I have been to Gibraltar many times and I always look forward to going back again. The majority of my calls here, however, have only been for a few short hours, so I never got the chance to do shopping and a tour, it was either one or the other – my next cruise is going to change all that though as we are in port for 10 hours!
So, what to do in Gibraltar. First of all The Rock, that’s what the place is famous for after all! The Rock of Gibraltar is 426 m high and is Crown property of the United Kingdom. It is best known for its nature reserve, which is home to roughly 300 Barbary Macaques, and the labyrinthine of tunnels that run through it. I actually went up The Rock for the first time in March and even though it was a pretty damp day it was a lot of fun. The Macaques are quite friendly, not to the point where you can scoop them up and give them a hug, but you can snap a selfie or two with them and they won’t be bothered by it. The younger ones are quite cheeky, so please make sure your valuables are safely LOCKED inside your bag, or better yet, leave them on the tour bus! If they are given the opportunity to snatch your bag, camera, or purse then they will, and the chances of you getting it back are slim to non-existent.
St. Michael’s Cave was absolutely incredible! The network of limestone caves are located within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve and are usually included on many of The Rock tours. The cave was created by rainwater slowly seeping through the limestone rock, turning into a weak carbonic acid which gradually dissolved the rock. Through this process, tiny cracks in The Rock’s geological fault grew into long passages and large caverns over thousands of years. The numerous stalactites and stalagmites in the cave are formed by an accumulation of traces of dissolved rock deposited by water dripping from the ground above. It really is a sight to see and the cleverly placed lighting inside really lets you SEE it for what it is. I would definitely recommend this, you can meet up with the Macaques on your way out, too.
The Alameda Gardens are also very popular as is the cable car ride – you need to have a serious head for heights for it, don’t say I didn’t warm you. Dolphin watching is also offered here and I am going to do this on my next cruise before I go shopping. Europa Point is worth making the journey to and again is usually offered as an organised excursion, and afternoon tea at the Rock Hotel is said to be very nice.
Gibraltar is also known for shopping. Electricals, alcohol, jewellery and tobacco are all much cheaper here than they are in the UK, so it’s no surprise many cruise passengers flock to Main Street, Gibraltar’s main shopping area. You will find dozens of stores selling the above, as well as souvenirs and perfume and make-up – there’s even M&S and BHS if you are feeling a little home sick! Usually a shuttle service is offered to and from Main Street and costs a few pounds per person, however, if you are fit and healthy then I would recommend you just walk there and back. It takes around 15 minutes, but it’s a straight road all the way there, you can’t miss it. If you do decide to walk there but then buy more than you were expecting, just speak to one of the guys shuttling people back and forth and you can usually grab a lift back to the ship for about £1.
There’s also a supermarket just a minute or so away from the port, great for stocking up on bottled water!
Make sure you look out for the planes taking off and landing, too. The runway is very short and also a busy road, so watching the planes come and go can be quite entertaining! Great view from the top deck of your ship!
Enjoy exploring Gibraltar via cruise ship!
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Andrew Day, Mark Attard, stan gwyn and Shaun.