Gibraltar may be small, but it certainly packs a punch. This overseas British territory is one of the most unique and fascinating places in Southern Europe. Famed for its ginormous rock and being the only place in Europe to have native monkeys. Yes, we said MONKEYS!!! But it begs the question, is Gibraltar worth visiting?
Below we take a deep dive into all things Gibraltar, so you can decide if it’s worth visiting.
It’s pretty difficult to get to Gibraltar
Gibraltar is not the most accessible place in Europe. Despite being located at the southernmost tip of Europe and boasting scorching summer temperatures, it really isn’t a destination that attacts tourists.
For that reason, it can be quite expensive to get here due to there being a lack of demand for daily flights.
Flying to Gibraltar
Surprisingly, despite only being 6.8 km² it does in fact have an airport.
You can fly directly to Gibraltar from the following UK airports:
- London Gatwick
- London Heathrow
Top tip: you may be able to find a much cheaper deal by flying into Malaga and commuting to Gibraltar as direct flights to Gibraltar can be expensive.
Gibraltar is one of the most difficult places to drive in, especially in a larger vehicle. Although Gibraltar is a British overseas territory, people drive on the right here, unlike in the UK.
The roads are extremely busy with an excessive amount of mopeds. This is especially true when driving on the west side of Gibraltar. The moped drivers are quick and not afraid to cut you up if they think you are driving too slow.
We personally didn’t enjoy driving in Gibraltar and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. We recommend parking out with Gibraltar and walking (or cycling) over the border.
There are plenty of car parks and even a campsite, not too far from Gibraltar. For more information about where to park when visiting Gibraltar, click the link below.
Where to park out with Gibraltar
Conversely, Gibraltar is a tax haven meaning that the price of fuel is considerably cheaper than in Spain. Therefore we do think it is worthwhile to fill up your tank whilst in the area.
What is worth doing when visiting Gibraltar
Due to Gibraltar’s small size, there isn’t an excessive amount of things to do. Without proper planning, you may find yourself wandering aimlessly along the high street for hours on end!
Below we have listed a few things worth doing when visiting Gibraltar.
Rock of Gibraltar
Climbing the Rock of Gibraltar is one of the only things we recommend doing whilst here. Although this may sound exhausting (and it is), there is an easier option – a cable car to the top. When you’re on the rock there is an abundance of things to do and see. Perhaps the most famous thing to see is the monkeys.
The cheeky monkeys will provide you with enough entertainment to pass several hours. We even saw one jump on someone’s back, open their backpack and steal the person’s lunch out of the back!
Whilst you’re on the rock, make sure you enter the cave. This cave has a huge main chamber that comes alive during their light shows.
A trip up the Rock of Gibraltar isn’t cheap. Admission for one adult costs £16. This grants you access to all the excursions on the rock, including access to the caves, the tunnels, and visiting the monkeys. If you don’t want to hike up and opt to take the cable car it costs an additional £18 for a return journey.
Top tip: bring a debit/credit card, as we were not able to pay with cash when we visited in 2022.
One of the best things about Gibraltar is that it is a tax haven. Therefore purchasing things from the high street will cost you significantly less than it would in the UK. Unfortunately, there is a fairly limited selection of shops in Gibraltar. However, there is an abundance of shops selling jewelry, so if you are looking to add a little sparkle to your life – then Gibraltar is the place for you.
Gibraltar’s Beaches that are worth visiting
Gibraltar has 3 golden sandy beaches. These beaches are quite lively and popular amongst tourists and locals alike.
There is also a rocky beach and lido known as Camp Bay and Little Bay. These beaches are south-facing, perfect for those looking to catch as many rays as possible! There are also 2 swimming pools here and a beach bar here, perfect for keeping kids (and adults) entertained!
Furthermore, Camp Bay is home to Europe’s first artificial reef and has since become a haven for marine life. It is also a hotspot for divers too.
To find out more about Gibraltar’s beaches click here.
One thing to note is that the Strait of Gibraltar is notoriously rough, so swimming too far out is not recommended.
It’s expensive to visit.
Gibraltar is a considerably more expensive place to visit that the surrounding region of Andalusia. Not only can the flights be expensive, but also the cost of accommodation.
The cost of living is 45% more expensive in Gibraltar than in its neighbour, Spain! So, if you are looking for a budget-friendly holiday don’t go to Gibraltar.
For more information regarding how expensive it is to visit, check out the extremely well-researched and written article by Champion Traveler linked below.
Everyone Speaks English
The official national language of Gibraltar is English! It pains us to say it, but we are lazy tourists. Therefore when we travel somewhere where everyone speaks the same language as we do, we absolutely love it!
Not only does it make life A LOT easier, but it’s also nice to not feel like an obnoxious tourist, even just for a day or two.
Gibraltars unique history
Gibraltar has a somewhat tumultuous history which is still a point of contention today.
The geographical location of Gibraltar (guarding the entrance to the Mediterranean) is extremely sought after and has for many years been fought over by Spain, France, and Britain. All who believe Gibraltar should be rightfully theirs. However, in the 2002 census, the people of Gibraltar made it very clear that they want to remain British!
You can learn a lot about Gibraltar’s history by visiting the rock of Gibraltar, where you will find tunnels running through the entire length of the rock. These tunnels were initially constructed and used during the Great Siege of Gibraltar (an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the War of the American Revolution), and again used later in World War II.
FUN FACT: one of the most interesting facts about Gibraltar’s history is that it was one of the last places to be inhabited by Neanderthals prior to them going extinct!
Gibraltar boasts mild winters and warm summers.
Whatever time of year you choose to visit Gibraltar, you will most likely be treated to a nice ambient temperature. Even in the winter the temperature rarely drops below 10C.
In summer it can get hot, however, Gibraltar is prone to a bit of light wind, which will be a welcome break from the balmy temperatures.
One of the best things about Gibraltar is that it uses the same currency as the UK. Therefore you can avoid the stress of exchanging money into a different currency when visiting (if you are from the UK)!
Whilst you’re here, you may see a few funny notes – as although everywhere accepts Sterling, they officially use the Gibraltar Pound (GIP) as opposed to the currency in the UK (GBP).
Top tip: if you are going to Gibraltar, we recommend bringing Bank of England notes, as locals can be a bit off if you try using Scottish or Northern Irish notes.
Gibraltar is a great base for other adventures.
Due to Gibraltar’s location, it really is a great base for exploring other nearby Spanish towns… and even Morocco if you are feeling adventurous. So much so, there are numerous travel providers that offer guided day trips near and far.
Nearby places worth visiting include :
- … and many more
So, is it worth visiting Gibraltar?
Gibraltar is a unique place to visit, however, not somewhere we would ever recommend people visit.
In our opinion, it seemed quite tired and run down. The high street was a little worse for wear, and the pub food was very disappointing. Although we don’t argue that there are certain things worth doing in Gibraltar, we also don’t believe it is worth spending any longer than 24hrs there.
So for that reason, we don’t believe Gibraltar is worth visiting.
The only cases where we would recommend visiting Gibraltar would be to fill up on tax-free fuel, as a stop on an Andalusian road trip, or even perhaps as a day trip from one of the surrounding towns and cities. But if you are looking for a sunny beach holiday – forget about it!
If you are looking for an alternative destination worth visiting near Gibraltar, why not check a few of our posts linked below for some inspiration?
Or if you don’t want to miss out on ANYTHING, why not check out our ultimate road trip of Spain itinerary? This road trip takes you to all the tourist hot spots, and also off the beaten track to find some local hidden gems.