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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Cadiz is famous for Spain’s most rollicking carnival, where the object is to make everyone laugh.

This massive party, with food stalls, rides, free street performances, music and fireworks, culminates in two parades: the fabulous four-hour Gran Cabalgata and the Cabalgata del Humor in the old town, with the craziest costumes and spectator participation.

Groups of Carnival performers (the Chirigotas, Comparsas, Cuartetos and Choirs) practice their new songs all year and compete three weeks in advance at the historic Gran Teatro Falla, to see who evokes the biggest laughs. Bring fancy dress and join in the fun.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 5+
Frequency: annually
When: 10 days to Lent
Duration: 10 days

Getting there & doing it

Book hotels months in advance; for the pre-carnival competitions (COAC) at the Falla Theatre, tickets for each performance are available online.

Arrive early for a spot on Avenida Ana de Viya for the Gran Cabalgata (it usually starts at 6pm). The Cabalgata del Humor starts at 7pm, passing through Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de las Flores and Plaza San Juan de Dios, where there are fireworks every night. There are seafood and wine stalls everywhere in the old town, and a big tent called La Carpa if you want to party until dawn.

When to do it

Festivities traditionally take place before Lent. Pre-Carnival performances in the Teatro run from April, with the grand finales, televised nationwide 2 & 3 June. The Gran Cabalgata takes place the first Sunday of Carnival; the Cabalgata del Humor takes place on the last weekend.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Hotel Boutique Convento Cadiz

Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain

An atmospheric boutique hotel in a 17th-century convent, in easy walking distance of the sights and beaches of Cadiz.

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Hotel Cadiz Paseo del Mar

Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain

Modern, simpatico beach hotel in Cadiz, perfect for combining sand, sea and culture in Spain’s oldest city.

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Parador de Cadiz

Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain

A striking contemporary steel and glass hotel in Cadiz, with a gorgeous pool terrace in an exceptional seaside setting.

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Andalusia, Spain

A big dazzling region, packed with fascinating cities, beautiful landscapes and beaches, colourful fiestas and oodles of sunshine.

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