The Roman ruins of Italica, with remarkable mosaics and an impressive amphitheatre, are located 9 kilometres to the north of the city of Seville, just outside the village of Santiponce.
A day in Cadiz | A wonderful coastal Andalusian town
Our day trip to Cadiz was part of our New Years trip to Seville and as Cadiz was only a train ride away we decided to visit. Our trip to Cadiz was inspired by Rick Stein and his Long Weekends TV series. Rick visits some really cool restaurants and our plan was to seek them out as well as visiting the more well known sights of this wonderful Andalusian town.
How did we get to Cadiz.
We travelled to Cadiz from Seville and we chose to travel by train. You can buy train tickets from the machines at most large city stations. The ticket machines are easy to use and you can access the information in several languages. Alternatively you can buy tickets in advance which will save you time at the station and may also be a little cheaper.
The trains to Cadiz from Seville ran every few hours throughout the day and the journey was only around 1hr 30 mins so it was perfect for a day trip.You could always drive down if you had a hire car which takes a similar time to the train. I’ve popped the directions here.
What is there to see and do in Cadiz?
Cadiz Cathedral, or la Catedral Nueva (the new cathedral), is located 40 m above sea level and its large towers are visible from almost anywhere in the city. It was built in the 18th century in the High Baroque style and took over a century to build. It really is an impressive building.
The Tavira Tower
Cádiz is known worldwide for its watchtowers. They are witness to the trade and prosperity which the city experienced in the 18th century. At this time, the Tavira Tower the official watchtower of Cádiz due to the fact that it is situated in the centre of town, and was also the highest point in the town at 45 meters above the sea level.
Don Antonio Tavira was the first watchman of the tower and used his telescope to see the ships full with goods coming from America. Today the Camera Obscura enables visitors to observe Cádiz and its development in the 21th century. We loved the camera obscure as it gave us a really cool view of Cadiz.
San Sebastian Castle & Santa Catalina Castle
These two castles, both key parts of the city walls. They stand on either side of La Caleta beach. The fortress of Santa Catalina, entered directly from the promenade, was constructed in the 17th century. Its small chapel and a central patio planted with palms give it the sun-baked look of a Mexican mission. The castleis now a cultural center where open-air concerts are held in summer. San Sebastián Castle however is an imposing fort on a small island connected to the mainland by a long stone causeway.
This site is popular among locals and visitors as a pleasant place to walk for a cool breeze. On the day we were there in December there was more cool breeze than we wanted and my teeth were chattering with the cold. It wasn’t long before we got off the causeway and headed for a coffee.
The Roman Amphitheatre of Cadiz & Barrio del Popolo
Barrio del Popolo is one of the 3 archways that lead into the El Polopo area of Cadiz which encapsulates most of the historical area of the city. Within it you’ll find the Roman Ampitheater which was build around 70BC for a friend of Julius Caesar, Lucius Cornelius Balbo and his nephew Balbo hence the theatres name of Teatrum Balbi. The Theatre is free to enter and is right by the sea so in a fantastic location.
The Market – Mercado Central
Cádiz’s central food market is a fascinating and illuminating place to spend a few hours. Some 170 stalls offer the full range of local ingredients, from superb fruit and vegetables to charcuterie and cheeses, as well as fabulous fish. After browsing and buying, enjoy a glass of wine and tapas at the market bar.
We were really excited to visit this market but when we passed by in the morning it was closed so were fully prepared to miss this fantastic location however on our return later in the day it was overflowing with local people, out for their Sunday walk and buying fruit, veg, cheeses, meats and having wine and street food and a really enjoyable time. So we joined right in.
Rick Stein had highlighted a prawn fritter type thing in his long weekends Book and Chris was keen to try it. Little live prawns are scooped up into the batter then popped into the deep fat fryer. The fritters are then devoured eyes and all. Not for me really but I did have a nibble and it was actually ok, but I only had a nibble. I opted for paella, well I was in Spain and I can tell you, it was delicious. Our street food, coupled with a few glasses of wine was the perfect way to end our day in Cadiz before heading for the train home.
Andiamo Amigos and the Food of Cadiz
Ultrama & Nos
Above we told you all about the little fried prawn fritters in the market place and the paella however we had stopped for lunch earlier in the day. The restaurant we hunted down that had been recommended by Rick Stein was Ultramar & Nos. This restaurant had as the most amazing Tuna and Chickpea stew that the locals raved about and true to form, when we arrived the place was filled with locals all having their Sunday traditional stew. It was delicious and I chose some tacos as my lunch and washed that down with a lovely big glass of red wine. Thanks Rick, this place was great and we would recommend this to anyone visiting Cadiz.
Booking resources for your trip
Tours & Tickets
You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site. Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.
For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.
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Hike the El Caminito del Rey which is a fantastic Andalusian walk taking through the history of these gorges and the workers who used them
As part of our Andalusian New Year adventure that would take us to Seville, Cadiz, El Chorro we also wanted to visit the city of Cordoba as its historical centre is listed as a world UNESCO heritage site and its got some fantastic buildings.