top of gibraltar, one of the best things to do in gibraltar

The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary)

Gibraltar is a unique destination in many ways – its interesting language, rich culture, and outstanding location.

I had always heard that there weren’t many things to do in Gibraltar, apart from finding some cheaper priced goods compared to Spain. However, I can disagree more about this because, despite its size, Gibraltar has many different things to offer.

If you’re planning to visit Gibraltar for a day or a short weekend, I’ve got you covered.

This travel guide includes essential information about travelling to Gibraltar as well as the best things to do in Gibraltar with a suggested three-day itinerary and day trips.

The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary) The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary)

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The Ultimate Guide on Things to Do in Gibraltar

How to get to Gibraltar

By plane

Gibraltar has its own airport (GIB), however, it’s very small and you can even see the planes flying over your head when you walk to Gibraltar from the border.

Gibraltar Airport only has flights from and to main destinations in the UK like London and Manchester. Therefore, you’ll probably have to fly to a bigger airport close to Gibraltar.

These are the most convenient airports near Gibraltar:

  • Tetouan/Sania Ramel (TTU) – 97 km
  • Jerez Airport (XRY / LEJR) – 121 km
  • Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport (TNG / GMTT) – 126 km
  • Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (AGP / LEMG) – 126 km

By car

It isn’t difficult to drive to Gibraltar from destinations such as Malaga and Costa del Sol, Cadiz, and Sevilla.

If you’re driving to Gibraltar from Spain, take the N340 or the A7 towards La Linea (be aware that there are some tolls, so make sure to take the right road if you don’t want to pay toll).

La Linea is the town between Spain and Gibraltar and the frontier is a few minutes’ walk from La Linea Bus Station.

By coach

How to get to Gibraltar From Cadiz

The bus journey from Cadiz to Gibraltar is about 95 kilometres, so it takes an average of 2 hours 45 minutes.

There are 2 direct buses a day and you can find bus tickets for €15.

How to get to Gibraltar from Malaga

Buses from Málaga to La Linea take about 2 hours and 25 minutes, as the bus leaves you at La Linea, you’ll have to walk a few minutes to reach the Gibraltar frontier. It’s very straightforward and affordable (€12), however, it only runs once a day.

How to get to Gibraltar from Marbella

Avanza buses take you to Gibraltar from Marbella in only 1 hour and 15 minutes for 8 euros.

Book a tour

Alternatively, if you’re planning to visit Gibraltar in one day, you can book a day trip with Get Your Guide.

I personally recommend this day trip to Gibraltar from Costa del Sol. Our guide was very helpful and told us very interesting things about Gibraltar during our coach trip. Then he gave us the option to do some extra activities or wander around on our own.

I love exploring places at my pace, so if you’re the same, I’m sure you will enjoy this day trip.

Things to do in Gibraltar

1) Go on Gibraltar Cable Car

gibraltar cable car
Gibraltar Cable Car

Taking the Gibraltar Cable Car is the best way to access Top of the Rock and Upper Nature Reserve.

But if you’re wondering if you can walk to reach these two places, the answer is yes. However, you’ll spend a lot of your time walking when it isn’t necessary.

My recommendation is to buy a one-way ticket and walk down so you get both experiences.

Gibraltar Cable Car takes about 7 minutes, and you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the city during that time.

Something to be aware of is the tour guides outside the ticket office that sell a driving tour through the Upper Nature Reserve.

They’ll charge you more money and you don’t have the opportunity to spend as much time in St Michael’s Cave or walk-through Windsor Suspension Bridge and the Skywalk.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time in a mini truck with many other people, then avoid this.

2) Explore Top of the Rock and Upper Nature Reserve

top of gibraltar, one of the best things to do in gibraltar
Top of the Rock, Gibraltar

Two unmissable places to visit in Gibraltar are the Upper Nature Reserve and Top of the Rock. These incredible spots must be on your list because from there you can discover and learn many things while enjoying the best views in Gibraltar.

Here are all the places you can visit in the Upper Nature Reserve:

Skywalk

The Skywalk offers 360 degrees breathtaking views in which you see three different countries: Gibraltar, Spain, and Africa.

Walking through it is an experience as the path is made of laminated glass, so you get a view of what’s below you.

But you don’t need to worry about the safety of this path as it was built with strong foundations during World War II, and it can carry the weight of up to 340 people.

If you love getting the best views everywhere you go, you can’t miss out on crossing the Skywalk!

St Michael’s Cave

St Michaels Cave consists of a beautiful network of caves made of limestone.

There are many stories behind this cave such as the Rock was linked to Africa by a subterranean passage under the Strait of Gibraltar, and the monkeys came to the country through this subterranean passage.

However, the cave is now open to visitors and it also offers a unique auditorium for concerts, ballet, and drama.

The most impressive part of this cave is the polished stalagmite that broke and fell many years ago. Interestingly, you can see the same type of stalagmite in the famous Caves of Nerja in Costa del Sol.

Don’t miss ‘The Awakening’ during your visit, the light and sound show that takes place every 20 minutes.

Windsor Suspension Bridge

Crossing this 70-metre long suspension bridge is another activity to add to your Upper Nature Reserve visit.

Although you can feel a bit of a wobble or movement, it’s totally safe crossing the bridge and it’s a fun experience.

As you walk through it you can also enjoy the views of the deep gorge and Gibraltar’s bay.

Mediterranean steps

Mediterranean Steps is one of the hikes you can do in Gibraltar, and it’ll keep you fit.

Hike to the highest point of Top of the Rock while you explore nature and see impressive views.

Like many of Gibraltar’s’ attractions, Mediterranean Steps were created as part of a communication system for soldiers to allow access to different defence posts. Another defence post that is worth visiting is the O’Hara’s Battery.

Apes’ Den
The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary) The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary)
Visiting the Apes’ Den

You can’t go to Gibraltar without visiting the Apes’ Den, located at Gibraltar Cable Car Middle station. Despite its name, don’t expect a den or a cave, it’s simply an open space where you often find plenty of Barbary macaques, informally called monkeys.

There are over 300 monkeys living in Top of the Rock and the Upper Nature Reserve! So be prepared to see them everywhere, not only in this spot.

These monkeys are generally friendly to the point that some tourists take pictures with them. However, be aware they’re still wild animals and they can scratch or bite you if they feel in danger and upset.

I wouldn’t recommend taking a backpack with you because they can easily take it from you. My partner´s backpack was almost stolen, and I got very scared.

Also, take care of your phone while walking close to the monkeys (yes, they’ll steal it), and don’t feed them either. You can get an expensive fine if you feed the monkeys.

Interesting fact: Gibraltar is the only country in Europe where this type of wild monkey population lives. They’re originally from Africa and it’s unknown how the monkeys arrived in Gibraltar.

Some legends suggest that Churchill commanded bringing monkeys to Gibraltar. For him, the monkeys on Top of the Rock were a symbol of Britishness, and as long as there were monkeys in Gibraltar, Gibraltar would belong to the United Kingdom.

Moorish Castle
The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary) The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary)
The Moorish Castle in Gibraltar

Another attraction in Gibraltar is the Moorish Castle, a medieval fortification that dates back to 1309 or even earlier.

Some parts of this castle were destroyed when the Spanish re-conquered Gibraltar. Nowadays, you can visit the Tower of Homage which is still present after a few reconstructions.

Great Siege Tunnels

If you love history, you can’t miss the Great Siege Tunnels located in the Upper Nature Reserve close to the Rock of Gibraltar.

This interesting place consists of a labyrinth of tunnels that were used as a defence system, but not a simple one as the total construction length of the tunnels by the end of 1783 was 277 metres.

TIP: Make sure you wear suitable footwear before going to Top of the Rock and the Upper Nature Reserve. This area is very hilly and wearing uncomfortable shoes does make your experience worse – I have learnt this lesson before!

3) Contemplate the Sacred Heart Church

The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary) The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary)
Visiting the Sacred Heart Church, one of the unusual things to do in Gibraltar

A hidden gem in Gibraltar is the Sacred Heart Church located in the upper part of the old town.

This Gothic church from 1878 has beautiful architecture that can be seen in its facade. The church can even remind you of Notre Dame in Paris.

Although it wasn’t open when I visited it, it seems like the interior is just as beautiful as the exterior of this church.

4) Spend the day at Catalan Bay

On the eastern side of Top of the Rock is Catalan Bay, also known in Spanish as “La Caleta”.

It’s a colourful and vibrant fishing village that is worth visiting. Here you can visit the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, do water sports, or simply relax at this beautiful sandy beach.

A popular sports activity to do in Gibraltar is coasteering. If you’ve never heard of this before, it consists of a combination of outdoor activities like zipline, climbing, jumping, and swimming that are practised on the coastline along steep cliffs and rocky outcrops.

Spending the day at Catalan Bay is definitely one of the best things to do in Gibraltar!

5) Wander Gibraltar Main Street

The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary) The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary)
Gibraltar’s Main Street

If you love shopping, then wandering around Main Street is the perfect option for you. There are plenty of well-known British shops like Next and Mark & Spencer, but you can also find independent shops where you can get a souvenir gift from Gibraltar.

Even if you aren’t a shopaholic, it’s worth checking these shops as you’ll come across cheaper products than in Spain or other countries.

The reason behind this is that you don’t pay VAT on many products (i.e. electronic goods, cigarettes, and alcohol, and these are cheaper than in Spain), so shopping in Gibraltar is always a good option.

When it comes to finding the best restaurants in Gibraltar, this is the area you also want to be in.

6) Take a photo at Devils Gap Road

The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary) The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary)
The famous Devils Gap Road

One of the great things to see in Gibraltar is Devils Gap Road, located near Sacred Heart Church.

This historical place is very picturesque as the steps have been painted with the Union Flag ever since Gibraltar’s first sovereignty referendum.

7) Visit the Alameda Botanic Gardens

One of the free things to do in Gibraltar is to visit the Alameda Botanic Gardens.

The garden is surrounded by beautiful plants from the Mediterranean and arid habitats – from interesting cactus to bright bougainvillaea flowers.

Not only will you find beautiful flora but fauna too. You can see birds migrating over and within the gardens, lizards enjoying the sun and frogs jumping in the ponds.

If you’re interested in learning more about the garden, you can also have the option of booking a tour guide.

8) Go to Ibrahim-Al-Ibrahim Mosque

The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary) The Ultimate Things to do in Gibraltar (with 3 day itinerary)
Photo credit: Petr Slováček

This mosque, also known as the Mosque of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is located at Europa Point.

Its outstanding Moorish architecture is worth contemplating. Initially, this mosque was paid for by the former King Fahad Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and represents the Muslim population of Gibraltar.

Apparently, you can see the mosque when it lights up at night from miles away!

Day trips from Gibraltar

Tarifa

At only 48 minutes from Gibraltar, Tarifa is the nearest day trip you can go on.

There are many reasons to visit Tarifa – it’s close to outstanding ruins, sandy beaches, and a charming atmosphere. But if you love surfing, then this is a paradise for you.

You can visit many beautiful churches such as San Mateo, San Francisco, and Santa María, wander the old town and eat delicious tapas.

However, if you’re all about history and architecture, you must visit Baelo Claudia, located 20 minutes from Tarifa. This is a well-preserved Roman town by the sea where you can contemplate architectural remains.

Marbella

Marbella floral street
Old Town in Marbella

The journey from Gibraltar to Marbella takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes, and it’s the perfect day trip for those who are looking to sightsee or relax at the beach.

One of the main highlights of Marbella is its beautiful Old Town which is known for its whitewashed buildings, narrow alleys and vibrance. Inside the Old Town, you can see the remains of Marbella Castle, visit La Encarnación church and have tapas in Plaza de Los Naranjos.

Other incredible things you can do in Marbella are wandering around Puerto Banus or spending half a day at Marbella’s best beaches like Cabopino.

Related blog: 17 Best Things to Do In Marbella, Spain

Tangier

Tanger-Med – Gibraltar ferry crossing is about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Visiting Tangier is a great way to discover the Moroccan culture.

There are so many things to do in Tangier, you have plenty of activities to choose from.

However, there is no visit to Tangier without wandering the Medina which consists of a labyrinth of alleys with market stalls, shops, and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to get a souvenir gift or traditional Moroccan food.

You’ll love the vibrant colours and lively atmosphere in this part of the city.

Other fantastic things you can do are seeing the port, learning about the Cave of Hercules, visiting the Kasbah Museum, or relaxing at the beaches.

If you don’t want to worry about planning this trip, you want to check this guided tour around the city. You’ll visit the main attractions in Tangier in 6 hours.

Good to know: If you’ve read that you can visit Morocco from Gibraltar, it is indeed possible but not as a day trip as you need to take the ferry to Tangier and then drive from Tangier to Morocco which is approximately a 7 hours’ drive.

Ronda

Ronda bridge in costa del sol
Ronda, Spain

Ronda is one of the most popular day trips in Southern Spain. This town, located in the province of Malaga, offers incredible scenery and historical buildings.

The first image that comes to many people’s minds is Ronda’s famous bridge, Puente Nuevo, a must-see attraction.

Ronda is also known for being the birthplace of bullfighting, you can visit one of Spain’s oldest and most impressive bullrings.

In addition to these sights, you want to add to your list exploring the historic Arab Baths, strolling through the Old Town, and walking down into the El Tajo gorge.

The trip takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Malaga

alcazaba de malaga, spain
The Alcazaba Castle in Malaga

1 hour and 45 minutes from Gibraltar, Malaga is a beautiful destination to visit in one day. Although it’s likely you won’t be able to do all the activities that Malaga has to offer, you can still explore many of the main attractions.

La Alcazaba is an unmissable historical building in Malaga. It consists of a fortress-palace that was built during the Muslim period in Andalusia. One of the main uses of this fortress was military due to its excellent location.

Now you can visit the patios surrounded by jasmine flowers and other beautiful trees, learn about the Muslim influence in Malaga and enjoy outstanding views of the city.

Other places to add to your itinerary are the Roman Theatre, Calle Larios, Atarazanas Market and Picasso Museum Malaga.

It’s also good to know that you can access most of the attractions for free on Sundays, and there are plenty of free things to do in Malaga, so this can be a very affordable day trip too!

Related blog: How to Spend One Day in Malaga

Best hotels in Gibraltar

The Eliott Hotel (4-star)

Located in the heart of Gibraltar is the perfect place to be close to Gibraltar’s main attractions.

All their rooms are beautifully decorated in a Mediterranean style and equipped with comfortable beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities and a flat-screen TV. Many of their rooms, including the family room, also have private balconies.

The Eliott Hotel is for you if you’re looking for a stylish stay in Gibraltar. Not only are the rooms incredible, but their communal areas too.

I absolutely love their rooftop pool with amazing views of Gibraltar and the Rock Salt Restaurant which is next to the pool. The restaurant serves a mixture of Mediterranean dishes including Spanish tapas.

Holiday Inn Express Gibraltar (3-star)

Holiday Inn Express Gibraltar is a 3-star hotel situated close to Gibraltar International Airport (GIB). If you’re from the UK, I’m sure you’ve heard about Holiday Inn Express before.

The rooms have everything you need – large beds, free Wi-Fi, a Smart flat-screen TV, and an in-room safe.

The hotel has a convenient Express Start Breakfast where you can get anything from fresh pastries to a full breakfast.

This hotel is for you if you’re looking for a cheaper option, and you prefer to spend your time out and about exploring Gibraltar than have a hotel experience.

TIP: Do you want to save money on your trip to Gibraltar? Instead of staying in Gibraltar, look for accommodation in La Linea. There are cheaper options, and it’s just a walk from Gibraltar.

gibraltar city centre

Day 1 in Gibraltar

If you only have one day in Gibraltar these are the activities you can’t miss:

  • Go on Gibraltar Cable Car
  • Explore Top of the Rock and Upper Nature Reserve
  • Visit Sacred Heart Church
  • Wander Main Street

Day 2 in Gibraltar

  • Take a photo at Devils Gap Road
  • Explore the Alameda Botanic Gardens
  • Go to Ibrahim-Al-Ibrahim Mosque
  • Spend the rest of the day at the beach

Day 3 in Gibraltar

  • Go on a day trip to Marbella, Ronda, Tarifa or Malaga

As you’ve read in this guide, there are plenty of things to see and do in Gibraltar! Are there any other things to do in Gibraltar that you would include on this list?

If you have any questions or want any advice on visiting Gibraltar, reach me by email and I’ll be happy to help you.

Safe adventures,

Cristina xx

P.S. Do you know any friends who are travelling to Gibraltar? Share the blog with them.

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Frequently asked questions about visiting Gibraltar

Is Gibraltar in the UK?

Gibraltar is in Southern Spain, however, it’s been a British Overseas Territory since 1830.

Is Gibraltar worth visiting?

Yes, Gibraltar is rich in culture, landscape, and history. Despite its small size, there are many places to see in Gibraltar.

From the cultural aspect, it’s very interesting learning and seeing how multicultural Gibraltar is. Although the official language is British English, they also have their own language “Llanito” a combination of Spanish and English.

Are there things to do in Gibraltar in winter?

Apart from swimming in the sea, you can do the same activities as visiting the Top of the Rock and Upper Nature Reserve in the summer.

The winter weather is very mild (the average high is 17ºC), so it’s pleasant to sightseeing in Gibraltar and even better than in the summer as it gets very warm.

If it’s raining, there are some indoor activities in Gibraltar too. For example, you can visit The Gibraltar National Museum or The Great Siege Tunnels, go to the main library or the pub.

Is Gibraltar good for families?

Absolutely! Gibraltar has plenty of activities to do with your family. Here is a list:

– Exploring Upper Nature Reserve and Rock of Gibraltar.
– Bowling at the King’s Bastion Leisure Centre.
– Going on a dolphin-watching boat trip.
– Visiting the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park.
– Spending the day at the beach.
– Practising coasteering.

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4 Comments

  1. Great guide to Gibraltar! I only visited once as part of a day trip so I would love to get back there and explore it more thoroughly.

  2. Thank you for writing such a comprehensive guide to visting Gibraltar. I would love to see those monkeys!

  3. Have always had an eye on Gibraltar and this itinerary looks quite perfect! The caves look really beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I am so pleased I came across this post. I will be in Spain for 3 months and want to visit Gibraltar but was put off because I am constantly told there is nothing to do there except see monkeys in the streets. So, thank you for sharing a very different view.

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