As much as I enjoyed Madrid and Seville, after more than a week of these inland destinations, I desperately needed to get somewhere closer to the sea. And when in the south of Spain, it seemed silly to not head to the coast, considering it's possibly Spain's biggest draw for many travellers, domestic and international.
I didn't have many expectations for Cádiz, but it ended up being one of my favourite days I spent in Spain and here's why.
I've been to many coastal cities and destinations, but Cádiz sparkled in the sunshine, and with a clear, bright azure blue sky hanging above us, Cádiz was absolutely stunning.
Cádiz is one of those places that you could choose to spend a few days just taking it slow, as the small city isn't chock full of attractions, which only adds to it's charm.
I did Cádiz as a day trip from Seville, which took 2 hours by regional train stopping by many other towns.
What to See & Do
1. Cádiz Cathedral
There's absolutely no way I could talk about Cádiz without mentioning the Cathedral.
Now, personally, I'm not much of a cathedral / temple / church type of person when travelling.
One is nice, two is cool, three is alright, but more than that and my patience starts to wear thin and I walk through them quickly just to tick a monument off the box, meaning I never really quite take it in and enjoy it.
At this point, visiting the Cádiz Cathedral was quite a few cathedrals and churches in during my three week trip, but I only chose to stop by because of the views from the clock tower.
€7 gets you a ticket in to visit the main altar and choir, crypt, sacristy, and the clock tower, which even in the summer didn't result in a queue for longer than 5 minutes.
During my visit, they'd converted the Cathedral into a bit of a museum, with a free audio guide to boot.
I quickly made my way around the Cathedral before I headed up the clock tower, which was a winding ramp up.
Once we reached the top of the clock tower, the views were truly unparalleled, and I swore I could've spent all day just gazing at the blue of the sea and sky.
2. Cádiz Market (Mercado Central Cádiz)
A market in town in a complex selling fresh produce like seafood, meat, fruits, and the like, the Cádiz Market is a bustling place from right when it opens in the morning.
By noon though, most of the seafood and meat stands had packed up, with the fruit stalls left.
Even if you're not looking for ingredients to cook up a big meal, the market's still a nice place to wander.
3. Playa de La Caleta
The main beach in Cádiz called La Caleta come summer is filled with locals seeking the sun, sand and sea.
On the beach is a white building that used to be an old spa that has now been converted to an archaeological museum with a lab that we weren't allowed to enter. Still, the building itself stands pretty on the beach and you'll find many beachgoers seeking shade under the building.
If you're looking to do as the locals do, get your own beach chairs, umbrellas and mats, though you can rent a sun lounger for a couple euros from vendors on the beach. These fill up pretty quickly in the afternoons in the height of summer, though, so arrive before lunch if you'd like to secure a spot on the sand.
4. Santa Catalina Castle (Castillo de Santa Catalina)
Santa Catalina Castle is a fortress that is centuries old at the end of the beach, which features a small museum featuring the naval history of the city, though it's all in Spanish.
Admission is free, though the museum isn't the biggest draw.
The panoramic views of the beach, coast and the Bay of Cádiz are.
The fort and castle aren't the most well-restored, but that's fine, and it functions as a space and venue too for art and cultural exhibitions.
5. Tavira Tower (Torre Tavira)
If you'd like to go somewhere else for panoramic views of all of Cádiz, Torre Tavira is your next best option, and it'll be the one that features the picturesque Cádiz Cathedral in the view.
However, this option will set you back €6 though there are fascinating views of the city through the Camera Obscura, just make sure it isn't raining.
Saying that though, I personally like views of the coast and the Cádiz Cathedral is closer to the sea while the views from the Tavira Tower are a little more inland.
6. The Roman Theatre of Cádiz (Teatro Romano de Cádiz)
A partially excavated theatre from the Roman era can be found in the city centre, and admission here is also free.
Mind, a lot of the theatre has been buried, so there isn't a lot you can see of the actual theatre now.
It used to be a grand theatre which could hold tens of thousands of spectators back in it's glory days.
However, the museum itself does an incredibly good job of giving you an idea of what it used to be like, and the air conditioning in here provided a good respite from the summer heat too.
7. Genovés Park (Parque Genovés)
If you're looking for a spot of greenery in Cádiz, the Genovés Park will more than do the trick.
The park is well-maintained with wide paths and beautifully pruned trees.
Situated right beside the sea, there's also a small waterfall that lands in a lake.
8. Alameda Apodaca Gardens (Jardines de Alameda Apodaca)
Down the road from Genovés Park, you'll be able to find the Alameda Apodaca Gardens with what I personally find to be better views of the sea.
I loved strolling down the boulevard next to the sea and sitting on one of the park benches here, listening to the sounds of the sea and enjoying the atmosphere.
9. Strolling around the Old Town
Cádiz is one of those places that you take in slow, and life here seems to embody the "mañana" attitude of Spain.
Couple that with blue skies, a small town atmosphere and a coastal setting, Cádiz' old town is a beautiful array of streets to explore.
The beautiful part of it all is that Cádiz isn't packed with tourists even in the summer, so though I was on a day trip, I felt like I was constantly surrounded by other locals in a living, breathing beautiful coastal Spanish town without the drunken hordes of tourists.
Plaza Topete is one of the most picturesque squares in all of Cádiz.
10. Have a taste of Shrimp Cakes (Tortillitas de Camarones)
Seafood naturally features on the local menu, and the Cádiz specialty is the shrimp cake, called the, "Tortillitas de Camarones," where shrimp is fried with chickpea flour, wheat flour and water and enjoyed as a snack or a starter, and has been part of the gastronomic palette of Cadiz for over 400 years now.
Different variations of this delicious snack exist, with some modern chefs putting their twist on this shrimp fritter, making it lighter and healthier.
You can try it at many food stands or restaurants.
Where to Eat
Food-wise, it's hard to go wrong in Spain, and many big establishments, locally-run taverns, bars and cafes dot every Spanish city, big and small.
In Cádiz, head to popular places such as Restaurante El Faro de Cádiz which is not too expensive if you opt for the tapas options, or try Balandro which is a tapas bar. Elegant dining options sees you to Restaurante Café Royalty which offers tasting menus, or head to the bustling traditional tavern that is Casa Manteca.
Travel Tips and Getting Around
We did Cádiz as an easy day trip from Seville, and though the trip took 2 hours each way, we still found time to relax and take in the city slowly.
Once in Cádiz, transportation options revolve mostly around the buses, with bus number 2 operating along the coast and around the old town, making this the most useful line. You can buy single tickets on the bus itself for just over €1.
In the streets though, expect to be walking around everywhere which is fine as attractions are not spread out.
We arrived in Cádiz at the railway station which is a 10 to 15 minute walk to the town centre.
I only spent a couple of hours here, but I really fell for Cádiz in a way I wasn't expecting to.
Perhaps it was the fact I'd just come from a week in Madrid (with a separate day trip to Toledo) and into Seville, and I hadn't seen the coast or the sea in a while, but the intensely blue skies and deep azure sea glistening in the sunshine was a welcome sight after being inland for days on end.
I could've spent a few days here easily, but even then I'd recommend 2 or 3 full days at most before moving on to other cities and towns, unless you're flying in specifically for Cádiz. In that case, you'd possibly be landing in Jerez de la Frontera, or Seville, from which you'd have to take a train or a taxi to get to Cádiz.
From my trip to Spain this summer, I've turned some of my photography into my brand of everyday products which you can check out below. Worldwide shipping is available so if you're looking for a tote bag or postcard to take home to remember your travels if you too have been to these parts of Spain, and if you'd like to support this passion project of mine, look no further!
View the full product catalogue at the shop here.
When in Seville, we went on a walking tour to get ourselves familiarised with the city.
I've fallen hard for walking tours after this summer, and I'm so glad I went on 2 in Spain alone.
Across the Guadalquivir River lies the neighbourhood of Triana, so called the neighbourhood of gypsies and outcasts, where inhabitants used to identify as being from Triana before Seville.
The draw of Triana though, apart from the flamenco flair, is Calle Betis, the riverfront promenade lined with restaurants and bars which turns into a hotspot in the evenings.
In the sleepy late afternoon though, the buildings shine in the sun as workers of each restaurant start slowly setting up for a busy evening ahead.
View the rest of the collection here.
Barcelona wasn't on the itinerary this summer, but as you can imagine I have plenty photos from my stint 2 years ago.
One of my favourite neighbourhoods in Barcelona is El Born, which is basically the Gothic Quarter except lined with local boutiques instead of kitsch tourist souvenir shops, which lends itself to a really nice bohemian atmosphere.
Not to mention some of the best tapas bars in the city can be found here, which is a major plus.
El Born's also where you get all the beauty of the Gothic Quarter, and I particularly like the doors and façade of shops and houses here.
So here's a photograph of a coffeehouse in El Born, and I think this is quintessential Barcelona in a photograph.
View the rest of the collection here.
When I lived in Barcelona, there were quite a few vintage clothing stores around, and this in particular was a chain of them— Flamingos Vintage Kilo. I would always walk into these stores even if I wasn't looking for anything in particular for the vibe of them. Everything about them just felt so damn cool. In this shop, I stumbled onto an area where there was a collection of vinyls, and there really is something about vinyls for me and the way they are packaged. There was no way I was leaving this store without at least a snap on the camera.
Andalucia in Spain may be famous for its whitewashed hilltop towns, but I got a slice of that in Sitges in Northeastern Spain, Catalonia. The streets in winter were almost completely empty save the odd resident or two going about their daily business, meaning we got to explore the entire town almost to ourselves that day.
Street art wasn't hard to find during the time I lived in Barcelona, Spain. But this by the side of a building in the town of Tarragona an hour away from Barcelona was by far the most elaborate I saw. The mural represents a celebration of Spanish culture.
During my very first trip to Barcelona, Spain, we headed to the beaches of the city in the district of Barceloneta. On a clear day, the sun brought the crowds in droves; friends playing beach football or volleyball, joggers taking in their morning ritual, groups of families and friends strolled along the promenade, and beachgoers getting out their towels and getting their best tan on. Whilst making my way down the boulevard, I managed to get this clear shot of these two palm trees right next to each other, and made me think of partners— two peas in a pod.