A word to the wise when visiting Gibraltar Part One

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ONE OF the great things about living in the Costa del Sol is the wide range of towns and attractions to visit.

Gibraltar has been a magnet to visitors for years and if you haven’t been there, then a day trip is certainly worthwhile for a combination of shopping and sightseeing.
Many tour operators organise daily coach trips to the Rock and equally plenty of people are happy to enjoy the drive as it is only 140 kilometres from Malaga and obviously less from other points on the coast.

Assuming you decide to drive, there is some form of motorway either paid or free almost all of the way passing through Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, La Cala de Mijas, Marbella, San Pedro, Estepona, Casares Costa, Manilva, Duquesa, Guadiaro, and San Roque before diverting to La Linea de la Concepcion.
Once one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Europe, it’s now an easy drive with plenty of places to stop en route unless you travel on the AP7 but even then, that road merges with the A7 at various points.

When you arrive at La Linea, you have two basic options, either park in the large modern car park by the border and walk over or follow the easy to understand directions to take your car across the border.
Whatever you do, make sure that you have your passport or EU id card and papers showing ownership and insurance for the car. If you are approached by anyone asking you to purchase an entry permit into Gibraltar, ignore them as they local con artists.
Be prepared for a queue as the main road in Gibraltar, Winston Churchill Avenue traverses the airport runway and is closed for flight departures and arrivals, although in time a tunnel under the runway is planned.
The runway is often busy as it caters for commercial flights (up to 16 arrivals and departures on certain days), private jets and the RAF so tailbacks are not uncommon and if you arrive early in the morning you could be caught up in rush hour traffic as there are 10,000 Spanish residents working on the Rock.
You will need to have your id ready to show the Spanish National Police and then the Gibraltar immigration officers and after passing through the Gibraltar customs check, you are on your way.
If you have parked on the La Linea side then you can catch a taxi or bus into the centre of Gibraltar, with the majority of shops lining each side of Main Street.
Just before the runway is one of Gibraltar’s two main supermarkets, Eroski which actually stock a large selection of Waitrose products as well as a full range of Spanish products as well.
Travelling across the runway, you will find a number of petrol stations, all of which sell both diesel and petrol at a saving of around 30c per litre on Spanish prices so it is well worth filling up before you leave.
You can pay in pounds sterling or euros and most shops offer a sensible exchange rate although they often give change in sterling even if euros are tendered.
In the next article, we will look at the other main supermarket, Morrisons and journey to Main Street and other places of interest.

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