An unpretentious city on the sea, Cádiz is rugged and unpolished, unlike its Andalusian cousin Seville further north. Its Old Town is dotted with small plazas, cobbled streets and tapas bars specialising in seafood, caught just a stone's throw from the bay. Bask in the sunshine and revel in the deep blue water. It's a wonderful excursion on your city break to Seville or as part of your wider Andalusian adventure across southern Spain.
Cadiz's currency is the Euro (€). €1 = £0.83 / $1.10 (as of 2022).
Top 5 things to see
One of the most beautiful cathedrals in Andalucía, Catedral de Cádiz's gold and white domes dominate the skyline. Construction started in 1716 and wasn't complete until 1838. Its baroque and neoclassical design is strikes you as you enter the plaza. The wooden-carved choir is one of Spain's finest and most beguiling, and its primary blackened-yellow dome at golden hour is a special sight to see.
Tickets cost €6/free for adults/children.
Sunset at Playa de La Caleta
La Caleta is the city's most central beach, directly by its Old Town. It's much smaller than the stretch of beach further south of the peninsula, but it's a central location for the city to watch sunset. Grab a seat at a nearby beach bar and join locals and visitors for the nightly spectacle.
Playa de la Cortadura
Of the miles of beach stretching along the Bay of Cádiz, Playa de la Cortadura is our favourite. Instead of flocking towards to the more popular Playa de la Victoria, head here instead. You can watch the water sports in the sea and fishermen at work, plus the sand is much softer. The number 1 Bus to Estadio (€1.10 per journey) might be of interest too.
Two Passports Top Tip
Enjoy a picnic on the beach instead of the expensive beach bars. Visit either Cádiz's local market in Old Town or drop into the supermarkets by the beach. Remember to stock up on plenty of water and take a hat - there's no shade on the beach itself.
The bars on the beach itself are expensive. There are restaurants and bars on Marítimo, but these don't provide views of the ocean as the seawall and road traffic are in the way.
This observation tower from the 1700s on Calle Sacramento provides fantastic views over the city.
Tickets cost €7.
Jardines de Alameda Apodaca
This pretty park is a green haven away from the narrow streets of the Old Town. The mesmerising black-and-white-tiled park is by the 17th-century fortress Baluarte de la Candelaria and is home to a huge ficus tree which has provided shade to locals for generations.
Where to eat and drink
Locals in Cádiz will tell you their seafood is the best in the country and with the coast on their doorstep, it's easy to see why. The food is served unpretentiously in its many taverns across the city. Remember this is sherry world too, so be sure to try a glass or two in Cádiz.
Don't expect fancy breakfasts - often it is toast and jam; maybe it has ham thrown in too. Churros are also an option. In the intense summer heat, light breakfasts are preferred.
Churrería La Guapa is one of the best churrerias in Cádiz. Grab a pile of churros and dipping chocolate and sit in the market.
Cafe Royalty on Plaza Candelaria is an opulent bakery/tapas bar built in 1812. Visit for the fresco-themed interior alone...but don't forget to have a coffee and pastry either.
Mercado Central Cádiz sells the perfect local produce to pack a picnic and take to the beach. Mingle with the locals and enjoy the vibrant colours of the seafood, vegetables and fruit.
El Faro de Cádiz by the sea serves up small plates of fresh seafood. Sit at the pristine white bar and watch the cooks and waiters work their magic. Its lunch hours are 1-4pm - get there early.
Arrozbar La Pepa, off of Playa de la Victoria, serves up traditional paella (which is rare to find outside of Valencia - its home region). Its seafood is caught less than 100m away.
Taberna Casa Manteca is the best tapas bar in Cádiz. The freshness and quality are unmatched - shrimp fritters arrive hot, straight out the fryer and taste magnificent. Arrive when it first opens to grab a coveted table - sit outside and people watch or inside surrounded by the rustic tiled decor.
This is a must visit.
Recreo Chico by Plaza de San Antonio serves up small plates of simple traditional tapas.
Taberna La Sorpesa fires out vermouth on tap and sherry from its barrels across the 1956-built tavern bar. It has a small-but-intensely rich seafood menu to pair with your drinks.
For the adults
Taberna La Manzanilla is a sherry haven and family-run since the 1930s. Barrels of sherry and bull fighting posters greet you, and your order is chalked onto the bar. A no frills establishment. Lovely!
La Colonial is a fresh cocktail bar and offers something different from the innumerable sherry taverns across Cádiz. Mixologists serve up original cocktails for €7. What's special is you can enjoy them in the Jardines de Alameda Apodaca opposite the bar under palm trees by the sea.
Bar Club Caleta provides the perfect position to watch the unobstructed views of the sunset at Playa de La Caleta. Stay away from the food and order a bottle of crisp white wine instead. Enjoy!
Tipping isn't required in Cádiz. If you've had good service, feel free to leave a euro or two.
Old Town at night does feel a little seedy. It isn't well lit, and the streets are narrow, so be wary if you're walking on your own. Cars rarely drive in Old Town and Uber doesn't operate.
Two Passports Top Tip: Dinner starts late!
Remember, locals eat light early in the day and save themselves for lunch and dinner. Adjust your dinner habits - some restaurants and taverns won't open until 8 or 9pm.
When to Go
Low Season: November to January
Few tourists visit Cádiz, so if you're willing to gamble on the weather you can get some good deals.
Shoulder Season: February to May and September to October
Perfect time to visit. February and March can reach upwards of 20+ degrees, comfortable to walk in shorts and a t-shirt/top during the daytime, although the nights can remain cooler. The city is quieter on weekdays too.
High Season: June to August
Unbearably, unbearably, unbearably hot; Cádiz is close to the north of Africa to give you an idea of its heat. Plus, in High Season tourists descend to the small city; Cádiz's streets are narrow, so close contact in the heat can make it extra uncomfortable too. Try and avoid.
How to Get There
Cádiz Train Station
East of the city centre by the port, Cadiz's small train station is a 10-minute walk to Old Town. It's not blessed with routes like larger cities in Spain.
Direct routes include Madrid (4h), Seville (1h 40m), Jerez de la Frontera (30m), Cordoba (3h).
Travelling by Coach
Coaches are possible and can work out cheaper than trains, with more routes available. Coaches drop you off at the Train Station (see above map).
Travelling in the city
Cádiz is completely walkable. If you have mobility issues, Cádiz can be a struggle to navigate due to its narrow, cobblestone lanes which are steep in parts. Automobiles rarely move around Old Town, so if you'd like to have access to the bus, we'd recommend staying by the Segunda Aguada train station on the 'arm' of the city outside of Old Town.
The number 1 Bus runs from Old Town to Estadio and costs €1.10 per journey.