Visit stunning Cadiz, where the Atlantic Ocean meets ancient sea walls and miles of white sandy beaches.
One of the oldest cities in the world, Cadiz is a maze of hilly cobblestone streets lined with cathedrals and bright, whitewashed houses reflecting the sun. Almost an island, Cadiz is a peninsula linked to mainland Spain by a very thin strip of sand. With a colourful culture, Cadiz is known for its unique architecture and carnival spirit.
Many travellers use Cadiz as a launching point to visit the Canary Islands, but it is well worth taking at least half a day to explore this unique city beforehand. The ancient port city is divided into four districts, each with their own flavours and experiences to offer.
The City Centre is where you’ll find cathedrals, parks and tropical gardens, as well as grand plazas with cafés selling dark, Spanish coffee. History buffs should head to Santa Maria, the district displaying Cadiz’s most ancient Andalusian architecture, including castles and sherry bodegas. In the tourist district, El Populo, you’ll find cafés and monuments as well as souvenirs ranging from smoked ham and sherry to handcrafts and clothing.
Once night falls, head to the La Viña district for bars and nightclubs with plenty of flamenco flair and traditional tapas. And don’t forget to check out Cadiz’s beaches; they are among the most beautiful in the world. Try La Caleta Beach in Old Town and take a dip between two 3,000-year-old castles.
Christopher Columbus began several of his trips across the Atlantic from Cadiz, and today it is one of the busiest ports in all of Spain. With its Spanish and Moorish flair, Cadiz is a popular port of call for many transatlantic and Mediterranean cruises.
The cruise ship pier is located in Puerto Comercial next to Avenida del Puerto, only 5 minutes’ walk from the centre of town.
Facilities near the port in Cadiz include:
Tourist information centres
Restaurants and cafés
Bank and ATMs
Medical centre and pharmacy
How To Get Around
Walking is the easiest way to navigate Cadiz. Old Town is compact and easily explored on foot. To travel further into the outskirts of the city, taxis are readily available. Buses are also an option. The ‘number 1’ bus is ideal for visitors as it travels from one end of Cadiz to the other.
Streets in the older parts of the city are too narrow to allow anything wider than a scooter; however, the new parts of the city are easy to drive yourself or explore via taxi.
Travel times from the port in Cadiz:
It is a 10 minute journey to the train station at Plaza de Sevilla
It is a 16 minute journey to Cadiz Cathedral
It is a 21 minute journey to Torre Tavira.
It is a 3 minute journey to the train station at Plaza de Sevilla
It is a 6 minute journey to Cadiz Cathedral
It is a 9 minute journey to Torre Tavira.
Currency – The currency in Cadiz is the euro (€). Notes come in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500 denominations. Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and €1 and €2 denominations.
Time Zone – Cadiz clocks are set to Central European Time (CET), which is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and an additional hour ahead during daylight savings (between March and October).
Weather – Cadiz enjoys a subtropical Mediterranean climate, with relatively dry summers and humid winters. July is the hottest month in Cadiz with temperatures averaging 26.5 degrees Celsius (although temperatures regularly exceed 30 degrees in summer). January is the coolest month, with temperatures averaging 11 degrees Celsius.
Torre Tavira – This watchtower is the highest point in Old Town. Originally one of more than a hundred towers designed to watch over the harbour when Cadiz was Spain’s major centre of trade with the Americas, Torre Tavira is now the last surviving tower. Climb the winding stairs all the way to the rooftop terrace – 45 metres above sea level – for a spectacular view over the harbour and the city.
Cadiz Cathedral – The dome of this Baroque, Neoclassical cathedral stands out in the Cadiz skyline as it is covered in spectacular golden tiles. Climb up the bell tower for an excellent view over the city and listen to the audio guide to learn of the history and treasures of this impressive cathedral.
Carnival – Cadiz hosts the grandest carnival on mainland Spain. Running for three weeks starting the weekend before Ash Wednesday, the streets of Cadiz are filled with comedians, concerts, parades, puppetry, singing and dancing, elaborate costumes, revelry and fireworks. To taste a little carnival flair any time of the year, take in one of the many flamenco shows offered throughout Cadiz.