Follow Us:

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Cadiz, Spain

The Andalusian port of Cádiz is splendidly situated on a isolated limestone rock rearing out of the sea at the end of a 9km/6mi long promontory which projects into the Atlantic in the Gulf of Cádiz and is linked to the mainland by a bridge. Stout walls up to 15m/50ft in height protect the town from the violence of the waves, with tides which have a rise and fall of almost 2m/6.5ft (3m/10ft at the spring tides). The tall white flat-roofed houses with their balconies and characteristic little outlook towers (miradores), as well as the many parks and gardens with their palms and their extensive sea views, give Cádiz the particular charm which has earned it the name of a taza de plata, a ''silver bowl'' - though it must be said that at first sight the town makes a rather unattractive impression, more particularly since successive wars have left it with few monuments of its great past. Today Cádiz is one of Spain's leading ports, with a considerable shipbuilding industry and oil refineries in the surrounding area. Major contributions are also made to the town's economy by fishing and fish-canning. Rota, on the north side of the bay, is an American air and nuclear submarine base.

ENLARGE MAP PRINT MAP EMBED < > Cádiz Map - Tourist Attractions Cadiz Map - Attractions

Harbor Area & Seafront Promenades

Seafront PromenadesSeafront Promenades View slideshow

Harbor Area

The town of Cádiz is reached from the mainland either by the toll bridge (Puente de Peaje) or on the expressway which begins at San Fernando in the old part of the town. Both roads join a main road leading to the Plaza de la Constitución. From here we enter the town through the Puerta de Tierra (1755) and continue northwest by way of the Plaza Santa Elena and along Calle de las Calesas, passing close to the railway station, to the harbor.

Town Hall

Immediately on the left of the harbor is the Plaza San Juan de Dios, an attractive square in which is the handsome Ayuntamiento of 1816.

Diputación Provincial

Diputacion Provincial 0426
From the Plaza San Juan de Dios in Cádiz, a beautiful palm-shaded boulevard, the Avenida Ramón de Carranza, extends along the harbor to the Diputación Provincial (1773), the offices of the provincial administration.

Plaza de España

Beyond the Diputación Provincial, in the spacious Plaza de España of Cádiz, is a massive monument commemorating the meeting of the Cortes in Cádiz in 1810-12 - Spain's first representative national assembly, which enacted the constitution of 1812.

Seafront Promenades

Skyline of Cadiz with the ocean.
To the north of the Plaza de España in Cádiz are two seafront promenades on the Atlantic coast, the Alameda de Apodaca and its westward continuation the Alamada Marqués de Comillas, from which there are very fine views of the north side of the bay.

Nuestra Señora del Carmen

Nuestra Senora del Carmen 0486
At the end of the Alameda Marqués de Comillas in Cádiz, on the left, is the twin-towered Baroque church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen (1737-64), which has a beautiful inner courtyard and an altarpiece by El Greco.

Parque Genovés

Parque Genoves 0488
On the northwest side of the rock on which Cádiz stands, close to the sea, is the Parque Genovés, with a theater (used in summer) and a beautiful palm garden. From the platform of a grotto there is an extensive view.

La Caleta

A boat on the beach at La Caleta.
South of the Parque Genovés in Cádiz, beyond the balustrade in front of the Castillo de Santa Catalina, is the little bay of La Caleta, with the Playa de la Palma. To the left are the provincial hospital, the Hospital de Mora (1904), and the Hospicio Provincial, an orphanage and poorhouse. On the south side of La Caleta, on a promontory reaching far out into the ocean, are the Castillo de San Sebastián and a lighthouse.

South Side of the Town

Cadiz CathedralCadiz Cathedral View slideshow
Along Cádiz's southern sea-wall extends a long avenue, the Campo del Sur. A little way along this, on the left, is a former Capuchin convent, now a psychiatric hospital. In the conventual church of Santa Catalina (begun 1639; entrance through courtyard), on the high altar, is Murillo's last work, the ''Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine''. While painting this he fell from the scaffolding and died of his injuries in Seville on April third 1682. The church also has an early work of his.

New Cathedral

Cathedral in Cadiz.
Walking along the Campo del Sur, with views of the towering silhouette of Cádiz, we reach the New Cathedral, the main front of which faces the south side of the Plaza de Pio XII. Building began in 1722 by Vincente de Acero but was not completed until 1838.

New Cathedral - Interior

The cathedral interior of the New Cathedral in Cádiz, with lateral aisles, is 85m/279ft long and 60m/197ft wide, with massive pillars and a magnificent dome over the crossing, 52m/171ft high. The choir has fine 18th century stalls by Pedro Duque Cornejo; the crypt contains the tombs of various bishops and of the composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946), a native of Cádiz.

New Cathedral - Museum

In Cádiz there is an interesting museum in the New Cathedral containing the cathedral treasury, including a silver monstrance 4m/13ft high, the custodia del millón, which is said to be set with a million precious stones. There are also a number of valuable pictures, including works by Alonso Cano and Murillo.

El Segrario

Adjoining the New Cathedral in Cádiz is the church of El Segrario, the Old Cathedral, which was originally built in the 13th century but after its destruction in 1596 was rebuilt in 1602 in Renaissance style. It contains wall paintings and has a richly decorated high altar by Saavedra (c. 1650).

Town Center

Sarcophagus In Cadiz's MuseumSarcophagus In Cadiz's Museum Andrew Wilkinson
The center of Cádiz is an area of narrow streets with a number of handsome squares, including the palm-shaded Plaza de Candelaria, north of the New Cathedral. The Calle del Sacramento cuts diagonally across the old town, and in this street, on the highest point in the town, stands the Torre del Vigía, 34m/112ft high.

Hospital del Carmen de Mujeres

A little way south of Cádiz's Torre del Vigía, in the chapel of the Hospital del Carmen de Mujeres, can be seen El Greco's ''Ecstasy of St. Francis''.

San Felipe Neri

Northwest of the Torre del Vigía in Cádiz, in Calle Santa Inés, is the chapel of San Felipe Neri, an oval structure built in 1671, in which the Cortes met in 1812; there is a commemorative plaque on the west side of the chapel. On the high altar is an "Immaculate Conception" by Murillo.
Address: Calle Santa Inés, Spain

Museo Histórico

On the south side of the San Felipe Neri is the Municipal Historical Museum of Cadiz. In addition to much material on the period of the Spanish war of independence it contains a number of interesting models, including one of 18th century Cádiz in ivory and mahogany.
Address: Calle Santa Inés 9, E-11003 Cádiz, Spain

Museo de Cádiz

Calle San José runs north, passing the Plaza de San Antonio (on the left), to the Plaza de Mina. At the east corner of this square are the buildings of the Museo de Cádiz which is in three sections.
Address: Plaza de Mina, E-11004 Cádiz, Spain

Archeological Section

On the ground floor of the Museo de Cádiz is the archeological section, which displays grave goods from the Phoenician necropolis of Cádiz, including a unique marble sarcophagus of the fifth century B.C., and other Greek, Roman, Visigothic and Arab antiquities.

Picture Gallery

The picture gallery on the first floor of the Museo de Cádiz has 21 works by Zurbarán, including his ''Ecstasy of St. Bruno'', ''Vision of St. Francis of Assisi'' and ''Pentecost''. Some of the pictures come from the Cartuja (Charterhouse) of Jerez. Other important artists represented are Murillo (''Ecstasy of St. Francis'', ''Ecce Homo''), Ribera, Rubens (''Holy Family''), Alonso Cano, van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden.

Andalusian Puppet Theater

On the top floor of the Museo de Cádiz is a museum of the Andalusian Puppet Theater, with many puppets and a video show of puppet plays.

Santa Cueva

In Calle Rosario in Cadiz, which runs southeast from the Plaza de Mina, can be found the oval church of Santa Cueva (1783), which has wall paintings by Goya (1795).

Fiestas de Carnaval

The carnival of Cádiz is of exceptional interest to foreign tourists. The history of the carnival dates back centuries and is based on Venice's carnival, one of the old port's important trading partners. Shrove Tuesday is the date which the carnival centers around, usually in February or early March.

Surroundings

North of Cadiz

Arcos de la FronteraArcos de la Frontera

El Puerto de Santa Maria

At the mouth of the Río Guadalete, 18km/11mi north of Cádiz, is El Puerto de Santa María, originally a Greek foundation and later a Roman port (Portus Menesthei). The town retained its importance into the 15th and 16th centuries, when Columbus, Juan de la Costa, one of his helmsmen, and Amerigo Vespucci lived there. Its main source of income is now fishing.

Nuestra Señora de los Milagros

The church of Nuestra Señora de los Milagros in El Puerto de Santa María has preserved its 13th Century facade and has a very beautiful Plateresque doorway. It takes its name from its 13th Century figure of the Virgin, patroness of El Puerto de Santa María.

Castillo San Marcos

Castillo San Marcos 0498
The palm-shaded Avenida Aramburu de Mora in El Puerto de Santa María leads to the Castillo San Marcos, built by the Moors in the 13th century, which later became the seat of the Dukes of Medinaceli.

Marina

Beyond the commercial port of El Puerto de Santa María a marina was recently constructed, with 1800 moorings, making it the second largest in Spain. It is equipped in the most modern style and has numerous quays.

Sanlucar de Barrameda

Sanlucar de Barrameda 0533
From Chipiona C 441 runs northeast to Sanlúcar de Barrameda (alt. 30m/100ft). From this town, beautifully situated on the Guadalquivir, Columbus sailed on his third voyage to the New World in 1498 and Magellan set out on his first circumnavigation of the globe in 1519. Sanlúcar is now a fishing port.

Nuestra Señora de la O

The 16th century parish church of Nuestra Señora de la O in Sanlúcar de Barrameda has a richly decorated Mudéjar doorway, a fine Renaissance panelled ceiling and a notable Baroque retablo.

Castillo Santiago

On the highest point in Sanlúcar de Barrameda is the Castillo Santiago, from which there are wide panoramic views.

Palace of the Dukes of Medina

The finest of Sanlúcar de Barrameda's noble mansions is the palace of the Dukes of Medina Sidonia, which contains the archives of the Medina Sidonia family and has pictures by El Greco, Dürer, Murillo and Goya.

Casa de la Cilla

The Casa de la Cilla in Sanlúcar de Barrameda was a great house of nobility.

Arcos de la Frontera

Arcos de la Frontera 0437
From Sanlúcar C 440 runs 24km/15mi southeast to Jerez de la Frontera, from which N 342 continues 25km/15mi east to Arcos de la Frontera (alt. 187m/614ft). The beautiful old town, arranged in a semi-circle high above the Río Guadalete, has been declared a national monument. It has a number of fortified mansions and two fine churches. Santa María, in the Plaza de España and San Pedro, situated above a steep drop, which preserves two Arab banners, relics of the days when the town was on the frontier between Christian Spain and the territories still held by the Moors.

Medina Sidonia

Medina Sidonia 0465
36km/22mi south of Arcos de la Frontera, situated on a hill (300m/985ft), is Medina Sidonia, a Phoenician foundation which later became the seat of the Dukes of Medina Sidonia. Its main features of interest are the Gothic church of Santa María de la Coronada, which has a Plateresque retablo; the Town Hall, with a tiled staircase; the Torre de Doña Blanca in the ruins of the castle; and remains of town walls.

Alcala de los Gazules

Around Alcalá de los Gazules, 25km/15mi east of Medina Sidonia, are a number of caves with prehistoric drawings and paintings.

Along the Costa de la Luz to Tarifa

Vejer de la FronteraVejer de la Frontera View slideshow

San Fernando

The long straggling port town of San Fernando (alt. 20m/65ft), the chief place in the Isla de León, 18km/11mi south of Cádiz, was established in the 18th century on a kind of rocky island in the salt marshes from which salt was already being won in Roman times. During the Spanish war of liberation San Fernando was the last refuge of the Cortes. It now has a considerable shipbuilding industry. In the Panteón de los Marinos Ilustres are 52 monuments commemorating famous seamen.

Chiclana de la Frontera

Chiclana de la Frontera 0464
The Puente Zuazo, a bridge which is probably of Roman origin, crosses the salt-pans of Caño de la Carraca, linking San Fernando with Chiclana de la Frontera (alt. 17m/56ft), which with its light-colored houses and mosque-like church of San Juan Bautista has an almost Moorish aspect. The town is noted for the manufacture of dolls. On the Canal de Sancti Petri is the popular beach of La Barrosa.

Sancti Petri

Sancti Petri 0466
Offshore from Chiclana de la Frontera is the island of Sancti Petri, with the remains of a famous Greek temple of Hercules, thought to have been the successor to a Phoenician temple of Melkart.

Conil de la Frontera

Conil de la Frontera 0497
A short distance south of Sancti Petri is Conil de la Frontera, with a beautiful beach and a ruined Arab castle, the Torre de Guzmán, built on Roman foundations.

Vejer de la Frontera

Vejer de la Frontera 0470
Picturesquely situated high above the Río Barbates is the old fortified town of Vejer de la Frontera (alt. 218m/715ft), one of the most beautiful of the "white villages" of Andalusia. Six centuries of Arab rule have left their mark on the town, whose charm is enhanced by the large numbers of storks which nest here.
Vejer de la Frontera is also a Historic-Artistic Site.

Cape Trafalgar

Cape Trafalgar 0415
14km/9mi southwest of Vejer de la Frontera is Cape Trafalgar, known to the Romans as Promontorium Junonis and to the Moors as Tarif al-Ghar (''Cape of the Caves''), off which Nelson won his famous victory over a French and Spanish fleet commanded by Admirals Villeneuve and Gravina on October 21, 1805. Although Nelson was killed in the battle, Villeneuve was also fatally wounded and Gravina was taken prisoner.

Los Canos

2km/1.25mi east of the lighthouse on Cape Trafalgar is the village of Los Caños, with a long sandy beach.

Tarifa

Beach at Tarifa.
After crossing the Río Barbates the road passes through the Sierra del Niño and 50km/31mi from Vejer de la Frontera reaches Tarifa (alt. 8m/25ft), the most southerly town in Spain. Thanks to the town's strategic situation on the Straits of Gibraltar, its possession was often hotly contested in the course of its history. There was a settlement here in Iberian and Phoenician times, and the town was known to the Romans as Julia Traducta. The Visigoths embarked here in A.D. 429 for the conquest of the Roman province of Africa. Possession of the town was particularly important to the Arabs and it was fortified by Tarif ben Malik. Tarifa is now a fishing port with a considerable foodstuffs industry. Europe's largest wind power station (250 towers 30MW capacity) has been operational here since 1993).

Castillo de Guzmán el Bueno

Castillo de Guzman el Bueno 0535
Tarifa's old Moorish castle, the Castillo de Guzmán el Bueno, was built in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 13th. Its name commemorates Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, commandant of the fortress after its capture by Christian forces in 1292. The Moors at once laid siege to the castle and took the commandant's nine-year-old son as a hostage, threatening to murder him unless Guzmán surrendered the castle. Legend has it that Guzmán threw his dagger to the Moors, saying that if they had no other weapon they should use it to kill his son. The niche in the walls where this is supposed to have taken place is still shown to visitors. From the castle there is a fine view of the Straits of Gibraltar.

Surfing

Wind surfers at Tarifa.
With its favorable wind conditions at this meeting-place of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the sea off Tarifa is one of the best wind-surfing areas in Europe.

Punta Marroquí

Tarifa lies just north of the most southerly point in the European mainland, Punta Marroquí or Punta de Tarifa. From here, at the narrowest point on the Straits of Gibraltar, it is possible, in clear weather, to see the African coast and the Moroccan coastal hills, 13.4km/8.5mi away.

Bolonia

Bolonia 0445
15km/9mi northwest of Tarifa on N 340, a side road on the left (signposted to Playa de Bolonia) leads to Bolonia, where the remains of the Roman settlement of Belonia Claudia, founded in 171 B.C., were discovered and excavated by French archeologists in 1917-22. The town, which remained in existence for 700 years, was surrounded by a 4m/13ft high wall and gained its subsistence from fishing. Excavation has brought to light the forum, with a semicircular fountain and three temples of the first century A.D., and remains of baths and a theatre of the same period.

Puerto del Cabrito

From Tarifa N 340 climbs, with gradients of up to 12 degrees, to the Puerto del Cabrito (340m/1,116ft), in the rocky Sierra del Algarrobo.

View of Africa

From Puerto del Cabrito there is a magnificent view over the straits to Africa. The road then continues over the Puerto del Bujeo (320m/1050ft) to Algeciras.

Sightseeing Nearby:

More on PlanetWare