If you are looking for an escape from busy city life and want nothing more than a relaxing weekend on endless stretches of beach, look no further than Cadiz. Cadiz is technically an island in Andalucia, in the south of Spain. It is famous for its massive beaches, awesome food, and laid-back atmosphere. It was a major port for Christopher Columbus during some of his exploration voyages, and it is sometimes considered one of the oldest inhabited cities of Western Europe.
For our weekend, we mostly ate, drank and slept. It was a really relaxing way to spend three nights without feeling any pressure to run around to museums or commit to tours.
There are a lot of beautiful buildings centered by the water in Cadiz. The whole old town has a very Spanish-Floridian vibe, and if you’ve traveled to Saint Augustine before, you will know what I mean when you arrive in Cadiz. The mix of palm trees against the backdrop of sparkling blue waters, yellow expanses of sand and stone buildings is a calming aesthetic.
Castillo de Santa Catalina
This fort is free to enter! We walked around for a bit and admired the never-ending view of the sparkling Atlantic ocean. There were also cool art exhibitions around the interior. Definitely worth a walk through while exploring this part of the island.
This place was an absolute GEM! It was right next to our Airbnb near Playa Victoria, and it had amazing Palmera pastries as well as a huge selection of gourmet ice cream. Definitely stop here if you need something to satisfy your sweet tooth. We tried one of each of the mini palmeras – each one had a different filling that oozed out with each bite.
La Tapería del Lulu
We ate here 2 days in a row for breakfast. The fresh-squeezed orange juice and bread with tomato and ham couldn’t be beaten! We also tried to eat here for lunch but both days it was crazy busy by the time we arrived.
We opted for the restaurant that is right across the street, which turned out to be excellent. I can’t find the name anywhere online or on Google maps, but it is literally right across the road. I had one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten, gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic oil, YUUUUMM) and a delicious little serving of paella.
Novelty – Plaza de San Juan de Dios
The typical dish “tortitas de camarones” had been recommended to us by a few people, so to check it off the list we stopped at this spot in a plaza and ordered a couple. They were really good – you can’t complain about fried shrimp fritters. The tosta at this restaurant was also awesome – it was bread with a thin spread of tomato, cheese and fatty ham. Paired with a beer, it was perfect!
Beaches – La Caleta & Victoria
We visited both of these beaches during our trip to Cadiz, and both were very beautiful. La Caleta is more famous, but as it was farther from our Airbnb, we visited it during our big walking tour of the city but didn’t go there for our full relax day. Playa La Victoria was the perfect spot for a whole day of lounging. We rented sun beds (hamacas) for €5 for the whole day, right in front of a Chiringuito so we had easy access to a bathroom and cold beverages. Even though a fair amount of people were out and about for it being early May, we still had plenty of space and not once did I feel like the beach was crowded.
This restaurant was one of many on Calle Virgen de la Palma in Cadiz – a huge stretch of restaurants and bars in the historical part of town. My salmorejo was awesome – if you haven’t had it, its similar to Spanish-style gazpacho. We also tried croquetas de cocido – which were super good!
Chiringuitos are beach-side bars and/or restaurants. In Cadiz, there is no shortage of them, as they completely line the long stretches of beach. They are the best spot to enjoy a sunset cocktail.
Located on the northern side of the island, this beautiful park was a nice surprise we stumbled upon during our 8-mile run (the last long one before the marathon!) It had beautiful tiled ground, blooming flowers and plants everywhere, with an overlooking view of the ocean. A lot of the plants were originally transplanted from the “New World” when Christopher Columbus brought them back from his explorations.
Cadiz is a place to relax and enjoy. It was a soul-calming experience to be completely surrounded by sand and water. Knowing that this far western point of Spain was one of the final stops that Columbus would have made before setting across the Atlantic creates a sentiment of curiosity as one gazes over the horizon.