Are you wondering where to stay in Cadiz to be near to what you want to see and do? In this blog, I’ve taken a closer look at the five main districts of Centro, La Vina, El Populo, Santa Maria and Playa de la Victoria, for attractions and accommodations to suit all tastes and pockets.
A port city on the southwestern tip of Spain, Cadiz is the capital city of the Province of the same name, and an excellent choice for a summer or winter short city break or as part of a more extended holiday touring other cities in beautiful Andalucía.
With an area of just over 10 square kilometres, it is an easy city to explore on foot, even with the little ones.
Said to be one of the oldest cities in the Western world, Cadiz was founded in 1104 BC. With a history intertwined with the sea, it was occupied by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Visigoths prior to the arrival of the Romans around 200 BC.
That occupation lasted 700 years, and during the period, Roman Galleys regularly sailed upriver to Cordoba, picking up olive oil and wine bound for Rome.
In the 8th century, the Moors took over Cadiz and other areas of Andalucia in an occupation that lasted almost 800 years.
All have left a legacy of monuments, architecture and artefacts of the time.
In more modern history, Cadiz was increasingly fortified with the onset of the never declared Spanish/Anglo war of 1585 to 1604, when the English joined forces with the Dutch Navy. English privateers regularly raided the Spanish southern coast attacking coastal towns and villages.
Today in Cadiz, you can relax strolling the narrow cobbled streets, alleys and plazas. Take in ancient architecture, do a little shopping, or stop at one of the many terrace cafes and bars for a drink or snack.
In the evening, plenty of restaurants offer local and international cuisine, with fresh seafood being particularly popular.
If you like a little sand and sea with your summer sunshine, Cadiz is an island joined by a bridge at the end of a peninsula, and has six pretty, sandy beaches safe for children, all within easy reach from the city centre.
Pro Tip: Planning your trip to Cadiz? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you’re in the city. Check out the best things to do in Cadiz for more planning resources.
Where to stay in Cadiz: Best Areas
1. Centro, where to stay in Cadiz for first-timers and culture vultures
The beauty of a stay in Cadiz is you’re never far from the things you want to visit, and the different neighbourhoods blend together without you even realising it.
The city is divided into two main areas, the historical area inside the old city walls, and the newer area outside the city walls.
The Centro district, inside the walls and also referred to as a part of the old town area, is the most popular area to stay in Cadiz with both first-time visitors and returning guests.
You will find many of the city’s most historic buildings within the Centro district as well as plenty of excellent cafes, bars and restaurants.
Popular visitor attractions include the Tavira Tower, the Oratory of San Felipe Neri; a National Monument where the Liberal Constitution of 1812 was debated, and the Cádiz Municipal Historical Museum.
As the name suggests, it is right at the centre of things, and you will never be stuck for things to see or do.
Accommodation in Centro is plentiful, from backpackers hostels, self-catering apartments and economy hotels, to sumptuous 5-star hotels.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CADIZ CENTRO
2. La Viña, get your feet tapping in one of Cadiz’s most popular flamenco areas
Sitting just west of Centro, La Viña is one of the most traditional neighbourhoods in Cadiz and, with its proximity to Caleta Beach, one of the most popular areas to visit.
Primarily a residential area with a history steeped in carnival and flamenco, it is a popular night-time area and a great place to sit with a drink and enjoy some impromptu flamenco dancing and singing in one of the many bars.
Local traditions are jealously kept alive, and you will see local fishermen and traders going door-to-door pushing wooden carts packed with ice, fresh fish and shellfish straight off the boats.
La Viña has also built a reputation as a leading district to sample the best of traditional tapas. Make your way to Corralón de Los Carros and Virgen de la Palma streets, where you will find some of Cadiz’s most famous tapas bars and restaurants.
Caleta Beach is probably the most popular of the Cadiz beaches. In part, due to its being dressed up as Havana and used during the filming of the James Bond film ‘Die Another Day’; but it is a pretty, attractive beach in its own right.
Grab a seat and a beer at one of the many bars along the front, and enjoy the fishing boats and private launches bobbing at anchor or pulled up on the sand.
At either end of the beach, you can see (and visit) the castles of San Sebastian and Santa Catalina. Other places of interest in the area include the Baluarte de los Mártires and the Balneario de Nuestra Señora de la Palma and del Real.
Or you can just lay your towel on the sand and soak up the rays.
Accommodation at La Viña comprises Airbnb, self-catering apartments and hostels, with a smattering of economy hotels.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CADIZ IN LA VIÑA
3. El Populo, where to stay in Cadiz in a neighbourhood full of historic architecture and monuments
At just over one square kilometre in area, El Populo is the smallest of the city’s neighbourhoods, bounded by the city wall at one end and the Centro district at the top.
Nonetheless, it also holds a significant number of historical sites and monuments, as well as being home to 4,000 permanent residents.
A one-time run-down area of Cadiz, major regeneration works over the last 50 years have uncovered previously hidden structures such as the Roman Theatre circa the first century BC, and unearthed in the late 1980s.
Other places of interest include the Baroque-style Cathedral built between 1722 and 1838, and the Bishops Palace.
Around what was originally the walled area, you can also see the medieval arched entrances of La Rosa, Los Blanco and El Populo, which lead to The Square of San Juan de Dios and the Town Hall.
On the small Square of San Martin, you will see the Admiral’s House, built for Admiral Diego Barrios Soto in the 17th century.
Exploring the narrow streets and alleys, you will find small squares bordered by shops, cafes and bars, where you can rest and imagine the medieval atmosphere of echoing cart-wheels and horses hooves clattering along cobbled streets.
With Cadiz’s main rail station close by, El Populo and the surrounding area have a good and varied selection of accommodations to suit all pockets and requirements.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CADIZ IN EL POPULO
4. Santa Maria, where to stay in Cadiz for those travelling on a budget
Situated outside the old city walls at Puerta de Tierra, Santa Maria is ideal for visitors who wish to stay in Cadiz away from the more bustling touristy areas.
The busy Puerto is close by, and the main train connection from the airport is located off Plaza de Sevilla.
Being a mainly residential neighbourhood, accommodation is cheaper, with various attractions and several pretty beaches all within walking distance or a short cab ride.
At one time known as the city’s gipsy quarter and one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Cadiz, Santa Maria’s history and culture are deeply immersed in Flamenco, and during the evenings you will find many bars and restaurants entertaining their customers with flamenco shows.
Places of interest inSanta Maria include: The Convent of Santo Domingo, the Santa Maria Church, the Puerta Tierra Walls, the Casa de Iberoamerica, and Santa Maria del Mar Beach.
Being just off the beaten track, tourist accommodation is cheaper than in other neighbourhoods such as Centro.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CADIZ IN SANTA MARIA
5. Playa de la Victoria, best place to stay in Cadiz for families
Located one kilometre south of Puerta de Tierra, Victoria Beach stretches three kilometres along the coast, and has been developed into a purpose-built holiday resort attracting thousands of visitors from mainland Spain and across Europe.
The golden sand beach stretches three kilometres along the coast and is over 150 metres wide at low tide, making it ideal for beach sports such as volleyball, paddleball and even football.
Along with sunbeds, parasols, toilets and changing rooms, the wide promenade running along the back of the beach is chock full of shops, bars, restaurants and snack shacks, where you can buy all you need for a day or three soaking up the rays or swimming in the warm waters.
At the rear of Playa de la Victoria, there are more holiday apartments and hotels than you will find in a similar area anywhere else in Cadiz, along with national and international bars and restaurants.
Evening entertainment is plentiful and varied. From quiet Spanish bars where you can take in the view over a jug of Sangria, to busier establishments where you can join in with karaoke, take in a show, or party until the early hours.
If you feel like a change of scenery and somewhere a little quieter to lay your towel during your stay, stroll to the end of Victoria Beach.
At low tide you can see the small breakwater marking the beginning of Cortadura Beach. Cortadura stretches over three kilometres, and is a much more natural beach with fewer facilities, so be sure to pack some snacks and drinks.
If you have the inclination – and the energy – you can walk through Cortadura Beach and into Torregorda/El Chato Beach. Three fabulous beaches for the price of one make it a very popular district to stay in Cadiz.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN PLAYA DE LA VICOTORIA
For those who want to get absorbed in the pageantry and customs of Cadiz, carnival time is generally the last two weeks in February and is said to be the largest fiesta outside of Brazil.
If walking is sometimes an issue, the city has an excellent taxi and public transport system, including regular hop-on hop-off bus services, to ensure all can make the most of their stay in Cadiz.
With its warm summer and mild winter temperatures, Cadiz is a beautiful and unique Andalusian city that can be enjoyed on a short winter city break, or a longer summer beach-style holiday with the whole family.