Gibraltar is often used as a great base from where to explore Andalucía in general and the Costa Del Sol and Costa de la Luz in particular.
With direct daily flights to Gibraltar from London Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh, many visitors find it more interesting to fly to Gibraltar and spend few days there, combining the famous Rock with neighbouring Spain. Starting your holiday in Gibraltar is easy and even if you are staying on the Spanish side, getting the GibraltarPass is your best way to see all the top attractions on the famous Rock under one ticket, including use of public transport, the cable-car a guided minibus Rock tour, along with freebies such as free wine, free tapas, free gin tasting and plenty of other discounts, for a perfect day tour of this unique British territory. Once you have explored Gibraltar, the Spanish countryside and coastal resorts in proximity to Gibraltar offer a diverse mixture of nature trails, traditional white villages, glamorous marinas and great beach resorts.
Here are the top 5 day trips to Spain from Gibraltar:
The coastal town of Estepona, located only 35min drive from Gibraltar is the Costa del Sol’s real gem. The old quarter has been transformed in recent years to become the flower garden of the Costa. Thousands of colourful flower pots decorate its ancient cobbled – stone streets; each street boasting a distinctive colour scheme, giving it a unique feel and a great photo location. Moving slightly out of the old quarter, another distinctive attraction added in recent years has been the creation of massive street art, namely murals and huge paintings that cover entire buildings.
The most famous of these street paintings is the “fisherman” mural which extends over 4 buildings. Estepona is also home to tropical botanical gardens housed in a purposely built modern glass structure with waterfalls and a variety of tropical plants. On Sundays, a large market is held at the Estepona Marina amongst the many restaurants, cafes and bars that line the yachts filled marina. During the week, there is a market in the old quarter as well as bustling pedestrianized shopping street. And no visit to Estepona can be completed without a leisurely walk along the town’s long beach promenade, frequent by street performers and offering plenty of kids playgrounds, sports installations, cafes and off course one of the best sandy beaches on the Costa del Sol.
Also known as the surf capital of Spain, Tarifa is THE place to be for kite-surfing and other sea sports activities.
Situated only 30min drive from Gibraltar, Tarifa is situated in the middle of the Strait of Gibraltar and enjoys year-round windy conditions ideal for surfing and sailing.
It is also a great base from where to take whale-watching boat trips as well as being the closest point to Morocco, with frequent ferries crossing from Tarifa to the city of Tangier in Morocco, only a mere 45min away.
The surfing scene has made Tarifa a very popular destination for young adults, with a buzzing nightlife and many beach parties in the summer along the numerous beach bars and other venues that stretch all the way from the town centre to the lovely sandy beaches on the outskirts of the town.
This traditional Spanish white village is perched on the edge of a cliff about 30min drive inland from Gibraltar. The village is full of charming narrow streets and alleyways, traditional tapas-bars, art galleries and historical remains. The old castle and church at the top of the hill on which the village lies, offer spectacular views onto the Costa del Sol, with Gibraltar and the mountains in Morocco also visible in the distance on a clear day. It is also amazing to watch the large numbers of Griffon Vultures that fly around the cliffs surrounding the village, gliding just meters away from the people.
4. Jerez de La Frontera:
Situated an hour drive away inland from Gibraltar, Jerez is a major cultural city, known for the production of the red Sherry wine and flamenco dancing. The city has many Bodegas offering tours of the vineyards, combining wine tasting with cheese and ham along with explanations of how the Sherry is produced.
Jerez also has a vibrant music scene with numerous venues offering live shows featuring traditional Spanish music and flamenco dancing. Jerez is also a great shopping destination. The Area Sur shopping centre and the adjacent large retail outlet attract shoppers from the entire region. Near the shopping centre, the famous Jerez Zoo is also a great place to spend time with the kids. There is also a professional motorbike racing circuit on the outskirts of the city.
Situated just 20min drive away from Gibraltar, along the coast, Sotogrande is
the “Beverly Hills” of the Costa del Sol. Home to many of the rich and famous, this upmarket resort town is filled with large mansions and villas surrounded by 4 prestigious golf courses, polo clubs and beach clubs. The Sotogrande marina is the place to be and be seen, with plenty of upmarket cafes, restaurants and bars, amongst the luxury yachts that line up this
thriving marina. A vibrant market is also held in the marina on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer season.
While Gibraltar is indeed small and most of its key attractions can be visited in one day, especially if using the GibraltarPass, you can spice-up your Gibraltar vacation by using it as an excellent base from which to make day-trips into neighbouring Spain, thereby enjoying the best of both worlds!