The Andalucian city of Cadiz is like no other: A city of charm and romance where every plaza is a suntrap and you’re never more than a ten-minute walk to the sea. Take a look at this video we shot and be inspired to visit Cadiz in winter.
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Although we live in a campervan, Lou and I spent two months pet-sitting in a nearby town. We were able to make two separate day-trips and spent a weekend with our tiny-travelling-home parked within the walls of Cadiz. You can check out photos from our first visit HERE!
In this article, we’ll give you six great reasons why you should visit Cadiz in winter and give you some hot tips on where to eat, drink and sleep. For campervan dwellers, we suggest a safe place to park in this sublime city.
1. A stroll through Cadiz is magical
The ‘old town’ is a compact grid of narrow streets that echo with Spanish banter emanating from friendly locals. Somehow, the streets of Cadiz simultaneously shelter you from cold winds and warm you with illuminating shafts of sunlight. Behind the stunning Cathedral is the sea wall, with a vibe reminiscent of the Malecon in Havana – A strip of sandstone where people go to drink a few beers, hang out or simply take a walk.
You can cross Cadiz on foot in fifteen minutes but there’s enough variety in the layout that you can still lose yourself amongst the buildings’ peeling paint and gnarley stonework. At night, the streets are bathed in yellow floodlights and every little bar appears to be a cosy nook in which to grab a beer.
One of the gems of Cadiz is the town beach – Whilst Playa de la Caleta is less popular in winter due to the cold water temperatures and cool breeze, you will have room to move, unlike in summer! Spaniards are keen observers of seasonal behaviour so you won’t find them dressed in swimmers, but it’s possible to come to Cadiz and sunbathe on the beach even in December and January.
2. Cadiz in winter is the perfect temperature
Avoid the 40C heat of summer. On the three occasions, Lou and I visited Cadiz in winter, the city basked in sunshine and the daytime temperature reached as high as 23C. The winter sun in Cadiz has a heat that can’t be found in other parts of Europe. Walking around at night it was necessary to wear a coat. However, compared to December or January in the UK we found it extremely mild at around thirteen degrees. Albeit with strong winds. There is a fifty-fifty chance it will rain on any given day but the Atlantic breezes mean the rain never sets in for long.
3. Cadiz Central Market is pure vibes
Seafood is top dog in Cadiz and there’s no better place to sample it, than in the Mercado Central de Cadiz. You cannot miss this place! At midday, every Saturday this rectangle of shabby-chic stalls and eateries comes alive with the buzz of locals buying their evening meal, snacking on tapas, drinking a beer and catching up with friends and family. Despite the informality of the alfresco dining at the Mercado Central, there is an up-market vibe.
It’s not all seafood either – Cheese and wine, Jamon Iberico and the other ethnic foods are for sale. Our favourite? The incredible empanadas from the Argentine place. Prices range from a euro up to ten, so there’s something to suit every budget and in the true tapas style, if you want, you can try a little of everything.
By two o’clock any tables and chairs have long since been inhabited and it’s standing room only. By four o’clock, the place is packed and getting rowdier by the minute, due in part to the astoundingly cheap beer. A half-litre of Cruz Campo will set you back just 2 Euros. This compares very favourably with local tapas bars where a small beer is around 1.30 Euros. Cadiz is so cheap compared to other European cities.
4. So many great value places to eat in Cadiz
Whilst the central market is definitely your go-to place for lunch or a snack, you might want something a little classier of an evening. At Ultramar y Nos there was a place for us in our preferred location: At the bar! This restaurant is a solid choice if you’re looking for an international take on Spanish cuisine. We enjoyed a pulled pork burger and some fried baby squid. They also do a good Brut Nature Cava (‘Skinny Champagne’ equivalent) at 2.50 Euros a glass and main dishes are between eight and twelve Euros which is relatively expensive.
Our favourite spot for dinner was La Isleta de la Vina. This trendy, modern tapas bar has low ceilings and a snug atmosphere that gets another huge thumbs up from us. The tapas dishes here boast some imaginative combinations. One excellent dish you can see pictured in the video was a hunk of tender white fish, served with caramelised carrots and dates, creamed potatoes and a cumquat marmalade. This was sensational and cost only seven euros. You will need two of such dishes to fill you up but that’s ok because you’ll want to taste everything!
5. Cadiz has secure parking for cars, campervans and motorhomes
Considering Cadiz is a landlocked town there is an impressive array of parking options. If you are taking a hire car into Cadiz you can park in one of many underground car parks, although prices can be steep at ten to fifteen euros for a day trip. For campervans and owners of larger motorhomes, our recommended place to park is Parking Santa Catalina. This is a patrolled car park, right on the tip of the peninsula, next to the sea wall. There is space here for huge RVs and although there are no facilities you can use the bathrooms at the Castillo de Santa Catalina just a few minutes walk. Our bill for two nights was 28 euros. Just hose off the sea spray when you leave!
6. It’s easy to get to Cadiz and cheap in winter
Don’t have a bed-on-wheels? No tiny-travelling-home? No worries! If you aren’t a van dweller then the easiest way to get to Cadiz is to take a flight to Jerez de la Frontera and catch the train to Cadiz station. Seville airport is slightly further but may have cheaper flights. Looking for a cheap place to stay in Cadiz? Cadiz Inn Backpackers has private double rooms starting from around 30 Euros per night in winter.
Thanks for reading ‘Six Great Reasons to Visit Cadiz in Winter’. We hope you enjoyed it. We would love to hear from you, so please feel free to email us on antlou [at] vanutopia.com and don’t forget you can stay right up to date with all of our antics by following us on social: Facebook; Instagram; Twitter and subscribing to our YouTube channel.
Ant & Lou