With a population of just over 34,000, only 29km of roads and just over 2.6 square miles in size Gibraltar is British Over Seas Territory and an excellent place to take a vacation.
With the iconic ‘Rock of Gibraltar’, now a Nature Reserve the backdrop of Gibraltar is truly stunning and steeped in history. Standing at 426m high the imposing rock covers over 40% of the counties land area and is made from Jurassic limestone. With no rivers, streams, or large bodies of water on the peninsula rain water is a valuable resource with huge underground reservoirs excavated under the Rock of Gibraltar both for the drinking water and a separate supply of saltwater for sanitary purposes.
The Gibraltar Rock is home to the only wild apes/monkeys in Europe (Barbary macaques, officially monkeys but often referred to as apes). When visiting please remember to respect the animals they are wild, ensure you keep your personal belongings on you at all times, don’t litter and don’t feed the monkeys; there are fines if you are caught feeding them. We love to explore but we must also remember to respect, protect and enjoy at all times where ever you are.
There are several options for getting up and down the rock, Cable Car, Taxi Tour, e-bike, Guided Tours and walking. If you are looking to explore the rock you will need to pay for a ticket to the nature reserve, there are many options on how to do this we opted for the Cable Car ticket including the nature reserve as this provide the best value for us. You can also look to book a tour which will generally include the attractions in the price. With so many options there is something to suit everyone, we took the cable car up and walked the rest; although Gibraltar is small remember its very hilly up and down to get to the different sites of interest.
With many attractions on ‘the rock’ I would say it’s a good day by foot to explore, in the taxi it takes about an hour and a half. I felt that on foot we got to take our time and see a few hidden gems, and soak up the culture.
Attractions on ‘The Rock’: Apes Den, Mediterranean Steps, St Michaels Cave, WWII Tunnels, Cable Car, Nature Reserve, Pillars of Hercules, Jews Gate, Great Rock Gun Battery, Siege Tunnels, Windsor Suspension Bridge, O’hara’s Battery, Rooke Battery, Hayne’s Cave Battery, Douglas Lookout, Lord Airey’s Battery, Skywalk Gibraltar, City Under Siege Exhibition, Moorish Castle, Military Heritage Centre and Princess Ann’s Battery. With so many places there is sure to be something everyone in the family would like.
St Michaels Cave was impressive and I would have loved to go for a tour in the lower sections of the cave but unfortunately we didn’t get time.
Dolphins are frequently seen in the Bay of Gibraltar and you take can a boat trip to explore the bay and search for dolphins. We opted for the Dolphin Safari Gibraltar as they offered a smaller group capacity of 25 with others up to 110 people per boat. They were incredibly experienced and friendly, we were out for just over an hour and a half seeing dolphins several times, check out my video here . We were also provided with a voucher that we could use to gain discounts at some restaurants in the ocean village area.
Beaches are in on the Eastern and Western sides of Gibraltar with Sandy Bay, Catalan Bay, Eastern Beach on the Eastern Side and Western Beach, Little Bay and Camp Bay on the Western side. With their own dedicated website providing weather information and live stream online cameras you can check out how busy the beach is before you go. We opted for Sandy Bay as we could see it from the top of ‘The Rock’ and put it on the must visit list. We got a taxi there and back dropped and collected at the steps side of the beach, taxis require that you to be dry and not sandy which was ok as we had taken spare clothes.
Gibraltar Botanic Gardens – The Alameda is free to explore, we headed there in the evening before sunset to take a look; open daily 8am – Sunset and are at the base of ‘the rock’ south of the town centre. The glasshouse ‘Bicentenary House’, is open to the public Fridays 10am-12pm, or by appointment. The open air theatre can hold a maximum of 450 people where events are held. There is also the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park situated on the upper south-west side of the gardens.
Shopping is VAT free with many perfumes and other shopping at great prices. There are some English stores, a small Marks and Spencer, Next and Mothercare the international shop Tommy Hilfiger and more. There is also a McDonalds, Costa, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Pizza Express. There are also many fabulous local restaurants and shops, one of my favourite was chök which had an amazing, beautiful and delicious selection of doughnuts, kronuts, cookies, chocolate and much more.
Gibraltar airport is 1.8km long and intersects with Winston Churchill Avenue Road, the road is shut off for take offs and landings. A tunnel under the runway has been long planned but so far has not been completed.
Gibraltar has the Gibraltar pound and are used alongside the Bank of England bank notes and coins. Some retailers accepted Euros and US Dollars but most accept UK Sterling (Gibraltar Pound and UK Sterling Pound).
The official language spoken is English although many are bilingual and also speak Spanish.
Gibraltar has a Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and then summers that are very warm to hot and humid and with very little rainfall. Making it a great place to visit all year round, we enjoyed a Winter break with the February temperature at 18-19°C with the days clear and sunny.
There is not many places where I can say I have walked the length of the country more than twice in a day or even more than that in a week. Gibraltar was an excellent holiday we made lots of amazing memories and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for something other than a just a beach holiday.
I would recommend the Visit Gibraltar – The Official Gibraltar Tourist Board Website as it has lots of information on and one of the best sites for a countries tourist board I have used. Also tour and attractions can be purchased from Buy Tickets Gibraltar.