Cadiz, Spain Local Guide: Ancient Sites, Beach Bars & Great Tapas | Holidays in Andalusia

Food

The Mercado Central de Abastos is the heart of Cadiz and is where we locals go to buy our fresh fish, seafood, fruit and vegetables. There are also plenty of cafes where you can order anything from fried fish to empanada. My favorites are Lady Papa’s, which serves traditional tapas dishes, and a vegan stand called Las Niñas Veganas – it’s not easy to find vegan or gluten-free food in Cadiz, so it’s special.

Zucchini croquettes are delicious. Although Casa Manteca is probably the most famous restaurant in Cadiz, no gaditanos (people from Cadiz) really don’t go there anymore because it’s too crowded. We could head to Cumbres Mayores, northeast of the old town, which has just as much history and atmosphere and good quality ingredients. The best thing to order is chicharronnes (fried pork skin).

A five-minute walk away, Ultramarinos Bar El Veedor is part deli, part cafe, and my favorite place to pick up charcuterie, cheese, anchovies, and olives to take away or eat at the bar with a sherry.

Inspiration

For four months I have been working at La Cueva Del Pájaro Azul, the most recent archaeological site in the city. We discovered a port and shipyard that dates back to Phoenician times – around the 3rd century BC. These underground halls then had a second life in the 1960s as one of the most famous flamenco clubs in Spain: the Blue Bird Cave. Taking a tour really gives you an idea of ​​how Cadiz is one of the oldest cities in Europe.

For something more contemporary, I would head to Espacio Ecco. This art gallery in a former barracks has some great modern pieces and a good collection of street art and paintings from the La Movida movement in the 1970s.

Piece

Many visitors to Cadiz don’t go beyond the old city walls, but I definitely recommend a visit to the Paseo Marítimo. This chic area is on Playa de la Victoria beach and is a very nice place for an evening stroll, perhaps stopping at a few of the small shops and independent boutiques and then heading to one beach bars for a drink. There are also excellent restaurants here, such as Nahu Beach and Arsenio Manila. For something more down to earth, head to the east side of the city, overlooking the Bay of Cadiz and the José León de Carranza Bridge. There is an amazing view of the harbor with all its ships. It’s a surprisingly peaceful and quiet place: don’t miss the little seafood shack at the end of the quay called Viento de Levante. The locals love it.

Green area

A restaurant near Apodaca Park.
A restaurant near Apodaca Park. Photography: Joesboy/Getty Images

La Alameda Apodaca, a park on the north side of the city, is very romantic, with many winding cobbled paths, fountains, trees and statues. The best time to go is just before dark, when you can watch the lamps come on as the sun sinks into the sea. If you’re in the newer part of town, Varela Gardens is very popular and historically interesting: this is where many Phoenician and Roman cemeteries have been discovered, and you can still see some burial mounds.

Night life

Circo Duende is where I always head for a beer. It’s in the most artsy area of ​​town and has a bohemian vibe and live music. For something a little fancier, you don’t need to stay at Hotel Alquimia or Hotel Cathedral to enjoy a drink on their terraces; both have stunning views of the city. In La Alameda, La Colonial or El Kioskito de la Alameda are lovely spots for a cocktail, with outdoor seating right by the gardens and the sea. For dancing, Ykebana at Paseo Marítimo is always full of locals and has loud music until the early morning.

To stay

Many of the city’s grandest old mansions have been converted into apartments for short-term rentals. One of my favorites is Candelaria10 (from £105 a night for two), which is housed in a former monastery in one of Cadiz’s prettiest squares.

Pillar Gil is a ballet dancer, archaeologist and art historian who has lived in Cádiz for 23 years

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