While often regarded as the historic gateway to Seville and the Mediterranean, the ancient port city of Cádiz has much to recommend it as a port of call. Situated in the Andalucia region of southwestern Spain, Cadiz has a rich maritime heritage, as well as boasting a wealth of museums, art galleries and soul-stirring flamenco shows.
Why cruise Cadiz
One of Europe’s most ancient cities, Cádiz boasts a plethora of fascinating and authentic sights. The beautiful old town is home to the stunning baroque cathedral, built in the 17th and 18th centuries, the ruins of a Roman theatre and many other historic highlights. Cruise passengers can spend the day wandering through the Andalusian city’s historic maze of alleyways learning about the history and local life, enjoying the traditional tapas bars serving local seafood, or lounging on one of the golden-sand beaches. Cádiz is also the gateway to the historic city of Seville.
What to see and do in Cadiz
Also known as ‘The Cathedral of the Americas’, this spectacular cathedral was built between 1722 and 1838 during Cádiz’s golden age, financed with money from the trade between Spain and America. In the crypt are buried the composer Manuel de Falla and the poet and playwright José María Pemán, both born in Cádiz. Head up the Levante Tower, which offers sweeping views of the city. From here you will spot the ruins of the city’s Roman Theatre, situated in the ancient barrio of El Pópulo.
Torre Tower is one of 129 watchtowers that dot the city of Cádiz, but it is by far the most iconic. Situated in the centre of town, it is the city’s official watchtower and was once the highest point in the town at 148ft above sea level. Head up here with your camera to capture the best panoramic views.
Castillo de Santa Catalina
King Phillip II of Spain ordered for the castle to be built to defend the city following an attached by the Anglo-Dutch in 1596. Beautifully preserved, the fortress was declared Bien de Interés Cultural in 1993 and some of its interior spaces are now used as temporary exhibition rooms or educational workshops, while the castle’s parade ground serves as a venue for concerts and activities in the summer. The castle overlooks the tranquil Caleta Bay, where quaint fishing boats can be seen bobbing in the water.
Museum of Cádiz
A great place to spend an afternoon, the Museum of Cádiz was founded in 1970 when the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts and the Provincial Museum of Archaeology joined forces. Spread over three floors, the museum houses a range of prehistoric findings from southern Andalusia on the ground floor, while the first floor is dedicated to artwork, showcasing works by the likes of Rubens and the 17th-century Spanish painter Bartolomé Murillo. Finally, the upper floor is home to the ‘Tía Norica’ set of puppets that perform at the annual Carnival of Cádiz.
Spain’s oldest covered market, Mercado Central, was first unveiled in 1838 and has been undergone extensive remodelling over the years. Today, the authentic and lively local market, located on Plaza de la Libertad, sells everything from fresh fish and meat to vegetables and fruit from its stalls. It has become particularly famous for its gastromarket, where you can sample Andalucian-international tapas between sips of delicious sherry.
Cádiz is home to many beautiful beaches. The secluded and popular La Caleta, located the city’s historical centre, is the smallest beach in the city and is overlooked by Santa Catalina castle. Alternatively, there’s also Playa Victoria beach, which boasts a longer stretch of sand than La Caleta and offers plenty of places to eat and drink.
Need to know when travelling to Cadiz
Getting around in Cadiz
Cruise ships dock at the Alfonso XIII and Ciudad piers, close to the city’s historic centre. The city centre can easily be explored on foot. To reach the outlying beaches, there are taxis and buses, while the rail will take you to nearby Seville. Hop-on, hop-off buses are also operated around the city.
When to go to Cadiz
The ideal time to visit Cádiz is from May until October, when you’re guaranteed warm and pleasant temperatures.
Cádiz uses the euro.
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don't need a visa to enter Spain unless you're planning a stay of longer than three months.
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