To truly soak up the magic of Cadiz, plan to explore its oldest neighborhood, El Populo. The barrio dates back to the 13th century, and gets its name from an image of the virgin that once stood vigil above one of El Populo’s gates. It read “ora pro populo,” meaning “pray for the village.”
The grand Cadiz Cathedral, which rises high above the city skyline with its golden-hued dome, dominates El Populo. There are other sights to see here, too, such as City Hall, the almost-hidden Roman theater, and a handful of famous arches (or gates), one of which includes the aforementioned Arco del Populo. Perhaps one of El Populo’s most beloved sights, however, is simply its tiny tangle of streets that will have you happily lost, and certainly never far from the sea.
El Populo can be tricky to navigate, so a tour may be wise to maximize your time. Note that there are four guide-yourself, color-lined tours that lead sightseers to some of the city’s biggest sights: The green route covers El Populo, while other routes skirt the district. Stop by the tourism office to get a map.