Most beachgoers, unless they come from Cádiz's Old Town, usually visit the wide-open and sunny sands of the Playa Victoria, an intensely developed but still appealing beach that's a household name for beach lovers throughout the region. In our opinion, this is one of the best beaches in Spain, with wide and champagne-colored sands. This beachfront is constantly made wider by a government-sponsored campaign to keep pumping tons of sand here from points offshore. Arc lights illuminate the beach like a stage every night until around midnight. Dozens of different tapas bars, restaurants, and nightlife options are found adjacent to the edge of the beach. It's richly developed and commercial but not junky. On Playa Victoria's outer fringes, there is an isolated and savage section where the waves pound more heavily and the sense of isolated nature increases. This savage beachfront is especially strong on the causeway linking modern Cádiz to its outlying suburbs and the rest of Spain.

Paseo Marítimo is the main drag along Playa Victoria and in summer has the most active chiringuitos (beach bars) in the province.

But for residents of the La Viña neighborhood in Old Cádiz, there's only one beach that matters: Playa de la Caleta. It's relatively narrow and is hemmed in by rocky shoals at low tide. There are no changing booths or public toilets. Known as a "natural beach," it's immediately adjacent to structures and fortifications whose foundations in some cases are more than 3,000 years old. Just behind the seawall, you'll see the two biggest trees (both of them ficus) in Cádiz province. Set on the lawn of a stone-fronted building that houses the administration for a local hospital, they're each about a century old and are reputed to have been planted in honor of missionaries who left Cádiz for good works in the New World. Set near the extreme western edge of the Old Town, Playa de la Caleta is sometimes known as "Baño de la Viña" after the neighborhood (Barrio de la Viña) that abuts it. That same neighborhood -- a crowded, churning, overcrowded cauldron of local color -- is credited with originating the version of Carnaval that's now fervently celebrated in Cádiz and in some of Spain's former colonies, notably Cuba. Access to this "City Beach" is free and possible at all hours of the day and night without restriction and without supervision.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.