We wanted to visit Gibraltar because we want to visit every country in Europe. OK so technically it’s not a country, it’s a British Overseas Territory, ah well, we’ll just consider it a bonus then 😊. Planning a visit to Gibraltar was a little complicated as details online are not necessarily correct at the moment due to different covid restrictions. It did seem however the easiest way to get there was by bus and so after a trip to the bus station we managed to get a day return Avanza ticket between Malaga to La Linea de la Concepcion, the border of Gibraltar. It was going to be a long day as the bus trip was 3 hrs each way and about 5 hours in Gibraltar itself but off we set armed with our cameras for the day ahead.
Both of us were interested to see exactly just how British it was, being a British Territory encompassed by Spain; would it be like a little Britain, or would it be like being in Spain with everyone speaking Spanish but using the pound? We were soon to find out!
We arrived at La Linea de la Concepcion and made our way the short distance down the road to the border crossing we needed to walk through. The buses do not cross this border, instead dropping you off a few hundred metres away on the Spanish side. Our passports were checked at a British manned checkpoint but we weren’t asked for any details about our covid vaccines or any proof of testing. On we headed and we were in Gibraltar – simple!
Once we passed the entry a really bizarre thing happened…we had to walk across the active runway for Gibraltar airport to get to the main town. Nigel stopped to take a picture but we were then prompted to move on by an announcement over a loud speaker. Shortly after we arrived at the other side the barriers came down and all traffic, pedestrians and otherwise, was stopped. We stood and watched as an Easyjet plane landed and an RAF plane took off.
Heading onwards we found a supermarket so decided to grab some lunch and snacks. The supermarket was affilliated with Waitrose and I was very excited to find some of my home favourites; roast beef Monster Munch and Cadbury’s chocolate eclairs yay! Now this may sound daft but after travelling for nearly 11 months around the world there are certainly foods you miss and so I was happy to have some familiar treats! Onwards we walked towards the main town and this is where the we started to see many similarities to home (although to be fair I can’t remember the last red phone box I saw in the UK).
The shops in the main street included Mothercare, Costa Coffee, Marks and Spencers etc and it looked very much like any high street you may find in England. The prices were in all in Pounds as you may expect and there was a wide selection of different shops available including duty free and souvenirs.
The one place we did have in mind to visit whilst we were here was The Rock! What we hadn’t realised however, was that the hours have been cut short at present and therefore we had left ourselves little time to get the cable car. The last one back down was at 17.45pm. Rushing there we paid £17 each for our return tickets and boarded the cable car.
The journey up took about 10 minutes with a little stop half way to Apes Den. In our rush we didn’t really have time to get the nature reserve ticket which would have allowed us to get off and on here. The cable car rises to 412 mt above sea level until you reach the top, despite the fact it was a little more crowded in the cable car than we liked we had some good views on the way up.
We reached the top of the rock (which is actually not the top; there is a higher peak visible from the viewing platform. Despite the amount of signs around warning about monkeys and not to feed them we didn’t even see 1; perhaps they were further down the mountain included in the nature reserve ticket but we were disappointed we didn’t see any. The views at the top were spectacular, we could see all the way across to Africa with the naked eye, unfortunately our camera didn’t quite capture the view quite as clearly.
We headed back down from The Rock and it was not too much longer before we had to head back out of Gibraltar back into Spain to get our bus back to Malaga. We did manage to do some duty free shopping on the way back and grab some food before heading to the border; entering back into Spain our duty free purchases were closely examined by customs before we were allowed back in. We managed to get our bus ok and headed back to Malaga.
Final thoughts on Gibraltar
Despite its appearance of a “little Britain” there were some significant differences; for example cars drive on the right here and most people spoke Spanish. Of course they spoke English to a degree too, effortlessly switching between the two languages, but they were all very definitely Spanish.
Although we didn’t have that long in Gibraltar we were happy enough that we had seen quite a bit we wanted to and managed to do a little duty free shopping on the way. It was a little disappointing that we didn’t manage to see any apes whilst we were there; although if we had more time we would have more than likely walked down through the nature reserve from the top and this would have given us a better chance. It was nice to find a few treats from home; Costa coffee was something I had really missed and our chocolate eclairs kept us quiet on our bus trip home – all in all an enjoyable but long day and we glad we took the time to visit.
Carol & Nigel xx