Cadiz Holiday Guide

Cadiz holidays in the ancient port city in south west Spain


Olvera - Cadiz

The historic city and region of Cadiz

Cadiz is among the oldest settlements in Spain, founded about 1100 BC by the Phoenicians and one of the country’s principal ports ever since. Its greatest period, however, and the era from which the central part of town takes most of its present appearance, was the eighteenth century. Then, with the silting up of the river to Seville, the port enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the Spanish-American trade in gold and silver.

The wealth created by this lucrative trade was put to good use, a stunning cathedral was built and given a golden dome (in colour at least), impressive public halls and offices, and the smaller churches.

Inner Cadiz , built on a peninsula-island, remains much as it must have looked in those days, with its grand open squares, sailors’ alleyways and high, turreted houses.  Literally crumbling from the effect of the sea air on its soft limestone, it has a tremendous atmosphere – slightly seedy, definitely in decline, but still full of mystique.  Its this mix of old meets modern which makes Cadiz holidays unique and endears visitors to the city.

The ancient port city of Cadiz is located on the south western coastline of mainland Spain in the autonomous region or Andalucia. It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Europe with its roots stretching back to the Phoenicians over 3.000 ago.

Cadiz is known as the city of towers and once boasted over a hundred such structures scattered in strategic positions built to help protect the local population. One of these historic towers, the Torre Tavira is still in existence today and is home to one of the earliest known pinhole camera devices. This is where darkened rooms with mirrors project views of the city onto screens.

The inner city, built on a peninsular- island has not changes much over the centuries and is home to large open Plazas, small alleyways and turreted houses and although the city is slightly in decline as far as its overall upkeep it is a city with a well defined culture and atmosphere and definitely worth visiting at any time throughout the year.


5 Facts about the area

  • If you have never been to Cadiz but it looks strangely familiar chances are you have seen the James Bond film Die Another Day where it doubled as Havana!
  • The 10 day party that is the Cadiz festival takes place every February and brings together the most eclectic and crazy collections of fancy dress you will probably ever see in one place.
  •  Cadiz was the victim of many an attack from some of England´s best known marine adventurers and Sir Francis Drake himself made his mark in 1587. He captured and destroyed so many Spanish ships he delayed the famous Spanish Armada by an entire year.
  • Many people think Cadiz has a Mediterranean coastline like the majority of the country but its so far south it actually sits on the Atlantic Ocean.
  •  If you are a lover of Sherry you will be in your element as Cadiz province is home to this world famous fortified wine.



Costa de la Luz

Costa de la Luz



Cadiz is home to some of the finest long sandy beaches in Spain including those located at La Barrosa, Conil, Roche, Zahora, Zahara de las Atunes and Los Canos de Meca. There are some lovely unspoilt areas along the coastline whilst most of the resort areas are relatively small having been regulated to low rise constructions built around the local natural habitat including the ever present pine forests.

From rural tourism to luxury beach side accommodation there is a large amount of  accommodation in Cadiz to suit all tastes and pockets and is certainly a great place for beach loving family holidays. If your prefer exploring cultural Spain then Cadiz will not disappoint you, there is enough historic monuments and areas particular interest here to keep you occupied for weeks.

The province of Cadiz is also home to the Sierra Grazalema, an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is located approximately 1 hour 30 minutes drive from the city and is an exceptionally pretty area of some 50.000 acres where you can explore caves, dozens of limestone cliffs, the Gargante Verde Gorge with its colony of vultures or simply stroll along one of the many prepared foot paths which wind there way through this unique Andalucia habitat.



Spanish Ham

Spanish Ham


Eating Out

Dinning out in Cadiz is a real pleasure, best head over to the Barrio La Vina around the old quarter between the cathedral and the Santa Catalina Castle.  Here you will find a number of bars and restaurants serving authentic Andalucian tapas bars, locally caught fried fish and sea food served with selection of fine local wines and sherries.

Take away fried fish was undoubtedly invented in Cadiz with its many Freidurias ( fried fish shops ), highly recommended is to stroll around the old part of the city with a cartucho ( paper funnel ) of fried fish , an experience every visitor to Cadiz should try.

Another local delicacy is the crispy shrimp omelette, this is made with small sweet locally shrimps folded into a special batter then shallow fried in in flat circles, the result is a flat crispy sea food pancake.


Our recommended pick of dining options include:

Restaurant El Faro De Cadiz

Located in the old quarter this is must place to dine out if your looking for truly authentic cooking using only the best local ingredients including super fresh fish prepared and cooked in some surprising ways.  The restaurant has been lovingly run by the same family since 1964 and their attention to detail is simply outstanding.  Recommended dishes include the  oysters, locally caught white prawns, clams and the hand made seafood meat-balls. Most of the fish such as the many varieties of sea bass is caught a stones throw away from the restaurants and it shows.


Tapas Bar La Candela

This is not your typical tapas bar as the decor is quite upmarket, thankfully the prices are not and the tapas are simply delicious.  They serve a delightful selection of fresh tapas including Salmorejo, cod, prawns and top quality Iberian blackfoot ham which melts in your mouth.


Ultramar y Nos

For something a little different try the fusion cooking at the Restaurant Ultramar Y Nos.  The place has a great atmosphere and serves a selection of unique and interesting dishes to wake up your taste buds.  Recommended plates include the Fresh Tuna Sashimi, Thai fishcakes,  Rockefeller Scallops  the deep fried squid with seaweed salad and the oh so tasty local caught prawns in a curry sauce.



Cadiz regional towns of interest


The town that is the home of sherry, try a tour of one of the many famous Jerez bodegas whilst sampling this famous tippled.


This little known resort is a well kept secret amongst the kite surfing fraternity who really want to keep it for themselves. Hopefully mass tourism will never reach Tarifa as this wonderful town is simply charming just as it is.

Vejer de la Frontera

In a province that has way more than its fair share of white villages, or pueblos blancos, but Vejer de la Frontera is considered to be the most spectacular. Perched up on a hillside its easy to drive straight past it if you don’t look up.



Looking for great place to stay in Cadiz?


Try the Parador de Cadiz a 5* hotel part of the renowned national Parador chain.   And although traditionally Parador hotels are found within old castles, palaces and other historic buildings the Parador de Cadiz is an ultra modern hotel. Stylish decoration and an ideal setting with rooms offering stunning sea views out over the bay of Cadiz.


Mid range:

The  El Armador Casa Palacio is a delightful hotel located in a pedestrianised street in the old quarter.   The restored Andalusian exterior hides a beautifully modern and stylish hotel inside.  The rooms and suites are light, spacious and well equipped offering visitors all the facilities to ensure a perfect stay in Cadiz.  El Armador Casa Palacio makes an ideal bases if you plan to discover  Cadiz with the Gran Teatro Falla and Cadiz Cathedral within walking distance.


Budget accommodation:

For a very good budget option try the Casa Patio del Panadero which is located high in the center of the old quarter close to all the local popular attractions such as the Spa of Nuestra Senora de la Palma y del Real and La Caleta Beach.  The apartments on offer are all very comfortable with private bathrooms and are prefect for family stays. You are spoilt for choice as far as eating out goes with so many of the most poplar eateries located right on your doorstep.