One of the top things to do in Cadiz is to climb the Tavira Tower (Torre Tavira) reaching 45 meters above sea level making it the highest building in the city.
It’s the only one of Cadiz’s 126 watch towers that you can visit. And besides the clock tower of Cadiz Cathedral, the only place you can get a bird’s eye view of the city.
The Torre Tavira, Cadiz, also holds the city’s Camera Obscura and is named after the first watchman who would use the telescopic lens to observe the ships that came into the port from America, Don Antonio Tavira.
There were once 160 covering the city’s skyline!
The watch towers were built onto wealthy merchant homes to show their affluence in a Cadiz that flourished in the 18th century. In that era, when the trade with the West Indies was thriving, the first thing you would see when closing in on Cadiz would be a skyline of watch towers.
The other watch towers that still stand in Cadiz, are all privately owned and thus not open to the public.
Even if you’re visiting Cadiz in a day, I recommend making space for climbing the Tavira Tower and visiting the Camera Obscura.
If you’re curious about visiting the Tavira Tower in Cadiz, I recently paid a visit and have shared everything you need to know about it in this article. Read on to discover the most epic 360 views of Cadiz including all the practical specs about visiting.
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Table of Contents
Where is the Tavira Tower?
The Tavira Tower is nestled in the heart of Cadiz Old Town between the cathedral and Genoves Park. It’s an easy 5-6 minutes walk from the cathedral and 10 minutes from the park.
The only way to reach it is by walking. If you come by car, some of the closest parking places are Interparking Canalejas at 10 minutes, Parking Varcárcel at 11 minutes, and Parking Campo del Sur at 7 minute walk away.
Address: C. Marqués del Real Tesoro, 10, 11001 Cádiz
Short history of Torre Tavira Cadiz
The Torre Tavira in Cadiz was built in 1730 as part of the Palace House of Los Marqueses de Recaño. It was named after the first watchman Don Antonio Tavira.
At 45 meters above sea level, the Tavira Tower was one of the highest lookout points in Cadiz together with Torre Alta in San Fernando and Torre Gorda in between. The three watch towers were responsible for warning about maritime movements through flag signals.
How much time can you expect to use visiting the Tavira Tower?
Most people spend about an hour visiting the Tavira Tower including the Camera Obscura. The latter is a 15-minute session, but you should schedule a few minutes extra to get there in time.
However, the total visiting time will vary from person to person, depending on how much time you want to spend on the top taking in the views and how much time you spend in the museums.
There are two types of tickets to the Tavira Tower. One for only the museums and the views, and one that includes the Camera Obscura on top of the above.
Since there are limited spaces for the Camera Obscura, it might fill up quickly in the high season and you might not get a spot before later in the day. I recommend booking early so that you can plan your itinerary around it and make sure you get there in time so you don’t lose your spot. They will close the doors if you get there late.
- Ticket including Camera Obscura: 7 Euros
- Ticket without Camera Obscura: 5 Euros
Opening hours May-September: 10:00-20:00
Opening hours October-April: 10:00-18:00
Closed: 1st of Januar, 6th of January, and 25th of December
Note that the last entry is one hour before closing time.
There are toilets on the ground floor. When you enter the main entrance, take left down the stairs. Note that they are very small.
As of 2023, there is no wheelchair access for Torre Tavira. The establishment has applied to insert an elevator in the tower for better accessibility, but at the moment, Junta de Andalucia has declined the application due to visual pollution.
The exhibitions span two floors. The first one you come to is all about the Camera Obscura and explains how it works. There is also a list of other Camera Obscuras you can visit in different locations in Spain. There is a small vending machine with drinks and a TV screen where you can see documentaries about the Camera Obscura.
One floor up, you reach the second museum, which is all about the Tavira Tower and the prosperity of the 18th-century trade.
Both museums are small with information signs on the walls but hold interesting information, so I found them worth browsing. It is a great excuse to catch your breath on your way up the 173 steps to the top of the tower!
Cadiz Camera Obscura is one of 8 in Spain. The first Camera Obscura was developed in the 17th century, to recreate the function of the human eye and you could say it was the early forefather to the DSLR Cameras.
In the Camera Obscura, you can witness the live reflection of what happens in Cadiz through a giant lens that projects onto a projector. Instead of taking a picture, you will see the live movements. You can zoom in and out as you would on a camera.
The session lasts 15 minutes and the instructor will tell you everything about how it functions and show you the different parts of Cadiz, different types of watch towers, and answer any questions that might come up.
If you haven’t experienced a Camera Obscura before, I highly recommend the experience.
Views on the top
The views from the top of Torre Tavira, what can I say? If you’re a sucker for good views like I am, you’ll love it for sure!
From the highest point in Cadiz, you have the entire city at your feet. The views of the cathedra are unbeatable, and beyond it, you can spot the beaches of Playa de Santa Maria del Mar and Playa de la Victoria.
On the other side, you can see Castillo de San Sebastian and if you turn around further, the entire port is visible. You can only imagine how it would be up there when the trade was blooming in the 18th century.
Reflections on visiting the Tavira Tower Cadiz, Spain
In short, visiting the Tavira Tower in Cadiz Spain is one of my favorite things to do in the city. It might be because I love a good view. But it’s also cool to see the city through the Camera Obscura.
At the moment, the tower is hard to see for anyone with mobility restrictions, which is a pity. However, they are trying to improve so we can only hope for good news in the future.
Finally, I hope you found this article useful and that you enjoy the Tavira Tower just as much as I did.