Cadiz is a beautiful place and one that I have been lucky enough to visit several times. Cádiz is one of the oldest towns in Western Europe and offers a touch of Spanish flare mixed with a North African influence. The older part of Cadiz is referred to as the Old Town and is characterized by its various barrios, among them El Pópulo, La Viña, and Santa María. While the Old City’s street plan consists of narrow winding alleys connecting large plazas, newer areas of Cadiz typically have wide avenues and more modern buildings.
I have to admit that I have never visited the newer areas of Cadiz, I am always drawn to the Old Town and the maze of narrow streets. I have visited a few times and I still never know where I am going! If you have never been before then you must stay and explore the Old Town, it really is beautiful. You must take a map with you though, even if you don’t use it initially, you may well need it to find your way back out of the winding streets and onto the main road. There are shops, bars and many restaurants and each piazza, or square, offers a new experience. Whether it be a market, impressive cathedral that seems to simply appear out of nowhere or a simple ice cream bar where you can recharge for half an hour. My last visit here was in March and I simply enjoyed a walk around the town on my own. It’s a nice destination for those travelling on their own, there are so many people around that you never feel uneasy.
When your ship docks, you will get a great view across the Old Town, it has a strong North African influence and you will see this right away. Depending where your ship docks you can enter the Old Town by one of two ways. If you are docked (looking into the city) on the left side berth then all you need to do is cross the road and you are there – you will see a tree lined street and a few taxi cabs. If you are docked on the right side berth then you can either take the path around the port to the above mentioned, or you can leave the port complex and turn left, walk for a few minutes (until you come to a crossing) and then cross over – you will see a small park with beautiful flowers and trees. I suggest you explore the small park before doing anything else as the trees are home to beautiful parakeets. When ready, keep the park to your right and you will come to a small street on your left, head down there and you will then be in the Old Town – this is where the map may come in useful!
Do some research before you leave home, then at least you know roughly where you are going to find some of the main sights and attractions. La Caleta beach is popular and not far from the port. Cadiz Cathedral is absolutely stunning inside and out and is definitely worth investigating. You will also find the Castle of San Sebastian, Roman Theatre, Castle of Santa Catalina and the Castle of San Marcos.
One of the most popular shore excursions from the port of Cadiz is a day trip to Seville. If you have been to Cadiz before then a day in Seville is an absolute must! The main sights here are The Alcázar, the Cathedral, and the Archivo General de Indias and all three are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You also have the Plaza de Espana which is an absolute must see, Museum of Fine Arts of Seville, The Flamenco Art Museum, Maria Luisa Park and, of course, the tapas restaurants! Seville is one of those places that you visit and know instantly you will have to go back again. The journey time to Seville from the port of Cadiz is approx. 1 and a half hours. There is a rail service between the two cities, but it can be quite confusing and the journey times are just as long. If you want to go to Seville then I would recommend just booking an excursion with your cruise line, it’s less hassle and you know you don’t have to worry about getting back to the ship on time.
Whatever your do in Cadiz I hope that you have a wonderful time!
Enjoy exploring Cadiz via cruise ship!
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Kamil Porembiński, Hernán Piñera, Abhishek Mishra, J. A. Alcaide .