La Linea de la Concepcion

La Linea de la Concepcion is Spain’s port town which borders Gibraltar. On first sight having left the main N340 Cadiz to Malaga road heading for Gibraltar there seems little to detain you in La Linea as you pass the smokey chimneys of the power station and enter an uninspiring port town. However, don’t let first impressions prevail. Just behind the run down looking apartments is a pretty old centre buzzing with locals at one of the town’s many outdoor cafés.

Considering the inflated cost of staying in Gibraltar, La Linea is well worth considering as an alternative as the old town centre is only a few minutes stroll from the border post. Also if you’re driving here for a day trip to Gibraltar it’s not worth the hassle of taking your car over the border as the traffic jams on both sides really can spoil the day out. Just find the border and find a parking space in the streets next to McDonalds and walk across. There’s a tourist information right here at the end of Avda. 20 de Abril.

Taxis are available as you arrive in Gibraltar to take you to the town centre. There are also minibuses offering tours to the top of the Rock and the price includes all entrance fees. Alternatively, just walk across the runway towards town and you’ll be there in 10 minutes.

Make sure you remember your passport as it is required to cross over to Gibraltar. Also if you’re doing any duty free shopping over there don’t exceed your allowance as the Spanish police will search your bags and confiscate anything extra. And one other tip … if you decide to drive over the border and anyone approaches you whilst you’re in the traffic jam don’t hand over money for the Gibraltar entance permit they assure you that you’ll need once you get to the customs post. There is no such thing and it’s just a scam. All you need is your passport.

The Iberostar City Gibraltar hotel is very handy being on the Paseo Maritimo just 300m from the border. The AC La Linea is 2km from Gibraltar on the same road and is another fine option which offers some very attractive deals. One of the best budget options is Hostal Carlos on c/Carboneras which is a well looked after place right in the town centre. It’s well worth booking in advance as it is frequently full. Hostal La Campana on the opposite side of the street is a pleasant alternative.

The restaurant which adjoins Hostal Carlos is a real gem. Its fairly basic dining room is largely frequented by local workmen attracted by an amazing range of dishes which are available on all of its fixed price three course menus which include a bottle of Rioja wine per couple. Starters include salads, soups, omelettes, paella and even chips and eggs whilst main courses include a surprisingly large selection of meat and fish dishes. The staff are always busy, very friendly and the menus are translated to English. Provided you’re not looking for something too fancy this is well worth a visit.

Along c/Carboneras there’s a selection of interesting places to eat. Tapas Bar Patagonia next to Hostal Carboneras serves up some fine meat tapas whilst La Opereta a little further down is a pricey but high quality restaurant which also offers a good selection of tapas at its downstairs bar. La Tasca is another good choice for meat dishes and El Rincón around the corner in the alley that leads to the town hall serves cheap daily menus and tapas.

The most important tourist attraction in La Linea is the Parroquia de la Inmaculada, a beautiful 19th century colonial style church. Calle Duque de Tetuán just west of the church is characterised by the New Orleans like buildings on its corner and some interesting bars serving up typical local fried fish. There’s also a bar called Stadium Bar which has a massive screen and shows most major Spanish and English football matches. East of the church is the main pedestrianised street of Calle Real where most of the inhabitants of La Linea seem to pass their time in the long line of cafés and cake shops that line the street. Towards the end on the right is c/Ramón y Cajal which takes you into Plaza Cruz Herrera, a lively square with good local bars, Molly Blooms Irish pub and a kebab restaurant. At the end of Calle Real turn right and you’ll find a few more nice bars notably Puerta del Sol and Taberna de Juan which is also a fine choice for dinner. The main post office (Correos) is directly opposite.

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