Spanish. Only in the most touristic of places in Cadiz will you hear English spoken.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The euro. There are plenty of ATM machines and exchange bureaus in town.
Where You're Docked
Cadiz. Cruise ships dock in the commercial port, which is in the heart of town -- Cadiz itself is very walk-able.
There is a small tourist office on site at the port. But the real draw of Cadiz for cruise ships is its role as gateway-to-Seville.
Getting There: Easiest way is to take the train. From Cadiz, the station, just off the Plaza de Sevilla, is a 15 minute walk (basically on the other side of the port). Allow 1.5 - 1.75 hours for the journey between Cadiz and Seville and, for cruise travelers whose time in port is on the usual 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. schedule, the 9 a.m. or 10:05 a.m. (subject to change; check timetable at www.renfe.es before you go) are the best bets. From Seville, there's a 1:58 and 3:25 p.m. return.
Seville, with its narrow, winding cobbled streets, is eminently walkable.
Watch Out For
Pickpocketing and petty theft is a major concern. Shops tend to close between 1 - 3 p.m. for a long lunch siesta.
Flamenco dresses, hand-painted ceramics, fans.
Alcazar (Plaza del Triunfo, 9:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday), for lovers of Moorish-palace-styled architecture, is the next best thing to Granada's Alhambra -- except it's not as authentic. The palace, the official residence of Spain's royal family when in Seville, was built in the 14th century by Moorish craftsmen -- but some 100 years after actual Moorish occupation.
Seville's Barrio de Santa Cruz, the city's circa 17th century Jewish quarter, is one of its most beautiful neighborhoods. It's full of preserved, whitewashed houses, cobbled alleyways and broad plazas. Check out the mansions on Callejon del Agua; scattered throughout the the area are the occasional cafes and antique shops.
The Cathedral (Plaza Virgen de los Reyes, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday, 2 - 6 p.m. Sunday) is the world's third largest church (Rome's St. Peter's and London's St. Paul's come in at one and two respectively). A Gothic monument built over a 100-year span in the 15th century, its design incorporates some remnants of the Moorish Mosque that once inhabited that ground. Highlights include the Patio de los Naranjos -- Courtyard of Orange Trees -- that was part of the original mosque. You can climb to the top of Giraldad, the minaret of the mosque; instead of steps you walk up sloping ramps. The view of the city below is stunning. Other highlights (and these are part of the cathedral's Gothic and, after later tweakings, Baroque heritage) are the main chapel -- check out the huge altar which depicts 36 scenes in the life of Christ.
The Museo Arqueologico (Plaza de America, 3 - 8 p.m. Tuesday, .9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday) features artifacts from Phoenician, Iberian and Roman eras, among others; especially interesting are the statues and mosaics excavated from Italica. Across the plaza the Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares (9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday) features folk art displays.
One of Spain's most prestigious fine art museums is Museo de Bellas Artes (Plaza del Museo, 3 - 8 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Wednesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sunday); housed in a one-time 17th century convent, it's got a terrific collection of Spanish masters, including El Greco.
Tapas is big in Seville; the bite-sized appetizers can make a wonderful light (or even not-so-light) meal. Seville's gourmet restaurants typically feature Spanish/Basque cuisine. Among good lunch-time stops include Taberna del Alabardero (Zaragoza 20, 12:30 - 2:30 p.m., closed Sunday) and La Albahaca (Playa de Santa Cruz 12, 12:30 - 2:30 p.m., Monday - Friday).
Been There, Done That
Explore Cadiz. That port city's "old city," full of narrow and winding alleyways, lots of local -- as opposed to touristic -- shops, a bustling marketplace and a beautiful 18th century Baroque cathedral, is a pleasant place to explore. The city itself is one of the oldest in Europe -- but was destroyed in the 5th century. The Moors rebuilt it in the 8th century. Another highlight is the Fine Arts and Archaeology Museum (Plaza de Mina, 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesday and Sunday).
Explore the countryside? Rent a car (AutoEurope, www.autoeurope.com) has a rental office at the train station, and navigate Andalucia's easy-to-understand roadways. The key destination near Cadiz is Jerez de la Frontera, particularly for lovers of sherry, which originated here. Tourists can visit a bodega (winery); among them include Domecq, Sandeman, Harvey and Gonzalez Byass. All offer guided tours and tastings.
Highly Recommended: Pancho Tours
Staying in Touch
In Cadiz, head to E Point (Cuddesta de las Calesas 45, open 10:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. every day) for Internet access.
For More Information
On the Web: www.andalucia.com
Cruise Critic Message Boards: Europe
The Independent Traveler: Europe Exchange