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Algeciras, a complete guide with things to do

Situated at the southernmost tip of Spain, Algeciras is a city that enchants with its distinctive fusion of cultures, historical richness, and stunning natural allure. Serving as a bridge between Europe and Africa, Algeciras is a crucible of diverse influences, providing a wealth of experiences to those who visit.

From the bustling port, one of the largest in the Mediterranean, to the tranquil beauty of the Alcornocales Natural Park, Algeciras is a city of contrasts. Its streets are alive with the vibrant colours and flavours of its markets, where the scent of fresh produce mingles with the aroma of traditional Andalusian cuisine.

Let’s delve into the rich history of Algeciras, explore its stunning beaches, and discover the myriad of activities it has to offer.

Get to know Algeciras

The name “Algeciras” hails from the Arabic term “al-Jazīrah al-Khaḍrāʾ”, meaning “The Green Island”, a nod to the verdant Isla Verde nearby. Its history is as vibrant as its streets, with roots tracing back to Neanderthal populations from the Paleolithic era. The city was a significant port under the Phoenicians and Romans, and was later founded in the 8th century by Arab-Berber invaders.

Algeciras  is a bustling city, home to Spain’s largest port and one of Andalusia’s most populous cities. A walk through its streets is a journey through thousands of years of history.


Algeciras beach

Algeciras, located on the southern coast of Spain, is home to several beautiful beaches. These beaches are known for their clean, golden sands and clear waters. They are perfect for a variety of activities, including sunbathing, swimming, and beach sports. Here are some of the beaches you can visit:

  • Getares Beach: Getares beach is a good surprise in Algeciras. It’s a clean white sand beach with fantastic views. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the sun.
  • Rinconcillo Beach: Rinconcillo is another beach in Algeciras. Although you can see Gibraltar across the bay, you have an oil refinery to the left, and a container port to your right. It’s good for a family with small kids.
  • Playa El Rinconcillo: Playa El Rinconcillo is a gorgeous beach in Algeciras. The beautiful view sweeping round the untouched bay, with the Rock rearing up in front of you, is a sight to behold.
  • Playa de Cala Arena: Playa de Cala Arena is a lovely sandy beach in Algeciras. When visited, it was really quiet and had loads of beach to explore. Be aware that to get into the sea it can be quite difficult at times due to the waves and pebbles but it’s well worth it.

5 essential things to do in Algeciras

Atardecer, Gibraltar, Algeciras, Barcos

1. Visit Plaza Alta

Plaza Alta, nestled in the heart of Algeciras, is a vibrant square that serves as the city’s nerve center. It’s a place where the city’s pulse can be felt most vividly, with its bustling activity and local charm. The square is surrounded by some of Algeciras’ most emblematic buildings, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage.

The square is not just a meeting point for locals but also frequently hosts various types of demonstrations, gatherings, and some of the city’s most important festivities. A visit to Plaza Alta offers a unique opportunity to experience the local culture and history of Algeciras. It’s a must-visit spot for anyone wanting to truly understand and appreciate the city.


2. Enjoy Bahía Water-Park

Bahía Park is a water park that spans over 45,000 square meters and 3,000 meters of water area, offering a variety of attractions for all ages.

The park is an oasis of fun in the heart of the city, with green areas and vegetation that add to its appeal. It also boasts a large, free parking area, making it convenient for visitors.

One of the highlights of Bahía Park is its extensive children’s area, which ensures that the little ones have a great time. But the fun isn’t just for kids. The park offers attractions like the Grand Niagara, Snake Hole, Water Race, The Scream, Wild River, Zig-Zag, and many more.


3. Explore Maria Cristina Park

Parque María Cristina, situated in the heart of Algeciras, is a recreational space that spans approximately 30,000 square meters. This rectangular park, located in the city centre, features a large round plaza with continuous benches covered by Sevillian tiles.

The park is a true oasis of vegetation, with flower beds and walks arranged around the central space. Among the vegetation, palm trees, araucarias, laurels, white acacias, ficus, Jupiter trees, cedars, and pines stand out.

Constructed in 1832, Parque María Cristina has been a place of recreation for the citizens of Algeciras ever since. Over the years, it has been the venue for various significant events in the city’s life, such as the crowning of the queen of the Fair and Carnivals, meetings of various social associations, concerts, and medieval markets.


4. Hike Sendero La Garganta del Capitan

Sendero La Garganta del Capitan is a nature and wildlife area in Algeciras. It’s perfect for those who love outdoor adventures.

The trail is renowned for its lush vegetation, diverse wildlife, and stunning views, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts. As you traverse the trail, you’ll be surrounded by a variety of flora and fauna, offering ample opportunities for wildlife spotting and photography.

5. Visit Algeciras Port

The Port of Algeciras Bay, nestled in the heart of Algeciras, Spain, is a significant maritime hub. It’s a crucial bridge between Southern Europe and Northern Africa. Surrounded by first-rate tourist resources, it’s near the Natural Park of Los Alcornocales and the Natural Park of the Strait. It’s also close to internationally renowned golf courses like Sotogrande.

Algeciras Port

From hereyou can take a ferry to the autonomous city of Ceuta or to Tanger Med in Morocco. The ferry companies operating from the Port of Algeciras include Trasmediterranea and Balearia. The journey to Ceuta takes about 1 hour, and the journey to Tanger Med can take between 30 minutes and 1 hour and a half.

Monuments in Algeciras

Archaeological Park of the Merinide Walls

This is an archaeological park that showcases the remains of the ancient city walls of Algeciras. The park covers an area of about 6,000 square meters and is complemented by an interpretation center located in a nearby building. The park was inaugurated in November 2009.


Aqueduct of Algeciras

Locally known as Los Arcos de Cobre, it is one of the most important civil constructions in the city. The progressive growth of the city made it necessary to create public fountains, and the aqueduct supplied them with water from the Miel river. The construction of the aqueduct began in 1777 and ended in 1783.


Chapel of Our Lady of Europe

The Chapel of Our Lady of Europe, a significant historical and religious site, sits in the heart of Algeciras, Spain. Originally, builders constructed the chapel in 1690 and dedicated it to St. Bernard, the patron saint of Gibraltar and its Campo.

The great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 severely damaged the original building, leading to its demolition. In 1769, the reconstruction of the chapel took place. Despite the reconstruction, the chapel still retains its Palladian origin and features elements of Baroque architecture, a style prevalent during the period of its reconstruction.

People consider the chapel as the foundational element of the modern city of Algeciras. From the capture of Gibraltar by the Anglo-Dutch fleet in 1704 to 1864, the chapel hosted the statue of the Virgin and the Child kept in the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe.


Church of Our Lady of Palma

This is an 18th-century church and is one of the most interesting monuments in Algeciras. It’s a beautiful example of religious architecture and a place of worship for the local community.


Transfer from Malaga to Algeciras

A transfer from Malaga Airport to Algeciras in a private vehicle is not just a journey, but an immersive experience. As you set off, the diverse Spanish landscape unfolds before your eyes, offering a visual feast that is as enjoyable as the destination itself.

The route takes you past the azure Mediterranean Sea, a sight that is both calming and invigorating. The rolling hills, adorned with charming white villages, add a touch of rustic charm to the journey. These vistas offer a glimpse into Spain’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, making the drive a scenic tour in itself.

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