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Cadiz tour of the sights in the old town –

You can easily discover the most important sights in Cadiz on a walking tour. Phoenicians, Romans and Moors have influenced the small port city in Andalusia. Conquerors came and went. It has never lost its charm. Narrow streets, pretty squares and Andalusian houses characterize the historic old town. The landmark, the cathedral, attracts from afar to a visit.

Already during our first stay, my husband and I fell in love with the city. We were traveling by train at the time, traveling there from Jerez de la Frontera. This time we traveled by sea across the Atlantic. We hope that the windy and rainy weather will improve during the day.

Oldest port city in Europe

Cádiz is considered the oldest port city in Europe. It was founded by the Phoenicians already in the 11th century. The Phoenicians were seafarers and traders. They came from Tyros, which is today in Lebanon. A Phoenician fleet discovered a group of islands and founded a trading center. Cadiz was not connected to the mainland at that time. The name of the city derives from Gadir (Latin Gades), which means fortified city. The fortress of Cádiz was an important military post and goods transshipment point at that time.

Other sources refer to Cadiz as the oldest city in Western Europe. It was built by Hercules (Heracles in Greek) himself. The Greek strongman was admitted to Olympus by the gods themselves. His ashes are said to have been kept in a temple at that time. Today’s city coat of arms refers to Heracles as the founder and ruler.

The sights of Cádiz

The cathedral in the old town, the Tavira Tower with the Camera Obscura, Moorish houses and doors, a Roman theater – Cadiz has a lot to offer. I would like to take you on a little tour.

The old town

The old town is located at the extreme tip of the peninsula that connects Cadiz to the mainland. It is divided into the districts of El Pópulo, La Vina and Santa Maria. You can explore the old town very well on foot. You walk through narrow streets with historical buildings and over small squares.

The old town of Cadiz

Keep your eyes open in the old town. You will find Moorish house entrances, beautifully carved gates or oriental door knockers, which date back to the time of the Moors.

Moorish house entrance

The Plaza de San Juan de Dios

Our tour begins at the Plaza de San Juan de Dios. The 16th century plaza was located at the harbor outside the city gates. Exotic goods from all over the world used to land here. The square is surrounded by the church of the same name and the town hall of the city.

Cadiz, the Plaza de San Juan de Dios with the town hall

We walk through the district of El Pópulo. Via the narrow Calle Pelota we reach the Plaza de la Catedral.

The Cathedral of Cádiz

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross over the Sea (Santa Cruz sobre el Mar or Catedral Nueva) towers over the city with its white towers. Its round dome was decorated with yellow tiles that shine almost golden in the sun. The facade is made of sandstone. The church was built between 1722 and 1838. During these 116 years architects and architectural styles changed, so that it vocated in the Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical styles.

The Cathedral of Cadiz

The New Cathedral is a very good landmark, since its luminous dome can be seen from many places in the city. The Spanish composer Manuel de Falla found his last resting place in the crypt. The Poniente, or west tower of the cathedral can be climbed. From the top you can enjoy a great view with a wide view over the houses of the city and the sea. Attached to the cathedral is the Museo de Catedral.

Address: Catedral de Cádiz, Plaza de la Catedral, 11005 Cádiz
Admission: 6 euros including sacristy and clock tower
Open: Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Relaxing with a view of the cathedral

The Plaza de Catedral has a few restaurants, an ice cream store and cafes for relaxing with a view of the magnificent cathedral. Really busy was Casa Hidalogo, a pastry shop (Pasteleria y Bolleria) where we treated ourselves to some delicious baked goods. It was really hard for us to choose, everything looks so good. The café is also popular with locals.

Cafés and restaurants in front of the cathedral

The Arco de la Rosa

The Arco de la Rosa Cadiz

Cadiz still has a few historic city gates. The Arco de la Rosa on the left side of the cathedral is part of the old city wall of Cadiz. The gate connects the square with the old quarter of El Pópulo. The old stones on the ground are said to be former balast stones used by the ships in the past.

We walk through the small alley. At the small Plazuela de San Martin, we turn right, where we discover a whimsical, tiny alley.

The Callejón del Duende

What is it about the Callejón del Duende, translated alley of the leprechaun? We see a small rock garden with shells, small mice, lizards and turtles dressed in the colors yellow-blue. A barred gate closes the alley, so we can only look inside.

Callejón del Duende, Cádiz

A story says that the tiny alley was once used by smugglers. The most famous of them was called Duende. One of the smugglers fell in love with a woman from Cadiz during the attack of the French. Both hid in the alley, but were discovered. The soldier was killed and the woman died. According to the legend, you can still see both of them sitting in love in the alley now and then.

Sign above the entrance of the small alleyway

Arco de los Blancos

Another historic city gate, the Arco de los Blancos, leads us to the Calle San Juan de Dios. The gate is part of the old city wall. We walk through the gate and turn to the right to shortly after encounter finds from the Roman period, the Roman Theater.

The Roman Theater

During excavations behind the cathedral in 1980, remains of a Roman theater (Theatrum Balbi) were discovered. The theater was built in the 1st century BC under the governor Babus Minor. 10,000 visitors could be seated in it. The Roman theater of Cadiz is the oldest in Spain. Behind the theater we turn right again to reach the cathedral square.

Cadiz view from the Roman theater

Address: Roman Thea

ter, Calle Méson 11 -13
Admission: Free
Open: Monday to Saturday 10am – 4:30pm

The Plaza de las Flores

We stroll down Calle Compania and reach a small square. Plaza de las Flores is surrounded by flower stalls and small street vendors selling all sorts of things. The official name of the street is Plaza de Topete.

Cadiz Plaza de las Flores

If you turn left in front of the big main post office from 1930, you will come to the Mercado Central, the big market hall of the city. You will find all the products that the Spanish cuisine has to offer.

Cadiz Main Post Office

Via the Plaza de la Libertad and the Calle Sacramento we reach the Torre Tavira

. The Torre

Tavira

The Torre Tavira is the highest point of the city, 45 meters above sea level. The 18th century tower served as a watchtower. From its observation terrace, the Mirador, you have a unique view of Cadiz and the bay.

In the 18th century Cadiz got the monopoly for sea trade with Latin America. The city was full of merchants who provided their houses with a watchtower. From the watchtowers, the merchants watched the arrival of their ships that brought valuable cargo to the country. The first guard of this tower, was Antonio Tavira, after whom the tower was named.

Today we can watch the events around the tower with the first camera obscura in Spain. It was installed in the Torre Tavira in December 1994. Two exhibition halls tell the story of the city in the 18th century and the camera obscura.

Address: Calle Marqués del Real Tesoro, 10
Open: May – September 10am to 8pm, October – April 10am to 6pm
Important: To visit Torre Tavira, you must book in advance and make an appointment.

The doors and knockers of Cadiz

It’s drizzling again. Armed with my umbrella, I wander through the narrow streets of the city. As I do so, my eyes fall on the many neat wooden doors of the old town, which are adorned with door knockers in the shape of a hand. I know them so far as the Hand of Fatima from Arab countries.

Filigree door knocker Door knocker as a hand

The door knockers replace the door

bell.

They go back to the time when Spain was occupied by the Moors. Especially in Andalusia, the lucky charms are popular. They are supposed to protect the house from intruders.

Fatima’s hand as a door knocker

The Plaza de Candelaria

The small square is a green oasis that, if it weren’t raining so hard, would be perfect for relaxing. Various palm trees, orange trees as well as a dragon tree provide shade. All paths lead to the center of the square, where the statue of Emilio Castellar stands. The last president of the First Republic was born in one of the houses that surround the square.

Plaza de Candelaria in Cadiz

From Plaza de Candelaria it is not far to Plaza de San Juan de Dios and the port

.

Where is Cadiz located?

Cadiz is located in Andalusia, in the extreme southwest of Spain. The picturesque old town is located on a peninsula almost completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Only a narrow headland connects it to the mainland. It is the capital of the province of the same name, Cadiz. The nearest airports are Jerez de la Frontera (35

kilometers) and Seville (120 kilometers). Africa is only 14 kilometers away. There is a good rail connection from Cadiz to Seville and Madrid via Jerez.

The port of Cádiz

The seaport of Cádiz has existed since ancient times. Besides cargo ships, cruise ships also like to dock at the port of Cádiz. Ferry connections are offered to Arrecife on Lanzarote, Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de la Palma as well as Santa Cruz de Teneriffe. Further connections exist with Puerto del Rosario.

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