Cadiz Province - Algeciras

Handcrafted ceramics in the Plaza Alta

Algeciras

Take me to: Algeciras Hotels

Ferries | Hotel Reina Cristina | Bus Timetable

Algeciras is primarily and unashamedly a port and industrial centre, sprawling round the far side of the bay to Gibraltar. When Franco closed the border with "the Rock" at the nearby La Linea, it was Algeciras that he decided to develop to absorb the Spanish workers who used to be employed in the British naval dockyards and in order to break the area's dependence on Gibraltar.

It is an industrial city that supports the large deep water container port and nearby oil refinery. In the port area there are many Moroccans in transit, particularly during July and August when migrant workers return home for their holidays from their work in France, Holland and Belgium. As a consequence, there is a strong Arab influence here with many of the signs in Arabic as well as Spanish.  In the Moroccan quarter you can find several traditional tea shops which specialise in the traditional Moroccan mint tea. There are a number of Moroccan bakeries.  Algeciras may not be a beautiful city but it does have a gritty individuality about it and, unlike some of the Costa resorts, is a very genuine place with a real port atmosphere.

There are lots of reasonably priced restaurants to try - several with terrific views of the nearby Rock of Gibraltar. Try the rooftop cafe of the Corte Ingles. In the summer the visitor can cool of at one of the nearby beaches or in the local waterpark.

Plaza Alta

Those that find the time to wander will fine quiet parks and tree lined plazas almost hidden away from the rushing travellers.Plaza Alta is the overlooked square, go there for people watching.  It is the most important square in the city, perhaps a bit dated but still retains an opulent charm being decorated with colourful ceramic tiles. The seating is ceramic and it tells the story of Don Quijote and of the history of Algeciras. there is a large fountain in the centre and the walled enclosure is also ceramic. Around the square are a number of tapas bars and cafes, wo pedestrian shopping streets and a couple of churches. Some say this is the second best square in Andalucia (after Plaza de España in Seville) with families and children enjoying themselves, others say the decoration is nothing special, frequented by strange characters, the pigeons are visious,  and is only of interest because there is nothing else to see in the surrounding town.   Another place to visit is Parque Maria Cristina.

POrt

For most people, however, Algeciras is just a stopping off place, en route to Tangier and Morocco. There are about eight crossings a day (2 hrs 30 mins or 70 minutes with fast ferry services to Tangier in Morocco. The port has it interest. Three million container movement a year makes it the biggest in Europe. Most is transhipment not import or export. The huge cranes you see are the largest in the world.  The police thriller film "El Niño" was set here and followed the adventures of small and big time drug smugglers.  There is also a yachting Marina which welcomes all. Bus timetables can be found on the Algiceras Bus Station page 

 

HENDERSONS RAILWAY Station

The Railway station is a few km from the port. Trains no longer descent to the port itself so you will need to take a taxi if arriving from Madrid by train. Algeciras is also the place to catch the train to Ronda which is definitely one of the best journeys in Andalucia which takes you via Gaucin and past some of the most beautiful pueblos blancos (white villages) in the whole of Andalucia. These include San Roque, Castellar de la Frontera - a bizarre village within a castle, Jimena de la Frontera and a handful of tiny villages, such as Benaojan-Montejaque. There are four train departures from Algeciras a day. The Algeciras to Ronda railway journey and its history is described in our section on the Henderson Railway.

HOTEL REINA CRISTINA

The proudest hotel in the city is the Hotel Reina Cristina. Kings and Queens have stayed there. So have statesmen such as Churchill and Roosevelt and film stars like Rock Hudson and Deborah Kerr. Nowadays most choose to fly over Algeciras en-route from Europe to Africa.

Paco De Lucia

Paco de Lucia, (Obituary)  the famous flamenco guitarist and composer, was born here and is the local hero. He died in Mexico in 2014 and was buried in the old Algeciras cemetery. The town council have created a 'Ruta de Paco de Lucia' which links ten locations in and around the city that were either in Paco's life or refered to in his songs.  Hear is our page on the Paco de Lucia Route.  

Hover the cursor over Algeciras to see bigger map and click to go to the maps page.