Gibraltar is an easy day-trip destination from Seville, Malaga, Marbella, Torremolinos and Estepona by car or bus group tour. Public transportation is more hassle than it is worth.
Gibraltar is a popular day trip from Seville and Malaga, as well as Spanish Costa del Sol resort towns such as Estepona, Marbella, Fuengirola, Mijas, Puerto Banus, Benalmadena, Calahonda, Torremolinos, and Nerja. It is also within day-trip distance from Seville, Cadiz, Jerez, and Ronda. Gibraltar is easiest reached by car but organized bus day-trip excursions, whether for tax-free shopping or sightseeing, are also popular options. Public transportation is slow and limited and rarely a sensible option for day tripping. Passport or EU identification cards are essential.
Transportation for Day Trips to Gibraltar
Driving to Gibraltar from southern Spain is generally the easiest and fastest way to reach this British outpost that is a very popular destination for sightseeing and tax-free shopping. From the Costa del Sol, simply take the AP7 toll road (or the slower but toll-free A7) to the La Linea turn off, and then follow directions to La Linea de la Concepcion and ultimately the Gibraltar border. (If arriving from the north, use the San Roque turn off, which is often also faster when arriving from the Costa del Sol during peak hours.) The border crossing is only around 7 km from the highway.
Driving time to Gibraltar is just over 2 hours from Seville (200 km) and just less than 2 hours from Malaga (140 km), if using the toll road (AP7).
For insurance purposes, most rental cars are not allowed to drive from Spain into Gibraltar, or add a hefty surcharge, making it sensible to leave the car on the Spanish border. Several parking lots are available close to the border crossing — the fenced off Parking Santa Barbara is directly next to the border crossing while the underground Fo-Cona parking garage is only a block away.
Even for suitably insured cars, it is advisable not to cross the border by car, as Gibraltar is small, driving is slow with many restrictions, and parking relatively expensive. Also the border crossing by car may be very slow, while those on foot simply walk through.
From the border post, it is an easy walk, which famously includes strolling across the landing strip of the airport, into Gibraltar town. Alternatively, use the bus or taxis. Citibus 10 goes to the Boyd Street Terminus and cable car station. Day-trips to see the monkeys and the Rock are also easily booked right at the border.
Day-Trip Excursions to Gibraltar from Spain
Bus day-trips to Gibraltar are available from most cities in the south of Spain, including Seville, Malaga and many beach resort towns of the Costa del Sol. These are convenient options and may range from transportation only (often termed shopping shuttle tours) or may include further sightseeing tours in Gibraltar.
Depending on the specific tour, the border is often crossed on foot, which is often faster, and the group divided into smaller groups for tours in Gibraltar.
A potential hassle with group tours is that tours departing far from Gibraltar may spend some time collecting other passengers from different towns, which increases the driving time to Gibraltar.
Public Transportation to Gibraltar
Public transportation to Gibraltar on day trips is rarely worth the hassle. The La Linea de la Concepcion bus station is only a few blocks stroll from the Gibraltar border post but not that many buses arrive here.
The most useful bus is to Algeciras (around 10 per day taking 45 minutes). Algeciras has good railway and intercity bus connections but traveling is slow with services not that frequent. Direct buses to La Linea de la Conceptcion are available from amongst others Malaga (3 hours / 4 times per day) and Cadiz but from most other tourist sights a transfer is required in Algeciras.
Public transportation to Gibraltar for day trips rarely works well but is an option when not returning on the same day. When departing from Gibraltar, factor in the border crossing time but don’t arrive too early for the bus either. The station may be confusing but there is very little else to do at the long-distance bus station of La Linea.
For the UK, Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory; according to the UN, Gibraltar is a Non-Self-Governing Territory while Spain sees it basically as a colony. Since the Great Siege (1779-83) attempts to resolve the issue of sovereignty have been mostly diplomatic. Most visitors simply come for the cheap shopping and sightseeing — especially to enjoy the Rock with its fantastic views, the Barbary macaques monkeys and historic tunnels or caves.