Gibraltar

By | 16th January 2018

Should you rent a car in Gibraltar?

Do you need a car in Gibraltar > Should you rent a car in Gibraltar Gibraltar > Gibraltar ( GIB ) Do you need a car in Gibraltar? Is it worth hiring a car in Gibraltar? Should you rent a car in Gibraltar?

Gibraltar Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]

20%

  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Gibraltar but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
  • Cost factors include - price of car hire (peak and off peak season), car hire extras, fuel, tolls and parking costs.
  • Quality factors include - scenic drives, road quality and upkeep, general safety and congestion levels.
  • A complete index of all 10 factors will be uploaded shortly.

Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]

€90

 #86/300

  • This is the very lowest price we could find for a one week car rental period in Gibraltar during the quiet season.
  • You will almost always end up paying more than this figure, but any extra costs or supplementary charges are usually determined by the renter, so we cannot easily compare like with like.
  • In many cases, rental companies will offer a cheap rental and then expect you to take out expensive insurance waivers. There are always ways to avoid this!

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]

 €205

133/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "why not" section for more suggestions.
  • For most featured destinations, the peak season will be during the summer, typically July and August for northern hemisphere destinations. However, peak demand might occur at different times, for example in some ski resorts or winter sun destinations etc.


Free parking score

Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking. Total 6 - of which 2 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

33%

#187/300

  • Free hotel parking is very useful to have when you are hiring a car, and it's always worth checking ahead beforehand.
  • If free hotel parking is not available, you might want to consider renting a car for a single day, rather than for your whole trip.
  • The availability (or lack of) free hotel parking can be a really important factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Gibraltar, as it can be a significant extra daily cost which you won't usually be paying at home!
  • Parking costs play a very major part in our consideration of whether or not it's worth hiring a car in each destination.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

Gibraltar public transport quick facts

Train score

Higher scores go to the systems which don't just take you to the most amazing places, but also to the ones which are easy to use, fast, reliable and frequent. A good train system on its own is usually enough to determine that you don't need to hire a car in many destinations.

10%

  • [full notes trains]
  • Trains include all kinds of urban rail system from trams up to metro and suburban networks.
  • Trains also include mountain railways and cable cars.
  • Generally, places with a good rail network will automatically mean that you don't "need" to hire a car, but you can still might find that on balance you are better off by having one.

Water travel score

This is a general rating for all types of water travel, including scheduled ferries, sea / rivers cruises and excursions in Gibraltar

20%

  • [full notes - water score]
  • The water score looks at means of transport on water - it does not consider water based activities like surfing or kayaking.

Overall public transport score

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel, and also including ferries and other boat services, where they are part of the public transport network.

40%

  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Gibraltar good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?
  • Even if public transport is cheap and reliable, you might still feel that you should hire a car in Gibraltar because it will still give you more flexibility to reach out-of-the-way places, especially in rural areas.

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Gibraltar. It includes factors such as the quality of the street environment, and whether you are likely to feel safe walking or cycling, together with the availability of bicycle hire and the ease of linking walking or cycling routes with public transport.

80%

  • [full notes - active score] walking (city) | hiking | cycling (city /  country).
  • A high active travel score means that you might not need a car in Gibraltar, because you can see everything you need to see using a combination of your own two feet and the public transport system.

Car rental in - Gibraltar Need v worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Gibraltar", "is it worth hiring a car in Gibraltar", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme. Here we break each one down according to the criteria we use for each question. This is a weighted score based on the values above. These are explained further in the text which follows - [#why] [#whynot]. Do you need a car in Gibraltar?

Do you need a car in Gibraltar?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city. For the lowest "need" score, the destination should have a combination of excellent all-round public transport, great opportunities for walking and cycling, together with poor value car hire or generally poor quality roads. 
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "do I need a car in  Gibraltar " will swing towards a strong no, because you can do absolutely fine without one).
Is it worth hiring a car in Gibraltar?

Is it worth hiring a car in Gibraltar?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares? This question mainly looks at issues of cost and practicality.
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "is it worth hiring a car in  Gibraltar" will swing towards whichever option offers the lowest overall cost for a group of 2-4 people travelling together.
Should you rent a car in Gibraltar?

Should you rent a car in Gibraltar?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
  • The final "carometer" swing is much more opinion based, and it takes into account which options will give you the truly best travel experience (n our humble opinion of course). Where a destination offers an excellent score with or without a car, the swing will go towards whichever option we feel gives the most truly unforgettable experience.
  • Ultimately, it's your choice whether or not you rent a car here. We're trying to give you something that's sufficiently far enough away from a "maybe" to help you make that choice. Ultimately, people only come to us because they are uncertain, but we don't really know what each person's preferences are. Whether we say you should or you shouldn't rent a car in  Gibraltar, you might also want to look up some of our other cities to see how  Gibraltar compares with other destinations in  Gibraltar or  Europe.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.


What does everyone else do?

Do most people hire a car in Gibraltar?

This is based on our observations of (a) car rental facilities and (b) what we think most people will do here. It's not an exact figure, just an estimate of how likely people are to get hold of a rental car here.
  • his is based on the percentage of people "in the market" who we think are likely to hire a car. This includes anyone arriving on holiday here who would usually hire a car on their travels, so it doesn't include people who don't usually drive (or don't drive), people staying with friends etc.

10%

Visitors per year (million)

  • Cities with more visitors are more likely to have more complex airport car rental arrangements, and generally they will also have better public transport, but this is not always the case, especially in North America.

4

  • [full notes - do as everyone else does?]
  • You may wish to go with the flow, or you might prefer to avoid doing the most popular or obvious option. This will vary according to the range of choice available. This tends to be much higher in destinations which are closer to the middle of the car or no car scale.

Who is travelling?

Your group size and travel budget has a major impact on whether or not getting a rental car is good value compared to using public transport as your main means of getting around. Ultimately, these are all "worth" questions:

Is it worth renting a car in Gibraltar if I am a solo / budget traveller?

Generally, hiring a car is not good value for solo travellers for multiple reasons, especially as most of the costs of renting apply to the car, not the occupants. With public transport, the reverse is usually true! However, there are always some places where you will need a car, simply because they are almost impossible to reach using public transport.

Is it worth renting a car in Gibraltar for 2 people travelling together?

A rental car can be good value for couples or for friends travelling together, but since most cars come with at least four seats, it's often still better value to use public transport. However, if you prefer to keep yourselves to yourselves, then you might still want to rent.

Is it worth renting a car in Gibraltar for families?

Families of groups of 3-4 people travelling together will always get the best value from a rental car. However, you may also be burdened with extra costs for car seat hire, and you well also prefer to use local trains and buses, if they are quicker than getting stuck in heavy traffic.

Where are you staying?

The place you are staying, together with the sort of places you want to see, will have a large impact on whether or not you "need" to rent a car:

Do you need a car in Gibraltar if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

Most large towns or purpose built holiday resorts will have some kind of public transport, whereas parking provision will vary greatly from one place to the next. 

Do you need a car in Gibraltar if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

Typically you may be staying in an apartment or hmall house on the edge of a resort or urban area. These places usually have some level of public transport, but not as much as city / resort centres.

Do you need a car in Gibraltar if we are staying in a rural area?

Rural proprties might include larger villas or apartments, but they can still be within a short walk of a bus stop or local railway station, and the opportunities for hiking and cycling might also be substantial, depending on the destination.

What is your attitude towards driving?

We can give you suggestions based on whatever we consider to be a "typical" visitor to Gibraltar, but ultimately your decision is also going to be influenced by whether or not you ususally prefer to hire a car in the first place.

Should I hire a car in Gibraltar if I prefer not to drive?

This is especially the case when there is only one main driver in the group, and it's based on the attitude of the driver rather than their passengers! The main driver may also simply prefer to use public transport, or they may prefer to take scenic train journeys where available.

Should we rent a car in Gibraltar if we are easy either way?

This is more aimed at the typical visitor who isn't that bothered about how they get around, as long as it is the most convenient / best value option.

Should I rent a car in Gibraltar if I prefer to drive?

For people who usually prefer the freedom and flexibility of having a hire car. Is it still best to rent a car in Gibraltar, or are there good reasons not to?


Do you need a car in Gibraltar? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Gibraltar?", this often breaks down to two key questions:
  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Gibraltar? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?
Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Gibraltar as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Gibraltar?
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

If you are just making a short visit the rock itself, then there is clearly no need to hire a car as it is easy to walk both around Gibraltar itself and to walk from the airport to any part of the peninsula. However, for anything longer than a day or two, then you will want to head into Spain, and a hire car is going to make this a great deal easier, despite the hassles of crossing the border, however you choose to do it.

Why should you rent a car in Gibraltar?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Gibraltar?
  • Bus disconnect: A relic of tensions between the UK and Spain is that local bus services in the border town of La Linea terminate in the town’s bus station, so there is no continuity through to Gibraltar. You will need to walk across the border into Gibraltar — as a pedestrian you won’t need to queue long. Allow around 5 minutes to get from La Linea bus station to Gibraltar airport / frontier, and another 10 minutes to walk to Grand Casemates Square. First time round, this is a bit of a novelty, after that, it is easier in a car.
  • No station: Unsurprisingly, considering the long history of political tensions, there is no railway station in Gibraltar. Instead, you would need to take the boat or bus from La Linea to Algeciras, from where you can take a slow but scenic train journey to Ronda and beyond. There is only one train route available — Algeciras is very much at the end of the line. Note that the station at San Roque-La Linea is closer, but there is no public transport link to it
  • Gibraltar v Malaga flights: Car hire in southern Spain is generally extremely cheap, and prices for Gibraltar airport car hire are also reasonable. However, the range of flights to Gibraltar is relatively small compared to nearby Malaga, so you may find it easier to fly there instead and drive to Gibraltar (see below!).
  • Go West: Heading west of Algeciras, the level of development is much less intense that it is along the Costa Del Sol, and you can continue through to Cadiz and Costa De La Luz. The only realistic way to explore this area is by car.
  • Visit Seville: Although Saville itself is a traffic nightmare, public transport connections between La Linea and Seville are poor (slow bus), so a car is much better.
  • Driving right: Whereas other British territories drive on the left, driving in Gibraltar is on the right, so there is no adjustment going into mainland Spain and back.

Why not? Visiting Gibraltar without a car

What is public transport like in Gibraltar? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in 2?
  • Cable car: A cable car trip to the ‘Top’ (actually not quite, but the views are breathtaking) of the Rock to see the Barbary apes is a must — no car needed. This is the absolute ‘must-do’ experience when visiting Gibraltar, and is up there with some of Swizterland’s finest as a top European cable car trip.
  • Fill ‘er up: Petrol is cheaper in Gibraltar than it is in Spain, leading to a similar situation to that experienced by drivers going from France into Andorra – long queues of traffic, even if there aren’t any long border checks on the way in. If you happen to be leaving or coming into Gibraltar when the runway is in use, expect to wait even longer – but the site of the road being closed to let aircraft take-off or land is one to enjoy anyway! This will be ‘resolved’ by a new tunnel under the runway, but pedestrians will still cross at surface level. You can also sometimes experience long queues going back into Spain, especially during the busy summer months. This isn’t a problem on foot.
  • Rock of faith: Gibraltar is an eclectic mix of faiths, with all three major Abraham religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) having strong histories, as well as a small Hindu community being present. Despite being strongly British, the majority of Gibraltarians are Roman Catholic – although the Rock has a cathedral for both, aswell as numerous other churches and the impressive Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque, built using funds from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. This presents an opportunity for endless exploration on foot.
  • Magical History Tour: Various tours are also available around the rock, and this will give you access to places which can’t be reached by cable car or on foot. As Gibraltar packs so much history into such a small area, you will learn a great deal from taking a guided tour (I don’t usually say this, I hate packaged tours!).
  • Take the boat – a much better way of reaching Algeciras, whether for an excursion in its own right, or for onward travel by train or by ferry to Morocco, is to take the newly restored boat link. The journey time is just 35 minutes, so this is quicker than it would take to walk to La Linea bus station and get the bus, and you avoid the dreary industrail areas the bus goes past. Single journeys start from €7 in the low season, the bus is €2.10.
  • Free bus: Despite Gibraltar’s small size, regular bus services are available if you get tired of walking, and four of the five routes are free.
  • One way note: Gibraltar Airport is still a single entity, not like Basel, which counts as being in both France and Switzerland – so you can’t pick up a car here and drop it off somewhere else in Spain. However, you can easily hire a car just across the border in La Linea instead, prices are similar to Gibraltar Airport car hire.
  • The train is superb: The route winds its way to spectacular cliff-top Ronda (dare I say nearly as impressive as Gibraltar itself) before giving options to connect through to either Cordoba or Malaga. However, it is much easier to drive to Ronda, and you won’t have to go to gritty Algeciras first
  • Coach links are available from La Linea along the Costa Del Sol towards Malaga, including to resort towns like Estepona and Marbella. You can also use this coach to transfer between Malaga airport and Gibraltar, but you obviously have much more flexibility in a hire car.
  • Fly into Gibraltar, don’t drive: Whilst it is true that there are many more flights to nearby Malaga than there are to Gibraltar, the new terminal should attract more flights into Gibraltar. Low cost airlines such as Monarch, and easyJet already offer a reasonable range of cheap flights to Gibraltar from London and some regional airports. The temptation might be to look for a cheaper or more convenient flight to Malaga instead. Don’t! The view of the rock on landing or take-off is one of the most impressive of all airports. Unfortunately, there is no way of guaranteeing the wind direction, so it is best to get a window seat in both directions and hope for the right good view.
  • Morocco: For the ultimate excursion from Gibraltar, why not head across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangier and beyond. Although ferry services are no longer available between Gibraltar and Tangier, you can take the boat or bus to Algeciras first, and continue on from there. Andalusia has many fascinating Moorish relics, which are easy to tour around from Gibraltar, or, as a more spicy alternative, you could head into Morocco and fly back from there. Note that the UK Air Passenger Duty rates for flights to Morocco are the same as they are to Europe, so this won’t make it more expensive to fly out to Morocco and back through Gibraltar as an alternative.

VERDICT:

Should you rent a car in Gibraltar? Based on Gibraltar being so poorly connected to Andalusia by public transport, and Gibraltar Airport car hire prices being very reasonable compared with nearby Spanish cities, you will certainly be much better off with a hire car. However, there are various interesting options to explore both the rock and beyond by everything from cable car to boat to scenic train from slightly further afield – or indeed in a different continent! Therefore, even though a car is useful, with a bit of planning, it is perfectly easy to get by without a car.

VERDICT: YES (a car is extemely useful for driving into Spain but not essential)

 

Ratings

Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Verdict

What is our final score for Gibraltar on the Carornocar scale?

Remember, this isn't so much a rating of the road network, or a score for what we think of the buses or trains, but it's simply a scale showing the swing between whether or not we think a rental car is a good idea here.

3


Would you hire a car in Gibraltar?

Have you driven in Gibraltar? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Gibraltar}? Do you need a car in Gibraltar? For some or all of the time? Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *