwest of Spain, and there are several ways to get there. 

If you are already in Spain, Cadiz is well-connected by both train and bus. Check Renfe for train routes and schedules and try ALSA for bus journeys. The train and bus stations in Cadiz are next to each other and in a central location so it’s easy to get around. If you’re coming from Seville, check out our Cadiz-Seville transport guide for more details.

If you are coming from other parts of Europe, the easiest way is to fly into one of the nearby airports such as Jerez Airport, Seville Airport, or Malaga Airport. From there, you can take a bus or train to Cadiz.

Seville Airport (SVQ) to Cádiz

By Car: The approximate driving time from Seville Airport to Cádiz is around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the route taken. The most common route is via the A4 highway.

By Public Transportation: From Seville Airport, you first have to get to the train or bus station. From there, you can take a direct bus or train to Cádiz. The journey typically takes around 2 to 3 hours, depending on the connections and schedules.

Jerez Airport (XRY) to Cádiz

By Car: The distance between Jerez Airport and Cádiz is approximately 44 kilometers (27 miles), and the driving time is around 30 to 40 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. The most direct route is usually via the A4 highway.

By Public Transportation: From Jerez Airport, you can take a bus or a taxi to Jerez de la Frontera’s train station and then catch a train to Cádiz. The total travel time, including transfers, is typically around 1 to 1.5 hours.

Malaga Airport (AGP) to Cádiz

By Car: The distance between Malaga Airport and Cádiz is approximately 225 kilometers (140 miles), and the driving time is around 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on traffic and the chosen route. The most common route is via the A-7 highway.

By Public Transportation: From Malaga Airport, you can take a train or a bus to Malaga’s central train station (Maria Zambrano Station) and then catch a train to Cádiz. The total travel time, including transfers, is typically around 3 to 4 hours.

Car Rental Recommendation

If you’re looking for the best prices for car rental during your stay in Spain, check out Discover Cars. Just plug in your location and dates and you’ll get the best deals available. Super convenient and easy! 

Accommodation in Cadiz 

There are plenty of accommodation options in Cadiz to suit all budgets. You can find everything from luxury hotels to budget hostels. Some of the most popular areas to stay in Cadiz are the Old Town, La Viña, and Playa Victoria.

If you are looking for a more authentic experience, you can also consider staying in a local guesthouse or apartment. This will give you the opportunity to live like a local and experience the culture and lifestyle of Cadiz.

Check out these highly-rated stays in Cadiz and see if there’s one that fits your needs:

  • Parador de Cadiz: Spacious and modern rooms facing the ocean and located in a former 18th-century barracks. Ideal for a splurge in Cadiz.
  • Hotel Boutique Convento Cádiz: Beautiful boutique hotel located in La Viña which was a 17th-century convent. Great for couples. 
  • Hotel Argantonio: Charming boutique hotel in the heart of Cadiz Old Town, with well-decorated rooms. Ideal for a weekend getaway. 
  • Jardines de Candelaria Cadiz: Modern, comfortable, and spacious apartment in the Old Town. Ideal for groups and families. 
  • Hotel Casa de las Cuatro Torres: Gorgeous boutique hotel is housed in a beautifully restored 18th-century building. Perfect if you want a memorable stay in a central location.
  • La Posada del Mercado: Well-designed and comfortable apartments in the heart of Cadiz’s old town. Great for independent travellers. 

Safety Tips 

Cadiz is generally a safe place to visit, but it’s always important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some safety reminders:

  • Keep your valuables safe and secure, especially in crowded areas. Don’t leave your belongings unattended.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night in secluded areas.
  • Use reputable taxi services and avoid unlicensed taxis.
  • Keep your passport and other important documents in a safe place.
  • Be cautious when withdrawing money from ATMs and avoid doing so at night. I also recommend choosing official bank ATMs over other ATM services (such as Euronet). 

Overall, I found Cadiz a safe place as a female traveller and I would highly recommend it as a female solo travel destination. 

Need more help planning your trip? Read our ultimate Cadiz travel guide for more useful travel information!

Things to Do in Cadiz: Frequently Asked Questions

What are some unique and unusual activities to do in Cadiz, Spain?

If you’re looking for unique and unusual activities in Cadiz, Spain, you might want to consider a visit to the Torre Tavira. This 18th-century tower has a camera obscura that provides a 360-degree view of the city in real time. You can also take a guided tour of the tower to learn more about its history.

What are some hidden gems to explore in Cadiz, Spain?

If you’re looking for hidden gems in Cadiz, Spain, consider visiting the Oratorio de la Santa Cueva. This 18th-century chapel is located in the heart of the city and it’s home to some of the most beautiful religious art in Spain. Another hidden gem is the Balneario de la Palma, a historic spa that dates back to the 19th century.

What are some free activities to do in Cadiz, Spain?

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of free activities to do in Cadiz, Spain. You can take a stroll through the Parque Genovés, a beautiful park that is home to a wide variety of trees and plants. You can also visit the Cathedral of Cadiz, which is free to enter on certain days of the week, and the Roman Theatre which is completely free to enter. It’s also worth it to visit Cadiz’s Central Market which is open to all. 

Is a visit to Cadiz, Spain worth it?

Yes, a visit to Cadiz, Spain is definitely worth it. This beautiful city is home to a rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful beaches. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s museums and art galleries or just want to relax on the beach, there’s something for everyone in Cadiz.

What is Cadiz, Spain famous for?

Cadiz, Spain is famous for its stunning beaches, historic architecture, and rich history. The city is also known for its seafood, which is some of the best in Spain. Cadiz is also home to the Carnival of Cadiz, one of the most famous festivals in Spain.

Which is a better destination, Cadiz or Seville?

Both Cadiz and Seville are beautiful destinations, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference. Seville is a larger city with more attractions and a vibrant nightlife, while Cadiz is smaller and more laid-back. If you’re looking for a beach vacation, Cadiz is the better choice, while Seville is perfect for those interested in history and culture.

Recommended Spain Travel Resources

Travelling to/around Spain and need help planning your dream trip?
Here are my favorite travel resources.

  • I usually use to look for hotels or apartment rentals. It’s easy to use, with lots of choices… and you can unlock more discounts with their Genius loyalty programme!
  • To research transportation options around Spain, I use Omio which lets me compare different modes of transportation and prices in one place.
  • For the ultimate freedom, rent a car in Spain. Check prices on DiscoverCars to find the best deals (you’ll be surprised at how affordable it is!).
  • For activities and tours, Get Your Guide is my trusted platform. Viator also has a big catalog of activities!
  • I love free walking tours and usually use Guruwalk to find and book tours I like.
  • An easy way to stay connected while travelling is to use an eSim. Airalo offers various eSim choices so that you’re already connected the moment you arrive in Spain!
  • Say goodbye to carrying loads of cash or paying huge transaction fees when using a card in a foreign country! Wise is my borderless banking service of choice and I’ve used their debit card everywhere in Spain without any issues.
  • I never travel without SafetyWing travel insurance in case of emergencies or unexpected incidents. Get an obligation-free quote here.

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