The Ultimate Guide to Cadiz Carnival

Every year the gorgeous city of Cadiz in Spain hosts one of the funniest and most entertaining carnivals in the world! Cadiz Carnival is one of the most extravagant parties you will ever attend. This article is filled with tips, advice and valuable information to help you have the best possible carnival experience!

Thursday, 20th February 2020

Sunday, 1st March 2020

Days to start

What is carnival in Cadiz?

cadiz carnival

Every year the beautiful and serene city of Cadiz, famous for its elegance and grace, transforms into one of the biggest parties on the planet because once again carnival has arrived! Cadiz Carnival is one of the most prestigious carnivals in the world and has even been declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest.

Cadiz Carnival is a celebration unlike any other in Spain and this is the only carnival in Spain that Franco was not able to ban! It is famous all over the world, known for its roaming groups of street performers who sing witty and satirical songs about current Spanish affairs and prominent Spanish Figures. These groups are incredibly funny and entertaining and have become a defining cultural emblem of Cadiz’s Carnival.

The gaditanos (Cádiz locals) are known throughout Spain for their wit, jokes and amusing one-liners. Carnival is the most anticipated event of the year in Cadiz and the gaditanos put their heart and souls into making it become what is described as the most entertaining and fun-filled carnival in Spain! Carnival here is about having a good time with people who love to laugh and love to make others laugh.

Cadiz Carnival is one of the most extravagant parties you will ever attend. It is a celebration of life, and excess and there is a burst of revelry, colour and music around every corner of the city. It is weeks of continuous fun, originality and mass participation by all of its residents. It is impossible not to get swept up in the excitement!

When is Cádiz Carnival?

When is the 2020 Cadiz Carnival? The official dates for the 2020 Carnival of Cádiz will begin on Thursday, 20th February and finish on Sunday 1st March 2020. There are also plenty of pre-carnival events in the lead up to carnival.

Where is Cádiz?

cadiz carnival

Cádiz is a beautiful ancient seaside port city that is located in Spain’s southwestern region of Andalucía. Located just where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean. Cádiz is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in Western Europe, founded in about 1100 BC. Now into its fourth millennium, the ancient centre is almost entirely surrounded by water and is home to the Spanish navy. 

What is the history of Cádiz Carnival?

cadiz carnival

The origins of Cádiz Carnival are tied to the Catholic period of Lent. Lent is a period of by denying meat and earthly pleasures for the 40 days before Easter. Before the onset of Lent, the Church allowed people to give into their desires and indulge in excess.

The origins of the Cadiz Carnival are quite curious. The first mention of carnival dates back to the 16th century, when Cadiz was one of the more important ports in the Spanish empire and had visitors from all over the world. It appears that carnival was highly influenced by the many Italian merchants who were based in Cadiz due to the nostalgia they had for their traditional Italian Carnival’s.

Cadiz Carnival was officially recognised by the City in 1861 when the city took charge over the organisation of the carnival.

How do they celebrate Cadiz Carnival?

cadiz carnival

Cadiz is carnival on steroids! Cadiz Carnival is known as being one big fat street party! Carnival is celebrated with parades, parties, music, singing, food, dance, costumes, competitions, comedians, live entertainment, fireworks and endless additional activities to ensure that the fun doesn’t stop for a minute throughout carnival!

During carnival the streets burst to life and are packed with carnival rides, market stalls and food and drink vendors serving delicious Cadizian products. Stages are put up all over the town for shows and musical performances. And every evening there is an epic firework display in Plaza San Juan de Dios.

Cadiz Carnival is days of non-stop fun, originality and mass participation! What exactly makes Cadiz Carnival such a noteworthy carnival is that it is such a unique cultural experience. People who are lucky enough to experience Cadiz Carnival get to participate in a tradition that is tied to the origins of Christendom and Spain.

The locals are well known for their high-energic traditions and friendliness which they pour into carnival. Cadiz is all about people coming out to laugh and make others laugh. Around every corner is a new surprise, the locals entertain the crowds with an electric mix of different musical groups putting on epic performances.

Besides the main shows you can see the groups perform around the streets. One of the peculiarities of Cadiz Carnival is the omnipresent political satire that spares no one. The Andalusians are proud of their satire and musical forms.

Music is one of the most important aspects of Cadiz Carnival and one of the most important events is the “official contest” held at the Gran Teatro Falla. Over 100 groups take part in this group trying to reach the finals and win. The groups spend the whole year practicing for this event and the rehearsals and rounds start about a month before carnival.

As a typical day goes on during carnival, the celebration continues to snowball into something bigger. The Cathedral becomes one of the city’s central pregame zones, filling up with music and people. When the sun sets on the carnival day, the party moves to a giant tent for those who have the energy to stay out until the early hours of the morning and party.

Fancy dress is obligatory at Cadiz Carnival. It is essentially one big costume party, think Halloween. It is a must to wear a costume, at least on the first Saturday and during the parades. Everywhere you look you will see people dressed up. It’s perfectly normal during carnival to see a group of stormtroopers eating tapas, or a giraffe having a beer with Putin.

Cádiz Carnival 2020 Programme: Dates & Events

cadiz carnival

  • January 18th – 19th, 2020: The Contest of Carnival Groups begins with the semi-finals of the quarry, beginning at 12:00 for children and starting at 6:00pm for the youth. 
  • January 20th, 2020: Start of the Official Group Contest for adults. The 18 preliminary rounds run from January 20th to February 6th and begin from 8:00 pm 
  • February 7th 2020: Children’s Group Contest Category final begins at 5:00 pm
  • February 8th, 2020: Final in the youth category begins at 5:00 pm. Today begins the start of the pre-carnival gastronomic events with the celebration of the Pestiñada de la Peña Los Dedócratas taking place in the Plaza de San Francisco.
  • February 9th, 2020: The Erizada will take place in the Viña neighbourhood.
  • February 9th – 15th, 2020: Quarter-finals for the adults for the Carnival Groups contest.
  • February 16th, 2020: The Ostionada Osted will take place in San Antonio and Mejillonada will take place in La Perla de Cádiz.
  • February 16th – 19th, 2020: The Carnival Groups Contest Adults semi-finals.
  • Thursday, February 20th 2020: Inauguration of the carnival lighting and the final of the Romanceros Contest is held at Falla Theatre.
  • Friday, February 21st 2020: The Adult Grand Final Group Contest at the Gran Falla Teatro will take place. The streets of Cadiz will be quiet as everyone is tuned in to their televisions to find out the winners.
  • Saturday February 22nd 2020: On Carnival Saturday, carnival begins with the proclamation of the Carnival of Cádiz 2020 which is performed by Cádiz singer David Palomar at the Plaza de San Antonio. The Battle of Coplas will take place in Mercado Central around midday where you will see the semi-finalist groups of the contest perform. At the Plaza de Candelaria you can see the choir festival. The Gran Teatro Falla will open again to celebrate the Carnival Gala where the winners and runners up will perform again. At night time you can enjoy the winning performances on the stages located in the Plaza de San Antonio.
  • Sunday, February 23rd 2020: Today many choirs will perform around Central Market Sunday. Today is the first big parade of the Great Cavalcade which begins around 5:00pm. Hundreds of thousands come out onto the streets to celebrate this party. They street parties go long into the night.
  • Monday, February 24th 2020: This Monday is often called Hangover Monday after a big weekend of partying. You can see many Choirs Carousels performing around town.
  • Shrove Tuesday, February 25th 2020: Today sees the Burning of God Momo and the proclamation which will be done by Manolin Santander. Numerous musical groups will perform in different parts of the city.
  • Ash Wednesday, February 26th 2020: Numerous musical groups will perform in different parts of the city. The neighbourhood of El Pópulo will host a huge concentration of groups. It is a good opportunity to see the groups that don’t participate in the Gran Teatro.
  • Thursday, February 27th, 2020: Numerous musical groups will perform in different parts of the city. Romance circuit in El Mentidero.
  • Friday, February 28th 2020: Today is Andalusia Day! The Loreto neighbourhood will host a carousel of circular choirs around its square. Contest finals will be held in La Viña San Agustín, Candelaria and the Cathedral.
  • Saturday, February 29th, 2020: Today is the second parade, the Cavalcade of Humour or the Humour Parade. It will begin around 7:00pm. There will also be many gastronomic events held today.
  • Sunday March 1st, 2020: Today the last of the choir carousels will make their circuits through the Central Market and its surroundings. To close the carnival there is the Burning of the Piti Witch and the subsequent fireworks on La Caleta Beach.
  • Sunday March 8th, 2020: Chiquiot Carnival, after carnival is over, today is your last chance for those that wish to enjoy the couplets of street groups one more time. Everything is spontaneous and done without prior organisation. Around the central market there are many chirigotas groups and the Grand Final of Presentation takes place in the Plaza de la Cathedral.

The Contest of Carnival Groups at the Gran Teatro Falla

cadiz carnival

The contest of the Gran Teatro Falla is one of the most popular events of carnival. For around 20 days, over 300 groups compete to try and pass through the semi-finals and final phases to take part in the Grand Final, where only four groups in each category are selected. The final is held on the eve of Carnival.

A month before carnival begins, the groups begin to compete in the Falla Theatre Competition, which starts warming up the carnival atmosphere and getting people excited about carnival. The Grand Final is one of the main highlights of carnival.

The competition is a popular tradition not only in Cadiz but also in the region of Andalusia as a whole and is even broadcast on television and radio to hundreds of thousands of people who follow closely (Canal Sur TV and Canal Sur Radio).

There are four types of groups who participate in the Falla Contest, they include the Comparsas, Chirigotas, Cuartetos and Choirs. The groups prepare all year to take part in the Grand Final. The songs they perform are usually humorous and witty, providing ingenious critiques of events that have made news over the past year.

When does the Gran Falla Teatro Contest of Carnival Groups begin?

The Gran Falla Teatro Contest of Carnival Groups begins on January 20th,2020 a month before carnival officially begins. The Grand Falla Competition dates will take place on February 21st, 20.

  • Children’s semi-finals: January 18th & 19th @ 12:00 pm
  • Youth semi-finals: January 18th & 19th @ 6:00 pm
  • Preliminary Adult Rounds: From January 20th – February 6th, 2020 starting from 8:00 pm
  • Children’s Final: February 7th, 2020 @ 6:00 pm
  • Youth Final: February 8th, 2020 @ 6:00 pm
  • Adult Quarter Finals: From February 9th – 15th from 8:00 pm
  • Adult Semi-finals: From February 16th – 19th from 8:00 pm
  • Adult Grand Final: On February 21st from 8:00 pm

Cadiz Carnival Musical Groups

During Cadiz Carnival, you will come across six different groups of performers, who play all sorts of medieval instruments like kazoos, reed whistles, gourds and lutes. It is the performances of these groups that bring the streets of Cadiz alive during carnival with comedy and colour! The six groups you will see include the:

  • Chirigotas
  • Comparsas
  • The Choirs (coros)
  • Cuartetos
  • Romanceros
  • Ilegales

The Chirigotas

cadiz carnival

The Chirigotas are a big deal in Cadiz, known for their scathing humour, double entendre and irony that is most often directed at politicians or celebrities. They are groups of 12 people who all wear matching costumes, sing together and perform a full repertoire of songs about current social and political topics.

They tend to be the most amusing of the groups. The chirigotas tunes are happier than the comparsas songs, even though they address the same subjects. Their repertoire is the same as the comparsas and includes the presentation, pasodobles, potpourri and their mainstay is the couplet.

During Carnival they wander the streets entertaining everyone with their hilarious songs. Amateur chirigotas can be found on street corners or stairways throughout the city, whereas the professional groups perform in open-air venues that have been put in place by the carnival organises. Of course, the Gran Teatro Falla Competition is where you will find the best of the best.

If you’re not from Spain then you may not understand the nature of the jokes in the songs, but they are still definitely something to see. You will be impressed by the detailed and intricate nature of the performer’s costumes and how in-sync the groups are when they perform together. Interestingly the Chirigotas were suppressed during the Franco dictatorship, but the locals brought this tradition back!

The Comparsas

cadiz carnival

Just like the Chirigotas, the comparsas are well-known satirical and witty groups that sing about social and political topics, while the group members are all dressed in identical costumes. Comparas consist of up 14 group members and their main instruments are box, bass drum and guitar.

They employ wit and irony in their songs as opposed to being slapstick. Every comparsa, whether it is a professional or amateur group performs a repertoire of songs. You can find them performing in the streets and squares throughout the city or for the more professional groups in the established open-air venues that have been organised by the carnival clubs.

Their repertoire is composed mainly of presentation, potpourri and their main song is the pasodobles. In terms of appearance they are the most serious groups in terms of their appearance, but their songs are very critical and include many protest lyrics.

The Choirs (Coro)

The choirs are the largest groups you will see at Cadiz Carnival and can have up to 45 people! The main instruments they use are guitars, lutes and bandurrias. Choirs can be found traveling through the streets on open flat-bed carts or wagons.

The characteristic composition of the choirs is the ‘Carnival Tango’. They will often alternate between a serious and comical repertory. Special interest is often placed on lyrical homages to the city and its people. By far they have the most elaborate and sophisticated costumes of all the groups. Although Cadiz Carnival is about cleverness and satires as opposed to glitz and glam.

The Quartets

The smallest of the groups, and despite their name they can have more or less than four people. These musical comedians act out skits together. They are often accompanied by various sounds that range from the beating of sticks to the kazoo. The highlight of the quartets is parody and they have the complicated task of acting, in order to make the audience laugh.

Romanceros

cadiz carnival

Romanceros are solo performers that are perhaps the oldest and for sure the most invariant carnival representation of Cadiz throughout history. The romancero is a single costumed performer who brings along comic signs to tell a story with images, to explain what they are singing about. They recite humorous verses while pointing at the aspects of the drawings and pictures with a long stick. Its virtually impossible to walk around the old part of Cadiz without encountering them.

To see the best of all of the Romanceros, we suggest you head to the old fishing quarter of La Viña, or try Columela and Calles Ancha in the historical centre.

Ilegales

Ilegales are amateur singing groups who don’t compete in the contest and are often made up of families, friends, clubs or workmates. They came into existence a few years ago and are already rivals to the “official” groups. To view them during carnival the doorway of the Post Office Building in the Plaza de las Flores, is considered to be the authentic “Falla Theater” of these groups.

The Musical forms at Cadiz Carnival

Music fills the air in Cadiz during carnival. While the music may vary in terms of skill and style everyone plays their hearts out and it’s impossible not to enjoy it. Many specific musical styles have evolved at the Cadiz Carnival. Here are the following types of musical forms that make up the musical identity of carnival.

  • The Presentation: this is an introductory piece that explains the groups characterisation, called its tipo. Although the group costumes often give that away anyway. The style of music is unstructured and free and can take the form of a spoken-word recitation or even an original composition.
  • The Couplet: These are shorts songs that must be original and witty. The song is usually related to the tipo and costume of the group. They are sung by the choirs, quartets, chirigotas and comparsas.
  • The Pasodoble: This is a longer song that is usually, but not always more serious. It will often criticise something that happened during the previous year or render a homage to someone. They are sung by the chirigotas and comparsas.
  • Tangos: These are sung by the choirs with a gaditano rhythm and are mostly poetic compositions accompanied by their instruments.
  • Potpourri: These songs are sung by all the groups, they have changing lyrics of well-known recent songs or other music, according to the groups tipo.
  • Parodia: This is the most important part of the quartets performance and is essentially a conversation between its members.

Lyrics are the key to the success of all these songs! With their witty references to current social and political events. There are several writers who are famous for their well-known and clever compositions. They include Juan Manuel Braza Benitez (El Sheriff), Juan Luis Aragon, Francisco Jose Fernandez Diaz (Tote) and Sevillano Antonio Burgos.

Cadiz Carnival Parades – “Cabalgatas”

cadiz carnival

There are two main parades that occur during carnival. The most popular parade is the Gran Cabalgata Parade (Great Parade) which is held on the first Sunday and runs down the entrance of the city. Around 100,000 people come out to witness this spectacle of colour and fun that is filled with costumes, floats and performers. The parade runs for over 4 hours along the 3.5-kilometre parade route.

The second paradeCabalgata del Humor (Humour Parade) takes place on the last Sunday of carnival. It moves through the historic centre of Cadiz, with the liveliest display of fancy dress and most incredible street participation you could hope for.

Pre-Carnival

cadiz carnival

Before Carnival begins the different musical groups begin rehearsals which starts getting everyone excited about carnival. A few years ago, some clubs began organising open-air gastronomic street events to present their groups to the public so they could play their repertoire of humorous songs in public.

In order to attract the greatest number of people and add to the festive air the clubs would off the most exquisite local delicacies to the public scalloped, bristly, pestinadas, potajada, fries, tortilladas and braided so they could taste the essence of Cadiz cuisine. Among all the parties that were thrown there are three parties that have stuck and become an annual pre-carnival tradition. These include:

  • The Pestiñada (fried pastry party): This event is organised by the Dedócratas club. This party takes place the Saturday prior to the beginning of the Falla Contest. Over 12,000 pestiños will be distributed during this celebration along with their corresponding glass of anise.
  • The Ostionada (oyster party): This event is organised by the El Molino club. It takes place on the same day as the bristle and 1,500 kg of oysters are distributed free of charge.
  • The Erizada (sea urchin party): This event is organised by the El Erizo club. It takes place the day after pestiñada. La Erizada is described as being the dean of the Gastronomic-Carnavalesque celebrations. 400 kg of sea urchins are distributed

Where can I watch Cadiz Carnival?

Cadiz’s Carnival sets itself apart because it is filled with cultural events that go along with the rambunctious partying, drinking and eating. Carnival by nature is a public celebration that takes place out on the streets, where locals and tourists celebrate together.

Throughout the streets you will find a huge variety of improvisational theatre that is being performed by the ilegals. The chirigotas usually set themselves up in improvised locations like street corners and stairways. The choirs are hard to miss as they go through the streets in open carts accompanied by their instrument, and they wear the most extravagant and flashy costumes.

Here are some of the best places to see performances and cultural events during carnival:

  • Gran Teatro de Falla: Cadiz’s most important theatre is the main location for Cadiz Carnival’s singing competitions! The competitions kick of weeks before the official start of carnival and feature hundreds of singer groups. Take a seat in this gorgeous turn-of-the-century theatre and witness one of the elements that makes Cadiz Carnival so spectacular!
  • La Plaza de las Flores: This Plaza is one of many located throughout the city. It was named after the flower vendors that surround it. The Plaza de las Flores is the place to go to take during carnival and along with the neighbouring area, Plaza de la Libertad, it is where one of the main stages are located for professional performances throughout The door of the Post Office here is the equivalent of the “Falla Theater” for the ilegales groups.
  • La Carpa: Cadiz’s ‘carpa’ or main tent is where the majority of carnival events take place. It is always packed with revellers. Decide in advance which activities you want to see that is happening ‘under the big top’ and go early to secure a seat.
  • Barrio de la Viña: This is one of the city’s oldest and most traditional neighbourhoods and it is also where the majority of the action for Cadiz Carnival takes place. In fact, it is considered the birthplace of
  • Plaza de la Catedral: One of the main plaza’s in Cadiz and where the city’s main cathedral is located. During carnival many parades, dances and events take place here.
  • Plaza San Antonio: Plaza San Antonio is home to many of the main events of carnival, most importantly the crowning of the Carnival Queen. At the close of carnival, Plaza San Antonio is also where the burning of ‘King Memo’, takes place.
  • Plaza San Juan de Dios: A daily firework display will take place here.
  • Calle Ancha and Calle Columel: these are the main shopping streets and where many of the ilegales will perform.

Where do I get tickets for Cadiz Carnival Group Contest 2020?

60% of tickets are sold from the Ticket offices at the Falla Theater and 40% are sold online. The tickets are sold in an established order: first the preliminary phase tickets go on sale, followed by the fourth and then the semi-final tickets. Tickets to the Grand Final are awarded to the winners of a raffle and you must pre-register to win. To find out more please visit this link: COAC 2020

What should I wear to Cadiz Carnival?

cadiz carnival

Costumes are one of the best things about Cadiz Carnival! Dressing up in costumes is obligatory at the Cadiz Carnival! Everyone makes a big effort and if you don’t dress up you will feel like the odd one out. So leave your self-consciousness behind, put on your weirdest, wackiest or wildest costume and let yourself go!

The costumes you will see here aren’t like the glitzy and glamorous ones you will see in Rio. Carnival Costumes in Cadiz is more like the Halloween costumes you will see in America. The costumes are very diverse so you may see Putin at the bar having a drink with a lion. Some people go all out on their costumes while others may just accessorise with a wig or hat. The people that go all out though are considered gods at carnival!

Many people will dress up together. You will see large groups of family, friends or colleagues wearing group costumes so it’s not unusual to come across a group of 20 Smurfs or see a bunch of stormtroopers eating tapas. Some people will dress up in couple costumes like Barbie and Ken, while others will select their own colourful ensemble.

Whether you dress up alone or in a group, the times that are the most important to wear costumes are during the two parades and on the first Saturday of Carnival. Of course, some people will dress up for the entire duration of carnival. But the opening and parade days are when absolutely everyone is wearing fancy dress.

There are cheap Chino stores all over Spain where you can easily buy a wig, mask or a more complete getup. Or check out Amazon for some amazing carnival costumes or carnival accessories before you come, which has thousands of great options.

It’s important to note that the temperatures in Cadiz in February can range from a high of 25C to a nippy night-time low of 3C. So be prepared to layer up if necessary. Also, you will be on your feet all day long for hours and you will be competing with others for seats even in bars and restaurants, which are all bursting at the seams with patrons.

Cadiz Carnival Food

cadiz carnival

It wouldn’t be a proper carnival celebration if you did not get to indulge in delicious food and wine. Cádiz undeniably has an incredible gastronomic and wine scene that is largely based on fish and shellfish. During carnival the streets of Cadiz are full of innumerable food and drink vendors and there are lots of tapas bars open at all hours where you can enjoy delicious homemade recipes of all kinds.

Some of the most popular tapas include crispy shrimp, shrimp pancakes, sea urchins, anchovies, fried fish, oysters, coe rod, cured meats and various other seafood delicious accompanied by numerous marinades. Of course, you should always pair the food with a delicious drink like a sherry in any of its forms like Fino or Manzanilla.

Cadiz Carnival Saturday

cadiz carnival

You won’t believe the sheer number of people that will pack out Cadiz during carnival, especially the first Saturday of Carnival. Every street is packed with thousands of people and you will be pushing your way through the crowds all night. Everyone comes out to party on this day and everyone wears a costume! The party lasts until the early hours of Sunday morning.

On Carnival those days you will be hard pressed to find a bathroom. If you think you will be able to just duck into a restaurant or store to use the bathroom, forget about it! It will be too crowded. Your best option is to either book accommodation close, so that you can quickly pop back to your place. Or like the masses find a semi-concealed place between the trash cans on the street.

You must reserve your accommodation several months ahead of time for this day because everything will be booked up. You will notice that everyone has plastic bags filled with alcohol and mixers. Everyone brings their own alcohol with them in the streets. There are so many people drinking in public that the police don’t do anything about it.

Is Cadiz Safe?

Cadiz is generally a very safe place to visit but be aware of pickpockets! Especially during carnival when there are big crowds and it is easier to get your stuff stolen. So be aware of your valuables at all times or even leave them back at your hotel and only bring some cash with you. Or check out Amazon and invest in one of these travel safety accessories, like a fanny pack hidden under your clothing to store your essentials in.

How to get to Cadiz?

By Plane: The closest airport is Jerez de la Frontera, which is about a 30 minutes trip by car or taxi (fixed price €46) to Cadiz, or about an 1 hour by direct bus. The airport has several flights daily from both Barcelona and Madrid (Iberia, Vueling). Ryanair also flights daily to Frankfurt Hahn and London Stansted. The nearest major airports are in Sevilla which is about an hour away or in Malaga, which is about 2 hours away.

By Train: Passengers can catch a train to Cádiz railway station (Estación de Cádiz). Frequent trains run to Jerez click here for timetables. They run every hour to Seville time. If you are coming from Madrid you can catch the Talgo train that runs twice a day and covers the distance in about five hours. Renfe has numerous trains to Cádiz from many other Spanish major cities. For European rail tickets please go here. 

By Bus: There are frequent buses between Cadiz and Jerez and timetables can be seen here. There are a few bus companies including Socibus and ALSA which run services to Cádiz. Additional bus services will be operating during Carnival. Be aware that buses stop outside of old town, which is quite a big walk.

By Car: From Cordoba, Seville and Madrid, you can use the A4, and from Barcelona the N340. For a quote on a car rental you can go here.

By Boat: Cadiz is a port city where ferries from the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands operated by Transmediterranea. Commuter ferries also run several times a day from Rota and Puerto de Santa Maria which are operated by CMTBC. Cadiz also receives a large number of cruise ships

How to get around Cádiz

Getting around the city of Cádiz is super easy and quick with many forms of transport available. The most popular way to get around is either by bus or taxi. A train line also runs through the Cádiz, with two stops in the city that connect from neighbouring towns.

Because of the size of Cadiz, while public transport is readily available it is not necessarily required. Electric scooter and bike rentals are a popular way to get around the city, and of course you can always get around on foot. To rent a bike or a scooter get a quote here.

Where to stay for Cádiz Carnival 2020

cadiz carnival

Yes, you may not spend much time sleeping during carnival in Cadiz but trust us you will appreciate being able to rest in between parties! There are loads of accommodation options in Cadiz to suit a range of budgets and levels of comfort. From luxury hotels, apartment rentals to backpacker hostels there are no shortage of places to stay.

You must keep in mind though that it may be difficult to find accommodation during carnival because so many people travel to Cadiz for it. Here are some of the different areas to stay in Cadiz. We recommend staying close to the carnival activities so that you can always run back home and use the bathroom or grab a jumper easily. 

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Old Town Cadiz

This is a great place to stay if you want to be close to the carnival activities as you will be close to Plaza San Antonio, Plaza San Juan de Dios, Plaza de San Francisco and Plaza de Mina. So, you can easily walk to all the carnival activities or run home and use the bathroom or grab a jumper if you need. Old Town Cadiz is also the best place to stay for those looking to explore the history of the town.

Some luxury hotels in Old Town are Parador de Cadiz and Senator Cadiz Spa Hotel. Mid-range hotels include Hotel de Francia y Parisris, Tandem Ancha 34, El Armador Casa Palacio. Budget hotels are Pension Cadiz and La Posada del Mercado. And if you are looking for Family Friendly hotels, they include Apartamentos Maier, Residencia Universitaria Cadiz Centro and Hotel Casa de las Cuatro Torres.

La Viña Cadiz

This is one of the best places to stay at during carnival because it is home to the carnival parties! La Viña is known for its nightlife so stay here if you want to be close to the party. This area also once houses orchards and vineyards before becoming the fishing quarters of Cadiz. It is also where you will find the nearest beach to downtown, Caleta Beach. The area is also filled with amazing restaurants and tapas bars.

Luxury accommodation options in La Viña include Monte Puertatierra Hotel and Rosario Uno Aparthotel. Mid-range accommodation includes Hotel Las Cortes De Cadiz, Apartamentos Maier, Apartamentos Plaza de la Luz & Hotel Argantonio. Budget accommodation includes Hotel Regio and Hostal Colon. Cheap backpacking options here include Rosa de los Vientos. If you are looking for family friend accommodation, then you can stay at Occidental Cadiz or Hotel Casa de las Cuatro Torres.

Playa Victoria Cadiz

This is one of the most popular beaches in Cadiz also known as Victoria Beach. This is where most beach hotels in Cadiz are located. Even if it is too cold during carnival to enjoy the beach, it is still a great area with dozens of great bars and restaurants. It is also a popular nightlife spot.

Some of the best places to stay in Playa Victoria for luxury hotel options are Monte Puertatierra Hotel and Hotel Spa Cadiz Plaza. Mid-range hotels include Tryp Cadiz la Caleta Hotel and Hotel Playa Victoria. Budget options include Hospederia Imar. And for family friend options stay at Hotel Regio Cadiz or Occidental Cadiz.

Santa Maria Cadiz

Located just outside of Old Town is the area Santa Maria that lies at the Puerta de Tierra. This is a great option for those on a budget because the accommodation prices are lower, but you are still within walking distance to many carnival activities and the attractions of old town.

This is also more of a local barrio so you will not have that many tourist restaurants and tourist prices, just more authentic Spanish culture and food. The beaches are a bit further away hence why the accommodation is cheaper.

Luxury accommodation options include Hotel Casa de las Cuatro Torres. Mid-range hotels include Hotel La Catedral, Hotel Patagonia Sur, Senator Cadiz Spa Hotel and Cadiz Inn Apartments. Budget hotels include Hospederia Marques and Hostal Centro Sol. Backpacking options are Cadiz Inn Backpackers, Hostal Canalejas and Casa Caracol. Good family friend options include Apartamentos Plaza de la Luz, Monte Puertatierra Hotel and Tandem Ancha 34.

San Carlos Cadiz

This is another great local neighbourhood in Cadiz. For families or people seeking an apartment rental, this residential area is perfect. It is more upscale than Santa Maria and centred around the Plaza de Espana, overlooking the port. Staying here means that you have the conveniences of a residential area but are not too far away from carnival and the attractions of Old Town.

Some of the best places to stay for luxury accommodation includes Rosario Uno Aparthotel. Mid-range hotel includes Hotel Argantonio and Apodaca Rooms. Budget hotels include Hospederia Marques and Hostal Bahia. Backpacking options include Hostal Canalejas and Alquimia Hotel Cadiz. For family friendly accommodation stay at Apartamentos Maier, Hotel Patagonia Sur or La Posada del Mercado.

Please note that if you want to experience Cadiz Carnival then you should book your accommodation well in advance! This is one of the most long-awaited events on the calendar and it attracts thousands of people every year, so accommodation books up quickly! Check out some great accommodation deals in Cadiz here.

Things to do in Cádiz

cadiz carnival

It is hard not to fall in love with Cadiz! It’s full of charm, it’s historic and quaint! This is a special place that is definitely worth a visit. While many of Spain’s larger cities have become more globalised, Cadiz has retained its Spanish flavour. Locals remain connected and you only have to walk a few paces before you bump into someone you know.

Vivid green water is dotted with fishing boats, there are white buildings as far as the eye can see, gorgeous cobbled streets run from one side of the peninsula to the other, it is filled with tree-lined plazas, sensational views, has an excellent local vibe and awesome tapas bars. Many tapas bars here go back generations with menu’s virtually unchanged from 50 years ago!

If you are a history buff then this is definitely the city for you! It was founded by the Phoenicians over 3000 years ago, making it one of the oldest cities in Western Europe. Later the Romans also settled here and built an impressive city some of which still exists today! Over the centuries it has remained one of the most important port cities in Europe with trading links to America, so this small city has a really fascinating past.

Along with the incredible history, this city has many beautiful beaches like La Caleta which is located right in the centre. This popular beach with castle views has extensive eateries and a bustling nightlife.

Visiting this city you could create a packed itinerary filled with tours, museum visits or going visiting art exhibitions. Or you could just spend time relaxing, eating, drinking and exploring this city at your own pace. One of the things you must try in Cadiz is sherry, as this area is the major sherry producing area of Spain.

Some of the best attractions in Cadiz are The Torre Tavira which is a tower that dates back to the 1700’s and offers city-wide views of Cadiz. Another worthwhile attraction is The Castle of Santa Catalina from the 1600’s which also offers panoramic sea views and a gallery. Other attractions include the Cadiz Cathedral, the Gran Teatro Falla, Oratory of La Santa Cueva, Museum of Cadiz, Oratorio de San Felipe and the Palacio del Tiempo.

Honestly there is so much cool stuff to do and see in Cadiz, we definitely recommend doing some sightseeing when you are there. If you check out Viator you can discover loads of different excursions, day trips and sightseeing tours.

Or if you are incredibly lucky and are able to take a longer vacation then just coming out for carnival, take a look at Tour Radar, as they have lots of different itineraries for amazing vacations around Spain, which we highly recommend because it is such a unique part of the world.

Before you go!

We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance being protected on your travels is an irreplaceable peace of mind. Don’t learn the hard way about the importance of travel insurance. Never travel without coverage.

Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads.

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