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How to take a day trip to Gibraltar from Spain & what to do there

Visiting Gibraltar from Spain is an easy and fun day trip and one of our highlights whilst on holiday in Almuñécar, southern Spain. We decided to take a break from the beach for a day and make a day trip to Gibraltar.

Gibraltar is in southern Spain but has been owned by the British for longer than the United States has been American.

Affectionately known as “The Rock” (thanks to the massive Rock that casts shadows over Gibraltar), it takes its Britishness to whole new levels. You’ll see red phone boxes, fish and chip shops, and old seaside hotels that look like the more tumbledown parts of northern sea towns in the UK.

Visiting Gibraltar from Spain is easy and day trips to Gibraltar offer plenty to do. Plus, it’s kinda nice if you want to relax whilst surrounded by some English after days of Spanish.

If you hope to visit Gibraltar from Spain or are wondering how to visit Gibraltar, then read on to find out the best way to do so in this post which is full of tips on visiting Gibraltar by car from Spain.

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how to take a day trip to gibraltar pin

How to plan a day trip in Gibraltar

day trip to gibraltar

First things first, it depends on what part of Spain you’re coming from. We were coming from Almuñécar which is to the east and so getting to Gibraltar meant about a 2.5-hour drive each way. It’s a shorter journey if you’re looking for a day trip to Gibraltar from Malaga.

Some of the other well-known cities you might be coming from are Malaga (just under 2 hour drive), Cadiz in the West (about 1 and a half hours) or Marbella (about an hour’s drive).

The best way to get to Gibraltar is to drive to near the border and walk across from there. Visiting Gibraltar by car isn’t something I recommend and I’ve explained why in more detail below. 

Should you drive into Gibraltar?

When it comes to the question of how to go to Gibraltar you might be considering driving to Gibraltar from Spain.

In short, this probably isn’t the best idea, especially if you’re only planning to spend one day in Gibraltar. 

When we visited back in 2013, Gibraltar had been in the news a lot for its disputes with Spain. Luckily we’d done a bit of research the night before and discovered parking the car outside Gibraltar would make life a lot easier and would likely involve shorter border controls than if entering Gibraltar from Spain by car.

It’s the border crossing that can make going to Gibraltar from Spain a bit of an ordeal, but getting into Gibraltar on foot by walking across the border is usually pretty painless. That’s the reason I think it’s the best way to visit Gibraltar.

There are plenty of car parks in La Linea de la Concepción. This is the town just on the Spanish side of the border. You can park your car in La Linea de la Concepión and then walk over the border just a few minutes away.

I use comparison sites like DiscoverCars and RentalCars to book my car rentals as it’s easy to check prices and compare the best deals!

There are plenty of signs to direct you to the centre of Gibraltar. Oh, and there’s a massive rock that kinda guides the way too. The walk from the border crossing is about 30 minutes.

If you park in Gibraltar itself you’re very likely to get stuck in traffic for three hours or more on the way out! So, while you can visit Gibraltar by car, I’d recommend you don’t. The drive to Gibraltar and then crossing on foot or bus avoids them. 

How to get to Gibraltar from Spain

It’s very easy to get from Spain to Gibraltar. If you’re not driving then you can also get the bus to Gibraltar from most major cities in Spain.

There are public transport options for getting to Gibraltar from Spain too with long-distance buses to Seville and Cadiz both via Tarifa and Costa de la Luz. There are several buses a day to Malaga.

There’s also one service a day to Madrid, Barcelona, and Cordoba from Gibraltar. Seville to Gibraltar takes around 2 hours 10 minutes, and Malaga to Gibraltar is around 1 hour 30.

These destinations also make great day trips from Gibraltar if you’re there and want to visit Spain.

I like to organize my European travel through Omio as they make it super easy to see the dates, times and prices beforehand. 

Omio is a great platform for booking European and UK travel on. You can check train and bus prices and schedules and book super easily!

If you’re planning to drive near the border and then get the bus into the centre of Gibraltar you can!

The main bus routes are the San Roque and Algeciras (M-130) bus, and the Algeciras direct (M-120) and Estepona (M-240). The La Linea bus station is located in the centre of the town about one block from the border with Gibraltar and is just 5 minute walk away from the border.

Getting around Gibraltar on a day trip

If you prefer not to walk from the border crossing you can take a bus to the city centre. The Gibraltar citibus goes from the border into the city centre with plenty of stop-offs along the way.

The hopper ticket gives you unlimited bus rides all day for £6/€9 for adults and £4/€6 for children.

You could buy a single ticket but that costs £1.60/€2.40 but chances are you’ll probably want the bus back to the border even more after a day full of adventures in Gibraltar!

What to pack for a day trip to Gibraltar

If you’re visiting in summer (as we did) the chances are it’s going to be super, super hot. We hiked up the Rock in Gibraltar and sweated buckets. Here are a few essentials you’ll need to pack if you’re planning a day trip in Gibraltar.

  • Passport: Even if you’re British since you’ll be going back into Spain at the end of the day, don’t forget this when entering Gibraltar from Spain!
  • A map or good GPS: Pick up a map in town from the visitors’ centre.
  • Plenty of water: You’ll probably want at least two litres per person. Take a refillable bottle and look out for water fountains (or ask at cafes) for a refill.
  • Suncream: We’re both redheads and burn so easily. The sun in southern Spain is strong so you’ll want some suncream too!
  • A camera: Cause, y’know you’re gonna want to take pictures!
  • Good walking shoes: Gibraltar is best explored on foot so make sure you’ve worn your good walking shoes for your day in Gibraltar.

Take an organised day trip to Gibraltar

These Gibraltar tours are great for solo travellers or if you prefer to have things organised for you during day trips to Gibraltar.

It takes the effort out of planning what to do in Gibraltar and how to reach Gibraltar and means you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your trip to Gibraltar

What to do in one day in Gibraltar

For such a small place there’s plenty to keep you entertained for a day trip in Gibraltar. Here are some of the things to do in Gibraltar that we did, as well as some extras!

You might not be able to fit in all these activities if you’re only travelling to Gibraltar for one day, but you can make a pretty good dent in them! And, you can always do another Gibraltar visit from Spain if you want to check out the other things to do!

Go To The Top Of The Rock Of Gibraltar

rock of gibraltar

The one thing you have to do if you’re going to Gibraltar in a day is exploring the Rock of Gibraltar. You can’t miss the Rock of Gibraltar. I really mean it. You can’t help but see it when you approach the border. 

The Rock of Gibraltar rises 426m above sea level and has huge historical significance as well as some fantastic views. On a clear day, it’s said you can even see out to Africa!

It’s truly one of the things you must do on a day trip to Gibraltar is to make it to the top of the rock. You can drive, get the cable car, or hike.

If you’re keen to learn more about the history of the Rock of Gibraltar then be sure to check out this Rock of Gibraltar history tour where you’ll see the main attractions and learn loads! 

Book Rock of Gibraltar Tour in advance

Hike the Mediterranean Steps

This is the steepest way to get to the top of the rock. It’s like being on a stair climber at the gym for a few hours. Only with better views. You’ll climb 240m up on a route 0.86 miles in length. That should give you an idea as to how steep it is.

The trail starts quite level as you wind along the side of the rock, but intermittently you’ll hit points of steep, switchback steps.

Eventually, you’ll crest the rock at its highest point near O’Hara’s Battery. From here you can either go down the way you came or take O’Hara Road and pass by lots of natural and historical sites (most listed below as further activities for your day in Gibraltar.

Ride the Cable Car

day trip to gibraltar cable car

If you want to day trip Gibraltar and see some of the sights without much effort, the cable car is definitely recommended.

A trip on the cable car will give you a great view of most of the main things to see in Gibraltar. If you don’t fancy the walk then you can also ride the cable car to the top of the rock.

It’s worth getting the cable car ticket which also includes the entrance to the nature reserve (£22) and the activities listed below.

However, you can also buy tickets for the below activities without the cable car.

Explore St Michael’s Caves

gibraltar caves

One of the most impressive adventures on Gibraltar is St Michael’s Caves. The caves are a series of limestone chambers and tunnels that go so deep that people used to say they must’ve gone all the way to Africa!

There are an upper section and a lower section which are linked with drops of up to 45m.

Originally these were used as when defending Gibraltar from attacks by the Moors and the Spanish. They were also once prepared to be used as a hospital during WW2 but were never actually used.

Nowadays they make a great area to explore and they also house a 600-person auditorium where concerts take place.

Go Dolphin Watching! 

How to take a day trip to Gibraltar from Spain & what to do there 145

Did you know there are lots of dolphins living off the coast of Gibraltar? In fact, there are three species of dolphins living off the coast.

At times, you can see pods of 40 to 500 dolphins. Watch common, striped, and bottlenose dolphins swim up to the boat and play. They sometimes put on a spectacular display of leaps directly at your feet.

You can also see sunfish, turtles, and flying fish, as well as dolphins as you cruise off the coast of Gibraltar! It’s sure to be an afternoon to remember.

Book a dolphin-watching boat trip with a cable car ticket to the top of Gibraltar included

See the Great Siege Tunnels

gibraltar in a day

Underneath the massive rock of Gibraltar are miles and miles of underground tunnels. The oldest was dug during the 1779–83 Great Siege of Gibraltar.

No longer needed as a defence mechanism, you can now explore the tunnels, ducking and squeezing as you go, on your day trip to Gibraltar.

Visit the Barbary Macaques

monkeys in gibraltar

Gibraltar’s most famous residents are arguably the Barbary Macaques. These apes are said to be the only free-living apes in the whole of Europe! You can visit them at Apes Den on the rock and watch as they jump around and play together.

Be careful with your belongings as they tend to steal things they think might be tasty. Also, do not feed the apes for many reasons, one of which being the fine of thousands of £££s you’ll get!

Roam the Moorish Castle

gibraltar moorish castle

We paid a visit to the Moorish Castle during our day in Gibraltar and loved exploring the gatehouse and the walls. Partly because there were some super views from up there!

Unlike some castles (particularly those castles in Scotland) there is still plenty to see here and it’s easy to imagine people running about whilst under siege!

Relax On The Beach

day trip to gibraltar

Gibraltar is home to six beaches which is incredible for such a small place. If you’ve been holidaying in Spain then chances are you’re probably staying near some great beaches already. But, if you want more beaches then check out one in Gibraltar.

For sandy beaches, head to Sandy Bay, Eastern Beach, Catalan Bay, and Western Beach. The beach at Catalan Bay is backed by a charming village, while Eastern Beach is close to the international airport, so you can watch the planes come in while you swim.

The other two known as Camp Bay and Little Bay are rocky beaches but they also have lidos for swimming.

The Alameda Botanic Gardens

things to do in gibraltar gardens

If you love flowers and plants then visit the Alameda Botanic Gardens. The gardens are filled with palms, pines, olives and plants from all over the world. You’ll find flora from California, Asia and even Australia!

See the Ibrahim-Al-Ibrahim Mosque

day trip to Gibraltar mosque

The Ibrahim-Al-Ibrahim mosque is the southernmost mosque in mainland Europe. It’s also extremely lavish and ornate.

FAQs about visiting Gibraltar Spain

What currency do they accept in Gibraltar?

As Gibraltar is a British overseas territory the main currency is the Pound Sterling. Most businesses will accept euros but your change will most likely be given back in euros.

How do you cross the border in Gibraltar?

You can cross the border by car or on foot. Crossing by car can mean long waits on the way in or out of Gibraltar. However, crossing on foot is usually a bit quicker.

Can you walk across the border from Gibraltar to Spain?

Yes, you can walk across the border from Gibraltar to Spain.

Is there border control at Gibraltar?

Border controls are in operation between Spain and Gibraltar – Gibraltar is outside the Schengen passport-free travel area. Even though it is a British overseas territory, passports are needed for travel to/from the UK.

Is Gibraltar worth visiting?

If you’re staying in southern Spain then it’s definitely worth visiting Gibraltar for something different. There’s a lot of interesting history here and things to see and do in Gibraltar.

Can you walk from Spain to Gibraltar?

Yes. In fact, that’s the way I recommend you go into Gibraltar!

Last Updated on February 2, 2024 by Hannah

Leave a comment

  1. Cate EC says:

    The cave looks amazing, and how cute are those monkeys?! I really want to give this place a visit now x

    The perks of being a hipster

  2. Really interesting to read and learn a bit about Gibraltar. It also looks like a cute place to visit for a short trip and the beach also looks quite pretty and photogenic with the colourful buildings alongside it. I haven’t visited yet but it’s on my list! Thanks for the suggestions of things to do!

  3. Sally-Ann says:

    Very good write up of all Gibraltar offer for a day (or a weekend) visit

  4. Sally-Ann says:

    Very good write up of all Gibraltar offer for a day (or a weekend) visit. The views are tremendous

  5. Lucie says:

    Thank you for a great article with many useful information! Can’t wait to visit Gibraltar! 🙂

  6. carrie says:

    Do you recommend a tour service or taxi? Is this all done on foot? If heading down on a Sunday do you recommend getting there pretty early to avoid traffic? TIA

  7. Graham Argyle says:

    very interesting – I am looking for a break in southern Spain only an hour away from Gib – as I would like to spend a couple of days exploring Gibraltar – I would if possible like to stay overnight in Gib but seem unable to find any advice or holiday info how to go about arranging this – if you have any tips I would be grateful.
    thank you

    • Mark Batham says:

      Hi Graham,
      If you are looking for a break in Gibraltar, I would refer you to Caleta Hotel
      This hotel was nominated for Gibraltar’s Leading Spa Hotel, Gibraltar’s Leading Conference Hotel and Gibraltar’s Leading Hotel 2017. You can also check the rating & reviews about this hotel online.

    • Hi Graham,

      If you’re still looking for somewhere to stay in Gibraltar I’d recommend taking a look at as they have lots of different options for hotels / B&Bs in Gibraltar there.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Gibraltar sounds so cool! I loved reading about the things to do there – I had no idea you could see Africa!

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