Traveling in Europe is much easier and less expensive than traveling in the US. My first journey out of England was to San Roque, Spain. San Roque is a little village about 10 minutes drive from Gibraltar, almost as far south as you can go in Spain.
EasyJet flies into Gibraltar International Airport from loads of European airports, but depending on the time of year, it might be 3 times the price of flying into Málaga. If you fly into Málaga, you have to take a bus to San Roque, so it involves about 4 more hours of travel.
Speaking of the flight, the Gibraltar runway is one of the shortest in the world, and the wind is fierce and unpredictable. If you make a slight mistake you will either hit the rock of Gibraltar, or land in the sea. I have incredible respect for the pilots who fly into Gibraltar International Airport. Not to worry, though. If the conditions are too dangerous, the pilot will land in Málaga and you’ll have to catch the bus.
GIB is a simple airport. Hustle through passport control and make a quick border cross into La Línea, Spain. Drive 10 minutes northwest and you land in San Roque. This town of around 30,000 people sits high up on a steep hill, giving you stunning views of the sea, the rock of Gibraltar, and on a clear day you can even see Morocco. Orange trees line the narrow, cobblestone streets with buildings dressed in white stucco, terracotta roof tiles, and bold wooden shutters. There’s no question. You’re definitely in Spain.
San Roque is the cleanest city I have ever been to. On a daily basis I witnessed someone sweeping our parking lot where I stayed. It’s also quite a compact city, so it’s easy to walk everywhere you go.
Things to do in San Roque
In the center of the city is a lovely park and walkway with a fountain in the middle called Alameda de Alfonso XI. This is a wonderful place to go on a warm day for fresh air and sunshine. Around the perimeter of this park you can find a few restaurants. We ate at Cervecería Cruz Blanca and it was delicious. We shared a massive seafood sampler and some tapas with huge flavors. You should have a seat outside and enjoy some fresh seafood!
Mercadillo de San Roque
This gigantic street market takes place every Sunday in the city. With over 150 stalls, there is literally something for everyone at Mercadillo de San Roque. You can buy food, clothing, crafts, artwork, and everything in between. Get there in the morning when it opens and explore the whole market.
Nearby travel destinations
One of the best things about San Roque is its proximity to other amazing sites. Castellar de la Frontera is a small town with a beautiful castle. Enjoy breathtaking views as you explore the grounds.
Inside you’ll find a hotel and host of small cottages where you can stay. It is quite a fascinating place and It’s just a 30 minute journey in a car.
Tarifa, Spain, which is the southernmost point in Europe, is just 30 minutes beyond the castle. Here, you can stand where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea. Have a walk and wander through the historic city taking in the sights.
Watch wind surfers and kite boarders harness the wind and waves, then catch an afternoon beer and a bite to eat at one of the many pubs.
Gibraltar makes for a fantastic day trip. You could stay there, but it’s much more expensive than San Roque and you’d miss out on all that Spanish charm.
It’s a must that you take an official tour of the rock. There was a booth as we crossed the border into Gibraltar where we booked our taxi tour. We joined others in a van and made our way of the rock. See the monkeys, explore the caves, and take in the views from the top. Then, head into town for some tapas and beers!
If you’re traveling to Southern Spain, this is definitely a great destination. The convenience of San Roque and proximity to a variety of exciting activities makes for an action packed vacation. Have a look at the gallery to see some of the photos from my visit to San Roque, Spain. Prints are available for all of these, so if you don’t see the one you want in the store, reach out via the contact form and I will take care of it.