Things to do in Cádiz: Explore this coastal gem in one day

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What we talk about in this article

Welcome to the sun-drenched and lively city of Cádiz, the oldest continuously inhabited city in Western Europe. Situated on Spain’s stunning southern coast, Cádiz is a real gem, with a fascinating history and a vibrant culture. This ultimate guide is here to help you discover the top things to do in Cádiz in just one day.

Cádiz has got it all – a maze-like old town, stunning beaches, and majestic cathedrals and castles. It’s a perfect blend of tranquillity and excitement. From dawn till dusk, we’ll be exploring not just the popular tourist spots, but also those hidden gems that often go unnoticed. So get ready for an action-packed day of adventure and discovery as we take you on a whirlwind tour of Cádiz!


Things to do in Cádiz in one day

If you only have one day to visit the city, it might be a good option to go on a guided tour. It allows you to see the best landmarks, beaches and must-visit sites in a short trip.

It’s an excellent opportunity to delve into the rich history and vibrant present of Cádiz while admiring its breathtaking architecture. Allow a knowledgeable guide to accompany you to the must-see attractions and tell you captivating stories that have shaped the city for centuries.

Puertas de Tierra

Puertas de Tierra

We entered Cádiz through the Puertas de Tierra, a significant historical and cultural landmark. This site features the central vault, tower, and upper avenue, all of which hold great heritage value. It also houses the Litographic Workshop Museum and the Ibero-American Puppet Museum.

During the first half of the 20th century, there were proposals to demolish the entire complex as part of the expansion of the city beyond its walls. Thankfully, the decision was made to fill the moats and create two large arches along the walls to allow vehicle access.

Alameda Apodaca

Alameda Apodaca

We parked at the car park near the harbour. So, the first must-visit spot on our itinerary is the Alameda Apodaca. 

It is such a picturesque spot, perfect for a leisurely stroll and a refreshing break from the summer (or winter) heat. The streets are paved with cobblestones that come together in cool patterns, giving the place a unique charm. And the trees! They’re so big and beautiful, they just breathe life into the whole area. You’ve also got these fancy stone columns, and the combination of ceramics and wrought iron is just stunning. Oh, and let’s not forget the lampposts – they’re like something out of a movie.

Seriously, if you’re in Cádiz, you’ve got to check out the Alameda Apodaca. It’s like a peaceful oasis with great views over the ocean. 

Parque Genovés - Genovés Park

Parque Genovés

Next on the itinerary is Parque Genovés, a beautiful botanical garden located in the historic centre of Cádiz. It is the largest green area in the city and has a rich history dating back to the 18th century. Despite being excluded from the urban development of the time due to military restrictions, the park has thrived and evolved into a stunning oasis.

The park is accessible through a grand entrance on one side, at the Calle González Tablas, leading visitors to a central avenue divided into three streets. With its diverse collection of plant species from different origins, Parque Genovés has become a true botanical garden. It also houses several small monuments, including ones dedicated to José Celestino Mutis and José María Permán, as well as the famous fountain called “Los Niños de Paraguas” (Children with Umbrellas).

Interestingly, Parque Genovés was originally known as “Paseo del Perejil” due to its sparse vegetation. However, its transformation began in the mid-19th century when a long tree-lined avenue, known as “Las Delicias,” was created. Then, in 1892, Mayor Eduardo Genovés commissioned a definitive remodelling, which solidified its romantic character and the layout that remains to this day.

Parque Genovés offers a tranquil escape in the heart of Cádiz, where visitors can enjoy the beauty of nature and the elegance of its design.

Castillo de Santa Catalina - Santa Catalina Castle

Santa Catalina Castle

When you follow the coastline, you’ll reach the Castillo de Santa Catalina, an impressive fortress built in the 16th century as a defence against potential invasions. It remains intact to this day, showcasing the architectural prowess of the Modern Age.

The castle’s strategic placement in the Santa Catalina bay made it an essential stronghold for protecting the city’s vulnerable maritime borders.

With its distinctive star-shaped floor plan, the Castillo de Santa Catalina features two well-defined fronts. One faces the beach, fortified by triangular bastions, while the other opens towards the city. The latter includes the castle’s only entrance, guarded by two bastions and a canal that controlled the water level through locks.

The Castillo de Santa Catalina offers panoramic views of the stunning Caleta beach and the majestic Atlantic Ocean, making it a popular tourist attraction.

Playa la Caleta - La Caleta Beach

La Caleta Beach - Cádiz

Playa La Caleta is the most traditional and lively beach in the city of Cádiz, and it offers a picturesque setting for sunbathing and swimming. This beach is framed by two fortifications, Santa Catalina castle and San Sebastián castle, which add to its historic charm.

La Caleta is not only a popular beach for locals, but also a treasure trove of historic remains, with more discoveries made here than anywhere else in Cádiz city. Many of these treasures can be seen in the local museum.

Moreover, Playa La Caleta is always bustling with activity, making it the place to be in the city. Whether it’s live performances, cultural events, or simply enjoying the vibrant atmosphere, there is always something going on in this beautiful area.

Fun Fact: The popular James Bond film “Die Another Day” features La Caleta beach as one of its filming locations, adding to its allure and fame.

Castillo de San Sebastián - San Sébastian Castle

Castillo de San Sebastián - San Sébastian Castle

On the other side of La Caleta Beach, you’ll find the Castillo de San Sebastián. It’s a historic fortress that gets its name from a chapel built in 1457 by the crew of a Venetian ship. They sought refuge on the island to treat the plague that had affected them. The chapel was constructed using the remains of an ancient lighthouse, which was later replaced by a watchtower in 1613. This tower served as a guide for sailors and had defensive functions as well.

During the 19th century, the original structure was replaced with a more substantial fortification equipped with interior casemates. It was also during this time that the current dock connecting the island to the historic centre was constructed.

Currently, the Castillo de San Sebastián functions as an exhibition space within its interior casemates, while also playing host to concerts and various recreational events in its outdoor areas.

To sum it up: It is a fascinating historical site that offers a glimpse into its rich past as a chapel, lighthouse, and fortification.

Catedral de la Santa Cruz de Cádiz - Cádiz Cathedral

Cádiz Cathedral

When you follow the coastal road named “Avenida Campo del Sur”, you already see the stunning Cathedral of Cádiz in the back.

The Santa Cruz Cathedral is also known as the New Cathedral and it’s a proud symbol of the city’s religious heritage as the seat of the Diocese of Cádiz.

The construction of the cathedral began in the early 18th century and was completed in the 19th century. It is known for its beautiful Baroque and Neoclassical architectural styles, blending seamlessly to create a unique and stunning structure.

One of the standout features of the Cathedral de la Santa Cruz de Cádiz is its towering dome, which can be seen from various parts of the city. This dome is made of yellow tiles, giving it a distinctive appearance.

Visitors can also climb the Torre del Reloj, a clock tower within the cathedral, to enjoy panoramic views of Cádiz.The cathedral continues to be a significant cultural and historical landmark, attracting tourists from around the world.

You find the Cathedral on a nice square, called the Plaza de la Catedral. We visited Cádiz around Christmas, and the plaza was adorned with stalls and Christmas decorations, adding to the cosy atmosphere. On the plaza, you’ll also find another beautiful church, the Iglesia de Santiago Apostol.

On one side of the Plaza, you’ll find the Arco de la Rosa, an ancient entrance gate to the old city centre. 

Plaza de Fray Felix

When you walk a little past the New Cathedral, you’ll find Plaza de Fray Félix. It’s an historic urban square in Cádiz that’s been around since medieval times, and it is situated right in the heart of the cool neighbourhood Barrio del Pópulo. Check out the “Catedral Vieja” (Old Cathedral), also called “Parroquia de Santa Cruz” nearby.

Teatro Romano de Cádiz - Cádiz Roman Theatre

Teatro Romano de Cadiz - Cadiz Roman Theater

Near Plaza de Fray Felix, you stumble upon the Cádiz Roman Theatre. Dating back to the 1st century BC, it is an important archaeological site commissioned by Lucius Cornelius Balbus the Lesser. Discovered in 1980, it has since become a historical landmark.

Situated in the Barrio del Pópulo, the Teatro Romano de Cádiz lets you delve into the city’s fascinating history, medieval development, and the Pópulo neighbourhood.

The Interpretation Centre is packed with informative panels, cool images, models, and audiovisual resources. They give context to the archaeological remains in the urban landscape of Gades or “ancient Cádiz”.

Mercado Central de Abastos de Cádiz

Mercado Central de Abastos de Cádiz

Next stop is the Mercado Central de Abastos. It is a bustling marketplace that has served the community since its establishment in 1837. Over the years, the market has undergone several renovations to adapt to the changing times.

In the early 2000s, they modernized the market. The number of stalls reduced from 250 to 173. The old fish and vegetable stalls were demolished, creating a spacious central area for fishmongers, with fruit stalls at the ends of the market.

One of the highlights of the revamped market is the abundance of natural light that floods the space, creating a welcoming and vibrant atmosphere. The surrounding area has also been expanded, providing visitors with more room to explore and enjoy the market’s offerings.

This market has been an integral part of the local community for over 180 years, offering fresh produce and other products.

Plaza de las Flores

Plaza de las Flores - Cádiz

Plaza de las Flores is a cool square known for its vibrant flower stalls that add a splash of colour and fragrance to the area, making it a popular spot.

It’s nestled within the Mercado district, and you can find more than one architectural gem there. You also find the post office building here. Visitors can buy flowers, plants, and herbs while taking in the bustling atmosphere of the square.

Plaza de las Flores is also surrounded by charming shops, cafés and restaurants where visitors can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or a traditional Spanish tapa, while admiring the beautiful surroundings.

Torre Tavira - Tavira Tower

Not far from the Plaza de las Flores you’ll find the Tavira Tower. This historical landmark is a popular spot for tourists due to its fascinating views of Cádiz. From the top of the tower, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city, the sea, and beyond. The tower also showcases a 360° virtual tour of the city.

The tower is also known for its Cámara Oscura, an optical instrument that uses the properties of light to create a magical experience. The principle of the Cámara Oscura is closely linked to visual arts such as painting and photography.

Yacimiento Arqueologico Gadir

Almost next to the Tavira Tower, you can find the archeological site of Gadir. The “Yacimiento Arqueológico Gadir” is an archaeological site that offers visitors a glimpse into the ancient Phoenician culture. As one of the oldest Phoenician settlements in the Western world, Gadir holds significant historical importance.

The scarcity of architectural remains from Phoenician settlements in the Mediterranean makes the Gadir archaeological site essential for understanding the way of life of the vanished Phoenician culture.

At the Yacimiento Arqueológico Gadir, visitors can explore the remnants of this ancient civilization and gain insights into their trading activities, customs, and social structures. The site showcases a mix of Phoenician, Roman, and medieval remains, providing a comprehensive view of the cultural layers that have shaped the area throughout history.

Plaza de España

Monumento a la constitución de 1812

When our day in Cádiz was coming to an end, we decided to walk back to the car park and pass the Plaza de España. It is an iconic square that is home to several notable buildings, including the monument to the Constitution of 1812, also known as “Monumento a las Cortes.” Designed by architect Modesto López Otero and sculptor Aniceto Marinas García, this famous monument stands as the centrepiece of the plaza.

Surrounded by beautiful architecture and a lively atmosphere, the Plaza de España offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the rich heritage of Cádiz. One of the renowned structures here is the Casa de las Cinco Torres, a row of five independent houses that line one side of the square.

The Plaza de España is a must-visit spot with its rich history and beautiful design. It’s perfect for leisurely strolls, snapping great photos, and soaking in the city’s deep connection to its past.

On the plaza, another gorgeous building is “The Diputación Provincial de Cádiz.” It is a government institution that serves offers various services and resources to the citizens of the province, including access to important information and links to useful websites. The institution serves as an important platform for communication between local government bodies and the public and plays a crucial role in promoting the well-being and development of the province and its inhabitants.

The Plaza de San Juan de Dios & Church of San Juan de Dios

The Plaza de San Juan de Dios

When driving towards the Puente de la Constitución, we passed the Plaza de San Juan de Dios. This historic square with several notable buildings has a rich history. It was once the main square of the city and was known as La Corredera. The square was located outside the city walls, near the original Puerta del Mar (Gate of the Sea), which is now the Arco de la Pópulo.

At the Plaza de San Juan de Dios, visitors can admire various buildings, including the Municipal Building, the Church of San Juan de Dios, and the Casa de los Pazos Miranda.

In 2012, the square underwent a renovation that included pedestrianization and the addition of new decorative elements. One of the highlights is the monument to the politician Sigismundo Moret, which was recovered and placed in the square.

The plaza’s unique layout is shaped by its history as one of the outlets of the ancient sea that separated the island of Cádiz. Since the 16th century, it’s been a bustling urban centre, open to the port and overseen by the City Hall. As trade with the Americas grew, it became a thriving commercial hub.

A bit further down the road, you’ll find the Congress Palace. It is one of the most representative buildings in the city. Located in the historic centre, it has a surface area of almost 7,500 square meters divided over three floors. The building is used for various events, including congresses, conferences, and exhibitions. Its unique design, featuring glazed ceramics and iron structures, blends seamlessly with the 18th century style of the city. 

Puente De La Constitución De 1812 - Constitution’s bridge

Constitution Bridge Cádiz

We left the city via the Puente de la Constitución de 1812. This remarkable and impressive cable-stayed bridge that spans the Bay of Cádiz is considered one of the most unique and complex infrastructure projects in recent years.

With its stunning design and strategic location, the bridge offers visitors panoramic views of the bay and the city of Cádiz. Its intricate cable system supports the bridge and adds to its architectural grandeur. You can access Cádiz through this iconic structure while taking in the picturesque surroundings.

The bridge was completed in 2015 and named in honour of the Spanish Constitution of 1812. This constitution was one of the key milestones in Spain’s history, advocating for the principles of liberty, equality, and popular sovereignty. The bridge stands as a symbol of the country’s heritage and progress.

Puente de la Constitución de 1812 in Cádiz is not only a vital transportation link but also a stunning landmark that highlights the city’s beauty and historical significance.

What extra sites to see in Cádiz if you have more than one day?

If you find yourself with an extra day in Cádiz, be sure to explore more of the well-trodden city centre and beyond. There are a lot more plazas to explore, you can visit the theatre or some more stunning churches. History buffs can enjoy beautiful expositions and artefacts in one of the many museums. 


Museo de las Cortes de Cádiz - Cortes Museum

The Museo de las Cortes de Cádiz, is also known as the Iconographic and Historical Museum of the Courts and Siege. The museum houses a collection of objects from the 18th and 19th centuries, many of which are related to the city’s siege by Napoleon.

Visitors can explore a range of artefacts including weapons, copies of constitutions, medals, and flags. One of the museum’s standout exhibits is a stunning model of the city of Cádiz, crafted from mahogany and ivory.
The building features a neoclassical facade with a centrally located balcony flanked by gigantic Ionic columns.

You can delve into the history of Cádiz during this significant period, gaining insights into the city’s role in shaping Spanish constitutional history.

Iglesia del Oratorio de San Felipe Neri

Oratorio de San Felipe Nei (Cádiz) 03

The Iglesia del Oratorio de San Felipe Neri is a religious building located in the San Felipe Neri neighbourhood in the city centre. Constructed in 1688, the church was designed by architect Blas Díaz and opened in 1719. It underwent renovations in 1764 to repair damages caused by the tsunami of 1755.

The Oratorio has an elliptical floor plan, with seven rectangular chapels surrounding it. These chapels are covered with barrel vaults and are exquisitely decorated.

Gran Teatro Falla

Gran Teatro Falla

The Gran Teatro Falla is a popular theatre known for its exceptional programming and vibrant performances. It offers a wide variety of shows, including music concerts, theatrical productions, and even flamenco performances.

The theatre aims to create an intimate and cosy atmosphere, making audience members feel at home while enjoying top-notch entertainment.

It was named after the famous composer Manuel de Falla, who was born in Cádiz. He is known for his influential contributions to Spanish classical music, and the theatre serves as a tribute to his talent and legacy.

With its diverse repertoire and commitment to providing outstanding artistic experiences, the Gran Teatro Falla continues to be a cultural hub in Cádiz.

Plaza San Antonio

Plaza San Antonio

Plaza San Antonio, formerly known as the “Campo de Jara,” is a charming square. Over the years, it has transformed and became smaller. Today, it is a popular spot for both locals and tourists, offering a pleasant ambiance for relaxation and exploration.

Situated in the heart of the city, Plaza San Antonio serves as a vital hub of activity. In the middle of the 17th century, it was renamed Plaza San Antonio after a chapel dedicated to San Antonio was built.

Museo de Cádiz - Cadiz museum

The Museo de Cádiz is a prominent cultural institution known for its wide range of archaeological and fine art collections. The museum is divided into different sections, including the Archaeology Rooms, Fine Arts Rooms, Tía Norica Room, and Casa Pinillos, each offering unique exhibits and displays.

Visitors to the Museo de Cádiz can explore its diverse collection, which includes artefacts and artworks dating back thousands of years. From ancient Roman and Phoenician remains to exquisite paintings and sculptures, the museum offers a fascinating journey through time.

The Museo de Cádiz is housed in an ancient building that used to be a Franciscan convent. The museum’s got this awesome architectural charm that adds to the whole experience. You can check out the mesmerizing displays and soak in the beautiful surroundings at the same time.

Iglesia conventual de Santo Domingo

Iglesia conventual de Santo Domingo

The Iglesia conventual de Santo Domingo is a magnificent building that serves as a sanctuary for the Virgen del Rosario, the patron saint of Cádiz. Completed in 1666, the church underwent partial reconstruction after a devastating fire in 1936.

Surrounding the church is a monastic complex that began construction in 1645 with the generous financial support of Domingo de Munárriz, a Basque merchant. The monastic dependencies are centred around a beautiful Baroque cloister, dating back to 1660.

The ensemble is completed by four white marble wells adorned with Dominican and Franciscan coats of arms. This architectural complex holds historical and religious significance, making it a beautiful attraction in Cádiz.

Playa de la Victoria

Playa de la Victoria-Espigón

Playa de la Victoria is a renowned beach with kilometres of fine, golden sand and a myriad of services, it is a popular tourist destination. This beach is often referred to as one of Cádiz’s urban gems, offering a holiday experience in its own right.

It boasts the highest concentration of bars, restaurants, beach bars, hotels, and various types of accommodation in the city. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to the beach to relish in its three kilometres of beautiful sandy shores, which stretch to an impressive 200 meters in width during low tide.

What sets Playa de la Victoria apart from the other beaches is its consistent recognition as one of the best urban beaches in Europe. Year after year, it is awarded the prestigious blue flag status, highlighting its commitment to cleanliness, safety, and environmental sustainability.

One day in Cádiz: map

How to get around in Cádiz

Getting Around in Cádiz is quite easy, with an efficient public transport system and options for walking, cycling or driving.

Walking: Cádiz is a relatively small and compact city, making it perfect for exploring on foot. The historic centre, where many of the popular attractions are located, is easily walkable. Visitors can stroll along the picturesque streets, take in the charming architecture, and enjoy the scenic views of the sea. Walking allows for a more intimate experience with the city, allowing you to discover hidden gems and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Bus: Cádiz does not have a metro system. However, the city is well-served by public buses, which provide a convenient and affordable way to get around. The bus network covers all major areas of Cádiz, including the outskirts, and operates throughout the day. Bus stops are located throughout the city, and schedules can be easily accessed online or at the tourist information centres.

Hop-on-Hop-off Buses: Another popular way to get around Cádiz is by using the hop-on-hop-off buses. These tourist buses offer a convenient way to explore the city’s main attractions at your own pace. With a single ticket, you can hop on and off the bus at designated stops throughout the city. This allows you to visit popular sites, such as the Cathedral, the Tavira Tower, and the Plaza de España, while enjoying informative audio commentary along the way.

Hop-on-hop-off bus

Other Options: In addition to walking, public buses, and hop-on-hop-off buses, there are other transportation options available in Cádiz. Taxis are readily available and can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi ranks. Car rental services are also available for those who prefer to explore the surrounding areas or venture further afield.

Overall, navigating around Cádiz is relatively easy with a variety of transportation options. Whether you choose to walk, take public buses, or hop on a tourist bus, you can conveniently explore the city and its many attractions.

How to get to Cádiz

Getting to Cádiz is convenient and the city is easily accessible from various important cities in Spain. Here is a breakdown of travel options for those coming from Seville, Malaga, and other major cities:

  • Flights: Cádiz does not have its own airport, so the nearest airports are Jerez Airport (XRY) and Seville Airport (SVQ). From these airports, travelers can take a taxi or public transportation to Cádiz.
  • Train: Renfe, the Spanish national railway company, offers regular train services to Cádiz from cities like Seville and Malaga. Traveling by train provides a scenic journey and a comfortable experience.
  • Own vehicle: Those driving to Cádiz can take the A-4 and AP-4 highways from Seville or the A-7 highway from Malaga. The drive offers picturesque views of the countryside and allows flexibility for exploring other destinations along the way.
  • Other options: There are also bus services available from Seville and Malaga to Cádiz, providing an affordable and convenient alternative for travelers. Additionally, organized tours and carpooling platforms can be explored for more options.

How many days do you need in Cádiz?

A tourist visiting Cádiz can easily spend a couple of days exploring this beautiful city. Located on the southwestern coast of Spain, Cádiz offers a rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture that deserves more than just a day trip.

The journey to Cádiz can vary in duration depending on the starting point, but regardless of the travel time, it’s worth allocating enough time to truly experience all that the city has to offer. With its picturesque beaches, charming old town, and historic landmarks like the Cathedral of Cádiz and the Torre Tavira, tourists will want to soak in the relaxed and laid-back vibe.

But hey, here’s the thing – the historic city itself isn’t exactly huge. Even if you’ve got just one day to spare for exploring, you can still see plenty of awesome landmarks, enjoy the coastal vibes of the beach, and take it easy in the park’s peaceful atmosphere.

Where to stay in Cádiz

When it comes to finding the perfect place to stay in Cádiz, boutique hotels are a fantastic option. These charming and unique accommodations offer a more intimate and personalized experience for visitors. From stylish designs to top-notch amenities, boutique hotels in Cádiz provide a delightful combination of comfort and character.

Soho Boutique Cádiz

Things to do in Cádiz: Explore this coastal gem in one day

Hotel Alquimia Cádiz

Things to do in Cádiz: Explore this coastal gem in one day

Hotel Casa de las Cuatro Torres

Things to do in Cádiz: Explore this coastal gem in one day

Combining your visit to Cádiz with a trip around Andalusia?

Cádiz is a perfect addition to any Andalusian road trip. Its rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful coastline make it a must-visit destination.

Travellers can also visit several nearby cities that add to the charm of Andalusia. One such city is Seville, known for its grand cathedral, enchanting Alcázar, and lively flamenco performances. Another noteworthy city is Granada, home to the iconic Alhambra Palace and the historic Albayzín neighbourhood. Both cities showcase the rich Moorish influence that characterizes the region.


Additionally, Jerez de la Frontera, famous for its sherry wine production and equestrian tradition, is another city worth including in the itinerary. These neighbouring cities, along with Cádiz itself, offer a well-rounded experience of Andalusia’s diverse culture, history, and natural beauty.

Conclusion: Is Cádiz worth visiting?

Yes! Cádiz offers a lot of activities that cater to all interests, making it a perfect destination. There are plenty of things to do in Cádiz. Whether it be exploring the ancient walls and fortifications, strolling along the vibrant promenades, or indulging in delicious local cuisine, visitors are sure to be captivated by the city’s charm.

Even if you only have one day in Cádiz, you can still experience the highlights, such as visiting the iconic Cathedral, enjoying a leisurely walk through the historic centre, and relaxing on the golden sands of La Caleta beach. No matter the duration of your stay, Cádiz promises to leave a lasting impression and provide a memorable experience.

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