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Where to view Gibraltar, but not visit Gibraltar?

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Dec 25th, 2015, 11:53 AM
  #1
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Where to view Gibraltar, but not visit Gibraltar?

My husband and I will visit Spain this spring. After much homework, I don't think we want to spend a day in Gibraltar, but we would like a great view of this historically important geography. Does anyone have a good suggestion? We've read that there can be a good view from Algeciras, although we've also read that that city isn't very attractive.

We would probably think of a day trip from Ronda, but our itinerary is not yet set in stone. I think we'll enjoy touring that part of southern Spain in our rental car. Or maybe make a side trip from our base in Ronda to the next stop up the coast (Nerja?) Again, we just want enough time to be impressed.

(Side note: I was moved and impressed about being on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, for its beauty and place in history. I think I'll feel the same about seeing Gibraltar.)
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Dec 25th, 2015, 12:04 PM
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Hope you're not too disappointed. The entrance to Gib is at La Linea, but you can see it all the way from Algeciras to the other side around Estepona.
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Dec 25th, 2015, 12:27 PM
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Gibraltar, seen from anywhere, even ON it, isn't all that much. Well, yes, the history is impressive, but once there I didn't really "feel" a thing, just "let's get out of here and move on." The Bosphorus and Istanbul are far more arresting. But then, I thought Nerja was a waste of my time too, so maybe I'm not the person to consult.
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Dec 25th, 2015, 12:34 PM
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The best place to see Gibraltar is on a Prudential ad and Morocco. (Insert smiley face.)

We have been to Istanbul, in fact we have a friend whose apartment overlooks the Bosphorus and there is no comparison, Turkey is much more rewarding than Gibraltar.

Gibraltar is a quirky and interesting place, but it is not, as you have noted, a place for a first time visitor to Spain.

Others will guide you as the best vantage point, because I do not recall which spot is better than others.

BTW, just going by car from Spain to Gib can be a nightmare getting across the frontier. And then you drive across the only airplane runway in Gib. Be sure to look in both directions.
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Dec 25th, 2015, 12:57 PM
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You can take the ferry from Algeciras to Ceuta on the African coast.
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Dec 25th, 2015, 02:06 PM
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I guess I'm the odd man out, but I've been to Gibraltar a couple of times and find it fascinating. The Rock itself is impressive with its tunnels and viewpoints, the lighthouse and mosque at Europa point remarkable, the shopping is good, the mix of ethnic groups is interesting - I suspect more Jews than anywhere else on the Iberian peninsula... but different strokes etc.

It's a fun lunch stop; have a pint in the main square or buy some digestive biscuits or cheap booze in the amazing Morrison's supermarket... not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

If you decide to visit, be sure the Spanish aren't in the middle of one of their "go-slow" campaigns for traffic, otherwise you can park on the Spanish side and cross the border/runway on foot. If you have web access, here's the webcam at the border: http://www.frontierqueue.gi/frontiercamera.aspx
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Dec 25th, 2015, 04:21 PM
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I agree with IMD - a quick look from afar is enough. Not very impressive unless you like British food and nasty monkeys. We could see the coast of Africa (barely on a cloudy day) and look at a few fortifications.

We were caught in a go slow action and it took almost an hour to get back into Spain - they hauled all the luggage out of our car, shifted the back seat to check underneath and then used mirrors on the bottom of the car - I guess checking for drugs or stowaways.
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Dec 25th, 2015, 04:49 PM
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The stops at the frontier are more political than geared to security and finding drugs. There is long term animosity between Gibraltar and Spain which ebbs and peaks.
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Dec 25th, 2015, 04:56 PM
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Sorry Bedar, but I think you said something to they effect that you wouldn't even talk to someone who wears a backpack.

I am hopeful you will be true to your word as I always wear one.
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Dec 25th, 2015, 04:57 PM
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Whoops wrong topic. Sorry everyone.
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Dec 25th, 2015, 09:23 PM
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I am with gardyloo. I have been to Gibraltar 2x and find it interesting and my kids loved it, I would park in Spain and walk in and back.
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Dec 25th, 2015, 11:58 PM
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Just my opinion, but no comparison between the stunningly beautiful Istanbul and the Bosphorus, and (a big rock) Gibraltar.

There are lots of huge rocks in the world, so if there were not a cave, a few historical tunnels and some apes, there would be no reason to see Gibraltar. A bit of history, yes. Beautiful, no. If you are close and it is easy to pop across the border, then it is worth an hour or so. I, for one, actually enjoyed the apes. Would not go far out of my way though. Many other places more worthy of my attention, IMHO.
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Dec 26th, 2015, 06:30 AM
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Istanbul and the Bosphorus has a more interesting feel to it when you are there than Gibraltar does.

There are more beautiful and interesting places in southern Spain than Gibraltar.


But if you have a day to spare, Gibraltar is more than a 'rock'. First, it has a gorgeous setting - being at the top of the rock there are some beautiful views, including of the coast of Africa in the far distance. I also had fun watching airplanes land below (not a vantage point you usually get). The natural caves were quite interesting. The military caves and the history that go with it were mildly interesting. I found watching the monkeys fascinating - but I like animals. It was kind of fun to see all that British 'stuff' so far from Britain.

I don't think I'd go out of my way to see it from a distance but if I were in Southern Spain and had an interest in it I think it's worth a day trip (I did an overnight and flew out from Gibraltar so it wasn't really out of the way for me on the trip I did it on).

Walking across the boarder takes no time at all, it's driving that can sometimes be very slow - so if you leave your car on the Spanish side, or take a bus there, there's no problem with the crossing.

Here are some photos of my trip there: http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/image/146527470
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Dec 26th, 2015, 07:37 AM
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Yes, of course it's all political.

What they PRETEND they are doing is searching for drugs and stowaways. Why pick on an obviously middle class mature american couple otherwise? And they were searching every car entering Spain.
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Dec 26th, 2015, 07:55 AM
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It's political and slightly odd given the Spanish enclaves in North Africa
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Dec 26th, 2015, 08:26 AM
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Who said politics was logical. But when referenda are conducted in Gibraltar, the populace clearly identifies with the English, creating more animosity.
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Dec 26th, 2015, 08:54 AM
  #17
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Wow! Many thanks for the responses.

We never thought to drive into Gibralter -- sounds like too much of a hassle. As a reader commented, we'd walk across from Spain.

But when it comes down to it, there just doesn't seem to be enough "there, there." I think we'd find our time better spent in other parts.

Some context: We will be on an almost-4-week trip in Spain, and will pick up a car after our stay in Seville, with plans for multiple nights in Ronda, Nerja, Granada before flying home. So we have some time to toodle around, including some of typical spots recommended in Fodors and the travel forums.

We'll also have some time in Barcelona and Toledo this trip. My husband works for an international company with a subsidiary in Madrid (been there many times) and San Sebastian, but we're not stopping in those places this trip.
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Dec 26th, 2015, 12:52 PM
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The views over the straits from the top of the rock are absolutely stunning.

The rest of Gibraltar is one of those "love it or hate it " places.

It's social, cultural and political history is extremely interesting. It could be argued that its current culture has a lot to be desired.
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Dec 27th, 2015, 03:28 AM
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Ah but the vote only occurs after the Spanish have done summit (normally to take Spanish voters minds off other cock-ups).

See also Argentina/Falklands etc

Still it could be worse, it could be Hong Kong where the local newspaper has just been bought up by a puppet of Beijing.
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Dec 27th, 2015, 04:10 AM
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Bilbo-the animosity started long before the Falklands/Malvinas. One of the most stupid and avoidable conflicts for both sides. I know almost all wars are stupid and avoidable, but this one is high up on the list.
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