🇬🇧🇺🇸 Gibraltar Travel Guide and Photo Trip – Beware of the monkey!

Our trip to Gibraltar was really a memorable one. What you can do there: Hiking on the impressive rock with a view to Morocco, study the interesting history of this british enclave, do duty free shopping and see (not feed) the monkeys. Maybe things will change when Great Britain leaves the EU because of the Brexit. In this guide I want to give you tips about accommodation, food and what to see. Please read on.

My photo/video equipment

I was using a Sony a6500 but nowadays I would buy an a6600 for travelling (because of the selfie screen that is good for vlogging). Note I have a drone listed but it is impossible to fly a drone in Gibraltar (only with a special permit). Here is a list of my equipment:

GoPro 8 (amazon.de)
GoPro 8 (amazon.com)
GoPro 8 (amazon.co.uk)
Sony a6600 with kit lens (amazon.de)
Sony a6600 with kit lens (amazon.com)
Sony a6600 with kit lens (amazon.co.uk)
Sigma 16mm (amazon.de)
Sigma 16mm (amazon.com)Sigma 16mm (amazon.co.uk)
Sony 35mm (amazon.de)
Sony 35mm (amazon.com)
Sony 35mm (amazon.co.uk)
DJI Mavic Air(amazon.de)
DJI Mavic Air (amazon.com)
DJI Mavic Air (amazon.co.uk)

About Gibraltar

Gibraltar is in the south of Spain and part of Great Britain. Many Spanish people go there everyday for work or to refuel because it is cheaper there.

Because of the Brexit things could change and life could get more difficult for the Spanish people. The south of Spain (Andalusia) including the border city of La Línea de la Concepción is the poorest part of Spain.

Being part of Great Britain is what makes Gibraltar very special, you could say it is a “colony”. But it is funny because Spain also has some oversea territories like Ceuta and the Canary islands. So it would not be fair if Spain would ask to get this area back. 😉

Best time to visit

You can visit Gibraltar the whole year because of the mild climate.

If you want to go swimming on the beach it is better you don’t go there in winter. But if you prefer to go hiking it is better to do this in Winter, because it can get really hot in Summer.

Just be aware that the rock is often circumvented by fog. We were lucky on our first day but if you are not maybe the whole rock is covered in a cloud which can be very disappointing.

Covered in fog on our second day

Getting there

To go to Gibraltar you actually have to cross the airport runway right after the border. This is very interesting, there is a traffic light and if a plane is landing you have to wait.

You can go with your car to Gibraltar but to go to the rock you have to have a British license plate.

I thinks the best bet is to leave your car in Spain (if you come from there) and use public transportation which works very well. Just be aware not to leave any valuables in the car because this is dangerous in Andalusia and esp. in La Línea.

Our route on day 1 (just don’t go up the Mediterranean Steps use the cable car see text below)

There is a bus stop right after the border and you can use this bus to cross the airport runway and to go to the bus terminal.

Note that the company that runs the buses from the terminal to the northern tip of Gibraltar is a different one than the one running the buses from the border to the terminal. You have to buy separate tickets.

For the first trip from the border you can buy a return ticket or a single ticket. For the second trip (from the bus terminal to the north) you can buy a single or a day ticket. But if you just want to go to the main street you just need the first bus.

Local currency

You can pay with Euros but it is better to change to Pound Sterlings to have better prices.

We had actually some Pounds left from the Bank of Ireland and we were able to change them to British Pounds at a money exchange bureau in the main street.

Be careful in the shops to ask to get the change in British Pounds and not in Gibraltar Pounds, because changing back the latter outside of Gibraltar is more difficult.

You can also pay with Pounds in La Línea.

Accommodation

We came from Malaga and staid in La Línea de la Concepción. It is much cheaper to stay there than in Gibraltar.

From there we were actually able to walk to the border. The beach was also near (but it was too cold to swim to Gibraltar 😉 ).

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Eat

When you arrive with the bus you will go to Grand Casemates Square first which is right next to the bus terminal. This is where the main street begins with all the duty free shops.

There are many restaurants there but they are more expensive. We went to a side street and found an Indian Take-Away (Mumtaz) where you can also sit inside. The food was very reasonable priced. A hidden gem.

We liked the food so much that we went there again on the next day to spend all the Pounds we had left.

Top 6 things to do

1. Go to upper rock

The upper rock really dominates Gibraltar and it is obvious that it is very interesting to visit this area, esp. because of the military history of this place.

To go up I recommend you take the cable car. We actually went up in the north using the Mediterranean Steps starting at Jews’ Gate. I would not do that again because I had a lot cameras and this was hard. You can go down this way. (not recommended for small children because of the monkeys, see below)

From up the rock you have an amazing panoramic view to the city and you can see the ships passing by. You can also see Algeciras in Spain (another very poor city of Spain).

2. Mediterranean Steps

I recommend you to visit the Mediterranean Steps but go up only if you don’t carry much weight. Otherwise I recommend going down (if you don’t have knee problems).

The view down and to Morocco (Africa) is breath-taking (if you are not out of breath from hiking up). You can also see the Mosque and the lighthouse on the northern tip of Gibraltar.

One “problem” you might run into is that there are a lot of monkeys at one point.

Don’t make the same mistake like me to open you bag. Actually I wanted to get out my camera but they were getting very agressive.

Then you have to sacrifice some of your food to get them distracted. Actually I already had a stone in my hand but throwing it would have made them even more agressive (and call for their peers). Maybe they were intimidated.

Actually you SHOULD NOT feed them it is forbidden and they would get used to it which is not good.

3. (Don’t feed) the monkeys

This is a place where monkeys roam freely. It is a huge tourist attraction, esp. at Apes Den.

It is forbidden to feed them as I said before.

Some are little bit agressive so be careful. They usually send the more agressive ones off to a zoo somewhere in Scotland.

4. Visit St. Michael’s Cave

This cave is really beautiful. There is a big space where they play concerts inside.

Note that you have to pay an entrance fee when you enter the upper rock area. You can get a ticket just for hiking around or another ticket which includes the main attractions.

We also visited O’Hara’s Battery, the Skywalk, Apes Den and Windsor bridge. Fun fact: You should not go on the bridge if there is a monkey on it (there is a sign) 😉

We would have liked to visit the Moorish Castle and the WW-II Tunnels as well, but unfortunately we ran out of time (needed too much time going up the steps).

5. Go shopping in the main street

Well you can spend a lot of money in the main street on jewelry and stuff.

Note: There are not many supermarkets in Gibraltar. The biggest one is Morrisons but it is hard to go there if you are not going by car, it is not in the center. There is a great supermarket right at the border (Eroski).

6. Visit the lighthouse and the mosque in the north

The bus that goes to the cable car eventually leads to the northern tip of Gibraltar. There is nice lighthouse and a great view to Morocco from there. This is what makes this place special.

Ethical statement

When visiting Gibraltar from La Línea de la Concepción you will see the difference between poor and rich. This raises some ethical questions. Also that many refugees come from Africa to Algeciras is interesting. We got a different view on the Brexit and also understood better why people in Andalusia might have to become criminals to make their living.

Conclusion

Gibraltar is a really interesting place, beginning with that you have to enter it crossing an airport runway and also because it belongs to Great Britain. We really enjoyed our visit. The upper rock is also beautiful because of the nature and has a lot of history. And don’t forget the monkeys. (We will not forget them because they stole a chocolate from Patricia’s bag.)

What do you think about Gibraltar? Did you visit it already or are you planning your stay? Please post in the comments below! Also if you have any question or comment don’t hesitate.

Please support our free guide by booking your accommodation through booking.com at no extra cost for you using the form below. THANK YOU!



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Here you can rent a car for your trip from our partners at Rentalcars.com. We used it to rent a car at Malaga airport: Rentalcars.com Car Hire – Search, Compare & Save

Recommended camera equipment for photo, video & travelling (AMAZON):
Sony a6600 Sony a6400 (cheaper) Sony a6100 (Budget-Option for 4K) Sigma 16mm 1.4 Sony 35mm 1.8 Samyang 12mm 2.0 Feelworld Master MA7 Smaller monitor Rode VideoMicro Rode Wiress Go II Mini Tripod Travel Tripod Small LED-Light Light #1 (powerful) Light #2 (Bi-Color) Softbox for this light Light tent/box DJI Osmo Action GoPro 9 GoPro MAX Invisible Selfie Stick Mavic Mini 2 drone Mavic Air 2
for photo and video:
Fuji XT-4 Fuji Telezoom Entry level camera (Canon)

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11 comments

  1. Hi Bernhard. Great article and very informative. I and my wife are planning Gibraltar next week. Do we need visa for Gibraltar.

  2. Hi Bernhard,

    Thanks for the info. It was a great help. My wife and I are going there in August. We will have a car with us, hired in Spain. We will be staying in La Linea. Do you recommend that new glass platform they built? And is Point Europa worth a visit? Thank you again.

    1. Hi sorry for late reply: the glass platform if you mean it is a viewpoint but very small. I recommend it (part of it was closed when we visited because glass broke). There are many sights to see the glass platform is nice but you should visit as much as possible don’t go just for the platform (also to the cave etc.). Point Europa I highly recommend it is very interesting to see Marocco you can go by bus from border and change at bus terminal (leave your car in La Linea).

  3. I’m not sure why you decided to point out the division of the rich and the poor so many times in your blog, why does this even matter? There are many people here in Gibraltar who reside in council housing, and struggle just as those in Algeciras. This does not always lead to a life of crime as you suggest. Yes, there is some crime in this region, but it’s not everyone.

    1. You have a good point. It can easily happen to over-generalize and I got critized a lot for this. Also to judge so quickly just having been to a place for a very short time. But on the other hand an “outsider” like me can see things that maybe the people living there cannot see so clearly and giving and outside view can open the opportunity for a change. I was informed that the border city of La Linea de la Concepcion is a very poor city and I have seen it with my own eyes. It looks run down and as soon as I entered the shopping street of Gibraltar being a duty free “paradise” I saw a clear difference. Spain and Algeciras is an entry point for refugees that make it to Ceuta which is the spanish equivalent of Gibraltar for England. For me this is interesting. Especially now with the Corona crisis it is obvious that Spain is struggling a lot because it is not one of the richer countries. As I said in the beginning what I say might be over-generalized and not 100% true, but I always try to learn and understand what problems there are. There are tourists that are not critical about what they hear but this is not the way I like to travel that is why I also put information like this into my travel guides. Thank you for your comment!

  4. When England leaves the EU?. England is not leaving the EU. Britain is leaving the EU. Please refer to a map of the British Isles. England is a part but is not Britain. Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland are Great Britain.

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