Algeciras is a city in the Andalucia region of southwestern Spain. Most travellers come to Algeciras for its numerous ferry connections to Morocco and don't spend more than a few hours in the city. A shame, given the town's quiet charm.
The north-south coastal road, Avenida de la Marina, is Algeciras's main artery. The tourist information office (Calle Cervantes), is well signed from this road.
Algeciras is on the Western side of Bahia de Algeciras (Algeciras Bay) virtually opposite Gibraltar. Roughly speaking, it is orientated north to south. The Avenida Virgen del Carmen is the main road that runs along the water front. The ferry port is about midway along the Abenida del Carmen: it can't really be missed as dozen of signs are pointing in its direction and there is constant ferry traffic in and out of the port. There is also an elevated heliport right in front of the ferry port.
The main shopping streets, together with the town square and central market, are set back behind the Avenida Virgen del Carmen and are mainly pedestrianised. There is a wide range of shops here, from local food shops and boutiques to the main brands.
The bus and railway stations are close together, about 300 m west (and slightly to the south) of the ferry port in the main town.
The 1 Algeciras train station is 300 metres west of the port entrance. Just walk outside the station and straight down Calle Cervantes (the street in front of you) until you reach the Avenida de la Marina. You will see signs from here to the port. From Algeciras there are daily train connections to Madrid. Three a day on the picturesque route to Ronda and Granada.
The 2 central bus station is just up the road from the tourist office, heading away from the port. There is a free shuttle bus between Algeciras and Tarifa for Tangier-Tarifa ferry ticket holders.
The 3 ferry terminal is the heart of Algeciras and is well-signed from most roads in the city. Services from the following destinations arrive at the port:
- Ceuta—daily services running about every hour from 08:00 - 22:15. Fast ferries (40 minutes, €18) and normal ferries (90 minutes, €11) are available.
- Tangier Med—daily services running about every 90 minutes from 07:00-22:00. Fast ferries (40 minutes+ 20 minute free bus, €37) and normal ferries (2½ hours, about €29) are available. Note that Port of Tanger Med is the commercial port of Tangier, about 30 km from Tangier, and is different from Port of Tangier, which is served from Tarifa, Spain. (The French spelling is Tanger, the English is Tangier.)
- Tangier - fast ferry (high speed craft by FRS or Inter Shipping) between Tangier and Tarifa (not directly to Algeciras) running hourly, ticket €35-40, duration 35 min. Then take a free shuttle bus Tarifa terminal (exit Tarifa terminal building then 20 m to your left, blue sign, no timetable).
If you are headed for the bus station, you have to leave the port and walk about 7 minutes up the hill (opposite of the ocean).
- 1 Plaza Alta de Algeciras. an area of 3700 m² delimited by poplars from Lombardy, that was created in 1807. In 1929, ceramic factories were commissioned to create tilesforthe square.
- The Paseo de Cornisa is a pedestrian path that runs along the city's coastline, from Juan Pérez Arriete avenue to Rinconcillo beach. It is an open space surrounded by green areas.
- Powder magazine tower: Forming part of the defensive line that was built along the coastal front of Algeciras, the remains of the tower popularly known as "Del Polvorín" or Torrealmirante still remain, near the Playa de la Concha. During the Civil War, this facility was used as a machine gun nest and observer station, and next to it there was a water pipe regularly visited by the people of Algeria.
- Church of Our Lady of La Palma: the main parish church of Algeciras is in the Plaza Alta. In its main altar the Virgin of La Palma is venerated.
- The Archaeological Complex of the Medieval Walls was built between 1279 and 1285. In 1379, the Nasrid sultan Mamad V destroyed the city, the walls and blocked the port. Until the arrival of new settlers from Gibraltar, in 1704, Algeciras was uninhabited. The ruins are made up of a 100-m defensive wall, four late medieval towers and two smaller ones. The Archaeological Complex of the Medieval Walls is distributed over an area of 6,000 m². A walk runs from Calle Alfonso XI to Avenida Virgen del Carmen, and the Interpretation Centre of Andalusian Culture is next to the remains.
Places of natural interest include:
- 1 Parque Natural del Estrecho. A 189 km2 (73 sq mi) park at the southernmost point of mainland Spain, and of mainland Europe, at the point where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet in the Strait of Gibraltar, which places it on the migratory route for many birds.
- 2 Parque Natural Los Alcornocales. The most extensive forest of cork in Spain and one of the largest in the world.
- Getares beach
- Rinconcillo beach
- Pasteleria Alhambra, Calle Jose Santacana 2 (One block south of the central market), ☏ . Closes at 15:00. Specialist in 'Dulces Arabes' (Moorish sweets) and also sells excellent bread. Charges by the kilogram.
You'll find plenty of cheap bars, cafes and restaurants along the Avenida de la Marina, Calle Alfonso Once and around Plaza Alta. They stay open long into the night. Often not closing until the early hours.
- Lizarran, Edificio Plaza Mayor (from the midpoint of the central park (Parque Maria Cristina) cross the road to its east and walk into the pedestrianised Plaza Mayor), ☏ . Part of a chain, but very popular with the locals. The plaza itself is a soulless modern development, but this place is often very busy - after you've found a table waiters bring you a constant and varied choice of tapas. There is also a view (just) of Gibraltar. Tapas range from €1.25-1.95 each.
- Enea Club y Copas.
- Cairo, Calle Alfonso Once.
- Cafe Teatro, Calle Trafalgar.
If you're stuck in Algeciras after the last ferry or bus has left town, you'll find plenty of budget accommodation options in the neighbourhood around Avenida de la Marina. In the busy season, you can expect to get a double for €18 a night.
There are a couple of basic hotels opposite the ferry port entrance:
- 1 Hotel Al Mar. €35 per night single, €65 twin.
- Hotel Alboran, Calle de los Álamos, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- Hotel Reina Cristina, Paseo de la conferencia, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2 Hotel AC (on the eastern edge of the city centre). A fantastic hotel with very friendly staff. From €75 per night.
Avoid going to neighbourhoods like Saladillo, Bajadilla or La Piñera. Even though it's full of friendly gypsy people, you might get in trouble if you look foreign.
|Routes through Algeciras|
|Ceuta ←||S N||→ END|
|Tanger Med ←||S N||→ END|
|merges with ←||SW NE||→ La Línea de la Concepción & Gibraltar → Malaga|
|Cádiz ← Tarifa ←||SW NE||→ merges with|