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Holiday in Andalusia - flying to Gibraltar or Malaga?

(22 Posts)
clevername Tue 16-Feb-16 23:20:59

We're just about to book a house in a lovely village in Andalusia and we're wondering about the best option for flights. Hoping some seasoned travellers on here might have experience to share?

We will be flying mid-week (Weds to Weds) in June. Gibraltar is closer than Malaga to where we are going (not massively so, Malaga is about 45 mins further) and it's cheaper, too (if we fly with EasyJet) but I've heard that it can be a bit of a nightmare (getting across the border, potential for diversion if stormy, car hire more expensive etc). Does anyone have any experience of this?

Also, last time we flew there (Malaga) we went with Ryanair and I swore I wouldn't do it again - the queues were dreadful and their strict baggage rules (and my inability to travel light! This won't change, btw, try as I might!) made things difficult. So if we do choose the Malaga option, I kind of like the idea of going with BA, but Monarch and Easyjet are also options... I'm trying to get the balance between cost and comfort and ease - any opinions on this would be gratefully received.

I realise I'm probably overthinking this a bit but we don't go away much (this will be our first proper holiday since 2011!) and it's our first with our 2 year old DD so I want it to be as pain-free and easy as poss.

Thanks for any advice/opinions you can offer...

PolovesTubbyCustard Wed 17-Feb-16 10:12:58

I would always fly to the nearest airport.

However I know little about Gibraltar apart from a day trip years ago when staying on costa del Sol.

I wonder if car hire is simpler of you go across the border on the bus and THEN hire your car? In Spain.

Might be worth looking on trip advisor forum pages for Gibraltar and see if anyone else has done this journey. I find it v useful on there to sort out the finer details of my holidays.

clevername Wed 17-Feb-16 13:53:11

Thanks, Po. Someone told me that car hire on the Spanish side might be a good idea. But I'm worried that will be too faffy with a two year old/luggage etc. I think I'd rather get off the plane, pick up the car and head to our house without the extra bus journey... maybe I'm overthinking this again?!

Will check out TripAdvisor, thanks.

BarbaraofSeville Thu 18-Feb-16 13:45:07

All the Gib car hire places are on the Spanish side (La Linea). You just go through the border, cross the road and there is an underground carpark and some shops, and a McDs and a Burger King - all the car hire offices are just there.

It is literally a 2 minute walk from Gibraltar airport which is tiny - you could easily have to walk further in Malaga airport from the plane because it is so big and busy.

Walking across the border is usually quick and easy unless you coincide with the morning or evening commutes of people who live in Spain and work in Gib.

And when you fly back, you can buy extremely cheap spirits in the Airport duty free. Last time I went I got a litre of gin for £5 that costs over £20 here.

Where are you staying? I love that area and have been loads and have flown to both Gib and Malaga and would usually go with Gib, especially if closer and cheaper.

clevername Thu 18-Feb-16 16:13:32

Thanks for all the info, Barbara. I had sort of convinced myself that Malaga was the best option (not least because we could get a later flight over there which would mean no hotel at Gatwick the night before and the car hire seems loads cheaper) but your message has made me think! I convinced myself it would be really tricky at Gib but you've made it sound really easy (and cheap gin!)... hmmmmmmm, more thinks...

We're going to Gaucin - we've been once before and loved it.

Is Easyjet good to fly with in your experience?

Cheers for your help.

BarbaraofSeville Thu 18-Feb-16 16:22:32

Oh, I love Gaucin. And Casares, Manilva, Ronda etc etc etc envy

Never flown with Easyjet. We fly from Manchester on Monarch if flying to Gib.

When I said before that all the car hire places are in Spain, I probably meant all the cheap Spanish ones that we use. There might be a couple of offices from the big brands in Gibraltar Airport itself, but I think they keep the cars in the La Linea underground carpark anyway.

Watch out when comparing car hire prices - there can be a lot of added extras on arrival. I've heard good things about Brunos

Cornwall73 Thu 18-Feb-16 16:46:41

My gran is from Gaucin! Lovely area of Spain, much better than the eastern coast.

Since having kids we have always flown to Gib as we visit family there. DH pops across the border to Spain and does paperwork and collects car then drives it over the border to collect us from the airport. It depends how much luggage you are taking and if one can carry it across the border whilst the other is pushing the buggy. Crossing the border on foot is easy and the car hire places are either in the underground car park on the other side or places like Sixt do a meet and greet service at the taxi rank on the Spanish side.

We have done a combination of BA and easy jet as its not just the price but also the timings. Very early morning and late flights wouldn't work for our two as they are too set into their routines and we prefer to time flights with naps. Both were good and accommodating to toddlers.

Pre kids we used to sometimes fly via Malaga and I remember it being very large and busy at peak times. There could be big queues for car collections and add to your travel time.

clevername Thu 18-Feb-16 16:56:00

It's so lovely isn't it? Completely fell in love with the place when we were there in 2011... can't wait to go back.

We went to Ronda briefly during our week there (it was really hard to drag ourselves away from Gaucin!) and Casares for literally 5 mins on our way to airport... we must be more adventurous this time. We're thinking of getting the train up to Ronda this time because that's supposed to be amazing.

Thanks loads for the info... you've given us lots to think about and look into. We're stuck with Easyjet if we go to Gib as they are the only ones who have flights in the AM on the day we want to travel (we can't be flexible at all unfortunately). But I'm sure they'd be fine.

weegiemum Thu 18-Feb-16 17:00:33

Glad to hear the area is lovely! We're going to Casares in July (have booked a villa with pool!) and are flying to Malaga because Gib is awkward from Glasgow.

Any top tips of things to do? I've been reading my guide book but am always on the lookout for more ideas (especially any that will tempt a 12, 14 and 16 year old away from the wifi!)

clary Thu 18-Feb-16 17:05:13

I wouldn't fancy flying into Gib as the runway goes out into the sea - Google it!

We went to Andalucía several years ago and flew to Malaga, stayed in
Gaucin too! and then a week in Nerja. Granada fab, also Ronda. Amazing restaurants everywhere is a major memory.

clevername Thu 18-Feb-16 17:14:53

Just seen your post, Cornwall - thanks for your help.
Gib is definitely looking appealing now (honestly, it's not just the promise of cheap gin...).

Apart from the Ryanair aspect of our list trip to the area (I wasn't remotely anti-Ryanair prior to this trip, they just made everything so, so, so annoying that I was badly put off), Malaga airport seemed really pleasant and easy. And I'm guessing that mid-week and off-peak will mean it shouldn't be horrendously busy...

Hmmmmm, decisions decisions.

Cornwall73 Thu 18-Feb-16 17:15:55

The take off and landing in Gib are the best bits of the travel! Only very experienced pilots can do the route as it is a short run way. They have to brake as soon as they touch ground otherwise they won't make it to the other end. In the many many decades of use nothing has ever gone wrong (thank God).

LuckySantangelo1 Thu 18-Feb-16 17:20:32

Am also going to Gaucin this summer, have been a few times. If you do fly to Malaga then I really recommend the car hire firm Helle Hollis. They are located outside the terminal (you catch a bus, it takes 5 mins). Really good service, no queue, not rip off merchants. The car hire inside Malaga airport proper is always a bun fight.

Cornwall73 Thu 18-Feb-16 17:22:11

I think Malaga in the middle of the summer/school holidays would be a hellish but at other times it's fine if the price of flights and times work for you.

Never flown Ryanair, DH refuses!!

clevername Thu 18-Feb-16 17:25:02

I'm probably not the best person to answer that, Weegie... my favourite way to holiday is to rent a lush house with pool and pretend I live there for a week - floating around the town, buying produce in the market, eating, drinking, chilling. I'm sure most people would find it really boring but I love it! Having said that, I reckon with a 2-year old in tow it'll be very different this time.

We did go to Ronda, which was lovely. And there's an amazing Top Gear-worthy road down to Estepona from somewhere around Ronda (helpful, eh?) which is worth a drive. I've heard the train ride to Ronda is super-picturesque, too (planning on trying it this time).

clevername Thu 18-Feb-16 17:29:59

I've heard about the hairiness of the runway, Clary and Cornwall... it's actually on a list somewhere as one of the ten most dangerous airports to fly to!

Mr DP loves the idea of flying there for this reason. I'm OK with it. At least I think I am... June is a long way away and it's easy to feel confident about something in the future!

We used Malaga Car last time, Lucky, and they were really good - I seem to remember someone met us and drove us to the depot... no queues or probs at all. Will check out your recommendation if we do choose to go the Malaga route though.

GreenTomatoJam Thu 18-Feb-16 17:30:43

Echo everything others have said - you walk further at Heathrow than you will walking across the border to a car hire place in La Linea!

Not much to say about diversions - it's a risk you take really...

The drive from Malaga isn't bad if you don't want to take the risk.

clevername Thu 18-Feb-16 17:36:37

I'm fine with Ryanair in principle. They just really annoyed me last time because of their stupid strictness with hand luggage weight.

It was actually my fault -I hadn't bothered to check the weight limit for the hold bag I'd booked (assumed 20kg but it was actually 15) and so we had to do some mad/embarrassing re-packing into hand luggage when we checked it in and found out it was over. Then we had to re-organise/wear more clothes etc every time there was a Ryanair hand luggage check (there were a few)... we had shoes in our pockets, extra layers on etc... it was funny at first but it then began to seriously piss me off because I realised that we all still weighed the same, we were just spreading the weight more awkwardly around our persons.

I mean, it was obviously my fault for being a dreadful (serial) over-packer but still... stressful way to start (and end) a holiday.

RakeMeHomeCountryToads Wed 24-Feb-16 22:21:54

I would fly BA to Gibraltar and if you book through BA direct you can get a very good price on Avis car hire which you can pick up at Gib airport. I just did this last week and I was pleasantly surprised with the price. Avis was cheaper than any of the hire companies in La Linea, but only if booked at the same time as your flight through BA website. We paid under £40 per day for our car. The cheapest we could find if we hired from a company in La Linea was over £45 per day.

You said in your post that you have an inability to travel light, with BA you don't need to worry about that. With Easyjet you have to pay extra for hold luggage.

For comfort and ease I would definitely recomend flying to Gib, especially with a 2 year old and luggage. Less faff!

clevername Wed 24-Feb-16 23:06:55

Thanks, Rake. The BA flight times don't work for us unfortunately. The only flight they have on the day we're leaving is at 12pm, which means we would get there too late to get settled easily (and we effectively lose a whole day of our precious holiday). And the return flight is a bit late, too.

I so want to fly BA for all of the reasons you mention... this is one of the reasons I'm seriously considering going to Malaga instead (BA works for us time-wise on this route and is only a little more expensive than the cheaper airlines).

Linok Thu 25-Feb-16 15:20:30

I often fly to Malaga and every time with Ryanair, never had a problem with them and I would say they are as good/crap as Easyjet, which I also fly often with but saying that, I never carry hand luggage with me, only my handbag stuffed with toys and nappies. I don't know where you are going to but the road along the coast from Malaga to Gibrlatar is very good and not very busy; car hire is cheaper in Spain and you can always go to Gibraltar for a day trip if you wish. If you don't need to hire a car for the rest of you holiday, you can always prebook airport taxi transfer and enjoy the swift drive to your destination.

denbarrett Mon 08-May-17 16:29:42

Can anybody recommend accommodation in Gibralter

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