Gibraltar ‘Sandy’ Beaches by Gibraltar Rock Tours.
During the summer months, going to the beach is a favourite pastime for just about everyone but especially for Gibraltarians. In Gibraltar we are extremely lucky, we have the weather for it and Gibraltar boasts a total of six beaches.
Even though most of Our Rock Tour customers don’t have much time to spend on the beach on their daytrip to the Rock, we would still like to tell you a little more about our beautiful beaches.
There is always so much to do and see in Gibraltar, time is always an issue but if you are lucky enough to spend a few days on the Rock be sure to visit our lovely beaches and enjoy them as much as we do!
We could split our beaches into two groups those on the west of the rock and those on the east. The beaches on the Eastern side tend to be more sandy type beaches and the beaches on the Western side are rockier. Depending on your preference, and which way the wind is blowing……and as it’s not too far to get anywhere in Gibraltar, finding your favourite beach will be no problem at all.
Gibraltar’s Beaches are Catalan Bay, Eastern Beach, Western Beach, Sandy Bay, Camp Bay, and Little Bay.
Catalan Bay, known in Spanish as ‘La Caleta’ is a small bay and fishing village. The true origin of the name of Catalan Bay is unknown, but a couple of theories exist:
The first suggests that the bay is named after a group of around 350 Catalan (from Catalonia) military men believed to have settled here. The Spanish name ‘La Caleta’ (meaning small cove or bay) considerably pre-dates that of Catalan Bay so another theory suggests quite simply, that it could be an English mispronunciation of ‘Caleta’.
Historically, Catalan Bay had been populated by Genoese fishermen during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the eighteenth century Genoese was so widely spoken in Gibraltar that Government notices were also published in this language (alongside English and Spanish). Genoese was spoken in Catalan Bay well into the nineteenth century, dying out in the early decades of the twentieth century.
During the nineteenth century only fishermen were permitted to live in Catalan Bay. They were required to have a fishing permit granted to them by the Governor and only a limited number of permits were issued. The families who live in the village today are mainly descendants of these Genoese fishermen and are colloquially known as ‘Caleteños’.
Catalan Bay is home to the Caleta Hotel, and the church of Our Lady of Sorrows. The statue of Our Lady of Sorrows is carried to the beach each September when the Bishop of Gibraltar blesses the sea in what has become the main religious festival.
The round shaped rock which juts out into the sea is commonly known as ‘La Mamela’ the name given to it by the early Genoese settlers as it resembles a woman’s breast when viewed from the shore.
Catalan Bay is lined with pretty pastel painted quaint houses and is the second largest beach in Gibraltar.
This is where you are likely to find locals, especially popular by families and the youth as well as tourists and this is also the site of the annual Boxing Day swim led by the manager of the Caleta Hotel located at the top of Catalan Bay. There are also quite a few seafood restaurants, in the area if you fancy a bite to eat too.
Eastern Beach is the largest beach in Gibraltar. It is one of the four sandy beaches and is just a stone’s throw from Catalan Bay. Is has great changing room facilities, where you can shower and get rid of all that sand before you leave. Eastern Beach as well as all the other beaches in Gibraltar it has lifeguards on duty during the Summer season, And although dogs aren’t allowed this time of year in the winter months our furry friends can enjoy this beach as well. This Beach is particularly well kept and clean and also very well equipt for any disabled beach goers.
There is always plenty to do at Eastern beach and nearly every summer the public can enjoy local beach sport Tournaments and water racing which they can watch from right under their sun umbrellas. With prior permits from the Government Dept and Fire brigade locals like to enjoy the odd BBQ as well when the sun goes down.
The other two sandy Beaches are Western beach and Sandy Bay.
Western Beach is situated near the runway, on your right as you come in from the border, it is a popular beach with locals and can get quite crowded as it’s not very big.
Sandy Bay on the other hand is one of our Favourites this year. Lots of activities to enjoy, and the extra space between sun umbrellas is apparent, It enjoys a child friendly area of the beach, where the water area is cordoned off with bouys great if you have little ones. We would recommend the public uses public transport to go to this beach as parking maybe a problem.
So basically if you enjoy the Sun, the Sea and Sand you would enjoy any of these beaches.
Thanks for reading and oh I nearly forgot …….if you need a Rock Tour Just contact us at Gibraltar Rock Tours as always…..we will try and make your time on the Rock Unforgettable !