I spent six months going to Cadiz every week day to attend a language school called Spanish In Cadiz. Most days I took my bike from Puerto, which means I have biked and strolled all around Cadiz from past the Puerta de la Tierra to La Caleta and Park Genovese in search of great eats, drinks and cool shops. Since my love affair with this city started long ago, this post will be long, sorry I am not sorry, because this city is phenomenal. I’ll give you a highlight walk and then on to my favorite spots.
If you are taking the ferry from Rota or Puerto to pass the day in Cadiz, head right once you are out of the port gate and walk to the second cross walk. You will find yourself staring at Plaza de San Juan Dios. If it is early in the morning, grab some java from Top Coffee Shop, on Calle Lázaro Dou 1, they serve American sized coffee at reasonable prices in a variety of flavors like vanilla, mocha, cinnamon, etc. Now that you got your fix, head to the the new cathedral via calle Pelota (at the end of the plaza past the town hall).
Marvel at the massive size of the baroque styled cathedral and climb the tower for awe inspiring views of Cadiz. Go to the crypt if you feel the need to see graves of two famous Gaditanos: Manuel de Falla and José María Pemánid. This cathedral took a century to build.
Once you are finished with the cathedral, walk up the mini-hill to overlook the Atlantic Ocean and try not to let your jaw drop while you see why Cadiz is similar to Cuba with bright colored homes and the beckoning ocean. Continue following the sea until you see the sign for the Mercado (market) and take that street down to the famous food frenzy. In the market you will find fresh meats, seafoods, fruits and veggies to buy but you can also taste local artisan’s sushi (gadisushi), beer, wine and empanadas to name a few of the the stalls that open around 10am. This market was built in 1838 and is still hopping today.
From the market meander south west until you come to a beautiful beach called la caleta that is strategically positioned between two castles: Castle San Sebastian on your left and Castle Santa Catalina on your right. You can enter Santa Catalina but San Sebastian is closed. When it is sunny you will find people scattered on the road out to San Sebastian or sunbathing on the rocks below during low tide. If you are lucky, you will discover artists creating sand castles after the entrance into San Sebastian, which is also home to Cadiz’s famous flamenco joint La Peña Flamenca Juanito Villar.
After the beach, stroll pass parque genovese and take a right to peak into some of Cadiz’ most famous plazas. You will come across Plaza San Antonio first, then Plaza Mina, which has free wifi spots and then make your way to Plaza San Francisco. Although you have scratched the surface of what Cadiz has to offer, you have seen a good bit, minus the shopping streets of calle ancha and calle columela.
Le Poeme is a french cafe that is family run and delicious. They have great coffee, which is a little pricier than most in Cadiz, but worth it. They have a wide variety of tea too. Don’t forget to grab a pastry, which are drool worthy, located at calle Fabio Rufino 6, by the market.
La Clandestina Cafe is adorable inside and functions as a cafe and library in one. It has a great chill out vibe so if you need a place to rest, go here, calle Jose Del Toro, 23.
Top Coffee Shop makes the best American coffee in a variety of sizes with an abundance of different flavors. You can also select teas or smoothies. This place is almost always packed in the morning on calle Lázaro Dou 1.
Paneria is a cafe that serves coffee but they have muffins, over 20 type of breads and pastries that are mouthwatering. Paneria serves lunch and is open daily from 7am to 9pm on Calle Ancha 23.
Cafe Royalty is the place to brunch in Cadiz. As soon as you walk in you are transferred into another era, back when Cadiz was at the height of it’s splendor in the 18th century. The De la Serna Martin family hand picked artists and restoration professionals to restore the cafe back to it’s original 1912 decor. I don’t want to give away what the brunch entails, but I need you to know, it’s worth it. If you go on Sunday, they don’t open until 12:30. They also have breakfast options (9-noon) if you don’t want to have a feast. Their dinner looks mighty tasty also, so I’ll just have to return! Plaza de la Candelaria
La Candela use to be unknown and the first time I visited this place it was at the bottom of trip advisor, man did that change quick! The restaurant is kitschy and adorable. They have limited tables so reserve before you go, it is well worth the call. Try the steamed pork buns, goat cheese salad, veggie tempura and top it off with cheese cake served in a mason jar or their famous chocolate dessert. Calle Feduchy 3
Balandro is super popular in Cadiz and it is easy to understand why, it has an entire two walls of glass so you can over look the bay of Cadiz. It also has a large shaped U bar and for being pretty swanky, it has great prices. I like the fettuchini with eggplant and Spanish ham. Duck confit is also great. Alameda Apodaca, 22
Cumbres Mayores is where you go here for traditional tapas that will knock your socks off: croquettes, bacon wrapped dates and damn good cheese, all for a great price. Calle Zorilla 4
Barrasiete serves seriously delicious food overlooking the Atlantic ocean. It is far away from downtown but if you can get there, do it. I recommend their bikini de Iberian ham, Havarti cheese and truffle appetizer. The fried tempura was tantalizing also. Avenida Amilcar Barca
La Casa Manteca is a traditional Spanish bar that serves wickedly good traditional tapas on wax paper. The usual bar tender is a real stitch and the place is run by sons of a famous gaditano bull fighter, so expect a typical Spanish style. Calle Corralon de los Carros, 66
La Cueva is vegetarian friendly and has unique dishes for Spain. They have hummus, an eggplant pastel, mushroom coquettes and even a veggie burger, all at reasonable prices, calle Plocia.
La Colonial Alameda Coctel Bar has a beautiful location overlooking the a park with views of Rota and El Puerto. The bartenders are very friendly and the atmosphere is intimate. Grab a drink at the bar or on the patio. Calle Buenos aires 20, por alameda, across from paseo alameda apodaca
During the summer, hit up the many chiringuitos sprinkled along the paseo maritimo, don’t neglect Cadiz’s non-port side, they have great beaches and the best of chiringuitos, playa Santa Maria del Mar.
Chacon is a great little art gallery that also has expeditions of local artists. Calle ancha.
La Merceria is the spot for all your sewing, knitting and crafting needs. Calle San Francisco, 29
El Vestuario Boutique is a place where girls like me can dream, with super modern, sassy yet classy clothing. Go in for a peak, calle Valverde 9.
Pancracio is an adorable little delicatessen chocolate shop that will blow your mind. Impeccable interior. Jose del Toro 2
El Corte Ingles in the new part of Cadiz has a gourmet section that carries ginger bear, speciality sauces, liquors, curries, fine chocolates and other delicacies you have a hard time finding.
Casa Patio del Panadero has an array of different apartments to rent for reasonable prices: 2 people 50 euro, 4 people 110 euro. Calle San José, 39, 11003 Cádiz, España
Loft in Historic Cadiz is ran by Javier, his flat is beautiful and has wifi. Located right next to Plaza San Antonio and a skip away from calle Ancha. His eye for design is impeccable. The only difficult thing is after a night out in Cadiz there are three doors you have to open, thankfully Javier color coded them for you. Calle San Jose Nº. 25 3rd