Beginner’s Guide to Gibraltar

My friends and I took a day trip to Gibraltar from Málaga. We originally planned on joining an excursion, thinking that was the best possible way to deal with crossing international borders that were unfamiliar to us. But since we waited last minute to book, we ended up missing the last affordable tour we found.

And I’m glad we did!

Rent a Car


Driving to Gibraltar was the best decision we made. Keep in mind that the cheap rental cars have manual transmissions so if you do not know how to drive one, you can either splurge on an automatic (and I mean a couple of  hundreds kind of splurge) or go on a tour.

If you have never rented or driven a car in Europe, don’t fret. It was easy and pretty much just like renting a car in the U.S., maybe even better. And for your sake, get insurance. An additional 14 euros is worth the peace of mind.

Note: Renting a car at the airport includes an additional ‘airport fee’ so always weigh your options.

We found an Enterprise location outside Plaza de la Merced and took a taxi to get there.  It was still cheaper than paying for an additional 40 € for an airport rental.

Getting There


The drive was easy and scenic.  As long as you have directions or a GPS, you should be fine. The good thing with renting a car is that you control your own time. You can stop for food or take a break whenever you want.


It was a two-hour pleasant drive. We arrived at the border around noon and the parking lot was pretty empty. There were no long lines of cars. We also went on a Tuesday so that might have played an important factor compared to driving there on the weekends.


Crossing the border

This was quite an experience! We chose to park before crossing the border because we wanted to walk across the landing strip. Passport control was also pretty smooth and no long queues.

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City Center

It was a pretty long walk from the border to the city center so I suggest taking the bus if you’re not up for it.


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Rock of Gibraltar

You have the option to walk up the rock. Not for me, thanks. We chose to take the cable car up and back down instead. Cable car tickets are 12 €. For more information, visit Rock of Gibraltar.

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This was a priceless view! The Rock of Gibraltar and the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Monkeys

Of course, let’s not forget about the Barbary Macaques! I didn’t go on the nature walk so I didn’t encounter a lot of these troublesome monkeys. Some of them hung out with the visitors and even grabbed someone’s shopping bag.  These monkeys were actually bigger than I thought which was quite worrisome.

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Gibraltar is a British territory, which means they use British pounds although a lot of the restaurants and shops take euros as well.  And because it’s a British territory, food and drinks were more expensive.

This was definitely a great adventure and quite an amazing experience! A pretty big one off my bucket list. Thank you, Gibraltar!

Jen is a Chicago-based traveler and a full-time Director of Development for an arts & culture organization. Originally from Connecticut, she created JetsettingJen as a place to share her travel stories and photos with friends and family. Now, it is a place for adventurers, explorers and dreamers. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage people to see the world and achieve a better work-life balance.