Iberia, Morocco & Gibraltar

Gibraltar on a budget: Tips for a perfect trip from Spain

July 21, 2019

All you need to know before planning your trip to Gibraltar and hanging out with the monkeys is right here, in this article! Getting on top of Gibraltar rock, crossing the border from Spain, sight-seeing, all in one day? It’s possible, it’s easy and we’re here to give you the best tips for spending a stress-free, perfect day and seeing Gibraltar on a budget. This is one of the best day trips you should take if you ever find yourself in the south of Spain!

A few words about Gibraltar…

Monkey Sleeping - Apes Den in Gibraltar
Monkey Sleeping – Apes Den in Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a British overseas territory, located in the Iberian Peninsula and bordered in the North by Spain. Its surface is of 6.7 square km, and it’s the home of the Rock of Gibraltar and its incredible flora and fauna, a particularly popular travel destination due to the Barbary macaques, the famous “apes” of Gibraltar, which are actually adorable monkeys.

Organized trips to Gibraltar are very popular, especially from Malaga. However, you can take the trip by yourself. Gibraltar is very safe, easy to walk around and navigate, and we’ll offer you all the tips to make this Gibraltar adventure a low budget one!

Tip no. 1: Park your car in Spain

The easiest way to get to Gibraltar is by driving or taking a bus to La Línea de la Concepción, a small town in Spain which is within walking distance from your destination. If you arrive by car, park it in Spain and cross the border walking. It’s faster and easier.

Gibraltar seen from above - Gibraltar on a low budget guide
Gibraltar from above

We booked a day at COPARK Alcaidesa – La Marina, a car park that’s a lot cheaper than many others, and it’s approximately a 10 minutes walk away from the Gibraltar border. You can book it in advance, online on Parclick.

Cheap flights operate occasionally from London, Manchester or Bristol to Gibraltar airport. so you should consider this alternative as well if it’s more convenient for you.

Tip no. 2: Getting to the Rock of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar is where the Nature Reservation of Gibraltar lies, as well as the most touristic attractions of Gibraltar, apart from the city center. After crossing the border, you have two options to get to the base of the Rock: either by bus or on foot.

Gibraltar Airport
Gibraltar Airport

If you booked a cable-car ticket in advance, a shuttle-bus to the Cable car is included in the price. You can either wait for the bus, or even better: walk. The walk is about 20 minutes and you’ll have the chance to walk on the airplane runway of Gibraltar’s airport and to pass through the city center, which is quite unique. Pick up a map for only 2 euros and Gibraltar is yours!

Tip no. 3: Invest wisely in your ticket to the Rock of Gibraltar

All the action in Gibraltar happens on top of the Rock. The Nature reserve is located there, including the most exciting attractions in Gibraltar, and the stars of the show: the monkeys. The most convenient ways to get up there and explore are either by cable car or by taxi. The cable-car ticket options are presented here.

Our suggestions are to either go for the most expensive ticket Cable-car ticket, if you want to see St. Michael’s Cave, either go for a taxi tour!

Rock of Gibraltar - Gibraltar on a budget
Rock of Gibraltar

We bought the Option 1 Cable-car ticket (29 pounds), which includes: shuttle bus to the base of the cable car, a return ride with the cable car, wi-fi and tickets to the Nature reserve. However, we didn’t use the shuttle bus, since we had to wait 40 minutes for the next bus to arrive, we just walked. We also didn’t use the cable car to get back to the city, since a few attractions included in the ticket are on the lower part of the Rock of Gibraltar.

The single thing that made a real difference for us between this cable-car ticket and the other options, was the chance to see St. Michael’s Cave, which was simply out of this world.

St. Michael's Cave - A stunning light show
St. Michael’s Cave – A stunning light show

Otherwise, if you’re on a tighter budget, we suggest you either go for a taxi tour (about 20-25 euros), or go for a cheaper cable-car ticket. Either way, you’ll still get the chance to see the adorable monkeys and to walk around and discover the Rock of Gibraltar. Just for reference: no other points of interest in the Nature Reserve were nearly as interesting to us as St. Michael’s Cave, or as the monkeys on the Rock.

Maybe consider a taxi?

Monkey being fed by taxi drivers  - Gibraltar on a budget
Monkey being fed by taxi drivers

People have been pleasantly surprised by the friendly taxi-drivers and the group tours they take on the Rock of Gibraltar. The monkeys love the drivers, and they come to interact with tourists. Also, from what we’ve read, the taxi drivers offer you great insights and information about the places you’re visiting.

Apart from the money you invest in the ticket of your choice, the rest of your day trip can be done pretty much for free. Pack water and some food, dress comfortably, so you can walk as much as you like, and you’re set. Let’s visit Gibraltar on a budget!

Tip no. 4: Keep hydrated and take care of your food around the monkeys!

You can spot the monkeys as soon as you reach the top of the Rock by cable car. Even if they have plenty of fruit and vegetables to eat, they will skillfully steal all the food they can get their hands on!

Monkey eating a tourist's ice-cream - Gibraltar on a budget
Monkey eating a tourist’s ice-cream

Be careful when you take food out of your backpack, especially if it’s in colorful packages. They won’t hesitate to sneak behind you and reach for your food, the minute you pull it out. Also, keep in mind that many food products we use are not healthy for them.

Monkeys playing - Rock of Gibraltar
Monkeys playing – Rock of Gibraltar

So if you plan to have a snack while wandering around on the Rock, first check to see if there are any monkeys. If you’re having fruit, it’s not a big deal if they steal it. But otherwise, be careful, as it’s really heartbreaking to see them trying to chew plastic packaging or containers. Also, you can get fined for feeding the monkeys, keep that in mind.

View from above - Gibraltar on a budget
View from above – Gibraltar

The walks to the attractions are quite long, and Gibraltar can get very warm in summer. Make sure you stay hydrated and have a bottle of water with you. We found some areas of our walk where there were no shops or restaurants and it took us quite some time to find water.

The Final tip of our guide to Gibraltar on a budget

Our final tip is to stay calm and absorb all the beauty Gibraltar has to offer. The Nature reserve and the other attractions are A LOT to visit in one day. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see get to see all of them, or if you don’t have the necessary budget for that yet.

Monkey being fed by a taxi driver
Monkey being fed by a taxi driver

Try to take in every second of this wonderful experience. Gibraltar is one of the few places where you can see, play with and get amazing shots of monkeys. They are adorable and incredible to watch.

This trip should be about you, your Gibraltar map and your very own discoveries! It’s an adventure we recommend to anyone. Moreover, it’s an ideal destination for solo travelers: very safe, English-speaking, and the views are absolutely breathtaking.

Monkey playing in the Nature reserve

In conclusion, we will SURELY go back to Gibraltar. And next time we’re spending more time with the monkeys!

Liked our guide to Gibraltar on a budget? Check out the 10 things you can visit for FREE in Barcelona!

Other things you should know before going to Gibraltar…

  • The local currency is Pound sterling (about 1.11 euros). You can pay in euros in most places, but the conversion is often not very favorable.
  • They drive on the right side of the road.
  • To reach the town center you’ll walk on the airplane runway. Check the local flights to see when planes are leaving or landing. It’s quite a show to see up close.
  • Monkeys can get aggressive if they are bothered by something. They’ll start shaking trees or branches. Just let them cool off. They’ll get back to normal in no time.
  • You can walk up to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar if you’re in good shape and want to save some money. It’s not particularly steep, but it’s a long walk. Don’t do it, unless you feel up for it.

Have you been to Gibraltar yet? Do you have any other tips we should include in this guide? Let us know. We’d like to help more people visit Gibraltar on a budget, as this destination is one of our favorites!

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  • Reply Theresa August 3, 2019 at 8:19 am

    All your tips are very helpful. My husband and kids are planning a trip to Gibraltar in the next few weeks. So I wasn’t quite sure what you recommend to take to be able to see the St. Michael’s Cave. Should we take taxi or cable cart?

    • Reply Lavinia & George August 4, 2019 at 11:58 am

      Hi! Well, there are three options, depeding on your budget. You can either walk to St. Michael’s Cave and the Natural Reserve and purchase the entrance ticket only, which includes both (7 pounds for children, 12 pounds for adults). This is only an option if you’re in good shape, because the hike will take you about 2-3 hours and then there is still a lot of walking to do.

      The cable car option: you have to get the Cable car return & Nature Reserve ticket (this way Michael’s Cave and the other attractions are included in the ticket). You get effortlessly to the top of the rock and have a lot of time to explore everything and hang out with the monkeys. It’s on the pricier side: 29 pounds for adults, 17.5 pounds for children.

      Finally, there is the taxi option. This is something you have to see on the spot. There are a few taxi companies which offer tours of the Gibraltar Rock and their prices differ. You can check out their offers just after you pass the border to Gibraltar and decide there which is the best option for you. From what we’ve seen on the spot, it was better for us to choose the cable car.
      But if you don’t want to walk as much, and if you enjoy having a funny guide showing you around and giving you some info on the attractions on the Rock of Gibraltar, taking a taxi tour might be the best choice.

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