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travelinggaby Nov 10th, 2014 10:30 AM

South of Spain, Day trip to Gibraltar
I'm planning a trip to the south of Spain, we'll have a our base near Marbella. We are hoping to do a day trip to Gibraltar and maybe ferry over to Morocco. Any dos/don'ts, any insiders info? Thank you!

IMDonehere Nov 10th, 2014 11:16 AM

There are many here who do not like Gibraltar. We found it quirky and interesting. Passing through the frontier by car can be interminable and then you literally drive across the tarmac of the airport.

nytraveler Nov 10th, 2014 11:19 AM

IMHO Gibraltar is a total wate of time. Can take forever to get in and out - the border is an airport runway - and depending on relations at the moment it can be VERY time consuming to get back into Spain (they practically disassembled our car - obviously middle class american tourists).

There is a view of the coast of Africa - better or worse depending on how clear the day is - but really not much to look at. And the "apes" are just nasty monkeys that steal things form tourists (food and/or anything shiny) and bite if thwarted.

There are a number of British pubs - but doesn't seem to be a real necessary part of a trip to Spain.

PalenQ Nov 10th, 2014 11:52 AM

I did an overnight trip to Gibraltar and loved it - for the reason IMD says - it's a quirky backwater but one that not everyone, like nytraveler for example, would say is a waste of time. It depends on the individual and what one expects - do not expect any great museums or cuisine but a wee bit of England in its pubs, Tesco's, etc.

Take time to climb the Rock but beware of those pesky tail-less monkeys - the only monkeys in Europe!

That said after a day I was ready to leave.

Entering Gibraltar was quirky as well - due to snafus with Spain over sovergniy of the Rock Spain at that time anyway would not let buses go thru the border but stop at it and folks then had to walk across the airport (!!!) runway to get to the city itself.

I am very glad I went to Gibralter though I can see where many would find it boring and uneventful - I think it helps to have been a stamp collector in liking it, seeing its unique visage so so many times.

travelinggaby Nov 10th, 2014 12:06 PM

Thank you @Imdonehere @nytraveler @PalenQ. A friend of mine was very candid at telling me not to waste my time, I see the feeling is not uncommon. Will think twice before venturing out there, I'm sure there are a lot of interesting destinations near Marbella. I was hoping to pick up some Morrocan lanterns though...I'm going bananas over them...
Maybe interesting for the kids to say they were there?

Thanks again

Gardyloo Nov 10th, 2014 12:08 PM

We too are the exception - we like Gibraltar, and I'd also note that sometimes airfare to GIB can be cheaper than to other southern Spanish destinations.

It's not the drop-dead duty free bargain it was some years ago, but it's still surprisingly affordable, and just an <i>interesting</i> place.

A couple of years ago we flew into GIB and spent a couple of days there, then got a car at the airport (cheaper rental than on the Spanish side) and drove all around the area, spending our nights in Tarifa.

Photos -

PalenQ Nov 10th, 2014 12:43 PM

Gaby - it would be hard to do both Gibraltar and Morocco on the same day even if there were boats or flights from the Rock to North Africa, which there probably are. You will probably be able to fine some package tour for a day from Marbella?

either that or skip the Rock and head for Algerciras where boats constantly cross the narrow Straits of Gibralter separate Europe from Africa - you will of course be quarantined for 21 days on your return to Spain! (Jest joking!).

Robert2533 Nov 10th, 2014 03:52 PM

Tangier does not representative Morocco very well, if at all, and in my opinion, having lived in Morocco, I'd skip it. If you want to visit, then you can fly to Casablanca or Fez from Malaga on Air Maroc and spend a night or two for as low as €87 each-way

jeterray Nov 10th, 2014 04:52 PM

we found nothing to like except the rock. The monkeys spoiled that.

Sassafrass Nov 10th, 2014 08:38 PM

Robert, thanks for that advice. Morocco is on my wish list. Now to convince DH.

sparkchaser Nov 10th, 2014 11:02 PM

I am one of the few Fodorites that actually liked Gibraltar. Walking around the rock and seeing the monkey, walking through the tunnels, and just wandering around the side streets was fun. After speaking nothing but Spanish for a week, it was nice to switch back to English if even for just a day and enjoy a good(ish) burger.

protip: do not touch the monkeys unless you want get lice. And do not feed them!

We did a day trip from Tarifa to Tangier. It made for a long day but I felt it was worth it. Tangier can seem a bit sketchy at times but if you stay alert, you'll be fine. My Moroccan coworker said it best "Tangier is not real Morocco".

Bedar Nov 11th, 2014 12:12 AM

The wait to get into and out of Gibraltar can be very long, up to 8 hrs. both ways. 30 of the most vicious apes, monkeys, were exported to a safari park in Scotland recently, after a man had to have 40 stitches in his arm from a bite. There is a website with live cameras to check out the wait to go in and out. I'd have a look at it were I you.
Better to go over to Tangier from Tarifa for a day or two. It's an interesting, fun place, and I, too, lived in Morocco, for 5 yrs.

Alec Nov 11th, 2014 05:18 AM

tower Nov 11th, 2014 09:10 AM

Had to chuckle...seems like the young folks don't know much or anything about Gibraltar's heroically dangerous role and innate suffering during WW II, and therefore give The Rock short shrift. We stayed at the venerable Rock Hotel which is historic in itself. The caves...another matter of the horrors of being a lone outpost constantly pummeled by Nazi ordnance and bombers. Rommel nixed any atempts at invading, having his hands full.

Robert2533 Nov 11th, 2014 09:21 AM

Having historical significence doesn't mean one has to visit. The Rock should be returned to Spain (if they want it) and the place cleaned up, including getting rid of the hairy little beasts running around. Remember, they all died off at one time, not that long ago. It could happen again.

tower Nov 11th, 2014 10:14 AM

I suppose there's always someone who has to put everything into a political context. Today is Veteran's Day in the USA, in case you didn't know it...learn to show some respect to our British allies as well as Americans who gave their lives. It's a day dedicated to "those who have served or are serving their country wth honor and pride." I'm proud to be one of them.

Since you're an ex-pat, maybe this is meaningless, "he who runs with the bulls!" Making any Fodorite money on your travel pages?

Bedar Nov 11th, 2014 10:44 AM

Robert, the people of Gibraltar do not want to belong to Spain !! and, you know this. It's Spain, as usual, which is causing all the problems on the border. Remember way back when the border was totally closed by Spain and in order to get there you had to go by way of Morocco ?
Do you think Spain should return Ceuta, Melilla, and the Islas Chafarinas to Morocco ??

Tower, don't think Robert is an ex-pat, but he might be married to a Spaniard.

suec1 Nov 11th, 2014 10:51 AM

My opinion - I'd go to Gibraltar and skip Morroco - I would find the "touts" in Morroco much worse than the apes. I do not want to visit a place where everyone wants to sell me something or take me somewhere - altho I did go twice to Istanbul :).

Go to the top of the cable car - you can walk out and watch where all the cars and vans are driving thru the ape area - I may be a bit twisted but I found watching the show of the apes jumping on the tourists quite entertaining.

Rick Steves gave us the hint of parking our car and walking aross. It wasn't far, then you can catch a bus to other parts of the island.

Gardyloo Nov 11th, 2014 11:11 AM

Note there's a website that streams crossing conditions and queues to/from Gibraltar -

When we were there a couple of years ago there was no delay whatsoever, just occasional stops at the runway while some plane zoomed in or out, and traffic jams within Gibraltar itself. It's a huge shopping destination for local Spaniards, which is a big part of the political problem as well as the traffic.

IMDonehere Nov 11th, 2014 01:47 PM

Every indication is that Gibraltar wants to remain British. Anyone who has studied history for more than a moment, knows that lands have always change hands and identities. Which land belongs to whom, it is a very emotionally charged issue and one of leading causes of conflict after greed, megalomania, and religion.

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