Take the road less travelled and venture up the ‘Spanish Stairs’ to get to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar

You will avoid getting squashed in a cable car, bus or taxi, and still be rewarded by spectacular views of the Mediterranean to Spain and Morocco.

Michael Madsen shares the authentic Andalusia with you

Michael Madsen shares the authentic Andalusia with you


 

 

Other than the curiosity value of being a small part of the UK which has a land border with Spain, Gibraltar itself is not a must-see as far as I´m concerned

The view from the Rock, however, is breath-taking and well worth a visit, in spite of being a view that you unfortunately cannot avoid sharing with hundreds of other tourists.

Regardless, you will need tickets for the nature reserve on the Rock. Buy tickets here

How to stear clear of the tourist masses in Gibraltar - and how to get a truly authentic experience there

Unless you are arriving by plane or sea, you have to cross the border from the  neighbouring town of La Linea de la Concepción.

You will have to go through customs and border control, though fortunately this is a lot quicker and easier nowadays than it used to be.

If you are driving across by car, you can park in the large parking garage just past the airport.

First impressions are of an ugly, run down and slightly seedy town, with a lot of traffic and construction noise.

Fortunately these soon melt away as you reach the old city wall and the pedestrian zone within.

 

It is the view from the top of the rock that makes the visit worthwhile

It can be reached on foot, by cable car, by bus or by taxi.

The comfortable choice is a taxi shared with up to 8 people, costing 35 euros per person, including entrance fees to the Nature Reserve.

The taxis all run a scheduled route to the traditional sights and viewing points, which means that there are 15 – 20 taxis in line waiting for their corresponding tourists to move forwards.

It is relatively well organized, but you do not exactly feel alone in nature or with the monkeys – there are tourists everywhere!

How to stear clear of the tourist masses in Gibraltar

Option number 2 is taking one of the official tour buses, which carry approximately 25 passengers and are of course cheaper.

However, as with option number 1 above, with the 8 – 12 tour buses gathering together at the sights, there is no escape from the melee of tourists.

Your third option is to take the cable car, which involves queueing up before being packed into a tight cabin, and eventually getting out onto the same piece of rock as hundreds of other tourists.

The advantage of taking the cable car is that you have time to walk around on the rock unhurried.

If you walk up you will have expended most of your energy by the time you get there, and if you take the bus or taxi you will be briskly shepherded back on board after just a short stop there.

So we have three options which are all variants of a well-oiled tourist processing machine

And then finally there are the ‘Spanish Stairs’. Not a well-oiled machine, and definitely not for the weak of limb or dizzy of head.

Rather, it is an ancient stairway built by the Spaniards before the British arrived on the Rock, and with very uneven and varied steps.

According to the taxi drivers, it is downright dangerous, but then they would say that as if you take the stairs that means lost earnings for them.

Either way, braving the Spanish Stairs is probably your most authentic option: the Rock in the raw.

Only recommended if you are in shape, and remember you still have buy entry tickets for the national park (see how below).

How to get a truly authentic experience in Gibraltar

St. Michael’s Cave, which is one of the stops with the taxis and tour buses, is not worth a visit – unless you have never seen a stalactite cave before.

Go for the views instead, and it’s ok if you only see them from the top.

There’s no need to try to see them from every possible angle.

The monkeys are fun to see, but you will see them anyway no matter what route you take.

Don´t forget to book tickets to enter the nature reserve on the Rock!


 
Back in town you will find the main street, called Main Street.

It is lined by expensive shops, British pubs, Spanish-style cafés and restaurants, and a lot of tourists.

Enjoy a pub meal of shepherd’s pie or fish ‘n’ chips, and then make a quick exit.

Head over to the nearby Bohemian town of Tarifa – also touristy, but less so.

We loved exploring the lovely streets and squares, as well as the many fine shops and restaurants – they really have made an effort here!

Stear clear of the tourist masses in Gibraltar

This is how you experience the many opportunities in Gibraltar:

Gibraltar tour from Malaga
Excursion to Gibraltar
Delfins by Gibraltar
The cable car in Gibraltar
Guided tour on Gibraltar
The monkeys on Gibraltar

 

3 beautiful places to stay in Tarifa – not far from Gibraltar:

Room Tarifa. You found it on Autentical.com! It can, however, only be booked on Booking.com:

 

 

See it Booking.com

Arte Vida. You found it on Autentical.com! It can, however, only be booked on Booking.com:

 

 

See it Booking.com

Silos 19 Suites. You found it on Autentical.com! It can, however, only be booked on Booking.com:

 

 

See it Booking.com

 

 

Selected – and unique – farm stays from Booking.com:

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Don´t take our word for it! Hear our guests´ opinions:

“Our stay and Rikke and Michael’s place was incredible!”
“Our stay at Rikke and Mikes was fine”
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“El Arpa is a truly exceptional place”
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