The ‘Campo de Gibraltar’ joins two fantastic coastal areas of Spain, the Costa del Sol (sun coast) and the Costa del Luz (light coast). Most are familiar with the Costa del Sol – it caters for tourists very well with clean beaches, reasonably priced accommodation and lots of entertainment. There are several lively marinas on the Costa del Sol that can be easily sailed to from Gibraltar, including Sotogrande, Duquesa and Estepona. They all provide good facilities with easy access to a selection of bars and restaurants.
The Costa del Luz is the stretch of coast running from Tarifa west to Cadiz. The water is much colder because of the Atlantic influence, but the beaches are stunning long sweeps of white sand. Tarifa is a world class kite and wind surfing area, and the town caters to that market with lots of cool bars selling mojitos. It is also a very popular for bird watching as the strait is narrow here so is used by migratory birds to cross from Africa to Europe. The coast is not as developed as the Costa del Sol, so there isn’t as much choice, and the marinas tend to have more basic facilities, but it is very beautiful.
It is possible to sail up the atlantic coast and then up the river to Seville, which makes a memorable trip. Note that this trip takes a minimum of two weeks.
Trips up the atlantic coast are weather dependent as tides and wind direction can make it extremely difficult to get back around Tarifa point into the Strait.
Just across the Strait of Gibraltar lies Ceuta, a Spanish exclave on the north African coast surrounded by Morocco. We often take charters to Ceuta, and although it is possible to go there and back in a day with lunch in between, it is preferable to have a more leisurely sail and stay the night – there are plenty of quirky pubs, great tapas bars and restaurants there. Trips to Morocco can also be arranged from Ceuta.
Another Spanish enclave, Melilla, is also a possible destination.