ABOVE: The Plaza de la Catedral is filled with people, restaurants, and cafés. INSET BELOW: The Cathedral's tiled dome, the Plaza de San Antonio, a streetlamp near the oceanfront, and the Caleta beach.
Cádiz is a daytripper's paradise, because nearly everything of historic or cultural interest is within the city center. From the railroad station or cruise port, you can easily walk to sites such as the Cádiz Cathedral (sometimes referred to as the "New Cathedral," to distinguish it from the old Cathedral, the Church of Santa Cruz.)
Allow time to enjoy views from the Cathedal's Poniente Tower, where you ascend to the top via wide ramps that aren't nearly as claustrophobic as the fan-shaped steps in many cathedrals. (Admission to the Cathedral's interior and the Cathedral Museum requires a separate fee.)
Nearby are the Roman Theatre, which was discovered and excavated after a fire in 1980, and the Phoenecian and Roman Archæological Site at the Bishop's House. Another popular sight is the Tavira Tower, a remnant of the more than 160 towers that merchants once used to watch for arriving ships. You can climb to the top and visit the Camera Obscura, which offers a unique view of the city.
Other popular sights in the medieval center include the 17th Century Admiral's House or Casa de Almirante (which you can view from the outside), the Museum of Cádiz, the free Courts Museum with its 18th Century model of Cádiz, and the Plaza de San Antonio (inset photo), which was the city's main square in the 1800s. The Mercado Central, or central market, is worth visiting if you enjoy shopping and don't mind crowds.
It's almost impossible to miss the castles and fortresses along the seawalls that protect the city center. One--the Castillo de Santa Catarina--has been turned into an exhibition space; it also offers nice views of the Playa de la Caleta beach (see photo and description below).
Another fortress, the Castillo de San Sebastián, is at the end of a long spit just below the Caleta beach. You can't enter the fortress, but the walk out to the Castillo is pleasant with its views of the fortress, the coastline, and bathers or anglers on the rocks.
The Playa de la Victoria, said to be one of the best beaches in Spain, is the modern resort district outside of the city center.
Fortunately, there's no need to walk or ride that far: The Playa de la Caleta (inset photo) is conveniently located next to the Castillo de Santa Catarina at the northwest corner of the city center. Admission to the beach is free.
For more information on the city's playas, see WhatCadiz.com's Beaches page.
Cádiz has a number of waterfront parks and promenades, some with cafés or restaurants. They're easy to find by walking along the oceanfront or by consulting the free city map from the Cádiz Tourist Office.
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