The Gibraltar Guide


Driving to Gibraltar- You can of course take a guided tour, but if like us you are in the middle of a road trip the drive from Costa Del Sol takes around 1 hour 40 to drive to the border of Gibraltar. If possible leave as early as possible. (We left before the sun had started to rise). You have the option of toll roads or non-toll roads. On the way as the roads were quiet as it was so early, we opted for the non-toll roads, the speed limit is lower, and you enter many roundabouts, we would recommend taking the toll roads to cut time, however it will be around €12 each way on tolls.

You want to follow signs for Algeciras then once closer the town of La Linea. You will not see any signs for Gibraltar until you see the actual Rock. We do not know if the Spanish have purposely not signposted Gibraltar.

Parking- Just do not take your own vehicle across the border! There is firstly no need for it in Gibraltar as there is a very good bus system, but also the queues to get across the border can be hours upon hours long!

Spanish customs officers can be very strict. Leaving Gibraltar by car can be very tedious - there is often a long queue for Spanish customs / passport control. Spanish Customs will ask if you have any items to declare and will search cars if they think it is necessary. Gibraltar Customs may do the same.

Arriving into the town of La Linea you should see signs for parking, follow them (there is also signs for McDonalds which will help you know you're on the right track). The parking is secure and we parked for 5 hours for only €4. We parked the car and walked across the border which is next to the car park. There was no queues for vehicles to get in or out at 8am when we entered, but when we left in the afternoon- the queue of vehicles snaked around and around the car park, across roundabouts and down the road. Unless its imperative you take your vehicle across- don't!

Passport- Bring your passport, there is immigration and you get your passport checked on the Spanish side then British side.

Currency- Gibraltar uses both Euros and Pound Sterling as currency, either can be used, prices will be in both.

Public Transport- As said, there is a good bus system in place, an adult day pass is €2.25/ £3.00, The No. 5 bus runs regularly and takes you from the border entrance to Main Street and the centre of town. Walking into town will take about 15 mins and you will have to walk across the airport runway - yes, truly. (If a plane is landing/ taking off you may get stuck for up to 15 minutes behind the barriers).

What to wear- We went in Spring time, the weather was around 18 degrees, pleasant on ground level, but once at the Top of the Rock there was a cold wind, you will want a light jacket at the very least.

History- Bordering Spain, the sovereignty of Gibraltar is a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations as Spain asserts a claim to the territory. Gibraltarians overwhelmingly rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in two referendums. Gibraltar governs its own affairs, though some powers, such as defence and foreign relations, remain the responsibility of the British government.

Sightseeing- It is indeed very British, with its High Street bustling with shops such as Marks and Spencer, Next and Debenhams, its pubs serving authentic Fish and Chips, and road names such as Winston Churchill Avenue, and tourists sprawling over red phone boxes and red post boxes to get the best photo opportunity.

There are also a network of caves and tunnels to be explored, constructed over the course of nearly 200 years principally by the British Army, which housed guns, hangars, ammunition stores, barracks and hospitals.

Do your research, we hadn't, we thought we could get the bus up the top of the Rock, but it turns out you either do a tour of which only mini busses can wind up the steep roads or you can hike up which takes a few hours each way, or you take the cable car. So we booked return tickets for €18 each, which included an audio guide and free wifi. It was a such a thrill taking the carriage which holds around 20 persons up to the top in around 6 minutes, whilst looking out at the magnificent views, which we would experience more of shortly. At the top of the Rock we followed our audio guide and then went in search of the famous Barbary Apes.

Barbary Apes- Gibraltar is home to 300 Barbary Apes, a type of tail-less monkey which are the only wild monkeys in Europe. As we arrived early in the morning, the care takers for the apes had provided them with breakfast, and also there weren't too many lurking around, but the apes are known to get boisterous and will steal anything from ones person they believe to be food, or can just be rascals and nick sunglasses from your head! Ensure you do not have food with you, they even steal plastic bags as they believe food to be inside.

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