Best Things To Do In Cádiz, Spain: Tips From A Local

Cadiz coastline

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This is a guest post from Lucia Pöllä.

Steeped in history, Cádiz is the oldest city in Spain. It is also a place of indescribable coastal beauty. It has an incredible range of activities on offer: immerse yourself in the city’s history and heritage, enjoy an outdoor adventure, or book a maritime experience. Here are some of the best things to do in Cádiz.

Explore The Historic Sites Of Cádiz

Cádiz was founded by the Phoenicians way back in 1100 BCE. It’s not just Spain’s oldest city, but also the oldest continually inhabited city in the whole of western Europe. There are many important sites in the historic centre but these are particularly worth visiting.

Catedral De Cádiz

The Catedral de la Santa Cruz de Cádiz is a Catholic cathedral built between 1722 and 1838. The original idea was to build a Baroque style church, but the construction took so long that styles had changed over the years. In the end, the structure included Rococo elements and a lot of Neoclassical style. 

The cathedral stands in The Plaza de la Catedral, which also houses the Baroque Iglesia de Santiago, built in 1635. You can visit the cathedral to go up the Levante Tower and enjoy panoramic views of the city. 

Grand exterior of cathedral with arches and towers. There are palm trees in the courtyard in front of the cathedral.
The grand Cadiz Cathedral (photo copyright Lucia Pöllä)

Torre Tavira

The Torre Tavira offers an even better view of the city. This 18th century lookout tower stands on a point 45m above sea level. It was once used as the official lookout for the Spanish Navy, and it is named after the watchman, Don Antonio Tavira. 

Castillo De San Sebastián

The Castillo de San Sebastián is a historic fortress located on a small island at the end of La Caleta beach. It was designed to protect the city but was also used as a prison for many years. You may recognize this landmark from the 2002 James Bond movie, Die Another Day.

Close to the San Sebastián Castle is the Castillo de Santa Catalina, a 17th century military prison and the oldest fortress in Cádiz.

Part of a fortress with belltower topped by a cross. There are palm trees beside the building.
Santa Catalina Castle (photo copyright Lucia Pöllä)

Enjoy Outdoor Activities And Coastal Scenery

For a day out in the open air, you can engage in any of the outdoor activities that Cádiz has on offer. There are hikes in the natural parks that surround the ancient city, coastal activities, and beaches for relaxation. One very popular beach is Playa de la Caleta. This is the smallest beach in Cádiz but has a significant history, having served as a natural harbour for the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans. 

You can also explore the coastline with a fishing trip or spend the day in the crystal clear waters. Whether you choose to go swimming, surfing, or just lounging on the beach, Cádiz offers ample opportunity for fresh air activities. 

Embark On A Cádiz Boat Tour

Since Cádiz is picture perfect from the coastline, you need to jump on a boat to experience the beauty of the city. These tours also provide an opportunity to see some of the nearby islands. There are many Cádiz boat tours to choose from, including dolphin watching, sailing excursions, fishing tours, and relaxed sunset cruises. Each of these is led by skilled guides that’ll be able to tell you more about Cádiz and its coastline. 

For the best views, book a private sunrise or sunset tour, which generally includes a mouthwatering glass of champagne or wine straight from the Cádiz wineries. Or you could get your fishing gear and spend the whole day on the ocean. Don’t worry if you don’t have fishing tackle because some operators provide everything you need. 

Discover Cádiz By Bike

You don’t need to be exceptionally fit or a future Tour de France gold medallist to take one of the Cádiz bike tours. You could choose to take through the streets on a regular bicycle, or you could look for an operator that offers e-bikes or segways. Either way, a bike tour is an excellent way to explore the city in an eco-friendly way.

With some scheduled tours you can zip through the streets, visit the beautiful squares, and cycle along the waterfront promenades. And some routes will take you past historical landmarks and scenic viewpoints. Not to mention the hidden gems that you’ll discover off the beaten path. 

Your guide will give you an insight into every significant landmark that you pass, and cycling is a great way to interact with the locals. You also have a lot more flexibility on your own bike, which will also allow you to visit places that aren’t accessible by foot or car. 

Seagull sitting on a harbour wall. Behind the wall are several small boats in the sea and in the background is a beach and lots of hotels.
Boats in the picturesque harbour (photo copyright Lucia Pöllä)

Experience Cultural Events And Festivals

At certain times of year, the city comes alive with carnivals and festivals. Thousands of people come together for live music performances and art exhibitions while dancing under the open skies. 

In fact Cádiz is home to one of Spain’s most famous carnivals, the Carnival of Cádiz, which first took place in the 16th century. Today it’s a two week celebration in February, featuring face masks, costumes, carnival music, bright colours, and lots of fun. The entire city takes part in this huge celebration. 

For something more relaxed and laid-back, you can also visit some fantastic art exhibitions or stop by an art gallery, like the Omorfía Art Gallery or the cultural centre of the Baluarte de la Candelaria

A peaceful corner of Cádiz (photo copyright Lucia Pöllä)


There is no reason to sit back and be bored in this old and beautiful city. You can find an activity that suits all of your interests and preferences, from cultural or natural to maritime or adventurous. You can explore on your own, or take a guided tour. Or even take a day trip to one of Andalucia’s other historic cities, such as Seville or Córdoba.

Don’t miss your chance to go on an adventure in the oldest city in Spain. 

Author bio: Lucia is a travel blogger living in Southern Spain. She shares her discoveries of beautiful places and hidden gems in Spain on her travel blog Viva La Vita.


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