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A lovely, historic destination located just over an hour from the Andalucían capital, Cadiz is a vibrant and colourful city offering an authentic Spanish atmosphere. It’s easy to explore on foot and is dotted with historic buildings, as well as modern attractions and bars that serve a wide selection of drinks to enjoy al fresco.
When cruise ships dock in Cadiz, most people take trains and buses to the larger cities within easy distance for day trips. This has enabled Cadiz to focus less on tourism, and more on keeping the traditional culture alive.
Most of Cadiz can only be accessed on foot. There are narrow, winding roads that lead to the city’s best attractions, to small independent shops and to intimate, romantic restaurants. Cadiz is thought to be Western Europe’s oldest city, and can be enjoyed from a panoramic viewpoint atop one of the cathedral’s towers. The city provides easy access to beautifully clean beaches, and comes alive with vibrant festivals a few times each year. The most popular of these is Carnaval, where people dress in costumes and the city becomes a loud and colourful destination with song, dance and drink. Whenever you visit you’ll love the more permanent fixtures, from impressive statues to these major attractions:
Plaza de Mina
The Plaza de Mina is the archaeological museum, displaying exhibits of artefacts uncovered in Cadiz. The city was founded by the Phoenicians, in approximately 1,000 B.C., and the discovered remains (including a sarcophagus) give an interesting insight into the past.
Catedral de Cádiz
The baroque style cathedral, created with white and brown stone, took more than 100 years to complete. It’s now one of the city’s most popular attractions, with the West Tower open to the public for a fantastic view of the city.
If you prefer parks and gardens to traditional Spanish buildings, then this botanical garden is sure to appeal. It’s close to the beach, and has plants from all over the world as collected by Spanish explorers. There are water features, topiaries and desert plants including tall cacti. The gardens are well maintained, and have become home to ducks, geese and cats that roam free alongside visitors.
Cadiz offers a true taste of Spain with shops selling colourful costume, crafts and ceramics. Spanish fans and flamenco dresses can be purchased as souvenirs, and the city’s Central Market has an impressive selection of stalls where you can buy everything from flowers and food to antiques and collectables.
Local artists create tiles and plates, painted by hand, and sell their products from temporary stands and market stalls. You can buy imported herbs and spices, a wide variety of teas and lovely herbal soaps. Due to the Spanish siesta, many of the city’s shops close from 1pm until 3pm and open again for a few evening hours.
In Cadiz, there are dozens of exceptional seafood restaurants that serve fresh fish dishes of the highest possible standard. The people of Cadiz prefer to enjoy natural flavours, and tend to boil, bake or grill whole fish, prawns, squid and lobster served tapas style or as a full meal.
The closer you are to the coast, the better the fish you can expect to find. Fisherman usually begin selling their catch to the closest restaurants, making their way further into the city to sell anything that’s left over. Meat dishes are also served at a majority of restaurants, with steak and ham being two favourites. In Cadiz, you can expect to eat and drink well before returning to your cruise ship.
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