Gibraltar is welcoming travelers and visitors again! As of 21st June 2020 air travel restrictions into Gibraltar due to Covid-19 were lifted. Additionally, from the same date, Spain will re-open its border to Gibraltar. Yes, traveling is becoming possible again, slowly but it is happening!
As many of us will start with more local trips first or maybe travelling for a weekend or few days only, I wanted to share with you my one day trip experience to Gibraltar, from Spain. In Europe holiday season has just started, so let’s talk a bit more travel again!
- Gibraltar is one of 14 British Overseas Territories, which means it is under United Kingdom’s jurisdiction however, technically, it is not part of it.
- Gibraltar is just 6.8 km2 in size. With its population of ~30,000 people, it is the 5th most populated country or territory globally.
- Official language of Gibraltar is English but many people speak also Spanish and the local language, called Llanito (language with a mix of Mediterranean words in it).
- Gibraltar’s currency is pound. Important: notes and coins from the UK can be used in the territory, however, locally produced notes or coins can’t be used back in the UK.
- Its timezone is the same as in Spain (1 hour difference to UK) and people drive on the right side like in the continental Europe (and not in UK).
- The road to Gibraltar is closed every time a plane lands at the territory’s airport. Interestingly, the road into town is also the airport’s runway! And you can walk there too when planes don’t land!
- Maybe I should start with this one: Gibraltar has basically no tax on goods! Plenty of duty free shops , especially next to the border.
Remember post about top 3 cities from Spain? Yes, in fact we were enjoying our holidays in beautiful Spain, south of the country. No better place to “hop” from to Gibraltar! As we love discovering new places, seeing new countries or territories – a visit to Gibraltar was definitely on our list!
How to reach Gibraltar? In our case it was a rented car. Cars rental is a great decision in south of Spain. Sometimes one can find great deals! We trusted Ryanair Car Hire and it was a spot on decision! Why I say it: during your potential car booking check also with the car rental company if you can drive rented car also abroad. As we were planning both Gibraltar & Portugal (and Morocco – but this both by car and ferry), it was very important for us. And going to Gibraltar by car is so much fun!
We drove to Gibraltar from Benajarafe, east from Malaga. Around 160 km and circa 2 hours of highway drive, by the coast, amazing journey! As we left early morning from our location, we knew that we had a full day to dedicate to our Gibraltar tour! We were also lucky: queues at the border were not too long and sometimes it might be tricky (few hours!). You can always check it a day or few before using online webcams, link below.
Important: if you hold a passport outside of European Union, check in advance for potential visa requirement. We are dual nationalities family so it is a standard step for us! ? Also, as Gibraltar is tax free, if you decide to drive there by the car: refill petrol over there, it is cheaper than in Spain!
We had amazing time! It was on one hand spontaneous, on the other hand we knew that we wanted to see important places, enjoy some yummy food – ideally with a beautiful view, go to the beach, walk a bit around and… drive around the entire territory! That was the best part of it!
Are you still considering if visiting Gibraltar is worth it? No need to consider, just go for it! One of the most unique travel experiences! This is the only place in the world where you can see 2 seas and 2 continents at the same time! Totally worth it!
#1: ROCK OF GIBRALTAR
No matter how much you will try: you won’t miss this one for sure. The Rock of Gibraltar is visible already from the highway in Spain and in fact it will ensure you that you are on the right path to reach its territory. Most of the Rock’s upper area is covered by a nature reserve, which is home to around 300 Barbary macaques, that’s unique in the entire Europe! These macaques, as well as a labyrinthine network of tunnels, attract many tourists each year.
Suggestion: Explore Rock of Gibraltar also by driving around it, in this way you will be able to see the beauty of this immense rock and also have an amazing drive around entire territory!
#2: Saint Michael’s Cave
Exploring the Rock of Gibraltar will lead you to visiting Saint Michael’s Cave. It a network of limestone caves located within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, at a height of over 300 metres above sea level.
Suggestion: In the Upper Rock area you will be able to meet famous Apes of Gibraltar, the only monkeys living wild anywhere in Europe. Just be careful: they are wild and might jump on you or even bite. My dad was ‘lucky’ , to have one on his shoulders!
#3: EUROPA POINT
My favorite place: Europe Point, the most southerly point of Gibraltar’s peninsula. It includes historic 19th-century Trinity Lighthouse, the old chapel of the Shrine of our Lady of Europe, as well as the impressive Mosque of The Custodian of the Holy Mosques. Here you will be able to admire the excellent views across Algeciras Bay and the African coast. In the narrowest point Europe and Africa are only 14.3 kilometres (8.9 miles) apart!
Suggestion: prepare here for a bit more wind! You might also want to bring with you binoculars to spot closely African land! There is a bit parking over there, play area for children and a bar so you can enjoy here for a while.
#4: Catalan Bay
We love to spend time by the seaside and Catalan Bay was ideal for it! It is a picturesque fishing village by the sea located on the east side of the Rock. Known in Spanish as ‘La Caleta’, it is the second biggest sandy beach in Gibraltar. Catalan Bay has an incredible history dating back to the 1600’s. Vibrant, colorful, full of lovely houses and yummy seafood!
Suggestion: this is an ideal place for the lunch time! Strongly recommending ‘Catalan Bar, Lounge and Terrace’ in Caleta Hotel with amazing seaside view and delicious food! Beach is just few steps down from the restaurant, and later you can enjoy walking around this beautiful village’s houses.
# 5: skywalk
I need to admit: this one we missed! ? And sharing it here on purpose: so maybe one day we can return as the view from the skywalk is just stunning! Standing 340 metres directly above sea level, Gibraltar’s Skywalk offers breath-taking 360º views spanning three countries and two continents! Incredible, right? This is a new attraction, inaugurated in March 2018 by Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker!
Suggestion: simply don’t miss it as we did during our spontaneous trip! ?
‘Gibraltar – A Virtual Tour: 360º videos, documentaries & more. Discover all Gibraltar has to offer: adventure, beaches, entertainment, guided walking tours, heritage & culture, military history, natural attractions, religious interest, tours & excursions, eat & shop and stay.’
Discover online beaches of Gibraltar, including webcams view, weather condition and tourist information. All in very user friendly format, especially for tourists. Website includes all spots: Eastern Beach, Western Beach, Catalan Beach, Sandy Beach, Camp Beach & Little Bay. Useful for travel planning or simply as a virtual visit!
Check Gibraltar’s board in live stream video options. If you are planning one day trip and your visit date is flexible, it might be of a great help. Online webcam offers 3 views: frontier camera, Winston Churchill Avenue camera and combined option view. Useful!
‘Since ships first set sail in the Mediterranean, The Rock has been the gate of Fortress Europe. In ancient times, it was known as one of the Pillars of Hercules, and a glance at its formidable mass suggests that it may well have been created by the gods.’
‘Gibraltar, known throughout the world as The Rock, is one of the most picturesque locations in the world. However, The Rock, isn’t as popular a destination as you might think, nor is it as solid as we think. When you visit you will find this great limestone monolith is riddled with holes created from former gun emplacements, along with an extraordinary honeycomb of natural caves, chambers and man-made tunnel systems. If you’re tired of visiting castles and cathedrals this unusual and interesting destination will be a welcome relief.’
Moments that matter, no matter the rock.