The cheapest way to see the sights of Gibraltar
We’ve visited Gibraltar a few times and never managed to see the sights at the top of the Rock. There are many things to see up there and the views are fantastic. With a family visit on the cards, we planned to visit Gibraltar and to finally go up the 426 metre high Rock to see the sights. We researched tours and we couldn’t get over just how expensive they were. So we set about finding the cheapest way to see the sights of Gibraltar.
There are loads of companies selling tours of the Rock. With almost a dozen sights to see there are a few tours on offer. The most basic tour includes St Michael’s Caves, Apes’ Den, Great Siege Tunnels and the Moorish Castle. So long as there are more than 4 in your group, the prices start at £25 per person. You’re driven up the Rock in a comfortable 6 seater vehicle and have a 1 ½ hour round trip. There were 3 in our group and we’d have to pay the 4 person price of £100. For 1 ½ hours! We heard it was worth a visit but the price far outweighed any desire we had.
Cost for 4 people: £100
A cheaper way of getting to the top of the Rock is via the cable car. It costs £20 return per person and you’re able to walk around the sights from the top station at your leisure. The price includes entry to the Nature Reserve and its sights. However, you’ll explore the Rock on foot with this option. It’s about a 9km walk in total from the top station and with many steep hills, a decent level of fitness is necessary.
Cost for 4 people: £80
As Mowgli is broken down for a few more days and with family visiting, we had to hire a car. We hired it in Spain at a fully insured price of €15 per day. The fully insured price allowed us to bring the vehicle onto Gibraltar. Driving into Gibraltar across the border on occasions is a time-consuming pastime. We didn’t experience any issues and we crossed the border in about 5 minutes.
For us, AutoEurope is by far the best rental comparison site, and our first choice, every time. They even do camper van rentals!
We’d read private cars aren’t allowed to drive up the Rock. This is wholly inaccurate. We drove all the way up to the Great Siege Tunnels and although on the day we visited the road was closed, we could have driven to the highest point of the Rock.
On arriving in the nature reserve, we paid £10 each for our entrance tickets and £2 for the vehicle. The tickets included entry to St Michael’s Caves, Apes’ Den, Great Siege Tunnels and the Moorish Castle.
The roads are quite narrow and wind their way around the Rock but as there’s a one way system in place in the nature reserve, this isn’t a challenging drive. At least not in a small hire car. Because of the slight width of the roads, campervans and motorhomes will squeeze through.
Cost for 4 people: £52 (including the hire car)
Walk (more of a hike really)
You could do the full circuit from the town below on foot. You’ll definitely need a decent level of fitness though as the full round trip, starting and finishing at the border crossing is about 19 km. To see the sights, you buy an entrance ticket at a cost £10 each at the entrance to the nature reserve.
Cost for 4 people: £40
Top Sights of Gibraltar
Europa Point Lighthouse
Situated at the southernmost point of Gibraltar, and the gateway between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Europa Point Lighthouse has been lit since 1841. It offers great views of the African coastline. The Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque and the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe all lie within a few metres of the lighthouse too.
St Michael’s Cave
The photographs do not do this dramatic, natural grotto justice. It’s spectacular and the highlight of our day up on the rock. There are occasional concerts held inside the caves and because of the acoustics inside, they must sound spectacular. We’d have loved to attend one.
Great Siege Tunnel
There are over 30 miles of tunnels with the Rock of Gibraltar. The Great Siege Tunnels forming part of the impressive defence system on Gibraltar and were created in the 18th century. You can walk through the tunnels and there are loads of information and displays telling of the history of the Great Siege. There are some excellent views of the runway below too.
You don’t really need to stop here to see the Barbary Apes. They’re seen hanging around all of the entrances to the other sights inside the nature reserve. They’re pretty cute but of course, they are wild animals and they’re very brave and inquisitive, so keep your belongings close.
With panoramic view of both Spain and Morocco, the trip to the top of the rock is worthwhile. And you can watch the planes landing at one of the most dangerous airports in the world while you’re there.
The cheapest way to see the sights of Gibraltar is to walk and for a party of 4, will save you £60 compared to the most expensive way. Even so, this is a hard walk for only the fittest of travellers. Most people will want to do less uphill walking and therefore, hiring a car and taking a self-drive tour is the cheapest way.
As we spent only £42 for 3 of us to see the sights of Gibraltar, we thought they were terrific value and a must see if you’re in the area. At £100 though, I’m not sure we’d feel the same.
The cost of refreshments up on the Rock is extortionate. We paid £12 for a small slice of pre-packed cake, 2 sausage rolls and 3 cups of tea, served in polystyrene cups! You’re well advised to bring your own refreshments, particularly bottled water during the summer months.
Regardless of how you get to the sights, you will still have a fair bit of walking to do, up and down hills as parking facilities are located a couple of hundred metres from the entrance gates to each sight. It’s worth bearing this in mind if you can’t walk too far.
Don’t feed the apes. Not only is it bad for them, but if you’re caught, fines are as high as £4000. The you will have an expensive day out!
Keep hold of your tickets as you will need to present these at the entrance to each sight.
If you do hire a car in Spain, check with your hire company you’re covered to drive the vehicle into Gibraltar.
You can find loads of information about all of the sights in Gibraltar at www.gibraltarinfo.gi but I’d suggest you avoid booking tickets on the site. You can buy them at the time of your visit.
Have you found an even cheaper way to see the sights of Gibraltar? Use the comments below to tell us about it.
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