What to see in Cádiz in one day: tasting the pearl of the south

They say that even if you make a simple day trip to Cadiz you realize that there live the most graceful and salty beings of the Iberian Peninsula, and the truth is that whenever I have gone I have been able to verify that this, if I do not dare to assure that it is totally true, is very close to being so. The joy of the people of Cádiz is on a par with a city that was already an important commercial centre in the time of the Phoenician Gadir, long before the Carthaginians fled from there back to Africa under the harsh assault of the Roman forces of the great Publius Cornelius Scipio, the Africanus.

Centuries later, a sailor named Christopher Columbus would make his second voyage to the Americas from nearby Puerto de Santa Maria. And that’s without forgetting that it was the house where the first Spanish Constitution was created, the one they named La Pepa back in 1812.

Today, historic Cadiz is a city blessed by the sun and eager to open up to a world that is becoming more global and seems to want to leave it behind. But no, Cádiz is a lot of Cádiz and will always be there.

Although the ‘Tacita de Plata’ – as Cádiz is affectionately known – should be explored and enjoyed in peace and quiet, if you do not have much time we leave you this complete guide to enjoy a day trip in Cádiz:

How to get to Cádiz

Cadiz is located in the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, making access to the city somewhat complicated. Furthermore, if you do not have much time and want to discover Cádiz in one day, it is better to make the transfer to the city as quick and easy as possible. To achieve this, you can fly to Jerez de la Frontera airport, which is the closest to the city.

Jerez airport is about 32 kilometres from Cadiz, but you can get there by medium distance train or opt for a private transfer, as we mentioned in our article.

If you don’t want to complicate your life, here you can book your transfer directly from Jerez Airport to your final destination in Cadiz:

Travel Tips to Cadiz

Cadiz Cathedral from hotel pool. Photo © David Escribano

Rent a car with a discount of up to 15%:

If you want to make the most of your day trip to Cádiz, you will want to keep the following ideas in mind:

Open up to people: the people of Cádiz are very open, joking and friendly. If you play along with them you can have a good laugh and maybe even someone will offer to show you some of the best attractions to see in Cadiz in one day. Take the opportunity to be guided by a local.
Try to experience its Carnival: the Carnival of Cádiz is one of the most famous in Spain and therefore in Europe. If you can choose from the calendar your one-day visit to Cádiz, try to make it coincide with this celebration of fun, colour and costume.
Enjoy its fish and seafood: the waters of the Atlantic leave Cadiz with some exquisite and tasty seafood. You can try them, already cooked, in its Central Market, but also in the many restaurants near the port.
Take it easy: yes, it is true that you are trying to see Cádiz in one day, but, in spite of this, as on any journey, you must respect the rhythm of life of the place you are in. In Cádiz things do not happen with the speed and stress that you might see in big cities like Barcelona or Madrid. Relax and enjoy everything you can see, without having to worry about the clock and the map.
Sharpen your ear: unless you are from the area, your Cádiz accent may be difficult to understand at first. But as soon as you get it right, the laughter starts!
Consider staying longer and discovering the coast: if you are not very urban and you are thinking of spending more time in the surroundings of Cádiz than in the city itself, don’t forget to visit the fantastic coast of Cádiz, with its exceptional villages, such as Conil de la Frontera, Véjer de la Frontera, Bolonia beach, or Caños de Meca. An environment of unspoiled beauty that takes your breath away.

Victory Beach. Photo © David Escribano

Where to sleep in Cádiz

If you are going to spend a night in Cádiz, perhaps it is better to look for a central accommodation that you have at hand and that is comfortable to enjoy Cádiz in one day. In this interactive map you will find very good options at a good price:

Booking.com

What to see in Cádiz in one day

Tavira Tower © David Escribano

Cadiz in one day is a bit of a rush, but the truth is that it is a city with a fairly compact historic centre and where you can reach almost all the places of interest on foot.

Depending on the time of year, perhaps a good way to start your day in Cádiz would be to walk along the city’s two beaches: La Caleta and la Victoria. The first is just a patch of sand, but with beautiful views and very accessible for those who are close to the centre and only have time to spend a little time in the sun, by the sea. However, La Victoria beach, with its almost 3 kilometers long, is a large, good quality sand and where the people of Cádiz sunbathe as soon as the temperatures start to be pleasant. After having spent a couple of mornings in La Victoria, I can guarantee you that in Cádiz people take care of themselves and show off beautiful tanned bodies carefully in the sun. If you get hot with these things, don’t worry, because you can take a refreshing dip in the cold waters of the Atlantic.

And after seeing Cádiz at sea level, the best thing to do is to walk through the beautiful and twisted streets of the old town until you reach the mythical Torre Tavira. From the balcony of its terrace, which you will reach after climbing 170 steps, you can admire one of the best panoramic views to be seen in Cadiz. You will be about 45 metres above sea level, and at your feet you will see the whitewashed houses of Cádiz and the magnificent 18th century Castillo de San Sebastián, with the Torre Poniente of Cádiz’s impressive cathedral, which was built between 1722 and 1838, almost at eye level.

Return to land to admire, precisely, the Earth Gate. This defensive construction from the 16th century was extended in the following years, but the great tower it has, added in 1850, never had a defensive function, but was used to send messages with an optical telegraph system. Today, it is one of the city’s icons.

Earth Gate. Photo © David Escribano

If you are a lover of history, you should not miss the Museum of Cadiz – where you will find ancient objects and tools that will make you understand how civilization developed in the area from time immemorial to the present day, but also works by Rubes, Zurbarán or Murillo – and, above all, the remains of the old Gadir, that Phoenician underground city that lies a few meters below the current Cadiz and dates back to the 9th century BC. It is one of the few remaining examples of Phoenician history in Spain, so it is worth its weight in gold.

Great octopus at Café Royalty in Cádiz. Photo © David Escribano

A walk to discover Cadiz in a day will not be complete without a visit to the Gran Teatro Falla. If you manage to square your trip with the days of Carnival, you will live an unforgettable experience of laughter and joy with the murgas sung by the Cádiz carnival groups. Otherwise, the theatre billboard bearing the name of the most important musician the city has ever produced always has cultural events of great interest.

And as it is not all about walking and exploring, during your day trip to Cádiz you cannot fail to enjoy the good food the city has to offer. Take a stroll through its Central Market and enjoy the colourful and aromatic fresh produce, as well as observing the daily life of the Cadiz locals who shop here. In the same market you can taste cooked products, but you can also feel the intense and rich taste of its seafood and fish in the many restaurants that are located in the area of the Plaza de Juan de Dios, very close to the port. Don’t forget to accompany your dinner with a little bit of sherry. It can be the perfect sweet ending to your discovery of Cadiz in one day.

And one thing’s for sure: you’ll be looking forward to coming back.

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