A stroll around Gibraltar No 14 : The beaches

As we are already more than halfway through July, I figured it was high time to take you a walk along the seashore. If you’re ready to take off your shoes and dip your toes into the surf, come and see the beaches we are privileged to enjoy on our doorstep.

Being an isthmus, Gibraltar is surrounded on three sides by water. The Mediterranean to the East, the Strait of Gibraltar to the south and the Bay of Gibraltar to the West.

If you arrive in Gibraltar by plane, no matter which way you come in to land you will be able to see a beach (assuming you are sitting by the window on the left hand side of the plane). There’s a beach on each side of the runway; Eastern beach (funnily enough on the Eastern side) and Western beach (guess where….).

I’ll start at the top and work round clockwise beginning with the biggest beach in Gibraltar.

Eastern beach

Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and (on a clear day) along the Spanish coast towards the Costa del Sol, Eastern Beach reaches almost up to the edge of the runway of Gibraltar airport. Apologies for the photos of the beach – they were, believe it or not taken last night (19th July). You would normally expect to see the beach still packed with families enjoying the last few rays of sun before sunset at this time in the summer but we are experiencing rather strange overcast weather at the moment – hence the empty evening beach.

A new community of beachside dwellers have arrived at Eastern Beach in the last twelve months with the opening of several large apartment blocks adjacent to the beach. Prior to this, the area nearby was rather industrial and just offered a small chiringuito (beach café) where we enjoyed a fantastic evening wedding reception a couple of years ago. The recent investment in the area can only be good for the beach and its surroundings.

Believe it or not the next photo was taken in January on Eastern Beach – that blue sky is more like it! Because of it’s proximity to the airport, aviation fans can get a really good view of the planes coming and going!

Catalan Bay

Catalan Bay has to be my favourite beach destination here in Gibraltar, we have enjoyed many happy hours here. The beach seems to be one of the few places where sibling cooperation thrives and arguments are kept to a minimum, until that is, someone knocks someone’s sandcastle down or breaks a deeply excavated tunnel in the wet sand!

As you can see from this picture, Catalan Bay is more than just a beach. There is a real community here with housing, restaurants and a few shops. It’s a year round destination for the Postcard family, we like to visit out of season when we can have the beach to ourselves and scavenge for shells and sea glass along the shoreline. In summertime, it’s a much more densely populated location!

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It’s a really great spot to while away a few hours, either on the beach or eating tapas in one of the cafés or restaurants. Just watch out for the seagulls in case they grab your bread roll!

Year round the community of fishermen who live here head out into the Med to catch their fish. Their routines continue regardless of whether the place is full of sun seekers or not. At the southern end of Catalan Bay beach lies the Caleta Hotel. Catalan Bay is such an interesting part of Gibraltar it calls out for a future post dedicated to it alone…


Sandy Bay

Sandy Bay these days is a manmade beach. When we first arrived in Gibraltar seven years ago, there was very little beach here to speak of as storms had washed the beach away into the sea. However in recent years there has been a lot of investment here with the building of a large groyne to shelter the bay from the worst of the pounding waves. Many truckloads of sand were imported to create the beach we can enjoy today. The large stone sea walls not only protect the beach, but also the bathers, meaning that when it is unsafe to swim at neighbouring Catalan Bay due to rough seas, it is much calmer at Sandy Bay.


We have spent several great days at Sandy Bay since it was reopened in its improved state – yesterday being one of them. It is so safe for the Little Postcards to mess about in the sea here. Just on the other side of the southern part of the groyne is a very interesting spot for military historians and rock pool appreciators. The cliff face here is littered with military look out spots from years gone by and the stones and rocks down by the sea edge have loads of nooks and crannies worth checking out too.

Little Bay

As you can see from this picture, Little Bay suits its name – it’s really quite small. The beach is more stony than the three sandy beaches on the Mediterranean side of the Rock. Little Bay, along with it’s larger cousin, Camp Bay which lies nearby, are on the western side. Little Bay is the most southerly of Gibraltar’s Beaches lying a short drive from Europa Point.


Behind the beach and in the shadow of the waterfall, lies a larger leisure area, with tables and seating, a toddler paddling pool, a park and basketball court and a small kiosk offering refreshments.

Camp Bay


Lying beneath the imposing Parsons Lodge bastion at Rosia is Camp Bay. Once the site of a quarry it is now one of the largest leisure areas on the Rock offering a café and kiosk, swimming and paddling pools, play areas, seating and access to the sea it is a hugely popular spot for families.

Similar to Little Bay, the beach here is somewhat rocky underfoot, but the lack of sand does make it appealing for those who have an aversion to tramping sand back home!

Western Beach 

Western beach brings us to the end of this tour of Gibraltar’s beaches. It is the most northerly one here as it is accessed by crossing over the runway. It is very close to the frontier with Spain, the blue apartment block in this picture is across the border in La Linea.

Sadly, the photos for this beach were (like Eastern beach) taken last night when the weather was rather cloudy and there had been a bit of a seaweed invasion! You will just have to imagine how nice it is on a clear summer’s day.

This beach also affords you a great view of the planes coming and going from the Rock’s airport as the runway lies just next door. There is a chiringuito here as well, the Little Postcards have attended several birthday parties here over the years and it’s a lovely spot in the evening to watch the sun set over the hills across the bay.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of Gibraltar’s beaches, thanks for stopping by! 🙂

 

 

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