What to see in Cádiz in two days
Cádiz is mainland Spain’s southernmost provincial capital. Bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, and almost surrounded by it, this city it is the perfect spot for enjoying the benefits of the sea.
A two-day visit will give you the opportunity to explore the highlights of Cádiz’s 3,000-year history in museums such as the Museum of the Cádiz Parliament. But you can also enjoy the city’s cuisine in a few of its most outstanding and in some of its most authentic, traditional establishments.
And of course, you will have time to visit the most important historic monuments, such as the Cathedral and the group of sculptures known as ‘La Pepa’, honouring the Constitution of Cádiz, in the Plaza de España. There are also the castles of San Sebastián and Santa Catalina, once a vital defence for the city against repeated attempts at invasion down the centuries.
To complete this two-day Cádiz itinerary, what could be better than a lengthy stroll along what is probably the area’s finest beach: La Victoria? There, you can enjoy watching a splendid sunset over the city, with the dome of the cathedral standing out against the urban landscape.
And finally, you could have dinner in one of the restaurants to be found along the Paseo Marítimo [seaside promenade], with some, such as Arsenio Manila, offering imaginative cuisine and a mouthwatering menu.
Itinerary day 1
The national assembly sessions were held in Cádiz during much of the Peninsular War (1808-1812), during which time the first Spanish Constitution was drafted. The constitutional text was written in the Chapel of San Felipe Neri. Nowadays, both the chapel and the annexed building form part of the Museum of the Cádiz Parliament: a must-visit if you’re seeking a greater understanding of parliamentarianism in Spain and Latin America.
The Cádiz cathedral was constructed between the Baroque and neo-Classical periods. This shines through in its detailed façade, inside the temple itself and in its towers (by climbing to the top of the clock tower, you will be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views). Nearby is the Church of Santa Cruz, which was the seat of the Cathedral Chapter until 1838.
Cádiz already existed as a stable settlement in the ninth century BC. We’re aware of this thanks to the findings uncovered at the Gadir archaeological site, which lies underneath the Teatro del Títere. A tour around this archaeological site is hugely entertaining, with an audiovisual guide in the form of a detective film and a surprise at the end.
For the last 64 years, this restaurant has been doing what it knows best: serving sublime Cádiz cuisine involving the highest quality, locally sourced ingredients. It’s also a fantastic dinner option. We recommend booking in advance. You simply must try some of its classic dishes, such as fish meatballs cooked in fine sherry wine.
Nearby is Playa de la Caleta: a popular beach with a strong Cádiz accent. If it’s good weather, a dip in the sea is always a good idea. If you prefer to stay on the sand, however, you can sit back and enjoy the relaxing views out to sea. The Genovés Park, created during the late-nineteenth-century reconstruction of former military ground, is only a short walk from the beach.
The Playa de la Caleta is flanked by these two fortresses. The first is still used for military purposes. As such, visitors can only reach as far as the portico, which is accessed by crossing a long breakwater. The Castillo de Santa Catalina, meanwhile, which dates back to the late sixteenth century, is open to the public. It is currently used to host cultural events and exhibitions.
Come enjoy a unique culinary experience in an interior suffused with classical 19 th -century design. With a focus on international haute cuisine, this restaurant has done an excellent job of adding modern touches to their dishes.
Itinerary day 2
A great way to start your day in Cádiz is by taking a look around the Central Market. Before entering, we recommend sampling the churros at La Chata: an old stall which stands beside the main entrance to the market. A stroll around the market’s many stalls comprises a real spectacle for the sight and scent. It’s also an opportunity to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere fostered between market sellers and shoppers.
The tribute to the Constitution and the Parliament of Cádiz—the city’s main historical landmark in the modern era—is not limited to the museum that we recommended for the first day of your trip. There is also an enormous monument in the middle of Cádiz’s Plaza de España. Erected in the early twentieth century, the monument was created by the architect Modesto López Otero and the sculptor Aniceto Marinas.
The El Pópulo neighbourhood is considered to be the oldest in Europe. It might be hard to believe, but this neighbourhood was the port area of Phoenician Cádiz (named Gadir back in the ninth century BC). The edge of this neighbourhood is marked by the three open arches of the eighth-century medieval wall, which has now all but disappeared. The El Pópulo neighbourhood is also home to the Cádiz Roman Theatre.
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.
Almost three kilometres long, the Playa de la Victoria is Cádiz’s longest urban beach. The seafront promenade runs parallel to the beach, giving locals and visitors the chance to enjoy the wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean whatever the weather. You could walk along the promenade and keep your feet dry, or feel the waves caress your toes as you walk along the shore: both are perfectly valid options.
The seafront promenade running parallel to La Victoria beach is home to a handful of establishments where you can have lunch, dinner or watch the sun go down over the ocean—whether inside or outside on a terrace—as you sip on a delicious coffee or aperitif. One of the most picturesque restaurants is La Calle del Libre Albedrío, with huge glass windows that look out to sea.
This restaurant is certainly one of the most original establishments in the area, which locals refer to as “de Puertas de Tierra para afuera” [from the Puertas de Tierra outwards]. In other words, the city that grew in the post-war era (1939-1959). Their dishes are as original (and delicious) as the decoration inside the restaurant, which has colonial, maritime and rustic features.