Gibraltar Photo by Alexander Awerinr

Gibraltar Driving Guide

Gibraltar is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-23 · 9 mins

Situated along the southern tip of Spain, this almost 7km2 stretch of land is considered the 4th smallest country in the world. But despite its size, Gibraltar actually holds a rich, intriguing history full of disputes and wars — and all of which were because of a mighty rock believed to have been cut by the mythological Hercules himself. With this, the conquest of Gibraltar started with the seizing of the great Rock of Gibraltar in 1309 and lasted until 1783.

Beyond the artifacts and structures of its combative history, Gibraltar presents a diverse collection of unique tourism destinations. These include castles overlooking cliffs, caves, viewing decks, gardens, nature reserves, tunnels, and restaurants. Driving in Gibraltar might become one of your most memorable trips. So put out your driving license, pack up your best Mediterranean wear, and head on over to Gibraltar!

How Can This Guide Help You?

In this guide, you will find some of the most fundamental but equally important driving and travel “how-to’s” in the country. This includes getting a driving license in Gibraltar, the most important road rules, renting a vehicle, road directions toward the different destinations, and many more! By the end of this guide, you will hopefully become more confident wherever you decide to drive in Gibraltar.

General Information

Traveling to Gibraltar is a worthwhile experience, even if it’s your only destination in Europe. But before booking that well-deserved trip, brush through the succeeding sections to help you prepare for the trip.

Geographic Location

This quaint country is found at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It is bordered in the north by Spain, in the west by the Bay of Gibraltar (Bay of Algeciras), in the east by the Alboran Sea, and in the south by the Strait of Gibraltar.

Figuratively, Gibraltar is just a stone’s throw from Africa. Specifically, the nearest point in Africa found in Morocco is just less than 22 km from Gibraltarian shores. There are even ferry services that would take you to Morocco and back should you wish to extend your travel to the African Continent.

Languages Spoken

Since Gibraltar is a territory of Britain, English is the official language of the country. However, since Gibraltar is a regional economic gateway in Europe, you should not be surprised to hear multilingual Gibraltarians. Other foreign languages spoken in Gibraltar are:

  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Arabic

Despite the strong foreign influence in the country, Gibraltarians also have their unique dialect. This is called Llanito, and it is a mixture of Andalusian Spanish, English, Maltese, Portuguese, and Genoese. When you’re in Gibraltar, can you try to find out why Europeans call the Llanito language the most bizarre dialect in the entire continent?

Land Area

Gibraltar covers an area of less than 7km2. The highest point towers at 426 meters above sea level and the rest of the country are nearly flat. Topography and geography influence the country’s climate, together with the immense Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea at the forefront. The country experiences four (4) distinct seasons:

  • Autumn: August to September
  • Winter: December to March
  • Spring: March to May
  • Summer: May to August

During the summer, average temperatures come in around 24.3oC, with sunshine that lasts for about 10.5 hours a day. On the other hand, wet and cool winters give an average temperature of about 13.5oC. Levanter Winds (easterlies) bring in the damp and rainy weather during the spring, while Poniente Winds (westerlies) bring warm, humid weather during the summe

History

The story of Gibraltar dates back as far as 100,000 years ago with the SETTLEMENT of the Neanderthals. The limestone rock of Gibraltar provided a safe home for its primitive ancestors, which you will be able to see when you visit the country. However, the first major settlements in the country were with the Moors of Tarek ibn Ziyad during 711A.D.

Because of its strategic location, the Rock of Gibraltar was a subject of many conquests by different empires. Between 1309 and 1783, the Rock of Gibraltar witnessed a total of 14 major sieges. The last great siege started in 1779 between the Spanish and British, and it lasted for four (4) years. Finally, in February of 1783, the British were able to keep the Spaniards away permanently. Since then, Gibraltar has remained a British Overseas Territory, mainly serving as a naval base that guards the gateway to the Mediterranean.

Government

As a British Overseas Territory, Gibraltar still stands independently, except for its defenses. The governor is the head of government, and he/she is appointed by the British sovereign. Likewise, the governor appoints his council of ministers who come from the Gibraltar parliament. Since Gibraltar also parliamentary democracy, the members of parliament are elected by the public.

Tourism

Between 2006 and 2018, the number of tourist arrivals in the country increased by over 34%. From over 8 million visitors in 2006, the country welcomed almost 12 million after 2018. Apart from being the main gateway to the Mediterranean, Gibraltar is most known in the tourism industry for the iconic Rock of Gibraltar.

Towering at 1,396 feet above sea level, the landmark overlooks the entire Strait of Gibraltar, the Bay of Gibraltar, and the western Mediterranean. The rock is believed to be over 100,000 years old and is filled with underlying limestone caves that served as dwellings for primitive humans. At present, visitors can tour the different caves, ride the cable car up the rock, and climb the Mediterranean steps to the peak.

IDP FAQs

All tourists are required to have a valid driving license to legally go driving in Gibraltar. Due to Great Britain’s full withdrawal from the European Union in 2020, you may need to secure an IDP even if you come from a European Union Member State. This means that native driving licenses will not be honored in Gibraltar, especially if they are not written in the Roman Alphabet.

Again, to drive in Gibraltar, you have to possess a 1968 IDP. Always be careful. If you’re planning on driving to Gibraltar and pass through other countries, you should double-check which type of IDP is recognized in those countries. For example, if you pass through Portugal before Spain, you may need to secure a 1949 IDP

Can I Use a U.K. Driving License in Gibraltar?

Since Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory, the government recognizes the U.K. driving license as a valid driving license. This means that you can legally go driving in Gibraltar using your unexpired U.K. driving license alone. However, U.K. license holders are still encouraged to obtain an International Driving Permit due to its added benefits. Plus, if you’ll be driving through other countries before Gibraltar, an International Driving Permit may be necessary for those countries.

Do I Need a Tourist Driving License in Gibraltar?

Travelers are not required to obtain a local driving license if they only have a tourist visa. As such, tourists don’t have to take a driving test in Gibraltar to drive legally. Travelers who possess residence permits are allowed to apply for a local driving license, and as such, they are the ones who will have to take a driving test in Gibraltar.

How to Get a Driving License in Gibraltar?

The Government of Gibraltar can only issue an International Driving Permit to permanent residents and individuals who hold a Gibraltar driving license. If you don’t satisfy these qualifications, you can apply for an International Driving Permit with the International Driver’s Association

You can apply for an IDP with the IDA before you travel to Gibraltar or upon arrival in the country. As long as you have an internet connection, you can get an IDP in as fast as 20 minutes, and it will be sent to you via email. This means that you can apply for it anywhere you will be in Gibraltar or anywhere you will be in the world. However, note that the IDP issued from IDA is not an official translation of your license. It still can help you narrow the gap of language as a major difference.

What Are the Requirements For Getting a Driving Licence in Gibraltar?

You are qualified to apply for an International Driver’s Permit for Gibraltar if you are at least 18 years old and in possession of a valid driving license from your home country. Some countries allow younger driving ages like 16 and 17, but you’ll still not be allowed to get an IDP if you haven’t reached 18 years old

For tourists, the International Driving Licence requirements are a valid native driving license and passport-sized photos. Take note that you’ll be requested to upload scanned copies of these documents for verification.

Another common follow-up question we get is that do foreigners need to enroll at a driving school in Gibraltar? Well, tourists are not required to enroll in driving schools in Gibraltar for them to drive legally. However, if you are not accustomed to driving on the right-hand side of the road, you are highly encouraged to undertake driving lessons in Gibraltar. Another good alternative would be to practice in a driving range in Gibraltar before you head out on major roads.

How Do I Apply for an International Driving Permit in Gibraltar?

To apply for an International Driving Permit in Gibraltar, all you need to do is go to the International Driver’s Association website’s homepage and click on the orange button in the upper right corner of the page.

You will be redirected to the application form, where you’ll start your application process. The flow of the application process includes:

  • Choosing an IDP plan
  • Typing-in your personal information
  • Specifying your delivery details
  • Paying for your IDP
  • Verifying your identity
  • Waiting for confirmation

Renting a Car in Gibraltar

When you have received your International Driving Permit, you can now rent a car to start your Gibraltar road adventure! Don’t forget to bring it wherever you go, together with your valid native driving license.

Car Rental Companies

Despite being a small country, you’ll still be impressed to find plenty of car rentals in and near the area. If not inside Gibraltar, there are also a lot of hire car rentals near the border with Spain.

Most of these companies welcome advanced online bookings, which is what really is recommended to save time, and probably money too! Here are some car rental companies that you can check out:

  • Autos Aguirre Rent a Car
  • Avis Alquiler de Coches Gibraltar
  • Budget Gibraltar
  • Interrent Gibraltar Aeropuerto
  • Gib Rental Car
  • Hertz

Documents Required

To rent a car in Gibraltar, you’ll need to present your valid driving license from your country of residence and your International Driving Permit. Besides, some car rental companies only allow drivers to rent if he/she already has at least one year of driving experience, and has a good driving record. With this, you may be asked to present proof or a record of your driving history.

Vehicle Types

Since all roads in Gibraltar are well paved, you don’t need to rent vehicles for rugged terrains. There are plenty of vehicles for city driving in Gibraltar like sedans, minis, and passenger vans. You can also rent SUVs and other luxury cars if you prefer them. You just need to make sure that the car you are renting is in great condition before you drive them out on the road.

Car Rental Cost

According to Kayak, the average car rental rate in Gibraltar is USD52/day. You can find car rentals below USD33 if you look for them. Car rental prices also fluctuate. The cheapest rates are usually offered between November – March, while the highest rates are usually observed between April-September.

There are ways to save on rental costs, though. Apart from traveling to the country during non-peak season, you can book in advance or rent economy cars instead. Economy cars in Gibraltar are in very good conditions, so you still get the value of your money.

Age Requirements

The minimum age to rent a car in Gibraltar is 21. However, drivers who are under 25 years old are required to pay an extra surcharge. Also, if you are below 25 years old, you should have had your license for at least three (3) years already. This means that if you are, for example, 23 years old, you should’ve gotten your driving license when you were 19 or younger.

Young drivers have been known to be more aggressive on the road and have yet to master their driving skills. Hence, they are more of a risk for car rentals. The same goes for people who are over 75 years old (or 70 in some countries). Their capacity to react to certain situations naturally deteriorates, including their mind and body coordination. Hence, some car rental companies may also charge more for people who are over 70 years old.

Car Insurance Cost

The cost of car insurance premiums depends on your age, the type of vehicle you are going to rent, the number of years you have been driving, and your driving history. For short-term car rentals, you’ll only be paying daily rates. You won’t have to pay monthly, quarterly, or yearly premiums. Likewise, you won’t need to apply for the insurance yourself. All car rental insurance applications will be taken care of by your rental company. All you need to do is pay through them

Car Insurance Policy

The minimum car insurance coverage in Gibraltar is third-party liability insurance. If you are bringing in a car from another country, you have to bring with you the car insurance documents. Apart from the basic third-party liability insurance, car rental companies may also offer you comprehensive car insurance, a combination of theft, fire, and third party insurance, and personal accident insurance

It is highly recommended that you buy personal accident insurance because, without it, the insurance company would not be able to pay for your medical expenses in case you come into an accident. Another rider that you can inquire about is the road assistance coverage. In case of a car breakdown, you won’t need to spend a lot on car rescue and repair.

Other Facts

Renting a car in Gibraltar isn’t that difficult. For one, the requirements are only a few, and your car rental company will take care of all the paperwork. Also, a lot of car rental companies have been developing their systems, streamlining their processes, and increasing convenience for their customers. If you aren’t convinced of renting a car for your trip yet, see more of the facts below.

Is It Better to Rent a Car in Gibraltar?

Without your own car, you can go around Gibraltar by taxi, by bus, or by chartered car with a designated driver. Buses are the most popular form of public transportation, and they cover five (5) routes. These include

  • Upper Town (Route 1)
  • Referendum House to Willis’s Road (Route 2)
  • Gibraltar Airport to Europa Point (route 3)
  • Rosia to Both Worlds (route 4)
  • Frontier (border) and Airport to Market Place (route 5)
  • Mt. Alrvernia (route 7)
  • Black Strap Cove to the middle of Main Street (route 8)
  • Rosia to Market Place (route 9)
  • All other routes (route 10)

One-way bus tickets cost between £1.00 - £1.80, while day passes cost between £1.50 - £2.50. Riding public transportation can be cheaper if you plan your itinerary well enough. This means that you’ll need to calculate and consider the distances and the average time you’ll need to spend at each destination.

If you’re planning to visit multiple destinations in a day or don’t have much time in Gibraltar, it is recommended that you charter a car and do self-driving on Gibraltar instead. This will save you a lot of precious time and energy.

Do I Need to Take Driving Lessons to Rent a Car in Gibraltar?

Apart from the convenience of driving with your own native driving license, you don’t have to take driving lessons to rent a car in Gibraltar! This means that you won’t have to worry about taking any practical exam, studying for a driving test, and passing both!

Nevertheless, you are welcomed to enroll in a driving class in the country, especially when you are not used to driving on Gibraltar’s driving side. This is very important because the old city roads in Gibraltar are very narrow, so you need to know how to maneuver them.

How Much Is the Cost of Driving Lessons in Gibraltar?

Driving lessons in Gibraltar depend on the type of vehicle you want to train in, the number of training hours you prefer, and sometimes even the route you want to practice. Some schools charge between £260 - £475 for complete packages, but you might find cheaper rates if you do more research or ask the locals once you arrive in the country. Intensive driving courses could regularly run between five (5) - nine (9) days

Here are some driving schools that you can check out in Gibraltar:

  • Flinstones Driving School
  • Drivetec Driving School
  • Hill Starts Driving School
  • J.T. Driving School
  • A-Class Driving School
Gibraltar Pedestrian Sign Photo by Michal Mrozek

Road Rules in Gibraltar

The country’s size is one reason why it’s exhilarating to go driving in Gibraltar. You can go around the entire country in less than a day! But of course, this shouldn’t make you forget that there are still certain road rules to follow. Especially that Gibraltar has a bustling city center and sloped roads, safety is of utmost importance.

Important Regulations

Road regulations are the most important things you’ll need to remember when driving in Gibraltar. If you fail to comply with any of the rules, you’ll be in violation and will have to pay a corresponding fine or risk imprisonment. There are plenty of road regulations in Gibraltar, and this section will give you some of the most important.

Drunk-Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs dampens your mental and physical activeness. This means that you will not be able to think clearly, respond rapidly, keep your focus, and maintain your mind and body coordination. These could lead to catastrophic incidents for you and other road users. A drink drive is strictly prohibited.

This is why Gibraltar has set the following alcohol limits:

  • Breath Alcohol Level - 35 micrograms per 100 ml of breath
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration - 80 milligrams per 100 ml of blood

Parking Laws

Since Gibraltar is a small country with narrow roads, parking is strictly regulated. Roadside parking is possible but on selected roads only. With this, you have to park your car in designated parking lots. If you’ve forgotten the common areas where private-vehicle parking is not allowed in general, here is a shortlist of areas not to park in:

  • Don’t park in an area that will block traffic signs
  • Don’t park on a pedestrian footpath
  • Don’t park in areas designated for motorcycle parking
  • Don’t park in a garden hall, an entrance hall, a government residential building, or any other communal area
  • Don’t park in an area that will block the normal flow of traffic
  • Don’t park in loading and unloading bays
  • Don’t park in bus stops

The Minister allows parking in public spaces only when there are official parking demarcation lines. Likewise, if you wish to park in any of the areas stated above, you’ll have to secure a Certificate of Exemption from the Ministry

General Standards

All local drivers in Gibraltar undergo a strict licensing process. As stated in the law, no person taking a driving test will be allowed to pass if he/she is not fully conversant with the highway code; or if he/she cannot read the registration mark pasted onto the vehicle, 20 meters away. Likewise, all applicants for the issuance of a driving license have to pass the medical examination or have to present proof that he/she is physically and mentally healthy

The bottom line is, there should be no reason why drivers should act irresponsibly on the road, even during emergencies. The same expectations are put forth in foreign drivers who have obtained their licenses from their home country.

Speed Limits

How fast can you go driving in Gibraltar? The roads in Gibraltar are considerably narrow. Since it's a relatively small country, it implements a universal speed limit in all areas, with some road sections having specific limits. If you don’t see speed limit signs, you should maintain a driving speed between 30mph - 50mph.

Driving Directions

Gibraltar has ample directional signs. It would be hard to get lost while driving around the country because signs are just everywhere. The challenge perhaps in driving around Gibraltar is turning and driving through narrow roads, especially when there are oncoming vehicles from the opposite direction. With this, you should remember that driving in Gibraltar is at the right hand side of the road and give space to other vehicles, not unless they signal for you to go ahead.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic road signs in Gibraltar are printed in British English. Likewise, the shapes and icons used in the traffic signs follow universal standards. This means that directional signs are in rectangular shapes, regulatory signs are in circular shapes, while warning signs are in triangular shapes.

Directional signs inform you of the locations. These inform you where you are at the moment and if you are on the right route. Directional signs are often seen on intersections and street corners. Examples of these signs include



  • This way to
  • Street names
  • Arrow signs
  • Kilometer signs
  • Service facility signs (like “H” for hospital)
  • Road zone signs (like “Bicycle Lane” and “Pedestrian Crossing”

Regulatory signs instruct drivers what to do and what not to do. These signs often come with penalties if they are disregarded. When you come across a regulatory sign, you should follow whatever it says. An exemption to this, perhaps, is if there is a traffic enforcer. In such cases, the instructions of the traffic enforcer should be followed more than the traffic sign. Examples of regulatory signs include:



  • No stopping anytime
  • No parking
  • One-way only
  • Turn left
  • Yield
  • No honking of horns
  • No U-turn

Lastly, warning signs inform you of potential road threats or obstructions ahead. If you come across a warning sign, it would be best to reduce your speed. Examples of warning signs include:



  • Falling rocks ahead
  • Slippery road
  • Uphill/downhill
  • Blind curve
  • Merging traffic
  • Roundabout ahead

Right of Way

It’s important to know the Give Way rules when driving in a foreign country. Some right-of-way rules are common in most countries, while some may be slightly different. In Gibraltar, the right-of-way rules are similar to other countries. The rules are as follows:

  • Yield signs denote right of way. When you approach a junction and see a yield sign, reduce your speed and allow oncoming traffic to pass first before you proceed or make your turn. If you don’t see a yield sign, the right of way is given to:
  • Emergency response vehicles (ambulance, police car, fire trucks, and other emergency response vehicles)
  • Vehicles inside the roundabout
  • Vehicles who have entered the intersection and junction
  • Vehicles that are driving downhill

For Gibraltar residents, individuals who have reached the age of 17 can apply for a learner’s license. However, the minimum legal age to be eligible for a full driving license is 18 years old.

Once you step foot in Gibraltarian territory, this rule would also apply to you. This means that even if you have a full driving license from your home country but still have not yet reached the age of 18, it would be illegal for you to drive in Gibraltar. This would also make sense considering that you’ll not be allowed to apply for an IDP if you’re not 18 years old or older

Laws on Overtaking

If you want to overtake the vehicle/s in front of you, you should do so carefully and quickly. You should make sure that there is no road obstruction ahead (like oncoming traffic) before you maneuver to the left. When you are out of the lane, drive quickly past the vehicle in front of you but don’t forget to signal for it to know that you want to overtake.

You shouldn’t overtake another vehicle in a corner, a road bend, or in an intersection. Likewise, avoid overtaking when you are at a roundabout or when you are driving uphill/downhill.

Driving Side

What Is the Driving Side in Gibraltar? Gibraltarians drive on the right-hand side of the road. This becomes tricky for those who are used to driving on the left-hand side of the road. Some road sections in Gibraltar have sharp turns, even in sloping areas or roads leading to the top of the hill/rock.

Tourists who are used to driving on the left-hand side of the road are encouraged to take driving lessons first just to practice the reflexes. You don’t have to take the regular driving lesson schedules that usually last 3-9 days. You can talk to your car rental company and ask if they offer special or customized packages.

Other Road Rules

You can get a comprehensive list of all traffic road rules in Gibraltar through the Gibraltar Highway Code Booklet. These are mostly given to those who are taking driving lessons; nevertheless, you can access them online.

What Are Other Driving Rules in Gibraltar?

Safety on the road is not just dictated by the rules mentioned above. Those should be observed along with the other important road rules. Here are the other rules outlined in the Highway Code Booklet:

  • Seatbelts should be worn at all times
  • The use of a mobile phone while driving is prohibited
  • No using of car horns between 9:00 pm to 7:00 am within built-up areas
  • No using of car horns while stationary on the road
  • Using of full headlights at night is prohibited (only dipped headlights)
  • Signal before making any turn

Driving Etiquette in Gibraltar

To further the safety of all road users, all drivers must also practice and maintain proper driving etiquette. Driving etiquette is likened to road rules but is not placed in legal writing and has no corresponding penalties when openly disregarded. Apart from promoting road safety, it will ensure peace and harmony among road users.

Car Breakdown

Suppose your car breaks down while driving around the country, the main thing you’ll need to do is to see and try if you can push your car to the side of the road. If you have road triangles, make sure to place them at a distance behind and in front of your car to inform other drivers that you are in an emergency. Afterward, contact your car rental company.

In case your car broke down because you met a collision while driving in Gibraltar, do not panic. Check first if there are other hazards that developed during the accident, like fires, loose electrical wires, smoke, and the like. If you see a potential hazard, immediately move away from your vehicle.

Check also if there have been other road users involved in the accident. If you need emergency assistance, you can dial up 112. This is the universal emergency hotline of Gibraltar, and the operator will be the one to contact the police, the ambulance, or the fire department, depending on whoever is necessary.

Police Stops

To enhance security and safety on the roads, traffic police regularly patrol the streets. The Ministry has also put up traffic cams in various road sections, especially at roundabouts and intersections, to monitor the traffic remotely. In any case that you get waved-over by traffic police, you should carefully drive your car to the side of the road and avoid disregarding the police. You can politely ask the officer about your violation and accept if there are penalties

Asking Directions

If ever you find yourself lost while navigating the roads, you can always ask the people around for help. Since the language in the country is English, you can use the sentences below. It would also be helpful if you bring with you a map in case the local himself/herself is not familiar with the area you want to go to

  • “Hello!”
  • “Excuse Me”
  • “Can you help me?”
  • “I am headed to ___. Can you tell where I should pass through?”
  • “Is this the correct road/street towards ___ ?”
  • “Thank you very much!”
  • “Have a good day!”

Checkpoints

Checkpoints in Gibraltar are only in major points of entry. These are mostly manned by police and immigration officers. Apart from the La Linea border gate, checkpoints also exist at the international airport and the seaports. When you enter and exit the country, you’ll have to go through these checkpoints. Make sure to prepare your passport beforehand and other identification documents like your International Driving Permit.

Other Tips

You should always drive safely anywhere you go as accidents can happen anytime, with or without traffic. Good driving behavior will keep you away from the hazards of other irresponsible drivers, and it will keep your travel stress-free.

What Should I Do Before Heading Out to Drive?

You need to ensure that your car and yourself are in top shape. Yes, about yourself, you need to make sure that you’re physically well enough to drive. If you are sleepy, have taken any drugs, including the prescribed ones, or feel any unusual sensation in your body, you need to take ample rest first before driving.

About your car, you must make sure that all parts and systems are running smoothly. This includes



  • Tires
  • Windshield wipers
  • Steering wheel
  • Brakes
  • Mirrors
  • Lights
  • Oil
  • Gas
  • Car horn
  • Water levels
  • Clutch
  • Door locks

Driving Conditions in Gibraltar

Before you go driving in Gibraltar, you might also want to know about the road conditions in the country and whether it is safe for tourists to go around. It pays to know the road situation in the country you’re visiting to be prepared

Accident Statistics

The road situation in the country has come a long way since the 1980s. Before 1993, the number of road accidents in the country totaled to over a thousand every year. It has since decreased, and in 2016, the total recorded road accidents were at 476. With regards to road accident fatalities, between 1985 – 2016, the numbers were only between 1 and 5, while the rest were injuries. As the government continues to strengthen its traffic management system and information-education campaigns on road safety, the number is projected to decrease more in the coming years

Common Vehicles

Private motor vehicles comprise the largest percentage of vehicles in Gibraltar, followed by motorcycles, then commercial vehicles. The country has been recognized as the country with the highest number of vehicles per capita. This means that there are as many private cars in the country as there are people. You can find a lot of vehicle types in Gibraltar, from economy sedans to two-seater smart cars, to Ferraris, Mercedes-Benz’, Ford SUVs, and many more

Toll Roads

There are no toll roads in Gibraltar. Passing through the main highway is free regardless of what vehicles you are driving. What’s even amazing with this is that even if Gibraltar isn’t collecting any toll fees, the roads are very well maintained, even those “old city” roads and streets.

Road Situations

You’d be delighted to know that all roads in Gibraltar are paved. There are, however, occasional potholes, but the government is active in implementing road resurfacing works to maintain safe road conditions in the country.

To accommodate the country’s size, roads in Gibraltar are narrow, unfortunately causing traffic congestion. In most parts, the roads are also steep, even within the town centers. To address this, the traffic management department of the government has implemented one-way traffic systems that diffuse major intersections.

Driving Culture

It would seem that the entire country is quite tight-knit in terms of structural density. With this, people make it a point to only use their car horns when it is very much necessary to avoid noise pollution. As much as possible, avoid using your car horn when you’re driving around the town area. Another interesting thing is it is also a custom to bring reflective vests in the car at all times. The driver and all passengers have to have one reflective vest.

Other Tips

Contrary to the usual wet summers and dry winters, Gibraltar experiences the opposite. So depending on your preferred travel season, make sure to pack in the right kinds of clothes before you go driving in Gibraltar. Here are some other facts to give you a better picture of the country:

Is It Safe to Go Driving through Gibraltar Roads?

Since the roads are well-paved, it is relatively safe to go driving through Gibraltar. The top concern facing traffic safety managers, however, are overspeeding drivers. As such, extra caution is advised when driving through the following road sections:

  • The Devil’s Tower Road
  • Waterport Road
  • Bishop Caruana Road
  • Rosia Road
  • Winston Churchill Avenue
  • Queensway Road
  • Europa Road

Where Can I Park My Rental Car in Gibraltar?

It would be good to note that non-resident vehicles are not allowed to enter the Gibraltar Nature Reserve, Upper Rock (except for Blue Badge Holders). In case you bring in a car from other countries, you’ll have to park it somewhere and join a pre-arranged tour instead to visit the reserve.

There is free parking in Grand Parade at the cable car bottom station. However, if you prefer other areas, here are some other nearest car parks around the country, with rates for non-Gibraltar residents:

  • Mid-Town Car Park (Reclamation Road): £0.80 - £1.80 per hour
  • International Commercial Center (Line Wall Road): £1 - £2 per hour
  • Ocean Spa Plaza Car Park (Entrance along Bayside Road): £0.60 - £1.30 per hour
  • Devil’s Tower Road Car Park (Devil’s Tower Road): £0 (free) - £1.50 per hour
  • World Trade Center (Bayside Road): £1.50 per hour (flat rates also available for more than nine hours)

Things To Do in Gibraltar

As cliché as it may sound, there is more to Gibraltar than its stuffed history and tourism destinations. Visitors sometimes find themselves going back to the country multiple times because of its unearthly charm. If you’re thinking about staying in the country for a long time, below are some things that might interest you

Drive as a Tourist

Brew your own adventure and go self-driving in Gibraltar. Having your own road adventure will require you to plan everything — from choosing your own set of destinations and activities to going on your own time and just doing whatever gives you joy at the moment without worrying about time. Do away with tour packages (except if you want to go inside the nature reserve) because all you need is your native driving license and your International Driving Permit to drive as a tourist in Gibraltar.

Work as a Driver

If you are interested in working, you can go for driving jobs in Gibraltar. Tourist visa holders are not technically allowed to accept driving jobs in Gibraltar. Individuals who drive for work need special permits and licenses to do so.

For one, the law requires that professional drivers have a vocational driving license in Gibraltar. Second, for those interested to drive buses and trucks, they have to secure a driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). Third, certification would mean that you’ll have to take specific driving tests, which require a Gibraltar learner’s permit or a full driving license.

Suppose you are interested in staying longer in Gibraltar. In that case, you can apply for a temporary residence visa for three months to five years, which in turn would allow you to secure the special driving permits mentioned above.

Work as a Travel Guide

Jobs in Gibraltar are usually between 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. However, travel guide jobs are more exciting because it is not an office job. You get to go out every day. Plus, even though there is tourist season, you can expect that your job will not be “seasonal” because Gibraltar does not run out of tourists all year round.

Apply for Residency

If you want to stay longer than six (6) months, you’ll have to apply for a residence permit. The requirement and process to obtain one depend on whether you are a resident of a European Union (EU) member country or not. All applications for residency are to be done at the Civil Status and Registration Office.

EU Country

If you come from an EU-member country, you have to secure employment in Gibraltar first or start a business. You will automatically be awarded a six-month residence permit upon entry and then a 5-year residence permit that is renewable.

Non-EU Country

If you come from a non-EU country, you’ll have to apply for a residence permit under the Immigration Control Ordinance. However, before that, you have to prove that your financially capable of supporting yourself, and likewise have to purchase a property where you’ll live. You’ll also have to secure work first and be granted a work permit before you can apply for residency.

Other Things To Do

If you’re interested in helping out with various social, environmental, and health issues, you can do so while traveling in Gibraltar. You’ll not only see the different destinations, but you’ll also get to know more about the people.

Where Can I Volunteer in Gibraltar?

If you want to make valuable contributions while traveling and driving in Gibraltar, there are many non-government and government organizations/programs in Gibraltar that you can volunteer to. These cover a diverse range of issues and sectors, all working towards a better and more sustainable Gibraltar.

You can check out the following groups and/or programs before traveling to the country:

  • Red Cross
  • Cancer Relief
  • Childline
  • Gibraltar Citizens Advice (Here 2 Advice)
  • Gibraltar Heritage Trust
  • Gibraltar Botanic Gardens Volunteer Program

The Top Destinations in Gibraltar

Despite having one (1) of the smallest land areas, Gibraltar fits in a lot of interesting destinations. Here is a run-through of some of the most recommended sites in the country, along with some tips on which routes to take to get to the destination.

Europa Point  Gibraltar Photo by Kent Rebman

Europa Point

Europa Point is the southernmost point of Gibraltar. In this area lies the infamous Trinity Lighthouse that guides all fleeting sea vessels. This 49-meter above sea level lighthouse was erected in 1838 but only began to operate in 1841. Accounts say that the first lighting of the tower beam was one of the most spectacular events at that time, enticing over 2000 spectators. At present, it continues to shine its light on all modern-day sea vessels up to 27 kilometers away from the shore with its 2016-installed LED bulbs.

Driving Directions

Europa Point is about 6.0 km from Gibraltar Airport. If you hadn’t noticed it yet, Gibraltar Airport is also near the northern border with Spain. This means that the distance from north to south is only about a tenth of a marathon

It will only take you about 13 minutes or less to drive to Europa Point from the airport on a good day. The fastest route is through Sir Herbert Miles Road.

  1. To exit the airport, take the 3rd exit on Winston Churchill Avenue.
  2. At the first roundabout, take the 3rd exit towards Devil’s Tower Road.
  3. Continue to drive straight onto Sir Herbert Miles Road.
  4. This will connect directly to the Dudely Ward Way and the Europa Advance Road.
  5. At the roundabout on Europa Advance Road, take the exit onto Levanter Way, the access road to Europa Point

Things to Do

Apart from overfilling your brain with the interesting facts and history of the lighthouse, Europa Point has more “significant zones.” Here are other things you can do while at the Point.

1. Tour the Trinity Lighthouse

You might be wondering what’s so special about a lighthouse. When you visit the Trinity Lighthouse, you’ll not only get stunning views of the entire Strait of Gibraltar, but you’ll also learn about the early systems used to produce light and how the mechanisms evolved. Guided tours are available during the day.

2. Visit the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque

The Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque is one of the largest mosques in a non-Muslim nation. This is a famous stopover for road trips because visitors get to see the beautiful architecture with the ocean as its backdrop

3. See the 19th-century Harding’s Artillery Battery

The Harding’s Artillery got its name from Sir George Harding, Gibraltar’s Chief Engineer during 1844. The battery you’ll see at present is the restored version of the original 24-pound cannons. When you visit this today, you’ll see a 50-tonne, 12.5-inch RMNL gun with an 1870-battery

You can visit all zones in Europa Point free of charge or with no admission fee. However, some zones have different opening schedules.

  • Harding’s Artillery: 9:00 am - 8:45 pm, Mondays to Fridays
  • The Shrine of Our Lady of Europe: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm, Mondays to Fridays; 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm, Tuesdays to Thursday
  • The Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, daily

Catalan Bay

Catalan Bay is a small gray-sand beach cove on the eastern side of the Rock of Gibraltar. Also known as La Caleta, it is the second-largest beach in the country. The area was originally a fishing village during the 19th century where fishers had to secure a permit from the governor.

Driving Directions

Catalan Bay is just a short 6-minute drive from the Gibraltar International Airport. It is about 2.5 km from the airport if you pass through Devil’s Tower Road.

  1. Exit the airport by taking the 3rd exit onto Winston Churchill Avenue.
  2. At the next roundabout, take the 3rd exit toward’s Devil’s Tower Road.
  3. The Devil’s Tower Road will take you directly towards Sir Herbert Miles Road.
  4. Continue to drive straight along Sir Herbert Miles Road.
  5. After about 500 m from the starting point of the Sir Herbert Miles Road, turn left towards Catalan Bay Road (the access road to the beach)

Things to Do

If you prefer a quieter, more secluded day at the beach, you can check out Catalan Bay. The best time to visit would be from May to October, considering the weather. However, these months are also peak season so expect more people, both local and foreign, in the area.

Here’s what you can do in Catalan Bay:

1. Stay at the Caleta Hotel

The Caleta Hotel is a 4-star hotel directly along Catalan Beach. It is perched on top of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. If you get a room on the other side of the building, you’ll also have stunning views of the Rock of Gibraltar. The hotel also features al fresco restaurants and world-class spa services.

2. Experience Fine Italian Cuisine at Nunos

Nunos is located at the Caleta Hotel. When you visit Catalan, definitely try dining-in at Nunos, and choose from their best selections of seafood, pastries, and pasta. Plus, the outdoor seating is perfect for romantic dinners.

3. Climb the La Mamela Rock

This rock protrudes over the beach near Caleta Hotel. If you climb up, you can take a picture with the sea and the Caleta cliffs as your backdrop. Also, if you visit the area in September, you may be able to witness the Blessing of the Sea, a religious festival wherein the statue of the Virgin Mary is brought from the church to the shore.

The Gibraltar Skywalk and Windsor Suspension Bridge

The Gibraltar Skywalk and Windsor Suspension Bridge are two (2) of the newest additions to the growing list of tourism sites in Gibraltar. If you are into adrenaline-pumping adventures, make sure not to miss these areas when you visit the country.

Driving Directions

The fastest way to get to the area is via Queensway Road. It will only take you about 18 minutes or less to get to the area on a good day from the airport. However, take note that these sites are located within the Nature Reserve. Hence, you’ll need to book a tour. Nonetheless, the directions are as follows

  1. From the airport, take the 3rd exit at the roundabout towards Winston Churchill Avenue.
  2. At the next roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Bayside Road.
  3. Then at the 3rd roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Glacis Road.
  4. Continue driving until you reach the 4th roundabout.
  5. Take the 2nd exit towards Queensway Road.
  6. At the next roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Ragged Staff Road.
  7. Follow Ragged Staff Road and take the 1st roundabout exit to Rosia Road, where you’ll take the 3rd exit again towards Elliot’s Way.
  8. Elliot’s Way turns slightly to the right and becomes Europa Road.
  9. Turn slightly to the left towards Engineer Road.
  10. Once you reach the base of the Mediterranean Steps, turn left towards Queen’s Road.
  11. Follow Queen’s Road up to about 1000 m.
  12. You will find the entrance to the Windsor Suspension Bridge near the junction to your left.
  • To get to the Skywalk, from Queen’s Road:

  1. Turn right onto Spur Battery Road.
  2. Spur Battery Road will turn to the left slightly towards St. Michael Road.
  3. Follow St. Michael Road up to about 650m.

Things to Do

You can visit the Gibraltar Skywalk daily between 7:00 am - 10:00 pm. As for the Windsor Suspension Bridge, you can visit it between 9:00 am - 6:15 pm daily also

1. Walk Through Glass Panels High Above the Mediterranean.

The Gibraltar Skywalk is a former military lookout, 340 meters above the Mediterranean. It was rebuilt using 30,000 kg of steel, glass walls, and a 2.5 m-wide glass walkway where visitors can experience an exhilarating visual drop. Interestingly, the new skywalk was built with 42 glass panels that could add up to about four (4) tennis courts.

2. Cross the Windsor Suspension Bridge


The 71 m-long suspension bridge hangs 50 meters above a deep gorge and gives visitors magnificent views of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, Gibraltar Bay, and the city. What’s also exciting about the bridge is that, because of its design, hikers who brave to cross it will feel some slight wobbles, but at safe levels, of course!

3. Enjoy the View on Your Drive Up

Both of the attractions are located on the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. Most road sections going up the rock have stunning, obstructed views of Gibraltar’s west coast. The drive up alone is already a taste-tester of what you’ll experience when you get to the Skywalk and Suspension Bridge.

St. Michael’s Cave

Below the limestone Rock of Gibraltar is more than 150 caverns of stalactites and stalagmites. The Cave of St. Michael is the most famous, and it lies about 274 m above mean sea level. The cave served as a shelter for Neanderthals more than 400 centuries ago. You can visit it daily between 9:00 am – 6:15 pm

Driving Directions

St. Michael’s Cave is about 6.1 km from the Gibraltar International Airport. The fastest way to the cave is via Queensway Road. It should you about 16 minutes or less to arrive at the spot.

  1. From the airport, take the 3rd exit at the roundabout towards Winston Churchill Avenue.
  2. At the next roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Bayside Road.
  3. Then at the 3rd roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Glacis Road.
  4. Continue driving until you reach the 4th roundabout.
  5. Take the 2nd exit towards Queensway Road.
  6. At the next roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Ragged Staff Road.
  7. Follow Ragged Staff Road and take the 1st roundabout exit to Rosia Road, where you’ll take the 3rd exit again towards Elliot’s Way.
  8. Elliot’s Way turns slightly to the right and becomes Europa Road.
  9. Turn slightly to the left towards Engineer Road.
  10. Once you reach the base of the Mediterranean Steps, turn left towards Queen’s Road.
  11. Follow Queen’s Road up to about 1000 m.
  12. Then turn right onto Spur Battery Road.
  13. Spur Battery Road will turn to the left slightly towards St. Michael Road.
  14. You will find St. Michael’s Cave about 50 m from the junction.

Things to Do

The limestone Rock of Gibraltar is known as a hollow mountain full of caves and underground passages. In particular, legend has it that St. Michael’s Cave was once an exit point of a subterranean channel that goes all the way to Morocco; and that the cave was an apparition site of St. Michael the Archangel

1. Watch Live Performances at the Cathedral Cave

The Cathedral Cave was once thought to be bottomless. Now it is a 400-seater underground concert hall that is frequented by artistic performances, including ballet. You certainly don’t want to miss St. Michael’s Cave when visiting Gibraltar!

2. Explore the Smaller Chambers

If you are not claustrophobic, you can go through the small holes to reach other chambers. Chambers that are open to the public are guaranteed safe, so you don’t have to worry about anything

3. See the Underground Lake

St. Michael’s Cave is divided into the Upper and Lower sections. The upper sections are the highly accessible portions, while the lower sections have only been accidentally discovered during World War II. If you visit the cave, definitely go and see the underground lake. The entire cave is entirely in its natural state except for the lighting that keeps visitors safe

If you have more questions about driving in Gibraltar, the driving license in Gibraltar for tourists, driving directions, and travel restrictions, do not hesitate to get in touch with the International Driver’s Association.

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