Cadiz is one of the oldest continuously-occupied cities in Europe dating its origins from around 1000BC when it was settled as a trading post by the Phoenicians. Its location on a peninsula, almost totally surrounded by the sea continues to make it a perfect port city and today it is the main home port of one of the four sectors of the Spanish Navy.
The original walled city was destroyed by Visigoth invaders in the 5th century and rebuilt by the Moors in the 8th century. The historic narrow, winding streets and plazas in the ancient quarters retain this influence, alongside a bustling modern city of wider streets and modern buildings.
A lovely city to explore in itself, Cadiz is often overlooked and used as a gateway to the more glamorous Seville which is home to Alcazar - a 14th century Moorish palace and home to the Spanish royal family when in Seville; home to the third largest cathedral in the world (in Plaza Virgen de los Reyes), and to one of Spain’s best museums, Museo de Bellas Artes.
How to Get to Cadiz
Cruise ships tie up in the commercial port (Puerto Commercial), right in the heart of town. It’s an easy ten minute walk from there, crossing Avenida del Puerto and on into Plaza del San Juan Dias, a huge square from where all the main shopping streets radiate.
One Day in Cadiz
Most people head straight for the train station or onto a bus for the trip to Seville. The station is only about five minute walk from the port entrance and the trip to Seville will take around an hour and three-quarters.
If you choose to stay in Cadiz, there is plenty to explore on foot. Begin by visiting the visitor’s center in the Plaza del San Juan Dias to pick up a free map marking a good walking trail to explore the city’s historic buildings. There is also an open top bus tour called Cadiz Tour which takes about an hour.
Make sure you walk the breakwater which surrounds the city and head up to the 18th century Baroque cathedral where you may be able to climb the tower for a bird’s eye view of the city. Also worth a look is the Fine Art and Archaeology Museum (Plaza de Mina). Cadiz also has good shopping with peak purchases being sherry, handmade ceramics, fans and flamenco outfits.
The main language is Spanish but English is spoken in the tourist shops and restaurants. The currency is the Euro.The port is also known as the port of the Bay of Cadiz.