A weekend in Cádiz
If you don’t know the city, and you’d like to know what you can do in Cádiz in a weekend, the best plan is to let yourself be swept along by the tide of visitors and Cádiz residents making their way around the city at practically any time of the day and well into the night.
But if you prefer not to leave anything to chance, the itinerary for a weekend in Cádiz that we recommend here includes some of the city’s highlights: its cultural aspects, historic monuments, food and leisure activities.
Our itinerary begins close to the city’s harbour, where ancient Gadir was founded by the Phoenicians, and continues as far as La Victoria beach. Of course, we will be stopping off at some of the city’s best restaurants, bars and nightspots. In these, you will enjoy the best that a weekend in Cádiz can offer: the city’s hospitality and its readiness to chat and have fun—characteristics that define the personality of the majority of its people.
Itinerary day 1
Plaza de España
This isn’t the city’s busiest square. Located close to the port, it is home to one its most spectacular monuments, honouring the 1812 Constitution of Cádiz. This group of sculptures was unveiled to mark the 100th anniversary of the promulgation of Spain’s first magna carta (1912).
Rincón Gastronómico [Gourmet Corner]
There’s no better way to kick off your culinary route around Cádiz than by heading to the Central Market. The Rincón Gastronómico has been housed in one of its wings since 2009, with dozens of different stalls where you can purchase a wide range of local products and dishes, or eat them then and there. Highlights include cured meats and cheeses from the mountains of Huelva and Grazalema.
Dinner at Café Royalty
It looks old, perhaps the oldest in the city, but this isn’t the case. Despite its style and decoration, the Café Royalty was only opened in the Plaza de la Candelaria a few years ago. Previously, a DIY shop had stood in its place for several decades. Today, it offers one of the best international haute cuisine menus in the capital of the province.
Itinerary day 2
Built between 1884 and 1905 by the architects Adolfo Morales de los Ríos and Adolfo del Castillo, this is the city’s largest theatre. Every Cádiz local knows this venue because it holds the Carnival Music Group Competition. It is also well known because of the sheer beauty of the building, constructed in a neo-Mudéjar style using red bricks of various shades.
Playa de la Caleta
La Caleta isn’t just the city’s most popular beach. It is also a true spectacle. First, for its location, flanked by the castles of San Sebastián and Santa Catalina. Second, for the events held on the beach during the summer, when residents of the La Viña neighbourhood use it as the epicentre of their social occasions.
The castles of San Sebastián and Santa Catalina
For many centuries, both castles formed part of the defence system conceived to contain incursions from foreign countries who were trying to conquer the city. You can only visit the outside of the Castillo de San Sebastián, as this castle continues to be used for military purposes. You can visit all areas of the Castillo de Santa Catalina, however, including its bailey and various living quarters.
El Faro Restaurant
By eating in El Faro—whether at the bar or in the dining room—you can enjoy the best of traditional Cádiz cuisine as you soak up the wonderful atmosphere created by the restaurant’s “old school” waiters and regular customers. We recommend trying the fish (served in many different forms) and the seafood stews.
There’s no better vantage point in Cádiz than the Torre Tavira and its famous camera obscura. This system of mirrors concentrates the entire city into a concave screen, projecting the life of the city’s residents and tourists in real time. Meanwhile, the explanations given by the tour guides reveal numerous secrets about Cádiz and its history.
The Museum of the Cádiz Parliament
Annexed to the Chapel of San Felipe Neri, this exhibition space highlights the importance of the Cádiz Parliament in the development of parliamentarianism; not just in Spain, but throughout Latin America. Here, you will also find a spectacular, late-eighteenth-century scale model of Cádiz, crafted in mahogany and marble by the military engineer Alfonso Jiménez.
Dinner at Salicornia
Haute cuisine, high quality dishes, seasonal ingredients and huge amounts of creativity. You can find all this in one of the most ‘foody’ streets of Cádiz’s old town: Calle Plocia. It is run by Juan Höhr, who was a biologist before he became a cook. You might be lucky enough to receive an explanation for certain combinations of ingredients which, at first, you might find surprising to say the least, but which you will end up loving.
Plaza de San Francisco
Cádiz boasts several bar areas. This is one of the most atmospheric areas of the historic quarter, where many locals come to have dinner on its various terraces. It is also home to bars such as O’Connell’s (an Irish bar), Medussa Music Bar (located on Calle Beato Diego de Cádiz) and Rollin’Rock Pub (on Calle Isabel la Católica).
Itinerary day 3
Cádiz’s Roman Theatre
Despite the fact that it can’t be seen in its entirety—because there are various structures built upon it—you are able to pick out what was one of the largest Roman theatres built in the Iberian Peninsula. It was built in the first century BC, and wasn’t discovered until 1980.
If one monument is to catch your attention in Cádiz, it is undoubtedly the Catedral Nueva [New Cathedral]. The city’s largest place of worship is found in a privileged location, set within a large square from which you can appreciate the entire main façade and its iconic golden dome. The first bricks were laid in the mid-eighteenth century, before finally being completed in the nineteenth century.
Plaza de Mina
It could be argued that this is Cádiz’s Main Square, at least in the quintessentially Spanish sense of being the city’s main meeting point. The area currently comprised by the square was previously, until 1838, the vegetable garden of the Convento de San Francisco, which no longer exists. It is packed with terraces and several historic trees. It is also home to the Cádiz Museum.
Come enjoy gourmet-style tapas at this laid-back, contemporary restaurant. The exquisite oxtail parmentier with foie and the savoury smoked sardine tosta with Arzúa cheese and tomato marmalade are just two examples of the delicacies prepared here. Wine aficionados will be delighted at the wine list – it boasts a wonderful selection of Spanish wines.
La Victoria Beach
There’s no better afternoon plan in Cádiz than taking a (gentle) stroll along its seafront promenade, running parallel to the 3-kilometre La Victoria beach. If the weather is suitable, you could replace this stroll with an afternoon of sunbathing and swimming in the sea.
Enjoy the sunset from La Calle del Libre Albedrío
La Calle del Libre Albedrío isn’t a public-access street; rather, it is a bar overlooking La Victoria beach. Thanks to the huge glass windows that enclose its terrace, you can enjoy the views of the sun going down over the Atlantic in all weather conditions. The bar’s menu comprises an impressive range of cocktails and distilled spirits from Spain and further afield.
If you’re looking for a break from the local cuisine that is served in the majority of Cádiz restaurants, why not try Basque cuisine? The Restaurante Atxuri uses the finest local ingredients in a culinary fusion that is as delicious as it is convincing.
El Teniente Seblón
To finish up, you’ve got to go back to the start. In Cádiz, this means paying a visit to the El Pópulo neighbourhood, which is considered the oldest district in Western Europe, dating back to the Phoenician era. This is the perfect spot for a glass of wine or a beer in one of its many bars and terraces, such as El Teniente Seblón (Posadilla, 4).