Words: Erin Hardie | Pics: Ryan Platten | For history loving hubby visiting Gibraltar was an absolute must when already in the south of Spain-neighbouring vicinity. It was also however, well beyond our limited means due to economic gobbledegook I can’t explain (but something, something, stronger English currency). Enter La Línea de la Concepción, a miraculous save-the-day small Spanish town bordering the famous Rock of Gibraltar. If you, like us, use La Línea de la Concepción as a base of operations, you too can conquer the rock for easily four times less cost than if you see it from the Gibraltar side alone.
Visiting Gibraltar: Monkeys, Beers and The Rock for Less! Read on Below!
|4GBP per pint of Guinness
*3GBP per pint of local beer (Stella Artois)
The most exciting part of visiting Gibraltar is seeing how the Rock of Gibraltar dominates the skyline!
Visiting Gibraltar: How to Get there for Less!
Some nifty googling during the three hour bus ride from Cádiz to La Línea de la Concepción left us informed that the best way to cross the Gibraltar border is by foot. It’s also possible by vehicle, but they tend to encounter a bit of a wait as compared to a no pause walk across the border. Seriously! We didn’t stop to even show our passports! We just held them at face height as we were waved on through to “Little Britain”. If visiting Gibraltar by plane this can cost from approx $AUD740 from Jerez airport (servicing Cádiz) and stopping through Madrid and London. If just flying from Madrid this would still cost $AUD690 and you’d still be stopping through London for a nice 19 hour total flight time. It can get as low as $AUD360 from Barcelona but it’s still not a direct flight. Our bus ride from Cádiz however was direct for just 3 hours and a cost of 12 Euro each.
British styling is very evident in Gibraltar
Visiting Gibraltar: Stay for Less!
Accommodation in Gibraltar for two started at 200 Euro per night, whereas our night in La Línea de la Concepción was only 25 Euro! That’s a massive saving! What we didn’t’ realise accommodation-wise was that it was not necessarily even necessary. Depending on how much sightseeing you wish to do in Gibraltar you could just get the bus to La Línea de la Concepción in the morning, walk for ten minutes to cross the border into Gibraltar and recross back out at any time before your next bus leaves to your onward destination. One impediment to this idea though is having masses of luggage as there was no luggage storage at the very basic La Línea de la Concepción bus station.
The views from the Rock of Gibraltar are stunning!
Visiting Gibraltar: Eat and Drink for Less!
Food and drink also averaged out to be approx 75% cheaper in La Línea de la Concepción. But probably the best reason I can give for championing using La Línea de la Concepción as a base for visiting Gibraltar is the emphasis the juxtaposition of these two different cultures, when sat side by side, does for highlighting their differences. Sort of like adding salt to a sweet dish to enhance the sweetness of the dish, so too does starting and ending one’s day in Spain then enhance the very Britishness of Gibraltar and vice-versa! Having checked into our typically laid back Spanish accommodation we walked across the border to Gibraltar around midday on a fine late-May Sunday just in time for the most British of Sunday traditions: a Sunday roast dinner. Accompanied by a pint of Guinness of course! Every pub we passed seemed to have a British or Irish theme as we walked through the mall full of British staple shops such as Debenhams and Boots. When we re-entered La Línea de la Concepción that night we rounded out our day with tapas and red wine and both agreed that it was the best jamón serrano (dry-cured ham) we had yet eaten in Spain. Was it though? Or was it just the enhancing force of a day away in “Little Britain”?
You can get a traditional Sunday roast at most pubs in Gibraltar, along with the full English breakfast.
Visiting Gibraltar: Charming Cultural Contrasts!
In the Gibraltar bars we visited we overheard the local punters and staff exchanging typically British pleasantries – gentle ragging on each other. Back in La Línea locals packed themselves like sardines into al fresco terraces mostly drinking coffee and having cake at the typical British dinner hour of 6pm. We were still able to find a bar serving tapas and wine to satiate our far too early dinner desire. Perhaps the most endearing cultural difference highlighted to us though was by way of our nearly running out of cash on hand. We needed to change some before getting a 10am cash-ticket-only bus out of La Línea de la Concepción but the exchange bureaus on the Spanish side all opened at 10.30am… what to do!? Ah easy solution! Across the border in Gibraltar the “Little Britain” bureaus were of course all open from 8am each morning. Seeing these little differences side by side was by no means to show either culture at a disadvantage. Instead we were left feeling the more endeared to both for their differing advantages and eccentricities.
Expect to pay more for food and drink in Gibraltar compared to La Linea
Visiting Gibraltar: Check out our Top Picks Below!
If you’re planning on visiting Gibraltar, or have visited before we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. Our recommendation is without a doubt visiting Gibraltar by way of La Línea de la Concepción to save your money for visiting even more onward destinations! Whilst the list of our top picks below skews heavily in favour of the Gibraltar side of the border I assure you that you will not feel FOMO (fear of missing out) by basing your visit on the Spanish side of the border. The border is open 24 hours a day, so whether you want to dine late in Spain or get up early for a full breakfast and tea in “Little Britain” this little Spain/England world is your oyster!
Until next time, Cheers/Salud! Erin and Ryan.
Our Top Picks
Have you been to Gibraltar? What are your tips?
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