Gibraltar's apes

Gibraltar's famous apes, although strictly-speaking they are tailless monkeys.  The stuffed black ape was my 6 year old son's new toy - the apes mugged him for it 5 minutes after we bought it.

London this morning, Gibraltar tomorrow night, by train!

Gibraltar, named after the Arabic name for the Rock, Jebel Tarik, is just across the bay from the Spanish port of Algeciras, the railhead for anyone travelling to Gibraltar.  It's easy to reach Gibraltar by train from London or Paris or Madrid, leaving any morning and arriving next day in the evening.  It's a scenic ride too, especially in Andalucía, see the video.  This page will tell you the train times, fares and how to buy tickets.

Train times, fares, tickets & information...

  London to Gibraltar by train

  Useful country information:  Currency, tourist info, dialling code...

  Video guide: Gibraltar to Madrid by train showing train & scenery

  Hotels in Gibraltar

  Buying add-on tickets from other UK towns & cities

  General information on train travel in Europe

  Luggage   Taking your bike   Taking your dog

  Train travel within Spain


Useful country information

Train operator in Gibraltar:

There are no trains in Gibraltar, but buses link La Linea (at Gibraltar's frontier with Spain) with Algeciras every 30-45 minutes, taking 45 minutes. 

For train times & fares in Spain, see www.renfe.comEurostar times & fares    

To check any European train times: http://bahn.hafas.de.  To check for problems affecting trains through France (in French) see www.infolignes.com.

 

 

Time zone:

 

GMT+1 (GMT+2 last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

 

+350

Currency:

 

£1 =  £1

Tourist information:

 

www.gibraltar.gi/tourism

Hotels:

 

Find a hotel in Gibraltar, Algeciras or Madrid

Page last updated:

 

18 December 2013.  Train times valid 15 Dec 2013 to 14 June 2014.


London to Gibraltar

Gibraltar, named after the Arabic name for the Rock, Jebel Tarik, is just across the bay from the Spanish port of Algeciras, the railhead for anyone travelling to Gibraltar.  It's easy to reach Gibraltar by train from London or Paris, this page will tell you train times, fares and how to buy tickets:

London ► Gibraltar

Gibraltar ► London

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets online...

The easiest and cheapest way to book your London to Gibraltar train journey is online.

How to buy tickets by phone:  UK 0844 248 248 3, overseas +44 844 2482483...

To buy tickets by phone, call International Rail on 0844 248 248 3, lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday.  Overseas callers call +44 844 2482483.  Unlike some other agencies, International Rail are equipped with both the French and Spanish rail ticketing systems, so can sell the cheapest fares for all the trains from the UK to Gibraltar.  They charge a £10 booking fee for bookings under £100, £20 for £100-£300, £30 above £300.  Eurostar, Trainhotel & Renfe tickets will usually be emailed to you as e-tickets, so there's no postage fee or delay.  For more information on buying European train tickets, see the How to buy European train tickets page.

What are the trains like?

By Eurostar from London to Paris...

 

A Eurostar about to leave London St Pancras...  All you need to know about Eurostar.

 

Why not have lunch at the wonderful Train Bleu restaurant in Paris? www.le-train-bleu.com.

By TGV Duplex from Paris to Barcelona...   Watch the TGV Duplex video

The new Paris to Barcelona service is operated by impressive 186mph TGV Duplex double-decker high-speed trains.  You board the train through a wide sliding external door into a small hall at one end of the lower deck, where an internal door opens into a lower deck seating area.  A wide, short & easy flight of stairs leads from the entrance door to a landing at one end of the upper deck.  You walk along the train from car to car at the upper level, and the café-bar is also at the upper level.  There are toilets both upstairs & downstairs.  When booking, you can choose a seat on either upper or lower decks if you use www.capitainetrain.com or www.loco2.com or book by phone, but not if you book at any of the Rail Europe websites.  If you have problems with stairs or very heavy luggage, the lower deck might be best.  But for the best views (over the top of the occasional sound barrier along the high speed lines!), definitely choose an upper deck seat.  For couples in first class, an upper deck 'club duo' table-for-two is easily the best option.  More pictures & an account of what to see on the Paris to Barcelona journey.

A TGV Duplex about to leave Paris Gare de Lyon   Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.

Boarding a double-deck TGV Duplex at Paris Gare de Lyon.  You can now easily travel from London to Barcelona in a day by Eurostar & TGV, a relaxing day catching up on your reading over a bottle of wine.  And it isn't even particularly expensive if you follow the advice on this page!  Watch the TGV Duplex video

 

The upstairs landing on a TGV Duplex showing the stairs down to the entrance door...

Upper deck second class on board a TGV Duplex.     The bar on the upper deck of a TGV Duplex

2nd class seats on TGV Duplex upper deck.  There's a mix of unidirectional seating & some tables for 4 like this.

 

The cafe-bar on the upper deck in car 4, serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, snacks and microwave-style hot meal dishes....

Mt Canigou in the Pyrenees

Mt Canigou & the Pyrenees...  One of the highest peaks in the mighty Pyrenees, the 2,784m (9,137 feet) Mt Canigou dominates the skyline on the right of the train all the way from Perpignan to Girona.  More pictures & an account of what to see on the Paris to Barcelona journey.

First class on board a TGV Duplex   An impressive TGV Duplex.

1st class seats on TGV Duplex upper deck.  That's a 'club duo' on the left & a 'club quatre' on the right.

 

A TGV Duplex at Barcelona Sants.  The red near the door indicates 1st class, pale green 2nd class.

By AVE from Barcelona to Antequera-Santa Ana for regional train to Algeciras...

These superb-quality AVE high speed trains are amongst the classiest trains in Europe.  They have three classes, Preferente (premium 1st class seating), Turista Plus (1st class seating but without any food) and Turista (2nd class).  AVE trains run at up to 186 mph over the Spanish high-speed lines.  Most trains between Barcelona and Andalucia are the S102 type shown below, little articulated single-axle Talgo carriages sandwiched between strange-looking duck-billed power cars, hence the nickname 'pato', Spanish for duck.  The final destination of the Barcelona-Antequera train will be shown on the departure boards as Malaga.

A 'pato' S102 AVE train, of the sort that runs Barcelona to Antequera & Malaga   Cafe-bar on an S102 AVE train

AVE Pato which means 'duck'.  No prizes for guessing why.

 

Cafe-bar...

AVE Tourist class seats on an S102 AVE train   AVE Turista Plus seating on an S102 AVE train

AVE Turista class.  Comfortable seats, 2 abreast each side of the aisle, mainly unidirectional with some tables for 4...

 

AVE Turista Plus class.  Reclining seats, power sockets for laptops & mobiles, mainly unidirectional with some tables for 2 & 4.

AVE Preferente class on an S102 AVE train   An S102 AVE train

AVE Preferente class.  Large leather reclining seats, power sockets for laptops & mobiles.

 

An S102 AVE... All aboard!

By bus or taxi from Algeciras to La Linea (Gibraltar)...

Bus M-120 for La Linea (Gibraltar's frontier) boarding at Algeciras bus station.   The Rock of Gribraltar, viewed from a taxi approaching La Linea

Bus M-120 boarding at Algeciras bus station

 

Rock of Gibraltar, seen from a taxi approaching La Linea.

At Algeciras, the bus station is just across the road (well, around the roundabout) from the railway station.  This is an M-120 bus for La Linea boarding at the bus station.  The bus links Algeciras with La Linea, 250m from the Gibraltar frontier, every 30 minutes on weekdays at xx.00 & xx.30 past each hour, every 45 minutes at weekends, fare €2.30, journey time 45 minutes.  The bus station is directly across the road (well, around the roundabout) from Algeciras railway station, behind the Octavio Hotel.

Alternatively, a taxi from Algeciras station to Gibraltar town charges a fixed price (non-meter) of €24.75.  There are normally plenty of taxis available when the train from Madrid arrives.

Gibraltar - Tangier ferries...

A fast ferry occasionally operates from Gibraltar to Tangier, run by www.frs.es.  There were Friday & Sunday evening crossings a few years ago, there may be none now.  At other times, simply take the bus from La Linea (Gibraltar's frontier with Spain) round the bay to Algeciras (every 30 mins, journey time 30 mins) for the ferry from there to Tangier.  See www.trasmediterranea.es, www.comarit.com or www.balearia.com to check sailing times & fares.


Watch the video:  Gibraltar to Madrid by ferry & train...

This video shows the fabulous scenery between Gibraltar and Madrid.  The trains to Barcelona take the same route between Madrid & Algeciras.


In Gibraltar...

Gibraltar Governor's residence   Phone kiosk

The Governor's residence...

 

Typically British telephone kiosk....

Gibraltar cable car   Rock of Gibraltar on a cloudy day

The cable car up to the top of the Rock...

 

The Rock of Gibraltar viewed from the top cable car station.  It's a cloudy day, and we're above the clouds...

Gibraltar's apes   Rock of Gibraltar from the sea

The famous apes.  There's a fine for feeding them, but watch it, they'll pinch your own food right out of your hand!

 

The Rock of Gibraltar, seen from one of the regular Dolphin safaris leaving from Marina Bay - www.dolphinsafari.gi


The Thomas Cook European Timetable

Thomas Cook European Timetable -  click to buy onlineThomas Cook Rail Map of Europe - buy onlineThe European Rail Timetable - highly recommended!

Formerly the Thomas Cook European Timetable, this has train & ferry times for every country in Europe plus currency & climate information.  It is essential for regular European train travellers and an inspiration for armchair travellers.  Published since 1873, it had just celebrated 140 years of publication when Thomas Cook decided to pull the plug on their entire publishing department, but the dedicated ex-Thomas Cook team have set up a private venture and published the first edition of a reborn European Rail Timetable in March 2014.  You can buy it online with worldwide shipping at www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on what the European Rail Timetable contains.

Two excellent maps of the European rail network...

The Thomas Cook Rail Map of Europe (no longer in print, but 2nd-hand copies available via www.amazon.co.uk) and the Travellers' Railway Map of Europe (buy online for €13 + €5.50 worldwide delivery at www.treinreiswinkel.nl/railway_map_of_europe with worldwide delivery) are the two best & most comprehensive maps of train routes right across Europe, from Portugal in the west to Istanbul, Moscow & Ukraine in the east, from Finland in the north to Sicily & Crete in the south.  High speed & scenic routes are highlighted.  Both maps are highly recommended.  A new edition of the Thomas Cook Map is likely to be published by the European Rail Timetable team in 2014, see www.europeanrailtimetable.euMore information on rail maps, including free online maps.


Find hotels in Gibraltar...

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Rock Hotel, Gibraltar...

Opened in 1932, Gibraltar's Rock Hotel nestles under the Rock at the far end of town, with a relaxing pool area across the road, complete with poolside bar.  Many famous people have stayed here, from Winston Churchill to Sean Connery to Errol Flynn.  Don't expect cutting edge design - if anything the rooms are a little tired and in need of refurbishment - but it's one of the classic hotels in Gib, a stone's throw from the lower cable car station and a 10 minute walk from the heart of Main Street.  In the summer, dinner is served al fresco by the pool.  The breakfast buffet is good, but ask for fried egg rather than taste their powdered scrambled egg!

The Rock Hotel, Gibraltar   Rock Hotel's swimming pool and poolside bar

Travel insurance & health card...

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without insurance from a reliable travel insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash (up to a limit) & belongings, and cancellation. An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, though, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from www.ehic.org.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on mobile data and phone calls...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find a huge bill.  Consider buying a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone from www.Go-Sim.com, which can slash costs by up to 85%.  Go-Sim cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also allows cheap data access for laptops & PDAs.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not used between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.

 


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