Climbing the Rock of Gibraltar

Very shortly after arriving in Seville, we headed by bus straight out to Algeciras. Algeciras is not a touristy town but we used it as a base for a day trip to Gibraltar. The accommodation in Algeciras or even the neighboring Spanish border town, La Línea de la Concepción is significantly cheaper than staying in Algeciras. It was a quick 40 minute bus ride from Algeciras to La Linea and the bus runs every 30 minutes. Once in La Linea it is a short walk to border control to pass through into Gibraltar. Suddenly, we were off Spanish soil and onto UK territory. Bizarre!!

Before crossing into Gibraltar, it is impossible to miss the Rock of Gibraltar that looms large on the landscape!

The Rock of Gibraltar

The border control was pretty minimal with many people who work in Gibraltar but live in Spain making the crossing everyday. Lots of people drive or walk in but plenty of people cycle or e-scooter into Gibraltar. To get into Gibraltar, everyone needs to cross an airplane runway. It seems that there are only about 7 planes a day.

Crossing an airplane runway to get into Gibraltar. The city on the far side of the picture is La Linea De La Conception i.e. Spain. (On the right of the photo is the rear end of the infamous Barbary macaque monkey.)

Once in Gibraltar, it is a short walk to the main street. This is a very long pedestrianized UK style high street. It is crowded with people but most seem very old and English. There are plenty of mobility aids or gophers being used on this street. The many shops are bright and well stocked with many items on sale. Shopping is clearly the big thing to do when coming to Gibraltar as they do not charge Value Added Tax (VAT) like the rest of the UK. It would seem that the vast majority of people visiting Gibraltar are to be found on this main street!

Main pedestrianized street in the town center of Gibraltar

Wander into a restaurant however, and you will find that the staff is Spanish speaking and there is plenty of Spanish food to be found. Gibraltar is very built up with many apartment buildings and infrastructure. It seems much bigger than the official population count of about 30,000 residents. Thousands of people must live on the Spanish side and cross over every day into Gibraltar for work.

Considering how the Rock of Gibraltar dominates the landscape of this tiny peninsula, it was important to get a closer look. The options for getting up the Rock include hiring a taxi, getting the cable car or by walking up via the Mediterranean steps

A queue of white taxis near the top of the Rock of Gibraltar. They are bottlenecked at this location because macaque monkeys are fed with vegetable scraps here and therefore congregate. The tourists seem enamored with these unpredictable, entitled, wild monkeys. The monkey are major tourist drawcard in Gibraltar!

Most people catch the cable car to the top. A tiny minority choose to hike up via the Mediterranean steps. We saw very few people on the trail during the hike and the signage for the trail was often confusing and woeful. It’s sad when signage which is such a simple, easily rectifiable thing is done badly.

Climbing the rock was an effort. It took just over an hour to get to the top and it was steep in places. This climb, combined with a walk around town and walking to and from La Linea for the bus resulted in a massive day of about 30,000 steps! My thighs were sore for a few days afterwards as well. This should not put you off though. The climb up the Rock was worth it for the stunning views. You could even see Africa!

Jews’ Gate Cemetery – passed on the way up the Rock
A spectacular flower on the trail – Scilla Peruviana
The Rock of Gibraltar – views from up high
The Rock of Gibraltar – views from up high
The Rock of Gibraltar – views from up high
Moorish Castle – medieval fortification
The amount of shipping traffic that traffics this region is massive!

Love to hear what you think! Thanks!!