Gibraltar is a tiny British Overseas Territory on the border of Spain. The territory’s main activities focus around the Rock of Gibraltar, the eye-catching limestone promontory jutting out into the Straits of Gibraltar. But Gibraltar’s beaches should not be overlooked when visiting this incredible and unusual stretch of land. As a British Overseas Territory, Gibraltar has a large port that serves both cruise liners and merchant ships, however, the rest of its coastline has small beaches and coves.
Although there are less than 10 Gibraltar beaches, they are well cared for and spending time on the beach is one of the things to do in Gibraltar in summer. As the territory is so small, the beaches of Gibraltar are easily accessible by bus or on foot, depending on the location of your hotel. Many hotels in Gibraltar are close to Casemates Square, except for the newly built Holiday Inn close to the airport and Eastern Beach and the Caleta, which overlooks Catalan Bay.
Gibraltar’s beaches fill up with suntanned bodies during the warm summer months, but during the off-season, the beaches of Gibraltar are still worth a visit. The beaches will be much quieter but bear in mind that some restaurants only open daily during high season, so check online or call ahead before planning a meal if you decide not to visit in summer.
20 Gibraltar Beaches To Escape
1- Camp Bay
Known locally in Gibraltan dialect Llanito as El Quarry, Camp Bay looks out across the Atlantic.
The bay has crystal clear waters with nearly zero water pollution.
Camp Bay is not a sandy beach but rather a rocky beach.
The bay has spectacular views over Parsons Lodge Battery and out towards Spain over the Bay of Gibraltar.
While relaxing at Camp Bay, watch the flurry of ships entering the Mediterranean or those ready to dock in the nearby ports.
Camp Bay also has two swimming pools, one large for many swimmers to use at once and a smaller one suitable for children.
Camp Bay is home to Europe’s largest artificial reef, created when a group of activists won the right to sink a vessel in shallow waters rather than the traditional deep waters.
This allowed marine life to grow and has become a tourist attraction in its own right.
There are 11 wrecks in Camp Bay, so pack your snorkel to explore this beautiful underwater world.
Camp Bay is at West Coast, Gibraltar, GX11 1AA.
2- Little Bay
Next to Camp Bay is Little Bay. As its name suggests, it is smaller in size but is no less beautiful.
Little Bay is located in a natural cove at the southern end of Camp Bay and has a swimming pool suitable for young children.
From the cliff face above Little Bay, a manmade waterfall cascades down into the ocean carrying saltwater from a water desalination plant back to the sea.
This is the territory’s only source of fresh water.
Like its sister bay, Little Bay also has shipwrecks that have been transformed into reefs.
With three wrecks sunk at least 20 years ago, the artificial Little Bay reef has created a haven for soft corals, sponges, octopuses, fish and lobsters.
There is a popular bar and restaurant between Camp Bay and Little Bay with a large seating area.
Little Bay is at Gibraltar, GX11 1AA.
3- Catalan Bay
Located between Eastern Beach and Sandy Bay lies Catalan Bay and beach, a beautiful stretch of sandy shoreline.
Catalan Bay is the second-largest sandy beach in Gibraltar.
The beach is bordered by bright and colourful houses and is close to a highly popular seafood restaurant.
For many centuries, the bay has served as a fishing village and was predominately populated by Genoese fishermen.
In autumn, the beach is covered in an array of shells.
Overlooking the bay is the Caleta Hotel, which offers incredible seaside views.
During September, Catalan Bay sees a procession to the beach for the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Residents carry the Lady of Sorrows statue to the water’s edge before the Bishop blesses the sea.
Catalan Bay is at Gibraltar, GX11 1AA.
4- Eastern Beach
Eastern Beach is highly popular during the summer months thanks to its large expanse of golden sands and tranquil blue waters.
It’s the largest of Gibraltar’s beaches and runs from Catalan Bay to the Gibraltar International Airport’s runway.
Being so close to the runway, it has unique views of planes taking off and landing on this unusual and short runway.
From certain angles on the beach, awe-inspiring views of the Rock can be seen.
This Gibraltar beach has two bars, restaurants and a children’s play area.
Eastern Beach is at Gibraltar, GX11 1AA.
5- Western Beach
Western Beach is the only sandy beach on the western side of the Rock.
The beach’s northern end shares the Spanish Border, and Gibraltar International Airport’s runway borders its southern end.
The beach, like Eastern Beach, is popular with families and sun-seekers and those wanting to watch the planes taking off or landing.
Historically, the beach was used only by MOD (Ministry of Defence) families stationed on the Rock but it’s now fully open to the public.
This Gibraltar beach is much quieter than the beaches on the eastern side of the Rock during the summer months.
Visit the small chiringuito, a small restaurant and bar, where you can dine on locally sourced seafood and tapas.
Western Beach is at Gibraltar, GX11 1AA.
6- Sandy Bay
Walking south from Catalan Bay along Sir Herbert Miles Road will take you to Sandy Bay Beach, a manmade beach.
The beach is overlooked by the houses at the aptly named ‘Both Worlds’ estate, and Sandy Bay is the southernmost of the beaches lining the eastern edge of Gibraltar.
The beach is picturesque and tranquil due to its location.
Sadly the shape of the beach and the impacts of climate change has meant that the beach sees high levels of erosion and sand loss.
To counteract this, the HM Government of Gibraltar created two groynes from large stones to protect the bay, and added 80,000 tonnes of sand from the Sahara to prevent its complete loss.
While at Sandy Bay, dine at Kokonut, an excellent beach restaurant in the middle of the bay.
Sandy Bay is at 34 Sir Herbert Miles Road, Gibraltar, GX11 1AA.
7- Blackstrap Cove
Blackstrap Cove is a must-visit coastal location in Gibraltar, and while it does not have a sandy beach, this iconic cove is well worth a visit.
The cove is close to Catalan Bay and Princess Royal’s Battery.
Blackstrap Cove is hidden away on the Mediterranean coast and was an infamous landing spot for smugglers of rum, whisky, tobacco and wine.
Ships seeking to trade with Europe, the UK and the New World had to wait at the cove for the easterly Levante wind to die down so they could safely navigate the Strait of Gibraltar.
The waiting ships called this being ‘black-strapped’, which gave the name to the cove.
So iconic is the cove that the Gibraltar Distillery Company have a whisky named after it.
Black Strap Cove is at 2 Sir Herbert Miles Road, Gibraltar, GX11 1AA.
Gibraltar shares a border with Spain.
Love Spain? Read these posts: