Cadiz is a fantastic city, situated on an isthmus poking into the Atlantic Ocean in the south of Spain. It’s not packed full of tourist attractions, though — although the Tavira tower with its camera obscura is worth a visit, and the cathedral is immense and impressive. However, there are lots of things to do that are completely free.
Do a walking tour in Cadiz
Cadiz is extremely walkable, and the local government knows it — they’ve prepared several walking routes through the city, and have marked the way in brightly coloured paint. I particularly enjoyed the green line, which takes you to the old and new cathedrals, the Roman amphitheatre, the market, the town walls and other highlights. At each stop there’s an information board in Spanish and English — brilliant.
Visit the Cadiz museum
If you’re an EU citizen or resident, entrance to the museum is completely free. If you’re not, the €1.50 entrance fee probably won’t break the bank anyway.
The pride of the museum is the two sarcophagi which were found almost 100 years apart right here in Cadiz. You’ll also see Phoenician relics, a bunch of headless statues (and further on, just heads), and exhibitions of religious and modern art. Don’t miss the puppet display, which is on the third level but has to be accessed by a separate staircase from the other exhibitions on this level — you’ll be given a map when you enter the museum, which should help you find it.
If you have a bag, you’ll have to leave it in a locker on the lowest level — make sure you’ve got a €1 coin to activate the locking mechanism.
Learn about La Pepa
Spain’s first constitution was signed 200 years ago, and you can learn all about it in a free exhibition at the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri. The document is known as La Pepa, because it was signed on St Joseph’s feast day (yep, I had to have the connection explained too: people named José are called Pepe for short — I know, I know — and Pepa is the feminine form of Pepe).
The exhibition is all in Spanish but it’s worth a look even if you don’t speak a word; I enjoyed the table hanging from the ceiling and the holographic displays.
Get your castle fix
When looking at a map of Cadiz, you might have noticed the long walkway heading out to sea, with a castle at the end of it. Although you can’t enter the San Sebastian castle, you get good views of the city from its gates, as well as a chance to be sprayed by the occasional wave crashing against the rocks as you walk along the walkway.
The Santa Catalina castle is a different story. Not only can you enter, the various rooms of the complex are used as an art gallery and exhibition space and it is definitely worth a visit.
See art in an interesting environment
if you continue your walk along the waterfront (on the top of old walls if you like), you’ll reach Baluarte de la Candelaria, a military fortification which is also currently used as an exhibition space. The art is always changing and it’s completely free to enter — and the art is well displayed in the small, whitewashed rooms with sea views out their small windows.
Note: this article was first published in 2013 and was republished in 2017 with updated links.