The Andalucía port city of Cádiz is one of the region’s true highlights, featuring fascinating sites and attractions, as well as some beautiful architecture. If you are planning on visiting the Costa del Sol, driving on over to Cádiz – which is an attractive proposition when hiring a car from Malaga Airport – is a must. 48 hours in Cádiz is something to be truly excited by, as there are myriad attractions and activities to be occupied with over the two-day period. From stunning beaches to incredible restaurants, from ancient castles to fascinating museums, Cádiz has a little something for everyone. Read on to find out how to spend a wonderful 48 hours in Cádiz.
Castle of San Sebastián
Image Credit: Elena Tchijov
What better way to the start the first morning of your time in Cádiz than by visiting the Castle of San Sebastián – an 18th-century fortress located on a small island at the end of La Caleta beach (more on this in a moment). Visitors approach the castle via a long stone causeway and once there, the views back to Cádiz are just as impressive as the fortress itself. While it was once used as a prison, today the castle is home to exhibitions and concerts.
Elena from the travel blog Traveling Bytes looks back fondly at her time in Cádiz and spoke to us about her memories of the Castle of San Sebastián: “A narrow walkway dotted with bluebell shaped street lights leads to a stone bridge with a weathered gate behind. Angled walls adorned with watchtowers guard a rocky islet. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, Castillo de San Sebastián is a dream come true for an aspiring photographer. You will be rewarded with unforgettable views of the ocean and the city.”
Playa La Caleta
After visiting the castle, why not stick around and enjoy the rest of Playa La Caleta – one of the very best beaches in the region. With luscious golden sand and sky-blue water, this particular beach is a postcard image come to life. When relaxing in the sun, you will likely see plenty of boats in the water and local residents enjoying this delightful setting. Playa La Caleta also has historical significance, with the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Romans all using its harbour in times gone by.
In the afternoon, heading to the gorgeous Parque Genovés will surely go down a treat. Situated next to the local university, Parque Genovés is a waterfront park that acts as one of the city’s most popular and largest green spaces. Featuring a perfectly designed waterfall and ornamental lake (guarded by friendly dinosaur sculptures), the park also acts as a botanical garden, home to maple trees, Indian laurels, and Cycads from southern India. At Parque Genovés, visitors can also see monuments to priest and botanist José Celestino Mutis.
Gadir Archaeological Site
Cádiz is also home to some fascinating history and one of the best places to discover some of it is at Gadir Archaeological Site. Much of Europe is lined with fascinating Roman ruins but one of Cádiz’s standout features is its Phoenician heritage, making this archaeological site of particular interest. Beneath the surface of modern-day Cádiz, there are the remains of a Phoenician settlement from the 9th century BC, way before the Roman’s arrived in the region. History buffs will love inspecting the tools and the ancient city ruins on display.
Gran Teatro Falla
In the evening, perhaps after enjoying a delicious Cádiz meal, you must make sure to visit Gran Teatro Falla – a 19th-century theatre that acts as one of the city’s most beloved landmarks. Built back in 1884 and sporting a beautiful Neo-Mudéjar architectural style, this sublime venue hosts myriad shows, plays, and concerts, all perfect for a top evening of Cádiz entertainment. Visitors in February will be in for a particular treat, however, as this is when the Carnival of Cádiz takes up residence.
Start your second day in Cádiz off right with a visit to the stunning Cádiz Cathedral. This Roman Catholic church was built across the span of over a hundred years starting from 1722 and boasts some incredibly beautiful baroque architecture with a little of the neoclassical style thrown in. Explore its exquisite chapels and the paintings and relics that live there. Don’t forget to climb one of its towers for some one-of-a-kind panoramic shots of the city. Details about tours and visiting rules can be found on the cathedral’s website.
Chloe Gunning from the travel blog Wanderlust Chloe adored her time in Cádiz and told us that she can’t wait to go back soon. Speaking about her fondness of visiting Cádiz Cathedral, Chloe said: “Cádiz Cathedral is one of the main landmarks in the city, and while the interiors are impressive, don’t miss a chance to see one of the best views of the city. For just 5 EUR you can climb the cathedral tower and see a view of Cádiz like no other. There’s something really special about seeing the cathedral’s bells silhouetted against the incredible city backdrop.”
Finish off your last morning in the city by heading to Mercado Central, a permanent central market in Cádiz perfect for picking up some delicious produce for your lunch and ensconcing yourself in the culture of the locals. Offering up some of Spain’s freshest seafood, as well as other gastronomic delights serving tapas and beer, Mercado Central can’t be missed. Head on over to the food and travel blog And Here We Are for an in-depth breakdown of the market’s many delights.
Museum of Cádiz
No trip to a new city is complete without a visit to a museum and the good news is that Cádiz is home to the terrific Museum of Cádiz – perfect for engaging in a little local culture before departing. Here visitors can learn about the city’s history and its artistic heritage, with different categories of education available on a separate floor of the museum.
Naomi from the travel blog Probe Around the Globe enjoyed visiting the museum during her time in the city and spoke to us about its virtues: “The museum of Cádiz is a great place to brush up on your history. Cádiz is the oldest city in Europe and many different cultures have left their marks on the city. This is all combined in an easy to understand showcase of the peninsula and a must see when in Cádiz.”
The Museum of Cádiz has a lot of fans and another of these is Paolo from Hang Around The World – a blog all about exploring the global destinations. “What makes the museum of Cádiz a must to visit is its range of collections,” says Paolo, “because the museum is divided into three sections: the first is dedicated to the Phoenician and the Roman archaeological finds (Phoenician sarcophagi); the second to the fine arts; the third to ethnography. All this makes it a perfect place for a great knowledge of the city you are visiting.”
Explore Cádiz at your leisure
Exploring a city for yourself is always an attractive proposition and this is certainly true in Cádiz. This is another top recommendation from Naomi (and more can be found on her site): “If you want to get the know the modern-day vibe of the city, I recommend following one of several walking routes. The best way to experience Cádiz is to wander around in the tight little streets, stumble upon squares, watch an impromptu flamenco performance and witness long lost family friends meet in the street. Stop for tapas in a tucked away little bar or drink tinto de verano on one of Cádiz’s many terraces. Cádiz is best explored by roaming around the streets and taking in all the richness the city has to offer.”
El Faro de Cádiz
Cádiz has some absolutely terrific dining options available but one of the very best is without question El Faro de Cádiz. This spot will be the perfect setting for your final meal in the city, with El Faro being a mainstay of the city for decades, serving up some of the very best seafood you could hope to enjoy. From deep-fried platters of local fish to top-notch tapas and fish stew, there’s a lot to like at this understandably popular Cádiz hotspot.
When asked about her favourite spots to eat at in Cádiz, Chloe from Wanderlust Chloe recommends: “While there are plenty of traditional tapas bars serving great, simple food, La Candela offers tapas with a twist! Food is beautifully presented, flavour combinations are inventive, and there’s a great atmosphere too. Expect the best gooey croquettes you’ve ever eaten, and fresh seafood caught that day.”
48 hours to remember in Cádiz
We hope you have enjoyed this guide to the wonderful city of Cádiz and how you might like to spend 48 hours at this top destination. From its ancient history to its beautiful beaches, from the vibrant market atmosphere to the incredible local seafood, there’s so much to enjoy at Cádiz. Hopefully, this peek at the city has given you plenty of inspiration ahead of your upcoming Spanish holiday!