Not only a cute costal Spanish getaway but the oldest inhabited city in Europe. Home to studious Lord Byron and to Halle Berry’s orange bond bikini moment. The perfect affordable relaxing beach weekend with a dollop of culture.
Airport & transfer
I flew in to Seville airport as couldn’t get a direct flight to Jerez, which is closer but for such a short flight Seville made more sense. It was a 10/ 15 minute taxi or 30 min bus trip to Seville’s Santa Justa train station and from there a good 1hr 40 mins straight down to Cadiz. There’s a fast one every few hours but only takes off 20 mins the journey and it’s double the cost. Otherwise they run about once an hour. I booked our tickets on the Trainline app once at the station and was allocated seats and so begun a smooth scenic journey. Tho if you have luggage either sit with it or chain it to the racks as someone tried to take one of ours! (They were stopped in their tracks – no pun intended!) Or if you have a spare €170 you can get driven down from Seville!
We arrived at the station where there was a little queue for a taxi that came one by one. But some hotels will be in walking distance and others might offer a pick up.
I had been really torn between staying on the beach down at Meliá at Playa Victoria Beach or in the city at The Parador. Usually always the former always wins but as the forecast was a bit drizzly and it was out of season I opted for the city and was the right choice!
Hotel was very unlike the rest of the Parador family, very modern with huge rooms and great balconies all with a sea view (Tho I think side sea view for some would be more accurate!)
The bathroom gets special note for its slightly over shary space and lack of privacy but the every changing lights above the bath made up for it!
Staff were a little stand off and not very attentive except for the barman ‘Jesus’ who was super lovely and even greeted me at breakfast by name and offered me a job at his bar!
Breakfast was amazing. Not just the choice but the views. Glass floor to ceiling windows which retract in the summer overlooking the ocean with cava on tap. Our first morning it rained so we very happily sat eating and chatting watching the waves with our bubbles and 17 helpings of breakfast!
Another pull choosing this hotel was the most amazing infinity style rooftop pools which were just trumped by a higher terrace on the top. Though only only one season.
The restaurant at the hotel is on the ground floor (just breakfast is served up high) and whilst looked beautiful, lacked atmosphere. There were much cheaper more buzzy options a stones throw in the town.
So local it was and when a restaurant is heralded as the best tapas in Cadiz… well we had to see for ourselves. Candela was everything and more. Great food, fun and helpful waiters and we were shocked at how cheap it all was! We definitely weren’t in London anymore!! If you fancy this place then definitely book – I tried emailing, DMs and calling and failed so enlisted a friend who grew up in Cadiz to help! If you don’t get a response then get the hotel to do it or chance a walk in.
Another must was Taberna Casa Manteca. Famous for being Rick Steins favourite tapas in Cadiz. It’s a tiny tapas bar, very traditional and yes the food was fantastic.
There were a couple of other places we found good for a pit stop El Tinte looked a bit too sports bar but actually it was a bright modern bar.
The Café Royalty was on the list but wasn’t open when we passed. But if you like white table cloth and formal vibe this could be for you.
Down at the beach which is a good 50 minute walk, but along the coastline so worth it, were a few good places Chiringuito El Potito if you like your beach restaurant to actually be on a beach.
For fish, La Marea or for somewhere with also a great bar and cocktails (and fish!) Musalima. Both set back across the road so better for dinner when the sea is dark!
And if you really love fresh fish then you can visit the worlds oldest fish market Plaza de la Libertad
Well naturally even in a small city I managed to find three!
My favourite was at La Catedral Hotel as you could almost touch the cathedral plus had a pool and plenty of space when it must get busy in summer! For more on it and all three click here
If you like gardens then you are in for a treat as on one side of the hotel Parador is the perfectly kept Parque Genoves complete with waterfalls and those amazing Spanish trees with the huge roots.
There’s a cute little bar LaColonial Alameda which in summer has tables in the gardens – definitely good for a sangria stop!
As I mentioned Playa Victoria is the place for your beach days. But if you are feeling brave then you could pop on an orange bikini and head to the smaller beach next to the Parador hotel ‘Playa de la Caleta’ and reenact Halle Berry’s famous scene as she emerged from the water strolled over to Bond, James Bond. Sadly the beach bar in that scene was made then tore down for the film. A film I worked back in the day, wishing I could have come to Cadiz or as they pretended it was, Cuba!!
And you can see why – beautiful, affordable and small enough to be personal … cosy and charming Cadiz, what are you waiting for?