Spain to Gibraltar – Crossing the border

Spain to Gibraltar
 I recently and very randomly visited Gibraltar and for the sake of the trip into Gib it made sense to fly into Malaga and travel south through Cadiz to reach this petite UK territory. As part of this trip I had to tempt crossing the border from Spain to Gibraltar. Regular flights from Liverpool and Manchester fly direct to Malaga and since the apparent collapse of Monarch Airlines, which was a main operator flying into Gibraltar frequently, the less frequent flights and uncooperative flight schedules into Gibraltar led us to make this money and time saving decision. From Malaga we hired a mini bus to the border of Spain and did the Gibraltar border crossing from a town called La Linea.

SPAIN TO GIBRALTAR

All you need to know about the Gibraltar border crossing – Crossing the border from Spain to Gibraltar

A CONCISE HISTORY OF GIBRALTAR, UNITED KINGDOM

Gibraltar is a British overseas territory that sits at the bottom of southern Spain to reach Gibraltar you can travel to the border which is just south of Cadiz. Gibraltar sits at the very tip of Western Europe and if you haven’t heard of Gibraltar itself I can imagine you have probably heard the term ‘The Gibraltar Straits’. Gibraltar is located at the bottom of an area known as the Iberian Peninsula of southwest Europe and The Gibraltar Straits are important for a couple of key reasons, the first being that Gibraltar Europe’s gateway into Africa, with a ferry to Tangier, Morocco taking on average one hour and a half.
The ex-pat community that is Gibraltar is entirely separate to Spain and Spanish culture and despite its size and has remained a British overseas territory since 1704. We chose to cross the border from Spain to Gibraltar due to flying into Malaga but Gibraltar does have its own airport and as mentioned less frequent flights do fly in and out of its tiny airspace and runway, but I’ll get to the runway in a second. Most of the cheap flights to Gibraltar are operated by EasyJet and British Airways.
With a permanent population of around 29,000 residents and despite its tiny size, Gibraltar is actually one of the largest of the British overseas territories. The entire area of Gibraltar is overlooked by the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ which essentially is Gibraltar due to its iconic reputation.
Now, crossing the border from Spain to Gibraltar.
Spain to Gibraltar – Crossing the border
The border crossing and the road over the runway – Gibraltar, United Kingdom
Spain to Gibraltar – Crossing the border
The Rock of Gibraltar – Our first view after crossing the Gibraltar border

 

CROSSING THE BORDER SPAIN TO GIBRALTAR

As the United Kingdom is officially outside of the Schengen Agreement where EU citizens can move freely within selected member states of the European Union known as the ‘Schengen Zone’. Visiting Gibraltar which is United Kingdom via Spain requires an actual overland border crossing with passport security and all. What does this mean for Brexit? Who knows.

Here’s exactly how we crossed the Gibraltar border from Spain

The closest town in Spain to the border of Gibraltar (and the UK) is La Linea. Wherever you are heading from in Spain the town of La Linea is where you’ll need to be to cross the border of Spain over into the United Kingdom and Gibraltar. The official ‘border’ is only semi-official looking and appears at first glance as more of a car park than a countries entry point. Don’t expect the red carpet to be rolled out for you when crossing the border from Spain to Gibraltar. Expect lot’s of traffic and a few bored looking border control officials.

 

Spain to Gibraltar – Crossing the border
Gibraltar sunrise over the Gibraltar Straits

LA LINEA, SPAIN TO GIBRALTAR – CROSSING THE BORDER

I know from overland border crossing in Latin America that a general busyness and loitering should always be expected at an overland border and this one was no different. Many cars, gridlocked and probably wondering ‘is this an actual car park or not’ hang around the confusing and blocked off roads just before the official customs crossing. I suspect that this is because many people are generally just looking for a decent parking space since many people do the daily commute from La Linea and similar bordering towns to work in Gibraltar. Apparently it is much cheaper to live over the border in Spain than in Gibraltar itself making the town of La Linea and the UK’s official border Gibraltar’s designated car park.
To cross the Gibraltar border we slipped through a metal gate in the fence and followed the signs to enter back in the UK. 3 hours approximately in total spent in Spain making this ‘trip’ to Spain officially my shortest round trip on record technically speaking.
The customs and security in the Spain to Gibraltar border crossing are relaxed. Hundreds of people make this journey into Gibraltar from La Linea daily and the unofficial nature and laid back approach to getting into Gibraltar poses a few interesting questions post-Brexit. I guess you can contact David Davis directly for answers on that one.
Spain to Gibraltar – Crossing the border
Gibraltar sunrise over the Gibraltar Straits – View from our hotel
Walking through passport control I briefly flashed my British passport and received a sort of ‘welcome home nod’ I suspect all Brits and EU nationals alike get the same nod. For EU residents no visa is required but for people outside of the EU regular UK visa rules apply for Gibraltar.
Anyway, with our passports checked and clear of customs we had officially arrived in Gibraltar, United Kingdom and the next step of our journey would be to cross Gibraltar Airports runway to leave the border zone. The passage into Gibraltar form the border goes directly over the runway. Busses and cars also make this journey from the border. If you don’t fancy walking over the runway, which I should probably add is perfectly safe and normal, you can take a taxi from just outside the crossing on the UK side of the border. They are usually white mini buses FYI.
Note that minibuses and taxis from the Spanish side of the border will not enter in to Gibraltar so it’s likely you’ll be crossing the border on foot unless you plan to do so with your own vehicle.
Spain to Gibraltar – Crossing the border
A room with a view (of the rock) – Gibraltar

THINGS TO DO IN GIBRALTAR

 ✓ See the rock – it’s actually difficult to not see, but if you don’t have a room with a rock view like I did, why not take the cable car to the top of the Gibraltar rock?

 ✓ Speaking of the cable car, head to the top of the Gibraltar rock and see the famous monkeys of Gibraltar
✓ Explore the harbour – if you enjoy looking to yachts you’ll never be rich enough to own then a harbour walk should be at the top of your Gibraltar to do list

 ✓ Visit Main Street and Grand Casemates Square and get to know the real Gibraltar locals and all

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