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Wondering if this trip is worth it? Let us show you the perfect way to utilize your time with our one day in Gibraltar itinerary and travel guide.
Gibraltar is a small British Overseas Territory where within a limited area of about three square miles live around 35,000 residents, all fiercely passionate about their British citizenship.
Despite its size, the coastal territory is full of life and has plenty to offer, even if it is for one day.
The country has its own parliament, and except for defense and foreign policy which are overlooked by Westminster, Gibraltar is self-governed.
Due to the strong military influence, there are plenty of sights to see, plus many visitors flock to indulge in its VAT free shopping.
One Day in Gibraltar Itinerary: Day Trip from Southern Spain
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Known for its military history, the Castle of Moors, and the Rock of Gibraltar, this territory is home to stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Things to do in Gibraltar in a day: Best one day in Gibraltar itinerary
- Gibraltar Cable Car – Red Sands Road
- Mediterranean Steps
- Upper Nature Reserve/ St. Michael’s Cave
- Apes Den
- Great Siege Tunnels tour
- Moorish Castle
- Casemates Square
- Main Street
- Gibraltar Botanic Gardens
- Europa Point
- Ocean Marina
Read: Explore Gibraltar with our Spain and Portugal itinerary
Planning your trip to Gibraltar
Gibraltar is best accessed through Southern Spain as it is just a short drive away and the only way to cross the border is by road.
We decided to visit Gibraltar from Seville Spain, as it was an easy trip (versus flying from the UK).
If you are driving to Gibraltar, it is advisable to park the car on the Spanish side at Linea de la Concepcion as it will save you precious hours on the way out.
As you embark on this journey to Gibraltar you will also visit Punta de Europa, mainland Europe’s southernmost spot. This trip also welcomes you to views of the Strait of Gibraltar to the continent of Africa!
How to get to Gibraltar:
As the United Kingdom is not a party to the Schengen Agreement, the crossing point between La Linea and Gibraltar is some of the few controlled internal borders remaining in Europe.
From there you can either walk for thirty minutes or take the Red bus, to the city center. A single ticket costs €2.40, whereas a day ticket costs €3.40 which is a better deal as in all probability you will take the bus back after a hard day of exploration.
Just after you check in at Gibraltar, you will find a small office of Gibraltar tourism. Fetch a map of the territory which will provide you with information on all the attractions and the official tours which start at just €10.
The key to access the top attractions of Gibraltar by far is the Gibraltar Pass. It allows you to soak in some of the most breathtaking views, experience its culture and rich history and encounter its wildlife.
There are various car parks in La Linea with different prices. You can park at the City hall car park on El Ejercito Avenue, close to the city hall, for €2.70 for 24 hrs. Cool isn’t it?
Where to stay for a day in Gibraltar: Hotel recommendations
Gibraltar can be easily explored on a day trip from Spain, but if you want to relax in a hotel, there are plenty of options.
If you really want to pamper yourself and experience luxury with a twist, the 5-star Sunborn Gibraltar is a high-end yacht docked at the Ocean Village Marina.
Apart from lavish rooms and suites, the hotel has a spa, gym, and casino to provide the ultimate fun experience.
The Eliott Hotel:
This 4-star property lies bang in the center of Gibraltar and is close to all the main attractions.
All the rooms are tastefully decorated in Mediterranean style and come with all the amenities. The family room and some other rooms come with private balconies.
The rooftop pool is a great place to chill and enjoy sweeping views of Gibraltar while the in-house Rock Salt restaurant serves some great Mediterranean cuisine as well as tapas
Holiday Inn Express:
Located close to the international airport, Holiday Inn Express is a 3-star hotel with large beds, WiFi, a flat screen TV, and the usual amenities.
The hotel is known for its convenient Express Start Breakfast where apart from a full breakfast you can order almost everything from fresh pastries and much more.
Pro tip: If you are looking for cheaper options, stay in La Linea instead of Gibraltar. You can save money on the trip and Gibraltar is just a short walk away from here.
Gibraltar one day itinerary
It is easy to understand why this tiny country appeals to visitors. Apart from experiencing a bit of British life far away from the shores of England, the very sight of the Rock of Gibraltar is bound to make a strong impression.
The Irish Town runs parallel to Main Street and is the best place to grab some fish and chips or enjoy a traditional English breakfast to fuel up for the long day ahead at staple chain outlets like Pizza Express or Wagamama.
“The Rock” (9:30 am to 1:30 pm)
All the principal sightseeing attractions in Gibraltar are on The Rock – this unmissable landmark is a big towering hunk of limestone standing tall at 1,398′ right in plain sight.
Start your one day Gibraltar trip by taking the cable car, on Red Sands Road, to ride up to the Rock. It runs from 09:30 am to 07:30 pm every day every ten minutes or so and takes just six minutes to reach the top (€16).
The cable car shuts early at some times in the year, so check before your trip.
Buy your cable car tickets in advance to avoid the queue which can take up to an hour to get a ticket. Those with pre-purchased tickets simply sail through.
If you are fit enough, you can do the 1.4 km or 0.86 mile hike from Jews Gate to O’Hara Battery, the highest point on the Rock.
The Mediterranean Steps, as they are known, are extremely steep and challenging, but the spectacular views are worth the trudge.
Once at the Top Station, you can enjoy epic views from all directions from the Strait of Gibraltar to the south, the neighboring African continent in the distance, and Southern Spain to the north.
BOOK: You can also book a 2.50 hour tour with private transportation and access to all the sightseeing attractions like Saint Michael’s Cave, Top of the Rock with Monkeys & Skywalk, Great Siege Tunnels, and Moorish Castle
The most famous residents of the Rock are the Barbary Macaques, a species of tailless apes, who have made this nature reserve their playground.
They may look adorable when frolicking around, but they are after all wild animals and retaliate if provoked and attack you if you are carrying food.
Upper Rock and views from the Skywalk
Spend about half an hour on the Upper Rock admiring views from the Skywalk, a former military lookout point which is now converted into a glass walkway, and the Windsor Suspension Bridge, a 75m suspension bridge providing stunning views of the bay (not for the faint-hearted though).
You need to pay €13 for the Gibraltar Nature Reserve ticket for gaining admission to all the attractions.
St Michael’s Cave and Upper Apes Den
A 20 minute downhill walk from the Rock Nature Reserve will bring you to St Michael’s Cave, home to the early inhabitants who presumed that the cave was linked with Africa through underground tunnels.
The grotto is now home to concerts and theatre as well.
Next walk down to the Apes Den, home to many monkeys. Even though they attack people or harass them, they are revered as legend says that Gibraltar will cease to exist if the apes are no more.
Great Siege Tunnels
Another 30 minutes walk down the road will bring you to the Great Siege Tunnels, a labyrinth of manually carved passages made to create openings for guns for defense against the Roman and Spanish armies during the 1779-1783 Great Siege of Gibraltar.
Most tunnels are off limits to the public, but a guide can escort you to the ones which were used by the British during the World War against an invasion by Germany.
Depending on your interests you can also go on a 2 hour history tour of Gibraltar, which includes the Great Siege Tunnels.
About halfway down the Rock are the remains of a Moorish Castle, which dates back to the 11th century.
Most of this region was under the rule of the Moors for over 700 years and thus the castle is a part of the original that still stands today.
The Moorish Castle is one of the oldest buildings in Gibraltar.
Pro tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes when visiting the Top of the Rock and Upper Rock Nature Reserve as the area is extremely hilly and wearing uncomfortable footwear can ruin your experience.
Vinopolis Gastrobar (1:15 pm to 2:15 pm)
You will soon be at ground level and by this time your legs will be stinging with all the downhill walking and tummy rumbling for some food.
The Vinopolis Gastrobar is a local gem located in the heart of the city at John Mackintosh Square serving delicious Mediterranean cuisine and wine by the glass. Vegans too will appreciate their fabulous vegetarian menu with lots of tasty meal options.
Casemates Square (2:15 pm to 2:45 pm)
Located near the main shopping district of Gibraltar is Casemates Square, the former site of the barracks of the British army as well as an ammunition dump.
In the 1860s, the square enjoyed a ghastly reputation of becoming the site for public executions.
Do pay a visit to Gibraltar Crystal to see the glassblowers at work.
There are cafes and restaurants at Casemates Square as well where you can grab a bite to eat. From fish and chips to chicken tikka masala, there are loads of options to choose from.
Main Street (2:45 pm to 4:00 pm)
Main Street is a mere stroll away from Casemates Square and is a popular pedestrian-only shopping venue.
It is also home to British branded stores like Marks and Spencer, and Debenhams with a mix of electronic shops and pub outlets.
Gibraltar is known for duty-free shopping, so if interested you can buy affordable jewelry, perfumes, watches, and electronic items.
Liquor and cigarettes are much cheaper here than in the rest of Spain, hence Brits make a run for this place to do their purchases.
Alameda Botanic Gardens (4:00 pm to 5:00 pm)
It is unusual to find a British gem in the middle of Spain, but the Alameda Botanic Gardens with their unique flora and fauna can lay claim to this.
These botanic gardens are home to a wide variety of plants, both exotic and native.
If you are a plant lover, you must visit these gardens which are located right next to the cable car entry point, beyond the southern end of Main Street.
The garden is also home to an open air theatre and the Alameda Conservation Park.
- Hours: 08:00 am to 09:00 pm, every day
- Tickets: Free admission till closing for the gardens. Pay £5 per adult to visit the Conservation Park
Europa Point (5:30 pm to 07:30 pm)
Europa Point is a short drive away from the city and is the ideal way to round off the must see list of Gibraltar’s attractions.
By many, it is said to be the southernmost tip of Europe where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean sea merge.
The Europa Point Lighthouse is another spot, where on a good day you can see Africa in the distance.
The lighthouse dates back to 1841 and is the last remaining outside the United Kingdom.
This place is also home to the catholic church – The Shrine of our Lady as well as the Ibrahim-Al- Ibrahim mosque, donated in 1997 by the king of Saudi Arabia.
The shrine is attended by Jewish devotees when observing Shabbat.
Ocean Marina (08:00 pm and later)
If you are looking to enjoy your only night in Gibraltar, then in all probability you will end up at Ocean Marina. With bars, restaurants, and even a casino, this place is alive after sunset.
A great place for a change of atmosphere and a nice meal and a drink.
Gibraltar in a day sightseeing map
Things to do on Gibraltar day trip: Alternate tour recommendations
Gibraltar guided tour
Large families and groups can opt for the three or two and a half hours duration guided tour which picks you up from any destination in Gibraltar.
It stops at five main spots which include Europa Point, St Michael’s Cave, Apes Den to see the monkeys, the Great Siege Tunnels, and finally the Moorish Castle on the way down.
The tour makes a 360° circle of the Rock, past its coastlines and stopping at places on the eastern side to see the Catalan Bay.
The trip also includes the drive across the runway towards the Spanish border, just meters away from Spain where you can even see the customs at work on the other side.
You may like this tour: Here is a full-day tour that covers all the attractions including the Siege Tunnels and pick up and drop off from the hotel.
Watch planes landing and taking off
This activity may not sound exciting unless you are a plane lover.
But the fact is that Gibraltar is said to be the fifth most dangerous airport in the world, so if you want to see these flying machines in their endeavor to make a perfect landing, this is the place to see it.
For close views head to Winston Churchill Avenue, but be prepared to scramble off the runway once the warning alarm sounds.
We actually did this when we crossed the border over to Spain, and I think it was kinda cool!
Go dolphin watching
If you have a free morning, before heading home the next day, do not miss out on an opportunity to spot whales and dolphins on a trip to the bay area.
There are a couple of operators in Gibraltar and they are spotted almost every day. An hour’s ride into the bay you are likely to come across these playful creatures, frolicking in the waters.
Day trips from Gibraltar
Since you have just a day in Gibraltar, you would hardly have any time to go on a day trip to some exciting locations near the Rock.
That said, if you decide to come back here are some places to explore outside Gibraltar.
Just 50 minutes away from Gibraltar, Tarifa in Spain is the nearest attraction that can be visited on a day trip.
Its sandy beaches and charming atmosphere are a great draw, but it is surfing which attracts the most visitors.
The Old Town is a perfect place to eat delicious tapas while church lovers can admire the buildings of San Mateo, San Francisco, and Santa Maria.
Not far away is Baelo Claudia, a well-preserved Roman town where you can explore the archaeological remains.
A ninety minutes ferry ride from Gibraltar will take you to Tangier, the heart of Moroccan culture and the world famous Medina. This labyrinth of stalls, shops, and restaurants is a wonderful place to hunt for gifts and souvenirs, apart from tasting some phenomenal local food.
Other attractions here where you can spend quality time are the Cave of Hercules, the Kasbah Museum, seeing the port, or relaxing at the beaches.
All the attractions in Tangiers can be visited in about six hours, excluding the travel time from Gibraltar.
Fun facts about Gibraltar
Here are some cool and interesting facts about Gibraltar,
- Gibraltar is just fifteen odd miles away from Africa, so on a clear day, you can actually view two continents, one in the distance and Europe from up close at the same time.
- Residents speak Spanish and also English with British accents. Many Spaniards cross the border every day for work.
- The Europa Point is Gibraltar’s lighthouse at its southernmost point, and it offers great views of North Africa.
- The official currency of Gibraltar is Pound Sterling. Pounds and euros both are widely accepted. Gibraltar also has its own currency, but Gibraltar pounds are not accepted back in Britain.
- If you are coming by air, book your seats on the right side of the plane for getting the best views while landing.
Gibraltar Travel Tips
Gibraltar is an overseas British Territory located on the southern coast of Spain.
The tourist visa rules for the UK also apply to Gibraltar. US and Canadian passport holders can visit and stay in Gibraltar for 6 months. No visa is necessary, but a valid passport is required (6 month validity).
So if you are visiting Spain on a Schengen Visa, you won’t be allowed into Gibraltar unless you apply for a UK or Gibraltar visa (for example, Indian passport holders will require a separate visa for Gibraltar).
Also, keep in mind that Gibraltar uses the Pound Sterling as its currency. We recommend carrying some cash on hand.
Gibraltar is located in a subtropical climate which means that it is generally warm and sunny year-round. The summer months (July and August) can be very hot, with temperatures often reaching over 37 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is advisable to pack light, comfortable clothing and plenty of sunscreen.
Gibraltar is located on the Strait of Gibraltar which separates Europe and Africa. As such, it has a diverse population with many different cultures and languages represented. English is the official language, but Spanish is also widely spoken.
Gibraltar is home to a variety of wildlife including Barbary macaques (the only wild monkeys in Europe), dolphins, and numerous birds.
Don’t forget to meet the cute Barbary monkeys at Apes Den, and also soak in the stunning coastline from there.
As far as safety goes, crime, violence, and street crime are rare, except for some reports of stray attacks on people walking back from Gibraltar to La Linea at night.
The overall risk of using public transport, from pickpockets to natural disasters, terrorism, scams, and mugging is low.
Women traveling alone are really safe but should avoid going out alone in dark and less populated places.
How cheap can your one day trip to Gibraltar be? If you want to limit your expenses, the most economical way to spend a day on the Rock is about £90 per person for seeing all the attractions, lunch, and dinner.
If you want to spend the night in a 2-star hotel, be prepared to spend a minimum of £80 extra per head per day. You need to budget extra for flight/ road costs and duty-free shopping which is the star attraction of Gibraltar.
Lastly, Gibraltar is a popular tourist destination which means that it can be quite crowded, especially in the summer months. Travelers should be prepared for large crowds and long lines at attractions.
Is one day in Gibraltar enough?
Although frequent visitors never get tired of Gibraltar, one day is enough to see the historical sights and the Upper Rock Nature Reserve with all its attractions.
A full day gives you ample time to get a feel of the place and check off the main highlights.
Is Gibraltar worth visiting?
1000% yes. Gibraltar is worth a visit.
There are many reasons to visit Gibraltar, and its rich history is just one of them.
Located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar has been a strategic location for centuries, and its unique position has shaped its culture and heritage.
Gibraltar is best known for its Rock, a limestone mass that dominates the landscape. The Rock is home to the iconic Gibraltar apes, as well as a wealth of other wildlife.
Gibraltar’s rich history is on display in its many museums and historic sites. The city’s fortifications date back to the 14th century, and the Great Siege Tunnels offer a glimpse into Gibraltar’s role in the Napoleonic Wars.
Not into history? Gibraltar is also a popular destination for shopping and dining. The city’s main street, Main Street, is lined with shops and restaurants. There are also many markets where visitors can find fresh produce and other goods.
Gibraltar is a great destination for a holiday or a weekend getaway. Whether you are looking to explore the Rock of Gibraltar, take in the stunning views, or sample the local cuisine, Gibraltar has something to offer everyone.
With its rich history, unique culture, and stunning scenery, it is no wonder that Gibraltar is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
So, if you are wondering whether Gibraltar is worth visiting, the answer is definitely yes!