The ancient Cádiz city is almost an island on Spain’s southwestern coast. It is located in the province of Cádiz in the Andalucía Region and is attached to the mainland with one narrow strip of land and two bridges. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities not only in Spain but the entire western part of Europe. Cadiz Old Town is a maze of winding narrow streets full of shops, restaurants, cafés, and bars, connecting various plazas and squares. The old city is also home to the Spanish Navy and over 100 watchtowers.
Related Articles: A City Guide To Barcelona A City Guide To Valencia A City Guide To San Sebastián
Known as Agadir or Gadir, the Phoenicians founded what we now call Cádiz, España, around 1104 BC. Archaeological remains have been found in the area dating back 3,100 years. Thus, making it one of the oldest inhabited cities in Western Europe. By the 7th century BC, Port Cadiz was established many expeditions to Spain, France, and Western Africa commenced.
In 218 BC, Cádiz in Spain became the starting point for Hannibal’s takeover of southern Iberia, crossing the Alps and invading Italy. Twelve years later, in 206 BC, Cádiz fell to the Romans. The city, then known as Gades, thrived as a naval base and a port. Due to the strong alliance between Gades and Rome, all its inhabitants were given Roman citizenship by Julius Caesar in 49 BC.
Rome lost the power of the city to the Visigoths in 410, and the city was almost entirely destroyed. There are only a few remnants that remain today. The Visigoths lost power in 551 and regained it in 572.
From 711 until 1262, the city was under Moorish rule. Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain, Cádiz port, to be more specific to the Americas on two of his four trips between 1492 and 1502. Throughout the 16th to 18th centuries the city was a target for several attacks from Spain’s enemies and revolutions including raids in 1569, 1587, 1596, and 1625; the Anglo-Spanish war (1655-1657); the Battle of Cádiz (1702); the Napoleonic Wars; the Peninsular War; the 1820 Citizens Revolt; and the Battle of Trocadero in 1823, just to name a few.
Since then, Cadiz city, or Cádiz Ciudad in Spanish, has spent years reconstructing itself. It has restored as much as possible, built, and renovated numerous landmarks, cathedrals, and monuments.
The city of Cadiz is located in the province of Cadiz in the Southwestern part of Spain. Cadiz city is almost an island. It is attached to Spain mainland only by a thin strip of land. Thus, making the city almost entirely surrounded by water and beaches. The historic port is known as El Puerto de Santa María. The main promenade, Paseo Maritimo, stretches across the city from one end to another. It is lined with chiringuitos (beach restaurants), and Tapas Bars, where you can eat a variety of tapas and an assortment of seafood dishes. There are several beaches around the area. During your holidays in Cadiz, you shouldn’t miss these four beaches, and then you can decide which is the best Cadiz beach.
La Playa de la Caleta
La Caleta Beach Cadiz is one of the most popular beaches in Cadiz. Situated between Santa Catalina Castle and San Sebastian Castle, it is also known as Baño de la Viña. The beach is 450 meters (1476 feet) long and 50 meters (164 feet) wide. Here you will see families having picnics, grandparents playing cards, and children building sandcastles. This beach may look familiar to you as it was featured in the James Bond movie Die Another Day.
La Playa de la Victoria
Victoria Beach, with its wide-open space and champagne-colored sands, is considered by some to be the best beach in Spain. Located on the west side of the city, it is well known as a night time party beach because it is lit up by arc lights. After extensive redevelopment, the beach is now 8,202 feet (2,500 meters) long and 607 feet (185 meters) wide. Here you will find a sports area and beach sun loungers and umbrellas for rent.
La Playa de Santa Maria del Mar
Santa Maria del Mar Beach, also known as Playita de las Mujeres, is very small, only 400 meters (1,312 feet) long. It sits in the most northern part of Cadiz between Victoria Beach and La Caleta Beach. Here you will relax with views of the ancient walls, La Caleta, La Victoria, and the Cortadura.
La Playa de la Cortadua
La Cortadura Beach is the most untouched beach in the city. It is Cadiz’s longest beach spanning a monstrous 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) between Cortadura and Torregorda. You will enjoy fine golden sand on this beach that has also received seven blue flags.
What To Do In Cadiz Spain
There are numerous things to do in Cadiz, Spain. Below are just a few things you should participate in on your Cadiz vacation.
Cadiz Medieval Tour – Take a two hour guided tour of medieval Cadiz, and see all the city’s landmarks, including the Neoclassical and Baroque Cadiz Cathedral and Cadiz Museum, the Roman theater in the area known as the Pópulo, and structures dating back as far as the Phoenician era. Get your Tour Tickets Here.
Three-Hour Tapas Tour – Taste the best of the city on a gastronomical tapas tour with a local guide. Discover local establishments, each one with its specialties, in a relaxed environment. Get your Tapas Tour Tickets Here.
Three-Hour Guided Bike Tour – See the sights of one of the oldest cities in Europe on a 3.5-hour guided bike tour of Cádiz. Stop to take souvenir photos of some of the main monuments of the Old Town and newer areas in the city center. Get your Bike Tour Tickets Here.
Three-Hour History & Tapas Private Walking Tour – Avoid the crowded tourist spots and routes to discover the authentic local life and taste the typical tapas and wine from Cadiz. This private tour is limited to ten people. Get your History & Tapas Tour Tickets Here.
Museums In Cadiz
There are several museums you can go to when you visit Cadiz. Below is just a few of the museums in Cadiz that you should see.
Museo de las Cortes de Cádiz
Its full name, The Iconographic and Historical Museum of the Cortes and Site of Cádiz, was inaugurated on October 5th, 1912, to commemorate the First Centenary of the Constitution of 1812. It is home to many items from the 18th and 19th centuries. Here you will see many things from the siege by Napoleonic troops from 1810 – 1812. Check out the museum’s website here.
Castillo de San Sebastian
It is believed this island was used as a settlement in the Old Age. The first building on the island was built in 1457 by the crew of a Venetian ship. In 1613 a watchtower replaced the old lighthouse, and the castle was built in 1706. The San Sebastian Castle is currently an exhibition space and a venue for recreational events and concerts. View their website here.
Spread across three floors, the Cadiz Museum was founded in 1970. It was formerly the Provincial Museum of Archaeology and the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts. However, they are now combined under one roof with the ground floor archaeology, the first floor is art, and on the second floor, you will discover puppets. Tours and educational programs are available. See the museum website here.
Read about the 10 Best Museums in Cadiz here.
Monuments To See In Cadiz
Due to its ancient history, you can spend days sightseeing in Cadiz. If you are only there for a short time, then you want to make sure you see the following places.
Built in 1778 as a watchtower, Torre Tavira towers 45 meters above sea level. Climb the 170 steps in ten flights of stairs to the top of the tower for stunning city views. To the south, you will see the Cathedral with its shining dome. To the north, you will see the Castle of San Sebastian.
Cádiz Cathedral is also called “Cathedral of the Americas” because it was built during a trade boom between South America, Central America, and the West Indies in the 1700s. The Cathedral combines neo-classical, rococo, and baroque styles.
Teatro Romano de Cadiz
The Roman theatre in Cadiz was only discovered in 1980. However, it dates back to the 1st century BC. The almost 120 meters in diameter theatre was demanded to built by Lucio Cornelio Balbo el Menor. It is estimated more than 10,000 people could watch performances here, making it the second-largest and oldest theatre in the Iberian Peninsula.
You can spend an entire afternoon at this large botanical garden. It is located in the north part of the city next to the University Campus. For hundreds of years, this area has been a green space. It contains various plant specimens and trees, including Indian Laurels, Populars, Cycads, Maple Trees, and much more. You will want to spend some time around the waterfall and lake with statues of dinosaurs.
Activities In Cadiz, Spain
Some people can get a little overwhelmed with the number of things to do in Cadiz. Here are a few recommendations of activities we think you will enjoy on your Cadiz holidays.
Four-Hour Bicycle and Surfing Adventure – Explore Cadiz in two of the most fun ways possible. Spend 2-hours cycling along the seaside promenade, then take a 2-hour surf lesson from an expert and ride the waves like a pro! Get your Bicycle & Surfing tickets here.
Two-Hour Segway Tour – Drive on your Segway through the essential parts of the city of Cadiz and zoom past the most beautiful, golden-sandy beaches you’ll find. Enjoy a fun and relaxing Segway tour through the city with your friends and family! Get your Segway Tour tickets here.
Ninty-Minute Cadiz City Guided Tour – Learn the history of one of Europe’s oldest cities and journey through more than 3,000 years as you explore the traditional neighborhoods of Cadiz. Get familiar with the sights of the city and hear about its many legends. Get Your Guided City Tour tickets here.
Festivals In Cadiz
The city of Cadiz takes all its festivals seriously. The city has fewer festivals than other Major cities like Barcelona or Valencia. However, they do not lack in character. It’s four significant festivals are filled with passion, enthusiasm, and energy as it celebrates these special events. The streets throughout the city take on colorful decorations, energy, and music.
Here are the four major festivals in Cadiz:
Holy Week or Semana Santa is a large annual festival that is celebrated by locals and tourists throughout Spain. Streets and plazas are often decorated, and everyone can feel the energy within them. Throughout Holy Week, several parades are put on by various fraternities and religious brotherhoods.
Within the parade, you will see the ‘costaleros’ (brotherhoods) that are tasked with carrying wooden statues of saints. These carved statues are then lavishly decorated. In Cadiz, the Nazarenes fraternity, known as the Grenuo, follows the costaleros. The Nazarenos are famous for their somber dress with hoods, tunics, and masks.
Processions start on Palm Sunday and continue until Easter Sunday every year.
Carnival in Cadiz is known as “THE Festival.” Cadiz port was a significant port with trade from Venice, Italy. So naturally, some of Italy’s festivals became common in Spain. In Cadiz, people dress in fancy colorful dresses and masks. The city overflows with performances from satirical music groups and Flamenco dancers throughout the squares and streets.
Not only is Carnival one of the most colorful and beautiful festivals in Spain, but CN Traveler has also named it one of the Best Carnival Celebrations Around The World.
Corpus Christi is considered the second more important festival in Cadiz, the first being Holy Week. This festival, which dates back to the 14th century, celebrates the Eucharist (the consecrated host (wafer), which Christians believe is the actual body of Christ (Catholics) or representative of the body of Christ (non Catholics)). During the festival, the streets near the Cathedral are extravagantly decorated and overflowing with fragrant plants. Silver custodias containing the Holy Host are paraded throughout the city
The celebration takes place on Thursday, eight days after Whitsun. Whitsun occurs on the seventh Sunday after Easter.
Todos Los Santos, also called All Saints’ Day, is mainly based around food. It is celebrated in the markets and with colorful stalls lining many streets. The stalls sell various fruits (apples, avocados, olives, oranges) which are offered to the Saints. Additionally, multiple vendors are selling sweet potatoes, nuts, and doughnuts. Celebrations for Tosantos takes place on November 1st of every year.
Shopping In Cadiz
Just like the rest of Spain, Cadiz has shopping malls, outlet stores, and numerous boutique shops. There truly is something for everyone. The city is best known for leather goods, handmade ceramics, Andalusian olive oil, and cured meats.
Map Of Cadiz Spain
Day Trips From Cadiz
Cadiz is a wonderful city to visit with many things to do. Additionally, the surrounding area, in Cádiz province, also has many things to do and see. Below are some recommendations for Cadiz day trips.
Ronda & Setenil de las Bodegas
On this day trip from Cadiz to Ronda & Setenil de las Bodegas, you will learn about the tradition of Bullfighting in the region. You will see the stunning historic bridge that links the new town of Ronda with the old town. You will also discover the unusual architecture in the picturesque village of Setenil. Book your day trip from Cadiz to Ronda & Setenil de las Bodegas here.
Doñana National Park & Sanlúcar
On this private day trip from Cádiz, you will discover one of Europe’s rarest ecosystems. Watch the migratory birds and local wildlife within the salt marshes, pine forests, and wetlands. Then you will explore Sanlúcar. Discover the Renaissance monuments, medieval walls, and the historic center. You will also have an opportunity to sample the famous local Manzanilla wine. Book your day trip to Doñana National Park & Sanlúcar here.
The White Towns of Andalusia
Spend the day visiting several white villages within the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. Some have said that the picturesque houses with brown or red-tiled roofs are painted white to ward off the extreme summer heat that marks the region. Book your day trip from Cadiz to The White Towns of Andalusia here.
Seville Shore Excursion with Alcazar Entry
Leaving from Cadiz marina, you will have a Seville Shore Excursion with Alcazar Entry. Spend the day in the heart of the Andalusia region. Stroll through the maze-like narrow streets ad the charming Jewish quarter. Admire the 15th-century Gothic Cathedral and the diverse architecture of Muslim and Roman influence. Book your day trip from Cadiz harbor to Seville Shore Excursion with Alcazar Entry here.
Gibraltar & Vejer Tour
Enjoy a full-day trip to Gibraltar and Vejer. You will learn about the history of Gibraltar, home to wild macaques (Barbary apes). They are the only ones in Europe who live on the Rock of Gibraltar. Learn about the historic town of Vejer de la Frontera, Spain. See the walls and towers around the town that have been well maintained. Soak up the beautiful Christian and Muslim architecture throughout the town. Book your day trip from Cadiz to Gibraltar & Vejer Tour here.
How To Get To Cadiz, Spain
Cadiz may not be the most accessible city to get to, but it is worth visiting. Here are three different ways you can get to Cadiz city.
Cadiz does not have an airport. The nearest airport to Cadiz Spain is Seville International Airport (SVQ). From Seville Airport, you will need to rent a car and drive 121 km (75 miles) to Cadiz. Alternatively, you can get to Cadiz Spain by train or by bus from Seville.
Numerous trains travel to Cadiz. You can quickly arrive from several other cities within Spain. You can also take the train to/from Portugal, France, Switzerland, and many other European countries. Below are just a few examples. Check out The Trainline to book tickets or for more information.
- Seville to Cadiz is approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes and with seven trains per day. Cadiz to Seville is about 121 km (75 miles).
- Malaga to Cadiz is approximately 4 hours and 35 minutes. There are usually seven trains per day. Cadiz to Malaga is around 233 km (145 miles).
- Madrid to Cadiz is approximately 4 hours and 27 minutes traveling by train. Cadiz to Madrid is about 487 km (303 miles). There are usually seven trains per day.
- Marbella to Cadiz is approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes. The road distance from Cadiz to Marbella is about 178 km (110 miles).
- Ronda to Cadiz is approximately 5 hours and 41 minutes because you will need to get to Seville first. It is best to rent a car and drive as it will only be 1 hour and 45 minutes. If you don’t want to drive, then book a day trip from Cadiz to Ronda.
- Valencia to Cadiz is approximately 9 hours and 52 minutes, covering about 612 km (380 miles).
- Barcelona to Cadiz is approximately 10 hours and 38 minutes. Cadiz to Barcelona is about 1,114 km (692 miles).
- Gibraltar to Cadiz is approximately 118 km (73 miles). It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get from Cadiz to Gibraltar.
Getting to Cadiz by bus is also another option for many people. It is a great way to stop and visit other cities before your Cadiz Spain holidays. Flixbus is an excellent option if you are traveling from other countries. It will be likely that you will need to change buses if you travel from another European country and want your final destination to be Cadiz. However, it is a great option to visit another city on your way to Cadiz. For a complete listing of buses going to and from Cadiz, look at the Check My Bus Website.
Due to its location, the Cadiz Spain port has ferry service to and from other destinations. You may want to consider one of the following three ferry trips:
- Rota – Cadiz Ferry
- Cadiz to Tangier Ferry
- Cadiz to Canary Islands Ferry
Fun Facts About Cadiz
- Cadiz’s Carnival is the second most famous Carnival in the world. The first is Rio de Janeiro.
- Parts of the James Bond movie Die Another Day, with Halle Berry, were shot in Cadiz, not Cuba.
- Pirates regularly attacked Cadiz for 200 years.
- Cadiz id the oldest city in Western Europe.
- Christopher Columbus’s second voyage to the New World began from Cadiz.
- Cadiz has more than 100 watchtowers.
- Due to its location on the edge of the Iberian Peninsula, Cadiz linked America, Africa, and Europe with an international trade route.
Cadiz Spain Weather
The weather in Cádiz, Spain, is very mild. Cadiz climate is generally dry and humid. Rainfall is a rare occurrence, with only 52 days of rain per year accumulating about 524mm (20.6”) of precipitation. Cadiz temperature averages from 9.4°C (48.9°F) to 27.9°C (82.2°F). Daylight hours, sunshine, and humidity levels vary throughout the year. Let’s look at each month of the year below.
Cadiz Weather January
January is generally the coldest month of the year.
- An average low temperature of 9.4°C (48.9°F).
- The average high temperature is 16°C (60.8°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 75%
- Daylight: 10 hours
- Sunshine: 6 hours
- Rainfall: 7 rainfall days, 69mm (2.7”) of precipitation.
Cadiz Weather February
February is the last month of winter.
- An average low temperature of 10.7°C (51.3°F).
- The average high temperature is 16.8°C (62.2°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 74%
- Daylight: 10.9 hours
- Sunshine: 6 hours
- Rainfall: 6 rainfall days, 58.5mm (2.3”) of precipitation.
Cadiz Weather March
March is the first month of Spring in Cádiz.
- An average low temperature of 12.3°C (54.1°F).
- The average high temperature is 18.8°C (65.8°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 71%
- Daylight: 12 hours
- Sunshine: 7 hours
- Rainfall: 5 rainfall days, 34.7mm (1.4”) of precipitation.
April Weather In Cádiz
April is the second month of Spring in Cádiz. The city is usually seeing an increase in tourists.
- An average low temperature of 13.7°C (56.7°F).
- The average high temperature is 19.9°C (67.8°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 69%
- Daylight: 13.2 hours
- Sunshine: 8 hours
- Rainfall: 6 rainfall days, 45.2mm (1.8”) of precipitation.
Cadiz Weather May
May is the last month of Spring in Cádiz.
- An average low temperature of 16.2°C (61.2°F).
- The average high temperature is 22.1°C (71.8°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 72%
- Daylight: 14.1 hours
- Sunshine: 10 hours
- Rainfall: 3 rainfall days, 26.9mm (1.1”) of precipitation.
June Weather In Cádiz
June is the first month of Summer in Cádiz. It has the longest daylight hours of the year for the city and one of the months with the longest sunlight hours. It is also the beginning of the high tourist season, with many people starting their Cadiz holidays.
- An average low temperature of 19.5°C (67.1°F).
- The average high temperature is 25.3°C (77.5°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 69%
- Daylight: 14.6 hours
- Sunshine: 11 hours
- Rainfall: 1 rainfall day, 6.7mm (0.3”) of precipitation.
July Weather In Cádiz
July is the driest month of the year. In July, the weather is starting to get very hot, and it is one of the months with the longest sunlight hours.
- An average low temperature of 21.4°C (70.5°F).
- The average high temperature is 27.7°C (81.9°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 68%
- Daylight: 14.4 hours
- Sunshine: 11 hours
- Rainfall: <1 rainfall day, 0.2mm (0″) of precipitation.
August Weather In Cádiz
August is the last month of summer and the hottest month of the year. So if you don’t like the heat, you won’t want to visit Cadiz in August. It is also one of the months with the longest sunlight hours.
- An average low temperature of 22°C (71.6°F).
- The average high temperature is 27.9°C (82.2°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 70%
- Daylight: 13.5 hours
- Sunshine: 11 hours
- Rainfall: < 1 rainfall day, 1.7mm (0.1″) of precipitation.
September Weather In Cádiz
September is the first month of fall in Cadiz.
- An average low temperature of 20.3°C (68.5°F).
- The average high temperature is 26.3°C (79.3°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 71%
- Daylight: 12.4 hours
- Sunshine: 9 hours
- Rainfall: 3 rainfall days, up to 23.8mm (0.9”) of precipitation.
October Weather In Cádiz
October is a lovely time of the year in Cadiz. Most of the tourists have left, and the weather is not as hot as the summer months.
- An average low temperature of 17.3°C (63.1°F).
- The average high temperature is 23.4°C (74.1°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 74%
- Daylight: 11.2 hours
- Sunshine: 7 hours
- Rainfall: 6 rainfall days, up to 67.3mm (2.6”) of precipitation.
November Weather In Cádiz
November is the last month of autumn in Cadiz and has the most precipitation in the year.
- An average low temperature of 13.4°C (56.1°F).
- The average high temperature is 19.6°C (67.3°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 74%
- Daylight: 10.2 hours
- Sunshine: 6 hours
- Rainfall: 7 rainfall days, 97.7mm (3.8”) of precipitation.
Cadiz Weather December
December is the first month of winter in Cadiz and the most humid month. It is also the month with the shortest daylight and sunshine hours of the year.
- An average low temperature of 16.9°C (62.4°F).
- The average high temperature is 10.9°C (51.6°F).
- Average Relative Humidity: 76%
- Daylight: 9.7 hours
- Sunshine: 5 hours
- Rainfall: 8 rainfall days, 92.3mm (3.6”) of precipitation.
What is the population of Cadiz?
- It is estimated that the population of Cadiz in 2020 is 117,313 people.
Where is Cadiz Spain / Where is Cadiz in Spain?
- The ancient Cádiz city is almost an island on Spain’s southwestern coast. It is located in the province of Cádiz in the Andalucía Region and is attached to the mainland with one narrow strip of land and two bridges.
Which are the airports near Cadiz Spain / what are the closest airport to Cadiz Spain?
- Cadiz does not have an airport. The nearest airport to Cadiz Spain is Seville International Airport (SVQ).
Which is the best beach in Cadiz?
- The best beach is a matter of opinion. La Caleta Beach Cadiz is one of the most popular beaches in Cadiz. Situated between Santa Catalina Castle and San Sebastian Castle, it is also known as Baño de la Viña.
Should I go on holiday to Cadiz, Spain?
- Yes, absolutely. Cadiz is a wonderful city with thousands of years of history.
Can I book Cadiz Spain Flights / How do I book flights to Cadiz Spain?
- You can not book a flight to Cadiz because the city does not have an airport. You need to book a flight to Seville and then drive or take the train/bus to Cadiz.
Is Cadiz the oldest city in Spain?
- It is hard to know with 100% positivity if Cadiz is the oldest city in Spain. It is believed to be one of the oldest cities in Western Europe.
What is the time in Cadiz Spain / What is the Cadiz Spain time zone?
- Cadiz, like all of Spain, is on Central European Time (CET), and during the summer months, it is on Central European Summer Time (CEST). It is UTC/GMT +2 hours.
What to do in Cadiz, Spain?
- There are numerous things to do in Cadiz. You can visit several museums to learn about the city’s long history and enjoy local Spanish food and wine. There are several beach sports and water activities to participate in. There is something for everyone to do in Cadiz.
What colors is the Cadiz flag?
- Here is an image of the Cadiz Flag.
You can get more information about Cadiz Tourism and the Province of Cadiz from the Cadiz Tourist Information Center.
I hope this guide gives you all the Cadiz information you need to plan your next vacation. Check out our other Plan A Trip To Spain resources for information on other fantastic cities in Spain.