Cadiz, Spain is a beautiful portside town where in February each year people from all over the world flock for Carnival. While Carnival by its very nature is a party on the streets filled with dancing, singing and making merry, for first-timers it can be difficult to know where best to be. Here are a few of the places in Cadiz where you’re bound to be part of the action.
Gran Teatro de Falla
Cadiz’s most important theatre spends most of the year hosting concerts and plays, but when February rolls around it becomes the main location for Carnival’s singing competitions which begin weeks before the actual week of the event. The competitions are among hundreds of singer groups that show up to make fun of politics, news and everyday life. Take a seat in this beautiful turn-of-the-century theatre and see one of the elements that makes Carnival in Cadiz so spectacular.
Gran Teatro de Falla, Plaza Fragela, Cádiz, Spain +34 956 22 08 34
Located in the la Viña neighbourhood, the Casa Manteca is a traditional Spanish bar and tapas house famous for their downhome-style food and friendly atmosphere. The walls are covered in memorabilia and despite the fact that you will probably see other tourists here, it’s still a local hangout. During Carnival you will often get the pleasure of impromptu performances and songs, a place to see and be seen during this outrageously fabulous yearly festival.
Casa Manteca, Calle Corralón de los Carros, 66, Cádiz, Spain +34 956 21 36 03
Meson Cumbres Mayores
On a street known for its great bar-hopping, sits the Cumbres Mayores restaurant, a traditional Spanish tapas bar and restaurant housed in what once was the iconic La Cruz Blanca brewery. One of its owners, Isidoro Cárdeno, is also owner of the Cumbres Mayores Iberian ham factory so look out for this delicious ingredient in lots of the dishes.
Meson Cumbres Mayores, Calle Zorrilla, 4, Cádiz, Spain +34 856 07 22 42
La Plaza de las Flores
Named as such for the flower vendors that surround it, The Plaza de las Flores is one of the city’s many plazas where you can take part in the street party that is Carnival. Along with its neighbouring area, Plaza de la Libertad, it is one of the main stages for performances and songs throughout the festival. Check out houses #1 and #12 right on the plaza for a glimpse at some fabulous old architecture.
Barrio de la Viña
One of the city’s oldest and most traditional neighbourhoods, Barrio de la Viña is where the majority of the action for Carnival in Cadiz takes place and is considered the birthplace of the festival. This neighbourhood is filled with restaurants and bars and is a great place to sample the city’s most traditional delights. From here you can also visit the Caleta beach, the only beach in the centre of the city and see the ancient baths that were once used by residents there.
Cadiz’s ‘carpa’ or main tent is where the majority of Carnival events are held and it’s always packed with revellers. Check in advance for a list of activities that are happening ‘under the big top’ and go early to get a seat. Cadiz’s Carnival sets itself apart because of all the cultural events that are included in the festivities along with rambunctious partying, eating and drinking.
Plaza de la Catedral
Another of Cadiz’s main plaza where events, parades and dance are held during Carnival, Plaza de la Catedral, as you can imagine is where the city’s main cathedral is located. This plaza is just steps from the ocean and a great place to people-watch – during Carnival and the rest of the year! You can even head up to the top of the cathedral for a small fee and get a different view of the city.
Plaza San Antonio
Plaza San Antonio hosts many of Carnival’s main events, most importantly the crowning of the Carnival’s queen. At the end of the festival, Plaa San Antonio is also the site of the burning of ‘King Memo’, a paper-maiche doll that is the king of the carnival – the burning signifies that Carnival is ending.
One of the city’s most famous tapas bars, La Tabernita is a great place to have a delicious glass of Spanish wine and some traditional tapas. Try the cuttlefish meatballs or the shrimp patties. It’s a tiny place but the food and drinks pack a punch.