Cádiz is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in Western Europe. It has a lot to offer: Cádiz is full of nice attractions, many of them related to its historic past. But it’s also a place with many interesting restaurants and fun bars.
If you’re going to Cádiz, don’t miss this guide. We are recommending some of the best things to do in Cádiz, so hopefully this article will serve as useful inspiration if you’re planning a visit!
Explore the old city center
Most of the big attractions in Cádiz are located right in the central part of the city. In the center, you can see a lot of things in just a small amount of time!
Assuming that you’re coming in by train or bus to the main station, or that you are coming in with a cruise, you should head directly west/northwest from there.
DON’T MISS: Where to Stay in Cádiz – Best Areas
The first place to go would naturally be Plaza de San Juan de Dios. A central square with beautiful surroundings. It is considered to be the heart of the city, since many trades took place here in the past, due to the proximity to the port.
There are several nice restaurants near the plaza, but you can also just sit and admire the church of San Juan de Dios or the city hall of Cádiz. There is also a large sculpture in the central part of the square.
Continue in the same direction, and soon you will find the first major sight of the city – Catedral de Cádiz. It is also known as the Santa Cruz cathedral, and it took over a hundred years to build it. Construction started in 1722 and it was finished in 1838. Easily the most significant place in Cádiz, and certainly the building that takes the most attention: Just take a walk by the western coastline of the city and see what you notice when looking at the skyline! If you wish to see the cathedral up close, simply go to Plaza de la Catedral and check it out. Try to get inside too – we recommend you to enter the main tower. It is open to the public, so there’s no reason to miss out on it!
If you’re an early bird, visit the Roman Theatre in Cádiz. This is another grand sight, and it is free to get in for all visitors, but you have to do so before 16.00 (4 pm). The theatre is close to the cathedral, but you may need to ask for directions since the streets leading to its entrance are curvy and confusing.
In the same area, you can quickly go to Torre Tavira – one of the most visited buildings in Cádiz. It used to be a strategic watchtower, but nowadays it is mostly a tourist attraction. You can get a view of the city, and you can also see some interesting exhibitions inside Torre Tavira. Camera Obscura, the most popular room of the tower, has facilities that allow you to see the city from a unique point of view.
Thanks to various mirrors and lenses, you can see a full panorama of the Cádiz bay. Quite an experience. The entrance into Torre Tavira costs 6 euros per person. It is open for most hours of the day. Find more information here.
Close to the Tavira Tower, you can visit the central market of Cádiz. Here you will find many fresh goods. If you’re staying in a holiday apartment in Cádiz, it’s a great choice to go here for some high-quality foods that you can prepare yourself later. But they also sell snacks, drinks and smaller meals which you can enjoy at the market. Near the market, you can visit Plaza de las Flores where flowers are sold. A nice place to visit, even if only taking photos and smelling the flowers on a sunny day.
In the northern part of Cádiz, you will find the university which is hardly worth a visit. But walk around that area, and you will spot some other interesting things: Specifically a couple of beautiful churches, along with the popular Gran Teatro Falla: A theatre much frequented by local people in Cádiz and where you can even see famous operas.
Parks and nature
There are several beautiful parks in Cádiz and this is definitely a charm of the city.
Since we just mentioned the northern section of the city center, you can conveniently visit Parque Genovés, a nice green area close to the water where it’s easy to relax for an hour or so. Set in beautiful natural surroundings, you can sit down and enjoy a picnic, or you can explore the park by walking around, perhaps into the fun cave, or if you are traveling with kids, allow them to play at the park’s playground for a while.
Parque Genovés has brought in botanical species from several parts of the world, so if you are into flowers and plants, it will be a very enjoyable experience.
There are also monuments inside the Genovés Park: The most important monument is the one detailing children under an umbrella, a marvelous piece of work. The park also has a lake with ducks, so there are plenty of things to see. Going to the waterside takes just a minute since you can head out to the northern end of the park, passing through a thin building where the doors are usually open.
Another park – one that is smaller – is Alameda Apodaca. Arguably a bit prettier and more well-kept than Genovés, but with fewer activities. There’s no denying that Alameda Apodaca is very beautiful and that it has nice flowers and sculptures. So it’s a good place to visit if you have time for it.
Walking along the coast
Fun fact: The city of Cádiz is officially a peninsula. But in reality, it is very close to being an island. So it is surrounded by the sea on all fronts. It is particularly beautiful to walk along the western side. If you have followed the advice of visiting the historic center of Cádiz first and then heading north, you can follow that up by walking south from there, along the western coast.
If you have time for it, you might want to do a quick detour by going out to the westernmost island where the San Sebastián Castle is located. And after that, simply walk southwest to enjoy the waterside!
Here you will see some tremendous views. The cathedral of the city will dominate the skyline, but you will also pass by some picturesque beaches. Playa la Caleta will be the first, then Playa de Santa María del Mar further south, and ultimately the very long Playa Cortadura which has plenty of space and many restaurants, cafés and even fast-food joints very close by.
If you walk down too far, you will exit the typical touristy part of Cádiz which is the northern part. The southern part is less frequented by tourists, and you will usually just see locals. There are fewer historic sights here, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find any great attractions. Take a look at the local football stadium, Nuevo Estadio Ramon de Carranza, or the many plazas just north of it. There is also a large Corte Inglés in the city if you fancy some shopping.
When you decide to head back up north again, perhaps to explore the historic center to buy some souvenirs, or simply if you are going back to the station, be sure to walk by the impressive Plaza de la Constitución which is certainly worth a look.
Day trips from Cádiz
If you’re spending your holiday in Cádiz, you can also consider visiting some of the other interesting Andalusian cities that are somewhat close.
The most obvious choice is to visit Seville. When taking the train from Cádiz, it takes just around an hour and a half to reach Seville. Andalusia’s capital city has a lot of attractions, so don’t expect to see it all in just one day, but you can at least see some of the things or perhaps stay for another day.
A much closer option is Jerez de la Frontera. Jerez is a medium-sized city with a couple of nice sights as well. In the past, racing was popular here, and Jerez has a racing circuit that was once used in Formula One. You can get to Jerez by taking a train north from the station. The local Renfe Cercanías suburb trains connect the two cities, but you can also jump aboard the train headed to Seville and simply get out in Jerez.
And don’t forget about other charming places, such as Ronda, Vejer de la Frontera or Huelva – these are examples of other interesting townsin Andalusia within a fair distance of Cádiz!
Cruises to Cádiz
Cádiz is a very popular destination for people going on cruises. Many Mediterranean and Atlantic cruises stop in Cádiz for a day, so we hope that this guide to the best attractions in Cádiz is useful – even if you’re just spending an afternoon there!
Typical co-destinations on cruises to Cádiz are Málaga and Lisbon for shorter routes, while longer routes into the Atlantic may also cover Madeira and the Canary Islands. Itineraries into the Mediterranean Sea will often cover cities such as Barcelona, Marseille and Malta to go along with Cádiz.
How much time do you need in Cádiz?
One day in Cádiz is sufficient if you just want to go sightseeing and see all the major attractions.
However, it can be pleasant to have several days in Cádiz, so it can also be a decent place to take a holiday of around a week. Especially when the weather is nice since Cádiz has a lot of beaches nearby.
Spending several days in Cádiz also allows you to visit different restaurants and really go in depth with the local Andalusian culture. And, as mentioned earlier, if you have a full holiday in Cádiz, a day trip to one of the other cities in the region is a possibility as well!