Gibraltar Beach Guide
Even the monkeys think they rock
For a sheer limestone rock, Gibraltar is well-endowed with beaches and they're all quirkily different. There’s one where you’ll swear you’re in Italy, and another where the birds in the sky are jet propelled. They're also equipped with all mod cons - beach-going is a long and cherished family tradition in Gibraltar.
Beach showers, changing rooms and lifeguard lookout posts are upgraded annually and for those with mobility problems, Gibraltar has the most sophisticated set-up for miles around, with amphibious chairs, mobile hoists, non-slip walkways and wheelchair access.
There’s always plenty of action out in the Strait – cruise ships coming and going, dolphins and whales which should be seen at closer quarters on a boat trip from Ocean Village; James Bond-style action too, on occasions, when the police chase down cigarette smugglers in their high-speed launches!
And of course, there’s lots of food around which is why the monkeys love beaches. Here they are checking out one of their favourite seafood restaurants, La Mamela at Catalan Bay.
There are FOUR monkeys in the picture, can you spot them?
Pick a Gibraltar beach to suit your psyche
Catalan Bay - That Riviera Touch
Catalan Bay gets its Italian flavour from way back when Genoese fishing families settled here, and one or two of their descendants still carry on their great boat-building tradition. The bay is fronted by a crescent of Neapolitan ice cream-coloured houses with Italian names; stray cats recline in the sun and washing flaps on lines strung from balconies just like the backstreets of Naples; even the pretty parish church has an Italian connection - POWS from Italy sang in the choir during WW2. Explore the rock pools, play beach volleyball, touch Titty Rock for luck (a giant boob-shaped boulder that fell from the cliff) and eat fried fish with your fingers at the boardwalk cafes. You might even snap a Barbary macaque enjoying this popular summer hangout. Get there early before the sun goes west. Further Reading: A Little Genoa in Gibraltar
Eastern Beach - All-day Action
Eastern Beach is the key playa on the Rock’s beach scene, and probably the only one in the world joined to an airport runway. You’ll never catch a better view from a sun lounger of planes taking off and landing. This long sandy strip is the Rock’s biggest beach and the only one on the Med side to get all-day sunshine. Latino’s Beach bar is the place to go for cocktails and all-day food. Or bring your own picnic, there’s plenty of parking nearby. Inflatable waterparks offshore add to the high season family fun.
Sandy Bay - Sahara Sand
Sandy Bay disappeared one year, when violent storms washed the beach away. Today the crescent bay fronting the residential enclave of Both Worlds is back in business with new sand of exotic provenance, all the way from Morocco’s western Sahara. These days it’s protected by groins and a submerged breakwater, which makes it super-safe for swimming. A bus service to Europa Point’s Express Cafe and university-based Bistro Point restaurant runs every 20 minutes.
Camp Bay - Diving & Family Fun
Camp Bay and its neighbour Little Bay hark back to the last century when lidos (swimming pools by the sea) were in vogue. Created to compensate for the stony beaches on the Rock’s sunny Atlantic side, both bays have been smartened up with adult and children’s seawater pools. These are linked by a series of terraces, a cafe and a hard ‘beach’ set up with permanent tables for slotting in your sun shade. The upside of pebbles is clear water and scuba fans come here to dive the reef and wrecks below. Reached through two rock tunnels, a union jack fluttering from Parson’s Lodge battery on the cliff reinforces the British family-day-at-the seaside feel.
Over the Frontier
La Linea’s endless jogging prom skirts a series of long sand beaches that grow increasingly wilder as you head east, finishing in marshland and dunes. To the west, there’s a marina and three sand beaches fringing the main road into Gib, popular with the local Spanish in summer.
Best times to go
May, June, September, early October – or any time of year for walks and views.
Weekdays in July and August – staycationing Gibraltarians love their weekend beach time.
Early for beaches on the east side to make the most of the sun.
NEW FOR 2018:
Check out all Gibraltar's beaches by LIVE WEBCAM