In my ongoing world borders series I bust down border crossings to their simplest form to ensure you can all easily replicate my journeys, cross the same borders as me and realise there is more to travel than flying in and out of countries on a 6 day holiday (as much as I love that too!). In April 2015, I found myself backpacking in Gibraltar for the first time. I crossed the land border by foot from the town of La Linea de La Concepcion in Spain and had 2 days, 1 night here. In Gibraltar I recommend staying at the very reasonably priced Cannon Hotel in the town centre, there is also one hostel too. I haven’t written all the posts I want about Gibraltar yet apart from my tour to Europa Point.
Leaving Gibraltar Town, Gibraltar
Gibraltar doesn’t really have a “capital” as such. Though for the sake of this post I will refer to the town centre/capital as Gibraltar Town. You can fly in and out of Gibraltar of course, but to leave Gibraltar by land to Spain, there are two main options:
1. Walk it
2. Use a vehicle
Cars, vans, bikes etc. cross the border all day long along the road, but the most common border crossing style for this one is to walk across the border. Gibraltar is a tiny country. Even walking from the town centre of the capital Gibraltar Town to the airport only takes 10 – 20 minutes depending on your speed of manoeuvre.
Head inland away from central Gibraltar and follow the signs for Spain and the town of La Linea de la Concepcion. It is very well signposted. In fact if you cross in the day time, you will probably just be following the masses – lots of people cross the border this way and it really is very obvious where the border is.
After leaving central Gibraltar, you eventually arrive at Gibraltar airport, which is in front of the border. Once you get to Gibraltar airport, you have to walk across the runway.
Only in the case of flights arriving or departing will you have to wait. Allow 5-10 minutes just in case.
After you walk across the runway, stay on the right hand side of the road/footpath. The border is right in front of you and completely obvious. There are security staff manning the border and the flags of Spain and the EU fly just beyond the border.
Get your passports ready for inspection and simply follow the route along the path on the right across the border. On the day I crossed, my passport was not checked and neither were those in front of me.
We just walked straight through – along a path, partly through a building and suddenly we are back in Spain. As far as I know, no passport stamps can be issued at the border. I travel on a British and Irish passport therefore I have no problem crossing from one European Union country to another.
You are basically going from a UK country to Spain here, so those with a Schengen visa might want to check if they are legally allowed into Gibraltar or not. Gibraltarians have their own passport, flag, government and national football team so it’s every bit a country in its own right.
In Spain they use the Euro (the Peseta disappeared from view some time ago) but Gibraltar still uses the British pounds and pence and issues its own notes and coins. There are money changers in Casemates Square and also across the border in La Linea. In Spain you cannot spend British Pounds however in Gibraltar, some places accept Euros. So if you don’t plan on a return to a British country, make sure you have all your pounds changed over to Euros before crossing.
Arrival in La Linea de la Concepcion
Now that you have left Gibraltar and crossed the border, you are in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion in Spain. This is a sleepy coastal town with some beaches, but generally not a lot happening. There is a nice market in the town and prices tend to be cheaper than in nearby Torremolinos, Fuengirola and Malaga as those places are tourist resorts.
From La Linea de la Concepcion there are a few daily buses to Malaga and other destinations in the south of Spain. I got the bus to Malaga at 7pm, which was the last one of the day on my visit there. I booked the bus online in advance, which you should do in busy season.
On a final note, this is an easy and smooth border crossing and there are no public buses that cross this border so walking is the way to do it, I totally recommend it!
Here are some videos I took when crossing from Gibraltar to La Linea de la Concepcion in Spain: