This time we are in Gibraltar for a short weekend hop from the UK. Join us as we meet the monkeys on top of the rock, walk through the city streets and head for Europa Point for views of Africa.
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory on the southern Spanish coast its unique position at the bottom of the 426 meter Gibraltar Rock makes for some interesting arrivals and departures at the small airport. A micro-climate around the rock encourages unpredictable winds and cloud formations as seen on our arrival.
Flights are limited and you can only fly with British Airways and EasyJet from various UK departure points or Air Maroc from Tangier or Casablanca. The center of town is just 20 minutes walk away, so forgo the taxi and walk across the active runway something you can’t do in any other airport around the world.
Head for the Ocean Marina and take a stroll around the various shops restaurants and bars. The currency is the Gibraltar Pound and holds the same value as the UK pound. You can use UK notes and coins in Gibraltar but you might get there currency in return and you can’t take that back to the UK. So make sure you spend it all before you leave. With a backdrop of luxury apartments boats and high-end yachts this is a great place to start your break.
The huge Sunborn Yacht offers a hotel, casino and cocktails for those that are splashing the cash. We plumped for a good old english beer and a sandwich at the Irish bar. Irish bar Just a short walk from the marina and in the shadow of Moorish castle is Casemates Square. It acts as the gateway into the city of Gibraltar taking its name from the British built bomb-proof barracks built at the northern end of the square in 1817.
The large plaza has all types of restaurants and bars with plenty of outdoor seating, today you can see it’s very busy with tourists and visitors on cruise ships. Prices here are inflated to other areas so you may want to look around before picking a place to eat and drink. The main High Street is full of jewellery, perfume and duty-free shops for alcohol and cigarettes.
Worth noting that Gibraltar is not classed as part of the EU so your allowances are the same as international destinations. As you walk along the high street make sure you take detours into the little side streets that have some interesting shops bars and architecture. At the far end of the high street is John Macintosh Hall this is the main cultural centre and consists of a public library a theatre and conference hall, there’s also a small cafe.
St Jago’s Arch is a historic arch that was the original entrance to the 16th century Spanish Church it’s located right next to the Trafalgar Cemetery where some of the soldiers and sailors from this historic battle lay in rest. Our accommodation for the night was the famous Rock Hotel built into the side of the Gibraltar Rock the rooms have stunning views of the bay area.
Thankfully the weather picked up with some welcomed warm sunshine. Frequented by royalty, the rich and famous, this is a quintessentially British hotel. The origins are retained today in the 1930s decor which combines elements of Gibraltars colonial heritage. Early evening cocktails watching the sun go down over the Bay of Gibraltar are stunning. In the summer you can also choose to dine alfresco with wonderful views.
We ended our evening back in the marina at the Little Bay bar and Indian Tapas for a delicious curry. We can really recommend this place, but book it does get busy. Links on the screen now. Catching the bus is easy and affordable having checked out of our hotel we waited across the road for the number 2 which would take us to Europa Point. This is the tip of Gibraltar and has views of Tangier and Africa.
You can track the local buses by downloading the Gibraltar bus app from the app store. This will give you real-time information on where the buses are. Buy an adult day pass for £2.50 for the best value. It’s about a 15 minute ride to the lookout area, it’s pretty underwhelming when you first arrive and the lack of sunshine on our date didn’t help but there’s a few nice places to sit and some monuments and the lighthouse to look at.
Of course most people just come to have a look out to sea and catch a glimpse of the North Africa coast sadly something we couldn’t see this time round. There is a mosque and a small Church to visit although they were both closed when we visited on a Sunday. A large gun placement points out across the Mediterranean Sea with some information plaques telling you its history and if you get hungry from the sea air a little coffee shop is open daily to grab a snack.
The lighthouse was built in 1838 and its beacon can be seen up to 27 Km away. It was modernized and automated in 1994 and now is sadly not open to the public as it’s a working lighthouse. The bus runs about every 20 minutes so you won’t have long to wait for your return journey.
With your day pass you can hop off back in the centre of town if you wish, but we were heading for the cable car to take us up THE ROCK Unless you’re extremely fit and like the strenuous hike the cable car is the only real way to get to the top unless you’re on a private car tour. Open from 9:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. daily the cable car will whisk you to the top of the rock in six minutes.
The ticket price is an eye-watering t£29.00 for an adult if you choose to do all the activities at the top. This includes an audio guide, access to the nature reserve with the Barbary monkeys, suspension bridge and underground caves. For full details visit the web site. It does get busy so you can expect to queue for about 20 minutes or more at peak times.
Reaching the top you are bound to be welcomed by one or more of the 300 cheeky and naughty barbary macaque monkeys that live in the Nature Reserve. Whilst they look cute and cuddly they’re only after one thing, anything you don’t have tied down and hidden away so keep hold of your belongings as they will take any opportunity to grab something.
Mainly found in Morocco and Algeria monkeys have been living on the peninsula since at least the 1500s and possibly earlier. Whilst they can forage for themselves they are well looked after with daily feeds of fruit vegetables nuts and water. You mustn’t touch or try to feed them as you could be fined up to £4000 for doing so.
The Skywalk was formerly a military lookout post and at 340 meters above sea level with 360 degree panoramic views you can understand why. With lots of glass and see-through floors you’ll need a head for heights to stomach this one. It was fitting that it was opened in March 2018 by Mark Hamill from Star Wars Deep inside the rock is a natural wonder not to be missed…..
Over many thousands of years rainwater has been seeping through the cracks in the limestone rock forming elaborate and spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. The light show catches different aspects of the formations which add to the eeriness of the place. In the Victorian era the caves were use for picnics concerts and weddings. To this day the venue is used for musical events.
The auditorium known as cathedral Cave has seating for over a hundred people. During World War II, it was prepared to be used as a military hospital but this was never needed. As we continued our walk some of the pathways became increasingly steep to traverse. Those with mobility issues might find it hard to walk in these areas and it was not well signposted to advise on this.
The Windsor Suspension Bridge opened in 2016 and spans across a 50 Mtr Gorge For the thrill-seekers you can walk across the 71 meter, «slightly wobbly» bridge stopping halfway to look out over the bay. For those not so inclined you can walk around the bridge and join your friends on the other side.
From the bridge you can walk down into town or head over to the other side of the rock and visit some of the military attractions. We sadly didn’t have time for this on our trip, but they include the Governor’s lookout for great views of Spain and the airport. The military Heritage Centre World War II tunnels, city under siege exhibition and Moorish castle. Note that most require an additional paying ticket.
Sadly that’s all we had time for and it was back to Gibraltar Airport for our flight home. We hope you have found this guide useful, let us know in the comment section, and if you have suggestions for things to do please share them with our YouTube community. We post new videos every week so please make sure you subscribe and click that bell for notifications. Until the next time happy travels from the armenia23.