The Spanish city of Cádiz is located in the south of the country, where it belongs to the autonomous region of Andalusia. The coastal city of Cádiz used to be an important port city on the Mediterranean Sea. As a result, the industry and with it the population experienced good times. It is even called ‘Little Havana’ by some, because it bears a lot of resemblance to the Cuban city. Tourism has now also taken an important place here. The compact center of Cádiz shows sights such as the cathedral, Torre Tavira, defenses such as Castillo de San Sebastián and the particularly beautiful square Plaza San Juan de Dios. There are also a number of fascinating museums, including the archaeological museums. For example, not so long ago a Roman theater was uncovered that tells a lot of information about the past of the city. The culture and heritage of the city of Cádiz combine exceptionally well with sun, sea and sand. Because that’s all here too. The city beach Playa La Caleta is very centrally located and the beach of Playa de la Cortadura is also very popular. A snack and a drink are never far away. Did you know that the ‘Carnaval de Cádiz’ is the party of the year. During these festivities in February and March, the city is the center of parades, parties, music, satire and lavishly dressed people for more than a week.
Top 10 things to do in Cadiz
#1. Cathedral of Cadiz
According to Handbag Picks, the Holy Cross Cathedral ‘Catedral de Santa Cruz de Cádiz’ on the Bay of Cádiz is a particularly beautiful sight. In the first half of the eighteenth century, construction of the cathedral started where the previous one burned down in 1596. It took more than one hundred and sixteen years before it could be considered completed. The design shows a neoclassical facade and towers. In the interior, baroque details can often be found. The high altar was largely financed by Isabella II, who later became Queen of Spain. The beautiful signature dome of Cadiz Cathedral was designed by Spanish architect Juan Daura Jover. In the crypt of ‘Catedral Nuevo’ as it is also called, contains the tombs of several bishops and those of composer Manuel de Falla and writer José María Pemán. For the best view, it is recommended to climb the tower of Cadiz Cathedral.
#2. Torre Tavira
The official watchtower of Cadiz is Torre Tavira. In the past, the city of Cádiz had several watchtowers to raise the alarm early in case of possible attacks and fire or to see cargo ships with goods arriving in time. Torre Tavira was the most important watchtower due to its highest location. From here you look over forty-five meters above sea level over the center and the coast. Around 1994, a special piece of technology was placed in the Torre Tavira. The tower was equipped with a dark room that is now known as Camera Obscura. By means of special lenses on the tower, an extremely sharp image is captured outside that is projected horizontally in the dark room. The idea for this project comes from Belén González Dorao. The functioning of the instrument itself was already described in the sixteenth century by Gemma Frisius, a Dutch geographer and mathematician.
Apart from the popular stretch of beach ‘Playa La Caleta’ on the Avenida Duque de Nájera in the centre, Cadiz also has other beautiful and larger beaches to offer. For example, the beaches such as Playa de La Cortadura and Playa De Levante are very extensive and also have cozy restaurants, hotels and beach bars. And the beaches Playa Santa Maria Del Mar, Playa de Santamaria Cádiz, Playa de Santibañez and Playa De Torregorda are also ideal for a wonderful day of relaxation, walking or practicing water sports. The beaches that can be found more to the south in Tarifa are very popular with surfers.
#4. Plaza San Juan de Dios
In the old center of Cádiz is the most beautiful square, namely Plaza San Juan de Dios. On this square you will find a number of historical sights, including the town hall, the stately building of Pazos Miranda and the San Juan de Dios church. In the middle of the Plaza San Juan de Dios is a fountain that is beautifully lit at night. The statue of the political leader Segismundo Moret has been given a prominent place in the square. The many palm trees provide the green character and some shade during the sometimes very hot summer months. Plaza San Juan de Dios has been completely car-free since 2012.
#5. Museo de Cádiz
In addition to sun, sea, beach and good food, you can also visit fun and fascinating museums in Cádiz. The ‘Museo de Cádiz’ goes back in history, in which parts about archaeology, prehistory, Romans, Middle Ages and art in the broadest sense of the word come together. The three-storey museum can be found on the Plaza de La Mina, where it is located in a former home of Doña Carmen Martínez de Pinillos y Toro, which she donated in 2004.
#6. Castillo de San Sebastián
The impressive fortress of Cádiz at the end of La Caleta is known as ‘Castillo de San Sebastián’. It was built around the beginning of the eighteenth century on the foundations of a lighthouse that was later converted into a watchtower. The current lighthouse was built in 1908. Today the historic building can be visited as cultural heritage. Exhibitions are regularly exhibited and concerts are organised. The walk across the pier to Castillo de San Sebastián is very pleasant, especially when the weather is nice.
#7. Castillo de Santa Catalina
The fortress, known today as Castillo de Santa Catalina, was built sometime between the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. King Philip II ordered this. The coastal strip at Santa Catalina was defended through this fort and therefore there was more control over possible attacks from the outside. Military architecture is a clear reference to this. A chapel was added later. In addition to these historical legacies, the fort is now also used for various cultural events, workshops and concerts.
#8. Teatro Romano
The ancient Roman theater of Cádiz is hidden between several tall buildings in the northern district of El Pópulo. The ‘Teatro Romano’ of Cádiz was discovered around 1980. In the meantime, parts have been uncovered that show how extensive the theater was in the first to the fourth century. You can now admire the stands and parts of the stage and orchestra. Under the stands is a gallery through which the spectators at the time could reach the stands.
#9. Yacimiento Arqueológico Gadir
The archaeological site of Gadir is a legacy of Phoenician settlement in the West. Since few of these settlements can be found, this one of the city of Gadir is exceptionally important. ‘Yacimiento Arqueológico Gadir’ can be visited on Calle San Miguel, near Torre Tavira. By walking over bridges in the indoor museum, you can look down from above on different parts of houses, terraces and other spaces that were inhabited by the Phoenicians. The oldest parts are probably from the ninth century BC. Various objects found here are also exhibited in the Museum of Cádiz, among others.
#10. Parque Genoves
The green city park ‘Parque Genovés’ offers a welcome change from the busy city center of Cádiz. It used to be called ‘Paseo del Perejil or Paseo de las Delicias’. The current name can be traced back to the Valencian gardener Gerónimo Genovés i Puig, who designed it. The many trees present offer a wonderful cooling during the sometimes very hot days in the south of Spain. Parque Genovés is located in the east of Cádiz and is bordered by the latest project ‘Esplanade Pergola Mirador Santa Barbara’, the sea and Avenida Dr. Gomez Ulla. Besides the many trees, flowers, plants, birds and hiking trails, you can also find a playground, roller skating rink, visit the Genovés Park Theater and the modern Pergola Mirador Santa Barbara platform. This more than four hundred meters long modern project was designed by José Luís Bezos Alonso.