10 things to do in Cádiz in a day, Spain

10 things to know before you go to Cádiz

10 things to know before you go to Cadiz

10 things to know before you go to Cádiz

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Believed to be the oldest inhabited city in Europe, Cadiz was found as “Gadir” by the Phoenicians in 1,100 BC. The city has a long list of spectacular beaches, and returning visitors marvel at Cadiz’s delicious seafood, marvelous monuments and intriguing museums. Most importantly, amorous visitors are fond of the gaditano (people from Cadiz) and the crazy but fun carnival, whose merry songs will make you wait a long time to leave. Here we discover 10 essential facts about Cadiz.

Cádiz Carnival is second to Rio’s fame

Carnival Cádiz is widely known as a huge street party with eleven days of originality, fun and mass participation. Throughout the year, the city holds its largest carnival celebrations. An unusual dress or costume is a must for the celebration, at least on the first Saturday and during the parades. Carnival has two main parades, El Gran Cabalgata (the Grand Parade) and La Cabalgata del Humor (the Comedy Parade).

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The Cuban Bond.

If you remember the famous James Bond movie “Die Another Day,” Halle Berry’s bikini shots in Cuba were actually shot in Cadiz. La Caleta was the beach used in the movie, and the island with the DNA replacement clinics was actually Castillo San Sebastian. They also digitally removed the castle and turned the city into Havana.

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History of the city’s name

Cadiz is a city with a rich history. The Phoenicians called it ” Gadir “, which means ” fortified fortress “. Meanwhile, the Berbers replaced this word with “agadir” or “walls”. According to Greek legend, Hercules founded the city after the tenth labor and named it ” Gadeir “. The Moors called the city ” Cádiz ” when they ruled for 500 years.

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Cádiz was regularly attacked by English pirates for 200 years

For many of England’s famous maritime adventurers, Cadiz was their favorite city to attack. In 1587, Sir Francis Drake made his mark by destroying and capturing many ships, which delayed the Spanish Armada for a year. Then in 1596, the beloved Queen Elizabeth I, Earl of Essex, burned the city to the ground.

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The oldest city in Western Europe

Founded in 1,100 B.C. by the Phoenicians, Cadiz was the oldest inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in Western Europe. It was occupied by various peoples, including Carthaginians, Visigoths, Romans, and Muslims. Since the accession of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century, Cadiz has been the main home of the Spanish navy.

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Christopher Columbus Seth of Cadiz

Many may not know that the famous Italian explorer Christopher Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain. However, on his second voyage to the New World, he set out from Cadiz on September 24, 1493. Columbus was determined to find a direct route from Europe to Asia when he happened to stumble upon the Americas.

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Lord Byron lived in Cadiz

Lord Byron was one of England’s most famous “Romantic” poets, born in London on January 22, 1788. His major works included the Pilgrimage of Don Juan and Childe-Garold. When Lord Byron was 21, he went to Seville after completing his studies at Cambridge. He left Seville on July 28 that year to go to Cadiz. On the night of the opera in Cadiz, he saw a beautiful girl who later inspired him to write The Girl of Cadiz.

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One of Spain’s finest classical composers was born in Cadiz

One of the most famous musicians of Spain in the first half of the 20th century, Manuel de Falla was born in Cadiz on November 23, 1876. Falla died of cardiac arrest in Alta Gracia (Cordoba, Argentina) on November 14, 1946. His remains were returned to Spain in 1947 and buried in the crypt of the cathedral in Cadiz. The cathedral is worth a visit for its magnificent acoustics.

Cadiz Cathedral, Plaza de la Catedral, 11005 Cadiz, +34 956 28 61 54

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Manuel de Falla Cathedral | © Pedro M. Martínez Corada / WikiComs.

Spain’s most important port

Located in the southwestern corner of the Iberian Peninsula, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Sea, Cadiz became part of an international trade route linking Europe, the Americas and Africa. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, its commercial and geographic conditions increased the value of trade exchanges and shipping tonnage. Cádiz was also the only legal center allowed to administer the Spanish monopoly on trade with the Americas.

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It has more than 100 watchtowers

Cádiz is widely known for its watchtowers. They are silent witnesses to the prosperity and trade that occurred in the city in the 18th century. Tavira Tower is now the official watchtower of Cadiz because of the fact that it was the highest point in the city at 45 meters above sea level, as well as the fact that it is located in the center of the city.

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Tavira Tower, Calle Marque del Real Tesoro, 10, 11001 Cadiz, +34956 21 29 10

What can I see in Cadiz in one day?

What can you see in Cadiz in just one day? I understand that the city is interesting and one day is not enough, but circumstances are such that we cannot spare more time.

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Cadiz will make an unforgettable impression on you, especially considering the fact that this city claims to be the oldest city in Europe. Now of course it looks quite modern, but still the spirit of antiquity is present.

In order to cover all the attractions of the city one day will not be enough, but even in such a short time you can get acquainted with the main sights of the city. Among them is the Cathedral, also called the New Cathedral because it was built on the site of the Old Cathedral. The old cathedral burned down in the late 16th century during an attack on the city by the English fleet and the new cathedral was built only in the early 18th century. The construction lasted more than 100 years and that is why the cathedral combines elements of different architectural styles. Today it is one of the city’s calling cards, its dome can be seen from various parts of the city.

The next attraction that no tourist who comes to the city passes by is San Juan de Dios Square, which is the main square of the city. The construction of this square began as early as the 15th century, in a place where there was once a sea. Probably the most important building on this square is the town hall, which was built in two phases and therefore looks even more beautiful. Today the square is the beginning of many sightseeing routes in the city, including the road to the Old Town.

In the western part of the city there is the fortress of San Sebastian, which is the custodian of a turbulent, rich and at the same time very interesting history of the city. The construction of the fortress on the island dates back to 1706 and its main task was to protect the approaches to the city from the north. You can reach the fortress by the sand spit; it connects the island to the city.

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One of the highlights of the Old Town is the Gran Teatro Falla (Grand Theatre of Cadiz). It began to be built back in 1884 on the foundations of an older theater. The theater is distinguished by its beautiful facade and original combination of yellow and red colors. The local theater company is considered the best in Spain. But it’s one thing to enjoy the architecture of this building, and quite another to get to a performance, but I suspect that you won’t have time for that.

Among the tourists who come to the city, one of the most popular entertainment is a bird’s-eye view of the city. Especially for this purpose, the Tavira Tower was built in Cadiz. To be completely objective, this tower was built to observe ships coming from America. Today the height of the observation deck is 45 meters. From this height you can see the old city as if in the palm of your hand.

The Museum of Cadiz is famous for its interesting collection of paintings and ancient artifacts. Of particular interest is the museum’s first floor, where one can see objects that were once discovered in the Phoenician Necropolis. Here you can see a marble sarcophagus, which dates back to the fifth century BC. The collection of paintings is on the second floor.

Of course, it’s up to you, but if you’re pressed for time, it might be worth considering buying a sightseeing tour of the city.

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You don’t have to worry that you have so little time to see the sights in Cadiz – just one day. But the fact is that almost all of them are in the old town. So you can easily get around them in a day.

You can get to the old town of Cadiz after passing through the mighty Earth Gate, which was in former times an integral part of the fortress wall. They were built in the sixteenth century but didn’t have their present form until the eighteenth.

On the main square you can see the main symbol of Cadiz – the cathedral of Santa Cruz. It took a long time to build – almost a hundred years between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and was built by six different architects. And the architectural style of the cathedral is a mixture of three different directions – the Baroque, Neoclassical and Rococo. And one of the features of this cathedral is that it is built from different materials, that’s why the cathedral building is so colorful.

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Not far from the cathedral you will find a church with exactly the same name. And the thing is that the cathedral was built for a very long time and opened only in 1838, and until then, the church of Santa Cruz served its functions. It is much older than the cathedral, because it was built in the thirteenth century on the site of a mosque. At the end of the sixteenth century, the church was burned by the invaders and was rebuilt only in the seventeenth century. The most remarkable elements inside the church are the altar and the powerful Tuscan columns and arches.

There are some ancient sights in Cadiz – the remains of a Roman theater, which were found here by chance during the dismantling of the industrial building in 1980. It was built on this site in the first century A.D. by Lucius Cornelius Balbus. In terms of its size, this theater is in second place after the Kordoba Theater.

Next you should turn your attention to the very, very smart city hall of Cadiz. You will find it in the Plaza de San Juan de Dios, where a very pleasant atmosphere reigns and there are many great cafés. The town hall is a harmonious blend of two architectural styles: neoclassic and isabelino.

Not far from the Cathedral Square is the very modest-looking Church of the Apostle Santiago. Be sure to look inside for a very spectacular altar, many sculptures of the Virgin Mary, Christ, other saints, and plenty of gilding.

Then you can go to the Museum of Cadiz, where you can admire various objects from archaeological excavations from as far back as the Phoenician period. Also in the museum are both old and modern artists, and on the third floor is a very interesting collection of dolls.

It is also worth visiting the Oratory of Santa Cueva at the end of the eighteenth century. In its Lower Chapel, you can see the amazing sculpture of the crucifix, which inspired the composer Joseph Haydn to create his great work, Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross. And in the upper chapel one must admire the beautiful triptych painted by Goya himself.

Then go to the Plaza de España to admire the majestic monument – the monument to Cortes and the Constitution. It commemorates the centenary of the first European constitution, which was adopted in Cadiz in 1812 by the Twelve Cortes.

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Afterwards, head to the north shoreline. There you will have a pleasant rendezvous with the magnificent gardens of the Alameda Apodaca. A marvelous combination of beautiful green compositions with neat masonry paths, with century-old trees, as well as fountains and ponds simply can not leave you indifferent to such beauty.

Then you should pay attention to the Candelaria Bastion – a very powerful fortification, which looks like the prow of a ship, directed to the endless sea. Here you can admire the stunning views of the bay of Cadiz.

Right on the seashore nestles an extraordinary Genoese park. Strong impression here immediately make a fantastic sheared trees in a variety of forms. In addition to this splendor, all visitors invariably admire the park’s artificial waterfalls, fountains, sculptures of dinosaurs. By the way, the fountains are beautifully illuminated in the evenings.

Walking along the coast, you can’t help but notice the fortress of St. Catalina, a powerful sixteenth-century fortification built in the shape of a star in the bay of the same name. It was intended to protect the city from Anglo-Dutch invasions. Nowadays concerts, exhibitions, master classes, and other cultural events take place on the fort’s territory.

Lastly the asymmetrical fortress of San Sebastian which occupies a small island in the westernmost point of Cadiz is worth seeing. In the middle of the fifteenth century, a group of Venetian navigators miraculously escaped the plague and built a chapel here. And in 1706 a fortress was built on the island. Inside is an electric lighthouse (second highest in Spain) 41 meters high.

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If you have only one day to see Cadiz, you must start at the archaeological museum. There are many museums of this type in Spain and all along the Mediterranean coast, of course, but this one is interesting because it has preserved the sarcophagi of the Phoenicians who founded the city almost 3000 years ago. This is a rare example of traces of the ancient Phoenicians on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is certainly worth visiting the cathedral and the observation deck near the tower, as well as the walls of the 16th century fortress.

It is also worth stopping by Henoves Park, for example, at sunset and see the ruins of the Roman theater near the station. If you move your feet quickly, even on a hot summer day, it’s realistic to catch the entire historic center of Cadiz.

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