Holiday in Gibraltar: Expert tips from UK expats
15 December 2022
Gibraltar is a small country located on the Mediterranean coast of southern Spain. Gibraltar is a British overseas national territory known colloquially as “the Rock.” As a result, there are many aspects of Gibraltar that are distinctly British, while others are delightfully Spanish. Gibraltar also has its own airport, Gibraltar airport. There are direct flights to Gibraltar from the UK. The mix of Spanish and English cultures and traditions makes Gibraltar one of the best places to visit in Europe, attracting tourists from all over the world. We have collected all our expert tips for your next holiday in Gibraltar.
Planning and packing tips
Even though Gibraltar is a British overseas territory, you may need to bring two types of travel adaptors when going on holiday in Gibraltar. While most places have the classic 3-pin UK plug sockets, you may also find the 2-pin European socket. Therefore, you should bring a universal travel adapter or extension lead to ensure that you have enough power.
Furthermore, Gibraltar has its own pound sterling, so if you’re visiting from the United Kingdom, you can bring your own money. Most cash machines allow you to withdraw GBP or EUR. But prices are displayed in GBP, so it is more convenient to pay in pounds when you travel to Gibraltar.
The rock of Gibraltar tips
You will be compelled to take the Gibraltar cable car when visiting the Rock of Gibraltar. Normally, the cable car ride costs around £18. However, booking a reservation at the Mons Calpe suite restaurant at the top of the Rock is the ultimate hack. If you book ahead of time, you will receive a free return cable car ticket.
Not only is the Mons Calpe suite a trendy restaurant with incredible views, but you can also enjoy tasty food while watching the Gibraltar monkeys without fear of them stealing it.
In addition, Gibraltar is well-known for its wild Barbary Macaques. When visiting the Rock, make sure to bring a secure bag and avoid anything that rustles. The cheeky monkeys will have no problem jumping on you to steal things.
The breathtaking 360-degree views of three nations and two continents are available from Gibraltar’s Skywalk, which also connects to other locations within the Gibraltar Nature Reserve, Upper Rock, including the exhilarating Windsor Suspension Bridge and the well-known Apes’ Den via a network of walking trails.
The Skywalk, which was constructed on the foundations of a former World War II base building, is strong enough to support five Asian elephants or 340 people standing on it at once and is made to endure winds of over 150 km/h (visitor numbers will be limited to 50 at any one time). Four layers of laminated glass make up the floor and balustrade panels (with a total thickness of around 4.2cm).
St Michael’s cave
The St Michael’s cave receives more than a million tourists annually. The cave is located over 300 metres above sea level.
Blasting took place inside this cave in 1942, during the Second World War, to allow for increased ventilation. It was planned to use the cave as an emergency hospital. Lower St. Michael’s Cave was discovered during the blasting, which led to the discovery of a deeper network of caverns.
The Awakening, a new lighting improvement for St. Michael’s Cave, was implemented in 2021 for the fullest possible appreciation of the cave’s natural beauty. Enjoy St. Michael’s cave in a whole new way during your holiday in Gibraltar.
An immersive light and music installation that expresses the rock’s many layers of history. The historic cavern is vacant. The Awakening reveals the hidden history of sculptures that are centuries old.
World War II Tunnels
The Great Siege Tunnels were built first, but the World War II Tunnels are where Gibraltar’s tunnels really shine. Although the advent of machines undoubtedly aided, the fascist onslaught’s hurry added a further element of disorder to the development of this network. Work continued day and night and day again, building an amazing underground city with power plants to keep soldiers operating, barracks, hospitals, and everything else. The fact that trucks and ambulances could drive directly into the Rock thanks to these tunnels never ceases to amaze us. A 24 mile stretch of wonder that feels like a different universe from that on the other side of the Rock is a must-visit when you go on holiday in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar’s southernmost point is called Europa Point. A playing field and a few buildings can be found in the flat area at the end of the Rock of Gibraltar. This is worth a visit when you are on holiday in Gibraltar.
Another tip when visiting Europa Point is to go to the lighthouse. The sole Trinity House-regulated lighthouse outside of the United Kingdom’s mainland is the Gibraltar Trinity Lighthouse, which is now entirely automated. It was created in 1841, is 49 metres above sea level, and has a range of around 37 kilometres.
Gibraltar Botanic Gardens
A variety of commemorative busts and cannons from the 19th century are on exhibit at the magnificent Alameda Botanic Gardens, which welcomed visitors for the first time in 1816. The Alameda’s combination of native and imported species, however, is what makes it such a lovely site for the majority of visitors: the beauty of the plants and trees.
The garden’s open-air theater, a beautifully landscaped area that is available for events, private functions, and weddings, hosts a variety of cultural events at specific times of the year.
The Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park, located on the Upper South-West side of Alameda, is home to a variety of both native and exotic species.
Upper Rock Nature Reserve is a stunning natural reserve with numerous hiking trails of varying difficulty. In addition to the breathtaking views, exploring the Upper Rock Nature Reserve on foot will reward you with a plethora of flora and fauna. Gibraltar is home to an abundance of plant life, including two uncommon species: Gibraltar Candytuft and Gibraltar Sea Lavender. Other common plant species include jacaranda, clematis, honeysuckle, geraniums, and bougainvillea. It is also a well-known and well-liked bird watching location. Enthusiastic bird watchers return year after year in the hopes of spotting the wide variety of bird life that uses the Strait of Gibraltar as their crossing point to and from north Africa because it is an important migration point.
This park is on the rock of Gibraltar. You can visit this park at an extra cost of £12 and it is well worth a visit. In addition, this ticket will grant you access to Saint Michael’s Cave, The Great Siege Tunnels, City Under Siege Exhibition, World War II Tunnels, O’Hara’s Battery, Skywalk, Windsor Suspension Bridge, Footpaths including Mediterranean Steps and Moorish Castle.
Gibraltar beaches tips
Gibraltar has two sides. The majority of the Gibraltar beaches are on the east side, while the harbour, airport, and associated nightlife and attractions are on the south and west sides. In comparison to many other European countries, Gibraltar beaches have few amenities. While there are a few bars and restaurants, their food service hours and menus are limited. On the plus side, you can enjoy the Gibraltar beaches without being constantly interrupted by beach vendors trying to sell you something.
Gibraltar’s beaches are sandy and spacious, making them ideal for relaxing. However, if you’ve ever seen photos of Gibraltar’s beaches, you’ll notice that there are a variety of different coloured parasols. This is due to the lack of places to rent parasols or sun loungers. Furthermore, the golden sand becomes extremely hot and painful to walk on!
While English is widely spoken, there are still areas where locals do not have a strong command of the language. English is very good around Casemates Square, the town centre, and Ocean Village, and there are many expats who live in Gibraltar. This is less true in Gibraltar bars and restaurants on the beaches, where Spanish is frequently spoken.
If you want to buy some Gibraltar souvenirs during your holiday in Gibraltar, make sure you know when the shops open and close. Gibraltar follows standard business hours, and even on a Saturday, many of the usual shops in the town centre open earlier than expected.
Furthermore, take advantage of duty-free shopping. Gibraltar has extremely low prices for alcohol, cigarettes, and tobacco. If you’re coming from the UK, the new alcohol rules allow you to bring up to 4 litres per person through customs. Given the much stricter restrictions imposed by other European countries, this is a very generous amount.
Ocean Village, only a 9-minute walk from Gibraltar International Airport and the border, features over 20 colorful beachside restaurants and bars with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. Recessed colored spotlights provide ambient, relaxing illumination to the cobblestone walks. We offer everything you’re searching for, whether it’s an intimate dining experience, a casual coffee, a quiet pub, or a cool cocktail at sunset on a hot summer’s night.
Gibraltar can be lively, but it is not a party destination. Casemates Square and Ocean Village are typically the best places to go for nightlife. Having said that, even on weekends, most bars close between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. Admiral Casino, Gibraltar’s casino, on the other hand, is open until 6 a.m. and has live tables, bingo, slot machines, and bars, as well as a balcony from which to watch the sunset.
Another popular activity in Gibraltar is a dolphin tour, which departs from Ocean Village Harbour on a regular basis. If seeing dolphins is a must-see part when you travel to Gibraltar, September and October are the best months. Nonetheless, the tour companies boast an 85% success rate for the rest of the year.
Where to stay in Gibraltar
Bentley Holiday Apartments has been welcoming guests since 2018. With a variety of properties to offer we believe in making each guest’s experience a unique and comfortable stay. The easy self-check-in service enables our guests to access their apartments hassle-free. Our convenient welcome package provides guests with all the needed items for a short pleasant stay.
Our apartments are located in the EuroCity and WestOne buildings in the heart of Gibraltar’s business district. We offer a first-class location, breathtaking views, and a striking choice of fully furnished apartments to our guests. Our luxurious accommodations feature swimming pools from which to enjoy Gibraltar’s many sunny days.
Thank you for reading Holiday in Gibraltar: Expert tips from UK expats.