Cádiz is an ancient port city, nestling on a strip of land on the Costa de la Luz in Andalucía, Spain. This historic city is the home of the Spanish Navy and has a long history. In the 16th-century, the Port of Cádiz became a major base for trade and exploration to the Americas and the coastline has more than 100 watchtowers, used for spotting incoming ships and protecting the city in days gone by. The iconic Torre Tavira, which can be visited today, is one of these protective towers.
The architecture of Cádiz gives testimony to the city’s long history, including the 18th-century Cathedral, which stands proud on the waterfront of the city. The city dates back to 1100 BC, when the Phoenicians first founded a trading post here, and was later taken over by the Carthaginians and the Romans. Following this, the Visigoths and Moors took over Cádiz until the Castilian armies brought the city back under Spain’s rule. Besides its history, the city offers excellent sandy beaches and water sports and delicious local and international cuisine. There is so much to see and do in Cádiz, but the following is a selection of recommended activities during your stay on the Costa de la Luz (or Coast of Light).
1. Roman Theatre (Teatro Romano)
The Roman Theatre of Cádiz was built in 70 BC and includes both an amphitheater and theatre. After the building was abandoned by the Romans around 111 AD, it was then used in the Middle Ages as stables, storerooms and houses. During the Moorish age in the city, the Roman Theatre was used as the foundations for a Moorish fort, but was eventually reconstructed after Alfonso X conquered the city. In more recent years, a portion of the theatre has been restored – however some ruins are still hidden under the streets of the El Pópulo neighborhood.
Address: Calle Mesón, 11-13, Cádiz
Website: Roman Theatre
2. Castle of San Sebastián
The Castle of San Sebastián is located at the end of La Caleta Beach in Cádiz on a small island. Construction of the castle began in 1706 and it was intended to defend the North flank of the city. Still in an excellent condition, the castle is today home to a modern-day lighthouse, which was installed in 1908, and built on the base of an old Moorish watchtower. Due to the unusual appearance and location of the castle, it is these days often used as a setting for films.
Castillo de San Sebastián
Address: Avenida Duque de Nájera, s/n, 11002, Cádiz
Website: Castillo de San Sebastián
3. Museum of Cádiz
The Museum of Cádiz offers an interesting range of exhibits, including the archaeological section, laid out to show how the province has evolved from pre-history. Separate rooms display objects from the times of the Phoenicians and Romans. The Fine Arts section of the museum displays paintings right through from the 16th-century to the present time, from Flemish, Italian and Spanish artists of the 16th-century, to more contemporary art.
Museum of Cádiz
Address: Plaza de Mina, s/n, 11004, Cádiz
Website: Museum of Cádiz
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4. Parque Genovés
Perfect for a restful stroll in green and leafy surroundings, botanical garden spread out in the old town of Cádiz. The park offers a variety of interesting botanical species and also has a series of small monuments and a fountain. One of the best features of the park is La Gruta, a lake with a waterfall, known as the Cascada Parque Genovés, which is home to several different bird species. Musical evenings are often held in the park during the summer months.
Address: Avda. Doctor Gómez Ulla, s/n, Cádiz
Website: Parque Genovés
5. La Caleta Beach
La Caleta Beach is located at the far end of the Cádiz peninsula, close to the Viña area of the city. It nestles between two castles – the Castillo de San Sebastián and the Castillo de Santa Catalina. Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the city, La Caleta has a blue flag status for its cleanliness and excellent facilities, which include restaurants, chiringuitos (beach restaurants), bars, toilets, showers and lifeguards in the summer months.
La Caleta Beach
Address: Av. Duque de Nájera, Cádiz
6. Torre Tavira
Torre Tavira is the building to visit to get a real 360 degree view of the city of Cádiz. One of the city’s original watchtowers, the Tavira Tower is the highest point of Cádiz old town, offering incredible views in all directions. While you are here, experience the Camera Obscura on the premises, as well as two exhibition halls giving the history of the tower.
Address: Calle Marqués del Real Tesoro, 10, 11001 Cádiz
Website: Torre Tavira
7. Mercado Central
The Mercado Central de Abastos in Cádiz was originally built in 1837 and was recently renovated. Considered to be the oldest covered market in the country, a selection of fresh meat, fish and vegetables is on offer here, as well as baked goods and grocery items. The market hosts a daily Rincón Gastromómico, where tastings of various local, national and international cuisines are available. There is also a café on the ground floor.
Address: Plaza Libertad, s/n, Cádiz
Website: Mercado Central
Make a point of visiting Cádiz
Enjoy all the history and attractions of this ancient port city on the Costa de la Luz, an essential part of your visit to Andalucia, Spain.
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