Top Things To Do in Cadiz, Spain
Cadiz may not be a top destination for first timers in Spain but it is city with a lot of history, beautiful beaches, and great weather. The city lies in the region of Andalucia, which is the South of Spain, and is the oldest city in the country. Its Carnaval celebration held each year before Lent is perhaps what the city is best known for; it is one of the biggest in the world next to Brazil. Because of its location, Cadiz was used as a naval base by The Romans, then a prime trading port in the 18th century. Now the city is where many people come visit to escape the harsh cold weather and to slow down to enjoy life. Here are the top things to do in Cadiz:
Go to the Beach
Cadiz has some of the best beaches in all of Spain so you should dedicate at least a few hours to soak in the sun and enjoy the waves crashing in. Grab some drinks and snacks before heading to the beach and you will be set for a great day. If not, there will be chances to buy some on the snacks, even though they are overpriced.
Playa de la Caleta
This is the most famous beach in Cadiz and the perfect place to catch the sunset (I'm a sucker for them). During the summer months, many poets, musicians, and older folkers all gather here. Apparently it's a great place to play bingo and these ladies have been coming here for years. I didn't witness it when I went but I was told by a local.
Location: Between San Sebastian Castle and Santa Catalina
Playa Santa Maria Del Mar
This beach attracts many surfers and younger groups. On any given day, you can see a sea of surfers riding the waves. The sand is soft and the water is clean so it's a great spot to bask in the sun. There isn't a lot of shade so bring your own or load up on sunblock.
Location: Further south than Caleta, just past Puerta de Tierra
Playa de la Victoria
THis beach is considered one of the best urban beaches in Europe. I did not get the chance to go to this beach since it was a bit too far from my hostel and the center but if you have the time, check it out and let me know how it is.
Location: In what the locals call "Cadizfornia" or New Cadiz, which is much further south than the other two beaches
Learn how to Surf
Cadiz is one of the best cities in Europe for surfing it's so windy. At any given day, you will see many people attempt to "ride the waves" or whatever terms they use, obviously I'm not a surfer. I didn't get a chance to do this since I was only there for 2 days and every class was filled since I decided pretty last minute. However, it's a great way to get some exercise in and do something different than just sight see. Most places you find online will be about 25 - 30 euros for 2 hours of lessons and another hour of gear rentals. Make sure you book ahead of time to secure a spot! I'm really bummed I didn't get a chance.
Location: Playa Santa Maria del Mar and Playa de la Victoria
Stroll through the Flower Market
Plaza de las Flores
The plaza is actually called Plaza Topete but everyone refers to it by Plaza de las Flores since it's fill with flower vendors. It is quite small compared to other flower markets but it's a nice place to stroll through and perhaps stop for for lunch in one of the restaurants boarding it (people watching is the best). There are a few other stands that sells purses, souvenirs, and other misc things.
Location: Center of Old Town
Visit the Fish Market
Mercado Centro de Abastos
Although it's smaller than many other markets in Spain, it's still a great place to add to your list. The market opens everyday at 9am, except for Mondays when it's closed. My advice would be to get there early so you can see all of the giant fish they caught, like armspan length tuna fish. You can purchase fresh fish for lunch or dinner!
Location: Right next to the Flower Market
Enjoy a great view of the city
La Torre de Tavira
It costs 5 euros but you will get a presentation in a Camera Obscura and then a great view of the city from the top. You can see the unique building architecture of Cadiz and the beach as far as the eye can see. It opens everyday at 10am and closes at 6pm. I didn't go up the tower since I went up the tower of the Cathedral but it's your choice!
Location: Only a few blocks from the Center Market and Flower Plaza
The tower of the Cathedral is the highest point in the old city, which was why I choose to see the city from up here instead of Tavira. The entrance fee is also 5 euros, or 3 for students and elder citizens. I did not tour the inside of the cathedral because I've already so many cathedrals traveling through Europe that I honestly didn't want to see another one. So I just paid to climb the tower for a view from the top.
Location: A little south of Tavira and close to the water
Capture some great alleyway photos
At first glance, Cadiz might not be one of the cutest or prettiest cities but there are definitely hidden gems that you just need to find. Bring along your cameras or phones to snap pictures in unexpected neighborhoods. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Barrio del Populo
This area is the oldest in Cadiz, which means the oldest in all of Spain. The streets are filled with cobblestones, different color buildings, balconies with ivy and flowers overgrown, vespas, and everything to complete the European-esque image. The area isn't very big so you might have walked by it without even realizing. It's also a great area for tapas and night entertainment.
Location: Only a few steps away from the Cathedral
Try local delicacies
Or also known as fried fish. If you are in Cadiz, you have to have seafood. It would be a shame to be in a port city without having a taste of the great seafood. They are known for fried fish or basically fried any sea animal such as shrimp, octopus, dogfish, etc. A famous place to try it at is Freiduria Las Flores 1. It's quite busy especially if you want to sit outside since it's overrun by tourists but every local will tell you to head here for their fried fish.
Location: Plaza Topete, 4, 11001 Cádiz, Spain; Right next to the Flower Market
Sherry wine is made without yeast so the taste is completely from the fermentation of the sherry grapes. This is a specialty of Cadiz but not something I would recommend. If you are keen to trying different delicacies everywhere you go, then give it a try. However, I will warn you now that it does not have the great taste. To me it smells like vodka and tastes like wine mixed with vodka. I'm a huge wine drinker, although I can't really tell the difference between wines but I still enjoy it. It took me a very long time to finish something that would take me two gulps to finish. I was really contemplating on just ditching it completely but I couldn't let myself.
Location: Almost every restaurant