Algeciras is often spoken about as the ugly spot of Andalusia. Industrial. Crime-ridden. Barren.
You won’t find it featuring highly in travel guides and it is often seen as just a transient port of call between Spain and Morocco. Algeciras is in the autonomous region of Cádiz, it is the last stop on the train line from Madrid and overshadowed by its stunning neighbour, Tarifa to the south-west.
I first heard of this supposedly unremarkable town when I was studying A level History, with reference to the Algeciras Conference of 1906, held to discuss the future of Morocco.
Intrigued to see why this place is both disregarded and heralded, I spent three days in the Algeciras zone, visiting a friend who lives there. The Campo de Gibraltar encompasses the following areas:
- Los Barrios
- La Línea de la Concepción
- Castellar de la Frontera
- Jimena de la Frontera
- San Roque
With my knowledgeable friend to show me round, our first stop was at one of Algeciras’ surprisingly beautiful beaches. The ugly reputation is largely undeserved, once you look past the grey dusty streets and shutter-drawn windows.