This post is part of a weekly series about living abroad in Spain. Check out previous posts like How I Moved to Spain to Teach English and Did I Make a Mistake Moving to Spain?
After a month of getting settled into life in Spain it was time to venture further afield, and what better adventure than the Cádiz Carnival?! I had a great time at the Carnival, and trying to figure out how to make it there from elsewhere in Andalucia, and especially from Almería taught me a few things I thought I would share!
What is the Cádiz Carnival?
Spain loves Carnivals, and the most well-known is in the city of Cádiz, in the southwest of Spain. It’s basically a two week long party that includes parades, singing group competitions and obligatory costume wearing. The singing is often satirical and witty, based on current events or changing popular songs.
How to get to the Cádiz Carnival from Almería (or other places)
Blabla car is a great way to get around Spain in general and getting to the Cádiz Carnival by Blabla car is no exception. Basically, it’s a car sharing website where drivers put up offers for rides and how much they are charging, or riders put up that they need a ride. You can negotiate pick and and drop off with the driver. At first this is how we looked to get to Cádiz from Almería and we had a ride ready to go. Then we discovered the party bus.
Party Bus from Almeria to Cádiz Carnival
There is a university organisation EMYCET that organises party buses from all the main cities to Cádiz Carnival, including from Malaga, Granada and Almería. The bus from Almeria to Cádiz Carnival left on the Saturday morning and arrived in Cádiz early evening, leaving again at 6am the next morning. This solved our accommodation problem (see below)! Plus it was only €22. Of course there is also a normal bus but this was much more expensive. The bus travelled all along the coast and I really enjoyed the opportunity to see how the landscape of Spain changes across the south, and even saw the Rock of Gibraltar!
There is no train from Almería to Cádiz for Carnival, or any other time, but there is a train if you’re in Sevilla or want to go there for the night before then train into Cádiz.
Where to stay for Cádiz Carnival
Finding somewhere to stay for Cádiz Carnival can be a mission. Booking in advance might score you something decent, but since we were looking only a few weeks before all of the hotels and even backpackers were crazy expensive. Think €300 for a hotel €70 for a dorm bed for one night!
Couchsurfing is always an option if you can get in early and find somewhere, even in the villages nearby.
Cádiz Carnival on the first Saturday is an all night affair, so you don’t necessarily need accommodation. Taking the party bus meant we could stay out late and then sleep on the bus on the way back to Almería and had no need for accommodation. This saved a lot of money! You may have more luck finding somewhere on the Friday and Sunday if you want to stay in Cádiz for longer, or if you really need something on the Saturday night then unfortunately you’ll just have to pay the cost!
Costumes at Cádiz Carnival
If you don’t wear costume on the first Saturday of Cádiz Carnival you’ll look out of place! Most people go in a group costume, where everyone dresses the same or as a group of something. We saw groups of flowers, ladybirds, a film crew, bottles of beer, ghostbusters, and so many more I can’t even remember! Our group went as army men and women.
What happens at Cádiz Carnival?
I went to the Cádiz Carnival on the first Saturday night, and I had no idea what to expect. Basically the streets and plazas are crowded with people in various costumes. The main plaza in front of the cathedral was just a big party zone. About ten minutes walk away in Plaza De San Antonio a main stage was set up for groups to perform in. Between these two plazas were other small groups performing or people just partying in general.
We bought alcohol and food from a small local supermarket and everyone just drinks in the street. Although the bars also have outdoor serving, and there were some bars and places to eat down side streets that weren’t too crowded. We managed to find a small bar near the main square where we bought a little food and drink and were able to keep using their bathroom. One of the main concerns!
Basically, it’s all about socialising in the streets and having a great time! We spent a lot of time at Plaza San Antiono watching the performances which were really amazing. I didn’t understand a word of course but that’s not really the point! The costumes and style of singing are what make it amazing.
Going to Cádiz Carnival from Almería might sound a bit crazy and like a long journey to begin with, but it turned out to be relatively inexpensive because of taking the party bus there, and it was definitely worth the amazing time I had!
Have you ever travelled so far just for one party or one night somewhere?