When I planned my trip around Southern Spain, I wanted to have a base for a couple of days. I choose Jerez for 3 days and decided I’d take a day trip by train from Jerez to Cadiz. I share my experience with the Jerez to Cadiz train and the things to do in Cadiz on a day trip. Get ready to explore the oldest city of Europe and read how the train Jerez to Cadiz works.
Introduction to Cadiz Spain
The city of Cadiz Spain is the capital of the Province of Cadiz. It is a small slice of land, surrounded by the sea and harbor. It is regarded the oldest city in western Europe as it was first inhabited by the Phoenicians as early as 1,100 BCE. This makes part of the city more than 3,000 years old!
The economic drive of the city of Cadiz was and still is the harbor. In early days, it was used as the Spanish naval base and now it is major import and export point. This made Cadiz a wealthy city and newer parts have been added outside the city walls of Cadiz. For my day trip from Jerez to Cadiz, I focus on what to see in Cadiz in the old part of town.
How to get to Cadiz?
Although Cadiz is the capital of the Cadiz Province, it is situated right at the tip of the country. A long thin stretch of land connects the city with the rest of Spain. Many cruise ships have a stop in Cadiz, leaving time to see the city in a day or venture off towards Jerez de la Frontera.
If you want to plan your cruise stop in Cadiz, jump straight to the below section about the things to do in Cadiz.
I took the train Jerez to Cadiz but to be as complete as possible, I list some other options on how to get to Cadiz for your day trip.
Drive to Cadiz
If you rent a car (or have your own wheels for an Andalusian Road Trip) you can visit Cadiz by car. Cadiz is connected by the E-5 with the major cities of Spain like Jerez, Seville, Cordoba and Madrid. You can enter the city via the main road (CA-33) or across one of the bridges via the harbor.
Parking in Cadiz
Parking in Cadiz can be a bit of a problem. Forget about driving in the old town. One way streets and a labyrinth of small, dark alleys will lead you into despair! I was happy to leave my car in Jerez and take the train to Cadiz. If you do intent to drive to Cadiz, find a hotel that has a parking option (fees might apply) or park your car at a secure parking space. As always, I recommend to check out the several options to park in the city. You can set your date and estimate times and see what the different prices are. There is a free car park in Cadiz next to the railway station. It is located on Av. Astilleros but places are limited (and there is no shade or security).
Jerez to Cadiz by Bus
You can also hop on a bus and travel to Cadiz. You can go on the M-902 with Comes buses. The bus station of Jerez is located next to the train station.
Train from Jerez to Cadiz
But the easiest and fastest (and cheapest) way to travel from Jerez to Cadiz, is by train. I took the train from Jerez to Cadiz and spent the day in Cadiz. It was easy, comfortable and cheap. And I had several options as you can take the high speed train that services the Jerez airport and Sevilla but you can also take the regional train.
The RENFE train takes 35 to 40 minutes to travel from Jerez to Cadiz and the train runs almost every hour from 8 am till 11 pm. Always check if this applies for your desired travel date, via the website of Renfe.
Costs for the Train Jerez to Cadiz
In below examples you see different options. You can book in advance via the Renfe website or at the train station. Below, you’ll see the cheaper fare of €4,85 for one way. You see that the “tren” is MD. These are the cheaper local trains. These are regional trains and you have to buy a return ticket in the same category.
High Speed Seville Cadiz Train
When you look for a train from Jerez to Cadiz (or from Cadiz to Jerez). You can also find a more expensive train ticket. In below example, the 14.35h (2.35pm) train will cost you €11,90. The train type is mentioned as Alvia. This is the high speed train from Madrid to Seville and Jerez and continues to Cadiz.
Only slightly faster, this train comes with reserved seating and has slightly more luxurious train carriages. The high speed train from Seville to Cadiz follows the same route. If you only travel between Jerez and Cadiz, it is not worth the extra money. If you wish to travel from Cadiz to Seville or even all the way to Madrid, this extra speed and comfort might be worth the splurge!
More trains: Amsterdam to Paris by Thalys Train
Jerez de la Frontera Train Station
The train station in Cadiz is located just outside of the old town and very close to the main things to do in Cadiz. It was only a 3 minute walk from the Cadiz train station to the hearth of the old town.
Jerez train station was a bit further away from where I stayed. Jerez is a bigger city than Cadiz, so it seems inevitable that the train station was not close to where I stayed. I decided to go to Cadiz on a day trip from Jerez on a Sunday. It was also a public holiday in Jerez (not in Cadiz) and the streets where empty.
Jerez de la Frontera train station is located near Calle Cartuja (in case you wish to look it up) and it was a 15 minute walk from the Plaza del Arenal. As it was smoldering hot, it might have taken me a bit longer. But, Jerez train station is worth a visit. Even if you’re not taking the train to Cadiz, the Jerez de la Frontera train station is one of the prettiest train stations in Spain.
Covered in rich blue azuljos tiles and red brick, the train station is worth a picture or two (or three or…).
Jerez Airport to Cadiz by train
If you land at Jerez Airport (XRY) you can easily take the C1 train to Jerez and onward to Cadiz. This is the regional train and within 9 minutes you’ll reach Jerez and it takes about 1 hour to reach Cadiz. The only downside is, it only runs 3 times a day, so make sure to check the schedule.
The Sevilla- Cadiz high speed train services the Jerez airport 8 times a day (so in total you have 11 options) to take the train to Cadiz from Jerez airport. It is a little bit faster. In 8 minutes you’ll reach Jerez de la Frontera and 47 minutes for Cadiz.
Now that you have finally arrived in Cadiz, either by car, bus or train, you want to explore the old town of Cadiz. I was amazed by the vibe and liveliness of the city and would have loved to spend more time in Cadiz. The beach is really appealing and the food scene is fingerlickin’ good. But if you only have 1 day, like me, I give you the things to do in Cadiz on a day trip from Jerez.
The old city of Cadiz is at the very end of the peninsula. The city is surrounded by water and has a broad walkway. You can walk or cycle around most part of the city. Your main orientation point is the Cathedral of Cadiz as you can see it from everywhere.
The old town itself is a maze of small streets, alleys, walkthrough shops and squares. More on the outside, you find broader lanes and bigger buildings. It is easy to get lost in the city of Cadiz and that is partly the charm of this ancient settlement!
Main focus of the skyline of Cadiz, is the Cadiz Cathedral. A Roman Church with two towers on each end. The Cadiz Cathedral is fairly new, it was only built in the 18th century.
I visited on a sunday and had to wait for mass to be over and the Cathedral to open to the tourists. I first decided to climb the bell tower (in the left tower) and then visit the church. From the bell tower, you have spectacular views over the city of Cadiz and the sea surrounding it. It was literally the highlight of my visit and one of the things to do in Cadiz.
Costs: A visit to the tower of Cadiz Cathedral costs € 5,00 and it included the entrance to the church too. For more information about opening hours and prices, check the website.
Roman Theater Cadiz
Next to the Cadiz Cathedral you’ll find the remains of the old Roman Theater. Covered by modern houses, only a part of the ruins are excavated. Unfortunately at the time of my visit, the gate was locked and I found out it is closed until further notice. I sure hope it opens in the future, as I love Roman ruins and this Theater in the heart of the city of Cadiz is an unique sight.
It seems Andalusia has an abundance of sunshine year round. During my visit, it was smoldering hot and Cadiz’s beaches were packed! And it was already October!
There are several beaches that are worth a visit if you’re into some sunshine. The most popular beach in Cadiz is on the west side of the city. Playa la Caleta is a stretch of golden sand for you to rest your legs and relax. The Centre for Underwater Archaeology stretches her columns over part of the beach, providing some shade for those who need it.
The beach is very family friendly and the water gradually becomes deeper, so perfect for families with smaller children.
Cadiz Park Genoves
The Genoves Park in Cadiz is a lush green oasis at the north western tips of the city. This is a patch of green in a limestone and concrete jungle. Here you’ll find unique fauna and ancient trees that were brought over when the Spanish
plundered discovered the new world. The park is not world famous but definitely a thing to see in Cadiz when you visit the city. It is a great place to relax and meet with locals! I sat at the edge of the water basin for a while, enjoying the cooling breeze that came from the water and entertained myself, looking at the ducks.
A girl’s got to eat, doesn’t she? I walked for so many miles and became tired and hungry. Luckily I found Cadiz has so many food options, you hardly can go wrong. I settled myself in a comfortable chair in the shade at a tiny square and just ordered little bites of tapas to snack on. All freshly made with care and love for local produce, Cadiz tapas is the ultimate snack food to share.
If you’d like to delve a little deeper into the food culture of Cadiz, make sure to join a food tour and eat your way around town!
Castles of Cadiz
One of the best things to do in Cadiz if you like history, is a visit to one of the defense works of Cadiz. Cadiz has two ‘castles’ that formed a line of defense against brutal attacks from oversees. I visited the Castillo de San Sebastián but you can also see the Castillo de Santa Catalina.
I especially enjoyed the walk up to the Castillo de San Sebastián as it is situated even further from the peninsula of Cadiz on its own little peninsula. A small walk way leads to the old military base. Once there, it was abandoned and there was not that much to see (besides a small museum) but it was absolutely worth it as the views across the water and the rest of Cadiz are just spectacular. Where else in the world can you walk out on the water, on a peninsula of a peninsula!? I felt like I was literally at the end of the world!
Another one of the amazing things to do in Cadiz, is to climb one of the watchtowers of Cadiz. Most famous of the Cadiz Towers is the Tavira Tower. This tower is located in the heart of Cadiz city and is the highest of the towers in Cadiz. Since the 18th century, people stood watch at the tower, overlooking the city and seas. You can visit the Tavira Tower for €6,00 and enjoy the view over Cadiz and experience the Camera Obscura. For more information, see their website.
As previously mentioned, you can also climb the tower of Cadiz cathedral, which is a good alternative.
Walking routes in Cadiz
The best way to explore Cadiz, is to walk around the city. I mean literarlly. You can easily follow the pavement around the city. The ocean on one hand, the city on the other, you’ll see colourful houses, historic defence towers and the best beaches of the city!
The Cadiz turismo office has set out several walking routes across the city for your ease. You can follow the main route around the city or take one of the routes that will lead you through town. The best part is: the routes are painted on the pavement so you don’t have to walk around with a map or app to find your way!
Green Route: approximately 1,7 km focussing on the area around the Cadiz Cathedral. These are the oldest quarters of town.
Orange Route: approximately 7 km. This route is almost circular and walks around the city of Cadiz. Main focus is the old defence works of the city.
Purple Route: approximately 2,8 km. The route focuses on highlights of the 17th and 18th century when the city became rich from trade with America.
Blue Route: approximately 2,2 km. A route that emphasizes the major events that took place in 1812 when the Spanish constitution was formed.
For more detailed information about the routes, check out the tourism website of Cadiz. You can find the routes and their details here. Are you tired of walking? Or just don’t have the time? Cadiz also has a hop on hop off bus that stops at all the major sights! Super easy. Click here for prices and details.
Day Trip from Jerez to Cadiz by Train
Wow, Cadiz has so many nice things to see and do that you’ll probably need more than a day to explore the city. I spent a good portion of the day in Cadiz and mostly enjoyed the atmosphere in the city. Cadiz has a closely knit community with people living in Cadiz for their whole lives. Every time I sat down to relax and take in the surroundings, people joined me at my table, greeted their friends and neighbors and seemed to enjoy the city just as much as I did.
Cadiz truly has an unique feel and vibe to the city. Street performers near the cathedral take turns to entertain the tourists and locals with music on Spanish guitar or a dramatic flamenco performance! The lady who danced her heart and soul out in the open in Cadiz was the best flamenco performance I’ve seen in the whole of Spain!
All in all, a day in Cadiz is too short. The city is best experienced by walking through it and taking in the atmosphere. If you visit on a cruise stop in Cadiz or only have one day like I did, the train from Jerez to Cadiz is the best option to explore the city. I’m happy I got to experience a little taste of Cadiz and I hope to come back in the future for an extended visit.
Do you have plans to visit Cadiz? Have you travelled on the train Jerez to Cadiz? What did you think of the city? What are your favorite things to do in Cadiz? Let me know in the comment section below, I’d love to read it.
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