Heading out on a Gibraltar day trip from Málaga or Seville is one of the most unique and interesting places you can visit from these Southern Spanish cities. A little slice of Britain located at the tip of Southern Spain, Gibraltar is a fascinating destination that makes for an excellent day trip option when visiting the Costa del Sol.
Known for its rock and its monkeys, there is enough to do in Gibraltar to occupy a couple of days. However, it is also compact enough that you can cover quite a bit of ground in just a day trip to Gibraltar, as well.
Whether you want to visit this unique British Overseas Territory from Málaga or Seville, spending one day in Gibraltar is never a bad idea. If you’re interested in going for a day trip to this interesting little city, then this Gibraltar itinerary is here to help!
Málaga to Gibraltar Day Trip
Doing a day trip to Gibraltar from Málaga is incredibly easy, as the city is located only about 130 kilometres from Málaga.
There are a few different ways you can get from Málaga to Gibraltar, however, it’s worth noting that the train is not one of them. There aren’t train connections to the Gibraltar border (referred to as La Línea de la Concepción or, simply, La Línea).
By Organised Tour
If you want to take the planning and guesswork out of your day trip from Málaga to Gibraltar, then going by organised tour is an excellent choice for you. Generally, this will simply allow you to get picked up, taken to the highlights of Gibraltar, and dropped off back in Málaga with nothing else required of you!
If this sounds like a good choice for you and your travel style, then this full-day tour from Málaga will pick you up from the city (or another destination on the Costa del Sol) and take you around the highlights of Gibraltar.
An alternative option is this day-long tour which also includes pick-up from a number of Costa del Sol destinations along with plenty of time enjoying all of the highlights of Gibraltar.
If you want to visit Gibraltar independently but also want to rely on public transportation, then going by bus is going to be your best bet.
There are a number of direct buses that travel from Málaga to Gibraltar daily and take you directly La Línea. Then, all you need to do is walk across the border and you’re there!
Buses are operated by the Avanza company and take about 2.5 hours to reach the border – so keep this in mind when travelling. It can be a good idea to get an early start in order to beat the crowds or long queues. The good news is that the first buses do leave quite early!
If you’re travelling independently, the easiest and quickest way to get from Málaga to Gibraltar is by your own vehicle. The drive from Málaga to Gibraltar is only about 1.5 hours (on the toll road – it’s a bit longer if you go toll-free) and driving does give you a lot of flexibility. You can browse car rental options here.
If you want to avoid both cross-border fees instilled by your car hire company and parking difficulties in Gibraltar itself, we recommend parking in the Santa Barbara car park which is located right next to the border. You can then walk across the border and rely on public transport while in Gibraltar itself.
Seville to Gibraltar Day Trip
While it’s located much further away (about 200 kilometres), it is possible to go on a Gibraltar day trip from Seville. However, keep in mind that you’ll be in for quite a long travel day – especially when you consider just how active a time in Gibraltar itself can be.
By Organised Tour
The absolute easiest way to get from Seville to Gibraltar is via organised tour. There are a number of different tours to choose from, as well, so you’re in good hands. If you’re not keen to hire a car and still want to visit Gibraltar from Seville, then this is going to be your best option.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, then this full-day tour from Seville is a great option. It’s a long day (11 hours in total), however, it includes pick-up and drop-off in Seville along with a guided tour all over all of Gibraltar’s highlights.
To put it bluntly, planning a day trip to Gibraltar from Seville via bus isn’t a very good idea. Buses are infrequent and take about 4 hours to reach La Línea.
With the earliest bus departing Seville at 9AM, you won’t be arriving in Gibraltar until 1PM – much too late to do most of the activities in this day trip.
Then, keep in mind, that you also need to grab a 4-hour bus back to Seville – meaning that you’ll be planning an 8-hour travel day in total.
If you want to visit Gibraltar from Seville independently, then your best bet is to go by your own car. The drive will take about 2.5 hours so you’re still looking at a 5-hour travel day, however, you’ll have much more flexibility for when you leave and how long you can spend in Gibraltar.
If you’re driving, we still recommend parking on the Spanish side of the border and walking across. Parking in Gibraltar is a bit complicated and car rental companies also like to stick high cross-border fees on hires – which apply if you’re visiting Gibraltar!
Gibraltar Border & Transport Information
Now that you’ve figured out how you plan to get to Gibraltar, let’s briefly discuss how to get into Gibraltar.
Both of the independent options I’ve recommended are able take you to the Spanish side of the border. This means that you’re going to need to walk across the border before you can begin exploring Gibraltar. Thankfully, this is a very quick and painless experience.
Make sure you bring your passport because you need it to cross the border before going to Gibraltar itself. Non-EU members will be stamped in and out by Spanish authorities. Once stamped, you’ll walk through the little customs checkpoint and out into Gibraltar proper! And one of the first things you will be greeted with is a classic red telephone booth.
You have a couple of options to get from the border to our first stop – the Gibraltar Cable Car. First off, you can simply walk. It’s a flat, easy stroll that takes you across the airstrip and through the city centre. However, it is also about 30 minutes and there is quite a lot of walking in your future, anyway.
You can also opt to take the bus. Bus lines 5 & 10 leaves from the border and will take you to the cable car in just about 10 minutes. You can purchase tickets in cash (in both Euro and GBP to make things easier) from the driver.
Finally, if you purchase tickets for the cable car online in advance, it purportedly gives you access to a shuttle service that operates from the border to the cable car station.
When we visited, we saw no such shuttle service (it was a Sunday, so that may have factored into it), so we can’t vouch for the reliability of this option.
Gibraltar Day Trip Itinerary
Now, without further ado, let’s talk about what to do in Gibraltar in one day! Keep in mind that if you want to do absolutely everything this city has to offer, you may be better off spending 2 days here. However, you can definitely still cover a lot of ground and see the highlights of the Rock and the city centre during a day trip.
The first stop on this Gibraltar itinerary is at the cable car. This is the easiest way to reach the nature reserve at the top of the rock and still get to see everything.
The cable car ride is expensive, however, it is 100% worth it and a massive time-saver when compared to hiking up the rock (that will be a gruelling few hours and won’t give you enough time to see all there is to offer in the nature reserve).
We recommend getting to the cable car as soon as it opens or, if possible, even a bit earlier. Especially in high season, it can get very popular and it’s best to avoid queuing for a long time. You can purchase tickets online in advance, but keep in mind that this may not actually shorten your waiting time much.
There are a few different price points and options for the cable car and nature reserve, however, if you’re following this Gibraltar itinerary, then we recommend purchasing the option that includes a one-way trip on the cable car plus entry into the nature reserve (which, at the time of writing, is £32 per person).
There is no need to buy a return cable car ticket as the route that this itinerary follows winds you down the rock anyway and will eventually lead to the city centre. If you want to purchase the tickets for the cable car prior to your day trip, you can book a combination cable car and dolphin-watching ticket here.
The cable car ride only takes about 5 minutes and provides lovely views of the Rock, the Mediterranean and the Gibraltar city centre below.
Keep in mind that if it is particularly windy or there is otherwise inclement weather, the cable car does not operate. If you still want to get up to the nature reserve, then you’ll need to go on a taxi tour. You will see these advertised all over the city, however, you can also book a taxi tour online in advance.
You can check the Gibraltar Cable Car Twitter account to see if the cable car is running on the day you plan to visit.
The first stop once you reach the Cable Car Top Station is to the Skywalk. Only a few hundred meters from the cable car station, this area is situated near the very top of the rock and is where you’ll likely get your first glimpse of the Barbary Macaques – the famous monkeys in Gibraltar!
Originally from North Africa, these are the only wild monkeys that are found on mainland Europe and have been on the rock longer than the British have been settled in Gibraltar. En route to the Skywalk, you will pass one of the feeding stations for the monkeys where they all like to congregate.
The Skywalk itself provides excellent views of the Rock and of the city below. If you’d like, you can also walk a bit further up the Douglass Path to get even more incredible views (as far as Morocco on a clear day). Or, you could simply stay at the Skywalk, watch the monkeys play and enjoy your surroundings before heading to your next stop.
St Michael’s Cave
The next stop is St Michael’s Cave, entry to which is included in the nature reserve entry. The cave is located about 10 minutes from the Skywalk and it is a nice, paved, leisurely stroll to the cave.
The cave is fascinating and really beautiful, with fascinating rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites. There is also a light show every 7 minutes that mimics the formation of the cave itself. You only need about 10-15 minutes total to devote to the cave.
Windsor Suspension Bridge
From St Michael’s Cave, it’s just a short, downhill walk to your next stop – the Windsor Suspension Bridge!
Set over a gorge in the rock of Gibraltar, this 70-metre-long pedestrian bridge gives excellent views and it is interesting to walk across. You can follow a pathway looking at the bridge on one side and walk across it going back.
From the bridge, you can get a panoramic view of the bay and city below.
After enjoying the suspension bridge, it’s not far of a (downhill!) walk to the next stop on this Gibraltar day trip itinerary – the Ape’s Den. This is likely the last point where you can enjoy the monkeys of Gibraltar as this is yet another feeding station for the cheeky macaques.
The monkeys are great fun to observe but remember not to touch or feed them as they can get a bit aggressive if provoked. It’s also a good idea to ensure that you keep your bags closed and a good eye on them – they know how to open zippers if they suspect that you may have food!
The Great Siege Tunnels
If you’re interested in taking in a bit of history during your day trip to Gibraltar, then you’re sure to love the next stop on this itinerary – the Great Siege Tunnels.
These tunnels were originally constructed during the Great Siege of Gibraltar from 1779 to 1783. In the tunnels (entry is included in your nature reserve ticket), you can see models and plenty of information regarding the history of these tunnels and how they offered shelter and protection to Gibraltarians during this time.
There was also more tunnelling and expansion to these tunnels during the Second World War when Gibraltar was under attack from Axis forces.
Gibraltar wasn’t always British and the next stop on our route (you’re almost at the bottom of the rock now, too!) is a site that predates the Brits in this city – the Moorish Castle!
This fortification was constructed in the 8th Century CE and is reminiscent of other alcázars and castles found in the region – though maybe not as grand as the Alhambra in Granada or the Real Alcázar in Seville.
You can tour the castle if it interested you and entry into the fortification is included in the nature reserve ticket.
Explore the City Centre
Not far from the castle, you will come across a staircase that will lead you down to the Gibraltar city centre. Though there are so many incredible sites in the nature reserve, it is definitely worth it to explore the highlights of the old town, as well.
This is where you will certainly feel like you’ve left Spain and are in a little Britain. In fact, aside from the palm trees and generally warm temperatures, you could feel as if you’re in any mid-sized British city centre while wandering around Gibraltar.
Make sure not to miss Casemates Square, the main square in the city and, especially since you’ve been so active, unwind with a pint in one of the many pubs you’ll find in the town.
If you’re looking for a great lunch option, we recommend heading to Monique’s, a lovely restaurant overlooking the harbour with great, continental fare.
Gibraltar Botanic Gardens
After lunch, take the time to wander around the Botanic Gardens in Gibraltar. These gardens are located at the base of the rock and include a lot of native flora for you to enjoy. They are also free to enter and are honestly incredibly tranquil – especially in comparison to the busy city centre.
The gardens are also home to the Alameda Wildlife Park and a visit to this zoo is a great option if you happen to be visiting with children.
Dolphin Tour or Europa Point
If you want to do even more to round out your time in Gibraltar then you have a couple of options. First, consider taking one of the famous dolphin tours! This 90-minute adventure will take you out on a boat to the Strait of Gibraltar where you can see a few different species of dolphin – perfect if you want to enjoy some marine life!
If you’d like to see the dolphins for yourself, you can book a tour online here.
Another option is to head to Europa Point, the southernmost point of Gibraltar, and take in the Europa Point lighthouse. You can grab a city bus to the lighthouse as it is a bit of a trek from the city centre.
Of course, there are other things that didn’t make this itinerary that we didn’t get this when visiting Gibraltar in one day. Some of the other activities to do in the city include taking the time to take in the Pillars of Hercules monument, seeing the Jew’s Gate Cemetary and visiting some of the city’s many museums.
There is so much to do in Gibraltar in a day that you’re sure to enjoy your jam-packed day trip to this fascinating little British Overseas Territory. Filled with unique flora and fauna and boasting its own interesting history, a trip to Gibraltar is never a bad idea.
Are you planning a visit to Gibraltar? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!