Last Updated on March 2, 2024

When you first see Cadiz on your cruise itinerary, if you’ve never been there before then you wonder what to expect. Having visited Cadiz six times as a cruise visitor, I can tell you it’s a great place to stop off and there’s plenty to do and see in one day.

Cadiz cruise port guide

Introduction to Cadiz

Cadiz is situated on the southwestern coast of Spain and is a popular cruise port that serves a city that is rich in history and culture.

Some short points of interest:

  • Founded more than 3,000 years ago, Cadiz proudly stands as one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, with a rich maritime heritage that has shaped its character.
  • Known as the “Silver City” for its historical connection to trade and commerce, Cadiz boasts a captivating Old Town, enveloped by centuries-old walls that whisper tales of Phoenician, Roman, and Moorish influences.
  • The strategic location of the Cadiz cruise port makes it a gateway to not only the city’s cultural treasures but also to the broader wonders of Andalusia, including the vibrant cities of Seville and Jerez.

Arriving at the Cruise Port and Getting Around

Cadiz hop on hop off bus
Here I am on the Hop-on Hop-off bus at Cadiz Port

The great news is that you can easily walk from the ship to the old town area where the shops and restaurants are (as detailed in our post on the cruise ports where you do not need to book an excursion).

It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to reach the start of the town center.

Likewise, provided you don’t mind walking for 20 to 25 minutes minutes, then you can also walk up through the town to the beach.

Alternatively, you can very easily jump on the hop-on-hop-off Cadiz bus that stops right outside the cruise port entrance!

The hop-on-hop-off bus takes you alongside the beachfront and past all of the main points of interest, so it’s a great option for visiting Cadiz.

To be honest, though, you can easily save money and just walk everywhere you need to as Valeria and I do, every time we visit Cadiz on a cruise ship.

Top Attractions Near the Cruise Port

Exploring the attractions of Cadiz

Whether you want the beach, some interesting history, scenic views, or shopping, you’ll find all the options here in Cadiz:

1. Cadiz Cathedral

Suggested Duration: Approximately 1-2 hours

  • Marvel at the grandeur of Cadiz Cathedral, a masterpiece of Spanish Baroque architecture.
  • Allocate time to explore its ornate chapels and don’t miss the panoramic views from the cathedral’s towers.
  • Official Cadiz Cathedral website

2. Castillo de San Sebastián

Suggested Duration: Approximately 2 hours

  • Explore the Castillo de San Sebastián, a fortress perched at the water’s edge. Delve into its maritime history and take in breathtaking coastal vistas.
  • Castillo de San Sebastián stands as a historic sentinel in Cadiz, Spain.
  • This fortress, dating back to the 17th century, sits on a small islet connected to the mainland by a causeway.

3. Torre Tavira

Suggested Duration: Approximately 1 to 1.5 hours

  • Visit Torre Tavira, the highest watchtower in the city.
  • Enjoy the unique perspective of Cadiz’s historic skyline through its famous camera obscura.

4. Cadiz Museum

Suggested Duration: Approximately 2 hours

  • Immerse yourself in the city’s rich history at Cadiz Museum. Explore exhibits showcasing artifacts that trace Cadiz’s evolution from ancient times to the present day.
  • Nestled within the heart of Cadiz, the Museum takes you on a journey through the city’s rich tapestry of history, showcasing an impressive collection of artifacts that unveil the centuries-old narrative of this ancient and enchanting Andalusian gem.

5. Plaza de las Flores

Suggested Duration: Flexible (as you could just hang here with a coffee and local dish and people watch or just spend 30 minutes here).

  • A lively square adorned with vibrant flower stalls, Plaza de las Flores is a charming gathering spot where visitors can enjoy the local atmosphere, grab a coffee, and explore nearby shops.

6. Oratorio de San Felipe Neri

Suggested Duration: Approximately 1 hour

  • This Baroque church is renowned for its role in the drafting of the first Spanish constitution in 1812.
  • You can explore its ornate interiors and learn about its historical significance.

7. Mercado Central

Duration: Approximately 1-2 hours

  • Wander through the market, sampling local products
  • Immerse yourself in the local flavors at Cadiz’s central market, where fresh produce, seafood, and traditional Andalusian products create a bustling and vibrant atmosphere.

8. La Caleta Beach

 Puerta de la Caleta, Cádiz
Arch leading towards Puerta de la Caleta, Cádiz

Suggested Duration: Flexible

  • Relax on the beach, or take a nice walk along the shore. There’s a lovely beach that is a mile-plus long.
  • A picturesque urban beach nestled between two castles, La Caleta offers a relaxing escape with golden sands, clear waters, and a backdrop of historic landmarks.

9. Admiral’s House (Casa del Almirante)

Duration: Approximately 1-1.5 hours

  • Explore the historical mansion, including its courtyard and exhibits
  • A well-preserved mansion showcasing 18th-century Cadiz architecture, complete with a beautiful courtyard and historic exhibits.
  • Learn more

10. Naval Museum of Cadiz

Suggested Duration: Approximately 1.5 to 2 hours

  • Explore the Naval Museum of Cadiz, showcasing the city’s maritime history through exhibits on ship models, navigational instruments, and naval artifacts.
  • Note: This is in the San Fernando area of Cadiz so you’d need to use the bus or a taxi as it’s a little too far to walk. It’s a good attraction though.

11. Old Town Markets

Duration: Approximately 1-2 hours

  • Stroll through the bustling markets of the Old Town, such as Mercado Central.
  • Engage with the vibrant atmosphere, savor local flavors, and consider purchasing fresh produce and unique souvenirs.

Outdoors and Walking

Cadiz as a cruise stop off is a fantastic place for walking and being outdoors. The weather most of the year is great. These attractions are great for enjoying the outdoors whilst in Cadiz:

1. Alameda Apodaca (A walk in the park)

Duration: Approximately 1-1.5 hours

  • Take a stroll through Alameda Apodaca, a picturesque park offering greenery, statues, and a tranquil atmosphere. Ideal for a relaxing break or a peaceful morning or afternoon.

2. Cadiz City Walls

Walking past the beach to the historical area
Walking past the beach to the historical area on the City Walls

Suggested Duration: 1-1.5 hours

  • Walk along the ancient city walls for panoramic views of Cadiz and the surrounding sea.
  • This is one of our favorite things to do in Cadiz as it means a nice walk.

3. Genoves Park

Suggested Duration: Approximately 1 to 1.5 hours

  • Experience the tranquility of the park, appreciating its greenery, sculptures, and peaceful surroundings.
  • This lush green space is a serene retreat featuring exotic plants, sculptures, and a pond, providing a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.

4. La Victoria Beach

Suggested Duration: Flexible

  • Relax on the sandy shores of La Victoria Beach, a popular spot for sunbathing and swimming.
  • Very walkable from the cruise port and you can walk the beach or boardwalk.

Day Tours from Cadiz

If you are planning a day trip such as a Jerez wine tour (as detailed below) then your best option IS to do so with your cruise line.

By booking a full-day tour with the cruise line, they will ensure that the ship waits for you (or organize suitable arrangements) if there is an issue with getting back to the ship on time.

1. Seville Day Trip

Expected Duration: Full day

  • Embark on a journey to Seville, a city renowned for its stunning architecture, including the Alcazar and the Cathedral.
  • As mentioned above, for this option you are best off doing it through the cruise line.

2. Jerez Wine Tour

Expected Duration: Half day

  • Discover the sherry-producing region of Jerez.
  • Visit local bodegas, sample exquisite wines, and witness a traditional equestrian show featuring Andalusian horses.

Whether you’re drawn to history, culture, relaxation, or adventure, Cadiz and its surrounding areas offer a captivating blend of opportunities for exploration and discovery.

Shopping and Dining Areas in Cadiz Center

As you venture into the shopping districts of Cadiz, you’ll discover a treasure trove of unique items and locally crafted goods. From traditional souvenirs to modern creations, the city provides a diverse array of shopping opportunities for every taste and interest.

Local products

If you love shopping and buying souvenirs in each port, there are some interesting and unique souvenirs and Local products you can buy in Cadiz.

1. Hand-Painted Ceramics

  • Explore local shops for hand-painted ceramics featuring intricate designs, capturing the essence of Andalusian craftsmanship.

2. Sherry and Local Wines

  • Purchase a bottle of sherry or local wines as a souvenir. Cadiz is known for its excellent wine production, and these make for perfect gifts.

3. Flamenco Attire and Accessories

  • Consider buying flamenco attire or accessories, such as fans and castanets, to take home a piece of the region’s vibrant cultural heritage.

4. Olive Oil Products

  • Look for high-quality olive oil products, including soaps, and beauty items. These represent the rich agricultural traditions of the area.

Shopping Districts and Markets

1. Plaza de las Flores

  • Visit Plaza de las Flores, a lively square surrounded by flower stalls, where you can find local crafts, jewelry, and souvenirs.

2. Mercado Central

  • Explore Mercado Central for food including spices and locally grown fruits.
  • A vibrant market with an easy and pleasant walk-through.

3. Calle Ancha

  • Stroll along Calle Ancha, a bustling street with a mix of boutique shops, fashion outlets, and artisanal stores.

Annual Weather

Cadiz, located in the southwestern part of Spain, experiences a Mediterranean climate characterized by mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.

You can generally enjoy the city’s attractions and outdoor activities throughout different seasons, with the summer months being particularly popular for beachgoers.

  1. Winter (December to February):
    • Temperatures: Winter temperatures in Cadiz range from around 8°C to 16°C (46°F to 61°F). It is the wettest season, with occasional rainfall.
  2. Spring (March to May):
    • Temperatures: Spring starts to see an improvement with temperatures ranging from approximately 11°C to 20°C (52°F to 68°F).
    • Rainfall: Rainfall decreases compared to winter, but occasional showers are still possible.
  3. Summer (June to August):
    • Temperatures: Summer is hot in Cadiz, with temperatures ranging from about 19°C to 28°C (66°F to 82°F) or higher.
    • Rainfall: Summers are generally dry with minimal rainfall.
  4. Autumn (September to November):
    • Temperatures: Autumn brings mild temperatures, ranging from around 14°C to 23°C (57°F to 73°F).
    • Rainfall: Similar to spring, there may be some occasional rainfall, but overall, it is less than during the winter months.

Local Cuisine in Cadiz

Spanish padron green peppers grilled
Make sure to try the Spanish Padron green peppers grilled

Must-Try Local Dishes and Specialties

1. Pescaíto Frito

  • Savor the local specialty of pescaíto frito, a delightful assortment of freshly fried small fish. Enjoy it at beachside chiringuitos or traditional seafood restaurants.

2. Churros with Chocolate

  • Indulge in churros with chocolate, a classic Spanish treat often enjoyed for breakfast or as a sweet snack.

3. Iberian Ham (Jamon Iberico)

  • Experience the richness of Jamon Iberico, a type of cured ham renowned for its exceptional flavor. Pair it with local cheeses and a glass of sherry.

4. Salmorejo

  • Try salmorejo, a cold tomato soup originating from Andalusia. Garnished with hard-boiled eggs and Jamon, it’s a refreshing choice, especially in warmer months.

Recommendations for Dining Near the Cruise Port

1. El Faro

  • Indulge in seafood delights at El Faro, an iconic restaurant with a history dating back to 1836.
  • Expect to see some great views of the Atlantic while savoring local specialties.

2. La Candela

  • Experience the vibrant atmosphere of La Candela, known for its innovative Andalusian dishes.
  • A restaurant we always visit when we can when in Cadiz.

3. Casa Manteca

  • Dive into the local culture at Casa Manteca, a traditional tapas bar where you can sample a variety of Andalusian tapas and enjoy a lively atmosphere.

Dining Tips

  1. Tapas Exploration:
    • Embrace the tapas culture by exploring different establishments and trying a variety of small dishes. It’s a fantastic way to taste the diversity of local flavors.
  2. Local Markets:
    • Mercado Central (as mentioned in the shopping section) is worth a walk-through, particularly for the artisanal products.

Cadiz Cruise FAQs

1. Do I need to book a transfer with the cruise line to get to Cadiz Center?

I wouldn’t bother as you can walk to most things unless you plan to visit Jerez or Sevilla, in which case the best option is to book through your cruise line.

2. What is the currency and will I need any cash?

I have found that in some cruise ports (especially in Italy and Spain) some bars or restaurants only accept cash.

For this reason, I always recommend having at least 50 to 100 Euros in your purse or wallet for shore excursions in the countries.

3. Do I need to tip in bars and restaurants in Cadiz?

Tipping is quite common in restaurants in Cadiz. A service charge may be included in the bill, but leaving a small additional tip is appreciated.

In bars and cafes in Cadiz, locals tend to just leave the change in coins if there are any.

4. What language do they speak?

Spanish is the official language although many of the locals close to the port and central areas have got used to speaking a few words of English because of all of the cruise tourists!

Port Facilities

Amenities Available at the Cruise Terminal

  1. Duty-Free Shopping: Explore the duty-free shops offering a selection of local crafts, souvenirs, and international brands.
  2. Restaurants and Cafes: Indulge in local cuisine or grab a quick snack at the terminal’s eateries, providing a taste of the region’s culinary delights.
  3. Wi-Fi and Connectivity: Stay connected with available Wi-Fi services, allowing you to share your experiences and stay in touch with loved ones.

Accessibility for Passengers with Special Needs

  1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The cruise terminal is designed to be wheelchair-friendly, with ramps and elevators for easy navigation.
  2. Assistance Services: You can also request and use the port assistance services.
Paul Symonds