An occasional series on the hidden gems to be found…

Algeciras

For too long overlooked as just the port town for ferries to Morocco, Algeciras is worthy of a trip in its own right. It is the largest city in the Bay of Gibraltar and one of the largest shipping ports in Europe.

It is undoubtedly influenced by its proximity to North Africa with Moroccan patisseries and ceramic shops in the labyrinthine roads off the market bearing testament to that but there is much more to Algeciras than just its geographical location, impressive as that is.

The starting point for any tour of Algeciras has to be the Plaza Alta, a beautiful square bordered by two churches which sits proudly above the port and the bustling market. It is beautifully tiled and a very pleasant place to spend an hour or two siting in the square or one of the adjoining bars. A fountain sits at the centre of the square. Occasional markets are held in the square and at Semana Santa the processions leave from the churches there.

Don’t forget the fish market which sits just above the municipal fruit and vegetable market and the covered market which sells fresh and cured meats. It is a real spectacle with an array of freshly caught fish and seafood to buy. Unlike the covered market in Malaga, perhaps this is a real working market not a tourist spot.

Parque Maria Cristina is a beautiful tranquil space overlooking the port and sea. It is known for its music and theatrical performances in the summer nights.

Slightly further afield are the beaches of Getares and the Playa El Rinconcillo, which are perhaps not quite as lovely as the beaches around the bay overlooking the Mediterranean such as Sotogrande but have their own character and beauty.

If shopping is what you want there is Puerta Europa on the A7 as you drive from Algeciras towards Cadiz. It has ample free parking and all the usual suspects of shops including Zara, Primark and H & M. It has bars and a supermercado.

Have you visited Algeciras before?