Gibraltar excursions and day trip
Things to do in Gib
There is plenty to see and do in Gibraltar, probably too much for a day trip but below are some of the options available.
The Apes – Everyone, or almost everyone should know that Gibraltar has it’s own population of wild Barbary Apes and there are many ways to see these delightful characters. Mostly they live up the rock in the nature reserve so a taxi tour is a great option. Perhaps the Cable Car, but best to avoid if there is an ocean liner in as queues can be hours waiting. The Cable Car goes up and down every ten minutes or so and each car holds a max of 25. It goes from the bottom of the rock to the top, so the other attractions up the rock would involve quite a walk, St. Michaels Cave for example is quite a way away.
Generally the apes at the very top where the Cable Car drops off, can be the most aggressive, unlike other tribes lower down. Also there is more security when taking a taxi tour as the guides and taxis are well versed with these creatures and give good advice to visitors on not touching them. They know lots of the apes by name. Taxi rides are approximately £50 for a family of four, but then there are the upper rock entry fees to add to that bringing the total to somewhere around £80.
Sounds expensive, but not really when you consider the tours are about one and a half hours with a private chauffeur/guide to take you not only to all of the sights but also only the taxis go right to the top of the rock and drive right along giving you a marvellous view of the Med and Atlantic. Taxis can be found at the border, Casemate and Trafalgar cemetrry and you can haggle with the drivers for a price.
The Cable Car is great if you’ve never been up in a cable car before, and it is a quick way to get to the top, especially if you enjoy the walk down. Prices for the car are around £10 return and there is no entry fee to the upper rock because the main attractions are nowhere near. So for a family of four it is about £40 in comparison to the taxi, but then you only get to see one quarter of what there is to see with a bit of that unfinished feeling maybe.
St. Michaels Cave – this is a must see, or rather feel. Stepping into the darkness from the hot bright sun it is lit with fairy lighting and really feels as if you have landed on another planet. Like something out of a movie. And there are plenty of apes near the entrance, they especially like the cafe outside and the ice-cream freezer with the odd one taking their chance each time a customer opens it to take a Cornetto!
There are various batteries and remnants of the vast military history of Gib. Huge guns, pill boxes and forts. It really is amazing even for those not so interested in history because all of that stuff is decommissioned and not placed specially for display. Those old guns are just too darned heavy to move so why not let the tourists climb all over them.
The views are great as long as the visibility is as good, which it usually is. Walking up the rock is ok for the young and brave but it is a steep and tiring climb. Take a bottle of water to keep hydrated and don’t drink from the fire hydrants, they are salt water fed.
There are many other sights such as Europa Point, Casemate, Main Street for that essential duty free shopping (although be careful not everything that says it is duty free is cheap)
If you are travelling from the Costa del Sol or Chiclana you may come by car but allow for a bit of a queue getting in. Check out the live webcam
here before you set off. This isn’t just because of border disruption, it is down to aircraft landings and runway closures and mostly because there are a lot of cars wanting to get into a tiny place. There is parking in Spain quite close by so a lot of people park there and walk in.
There are hundreds of restaurants serving egg and chips, beans on toast and all the culinary delights of the UK at reasonable prices. UK beer en masse! And cigarettes are very cheap compared to the UK. If you are a strict non smoker and don’t like the smell of smoke at all then don’t come to Gib. Just one of those things it’s famous for.
Some of the really beautiful and hidden gems are Catalan Bay, great little beach with the Caleta Hotel majestically draped down the cliff. Or Camp Bay where there is a swimming pool open during the summer months. Everywhere is accessible by bus and the bus drivers are great, ask before you get on where you want to go.
The tourist board provide free, and exceptionally comprehensive, maps to help you find your way around and their offices in Casemate offer all the contact points you could imagine.
Speaking of Casemate there is the glass blowing center where you can watch them hand crafting and glass blowing. Quite fascinating how they manipulate the soft hot pliable glass on the end of extremely long metal rods. Casemate is also lined with a selection of restaurants and if you like fish and chips try out Roys, they are the best fish and chips since Norwich Market.
The Kings Bastion
is also a great sight and is reportedly haunted! The walls are 15 feet thick and you can still see where it took a pounding from enemy cannonballs during the last great siege of Gibraltar. An old fort with a modern bowling centre, restaurants, cinema, ice rink and much, much more.
We’ve had quite a few emails asking about services to Morocco. There was a ferry service direct from Gib to Tangier, but not now. Perhaps at some point in the future. There is air travel to Marrakech
Then there are the botanical gardens, Trafalgar Cemetery and perhaps tea at the Rock Hotel, all located quite near each other near the cable car bottom station. The tax office is also up there in case you wanted to file a tax return on your way. Always helpful to know.
There is no need to book any of the above in advance. But DO check if there is a big ocean liner in on the day you visit. Check here.
Ocean liners dump sometimes thousands of people on Gib and it clogs up faster than the border queue. No taxis available, big waiting times at the cable car, can’t move on Main Street.
Enjoy your time in Gib
New Gibraltar coach park is now located next to the Kings Bastion. Gibraltars old coach terminal was located near the Cruise Liner terminal.
New suggested possible locations are near the Kings Bastion or Queensway.
Written by Gibraltar Tourism – John Middleton