The name ‘Gibraltar’ instantly brings to mind its greatest drawcard: the famous Rock of Gibraltar. The Rock dominates the town, towering above its architecture and rising from amongst the waves to stand almost half a kilometre high. An enormous ridge of limestone with stunning sheer cliffs, the Rock is topped with a nature reserve offering breathtaking views over the Mediterranean.
But make sure you look beyond the Rock when exploring Gibraltar; there is much, much more to this unique town than its famous monolith.
Explore the town’s museums and natural wonders – its caves, the bay and the Rock’s famous macaques – or grab yourself a bargain and a hearty meal in the main street. As a British Overseas Territory (despite its location on the coast of Southern Spain) Gibraltar is a country in its own right with its own currency, stamps, navy, military and airport. Locals affectionately call their home ‘Britain in the sun’ – you’ll find Bobbies (British policemen), red post boxes, and fish and chip shops throughout Gibraltar.
With European, Palladian architecture and traditional British ‘pub grub’, Gibraltar is a fun change from the traditional whitewashed houses and tapas bars of other Spanish cruise destinations.
Cruise ships dock at the Gibraltar dock about 1.5 kilometres from town on North Mole Road, near the airport and marina. Transfers are provided into the town centre or, alternatively, passengers can walk the 15 minutes into town.
Few facilities are at the Gibraltar dock, but the town centre is close by. Facilities in town include:
Tourist information centres
Cafés and restaurants
Banks and ATMs
How To Get Around
Gibraltar is a small town at less than 7 square kilometres and therefore is easily navigated on foot. Be prepared for some very steep streets. A cable car leaves from Red Sands Road taking tourists up to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar and the nature reserve. You can also hire a taxi to take you around the steep areas. Gibraltar also has a public transport network with five bus routes, which comprehensively cover the town. Tourist taxis from the Gibraltar Taxi Association run excellent guided tours.
Travel times from the Gibraltar cruise port:
It is a 24 minute journey to Gibraltar Museum
It is a 33 minute journey to the Rock of Gibraltar
It is a 39 minute journey to the Apes’ Den
It is a 54 minute journey to St. Michael's Cave.
It is an 8 minute journey to the Rock of Gibraltar
It is a 9 minute journey to Gibraltar Museum
It is a 15 minute journey to the Apes’ Den
It is a 16 minute journey to St. Michael's Cave.
Currency – The currency in Gibraltar is the Gibraltar Pound (£), which is divided into 100 pennies. Notes come in £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100 denominations. Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence and £1, £2 and £5 denominations. Euros and British Pounds are also accepted in Gibraltar; however, Euros are not recommended as the exchange rate in stores and restaurants is very steep.
Time Zone – Gibraltar is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) as the town uses Central European Time (CET). During daylight savings (between March and October), Gibraltar is 2 hours ahead of UTC.
Weather – Gibraltar enjoys a Mediterranean subtropical climate, with dry, hot summers and very mild winters. August is the hottest month in Gibraltar, with temperatures averaging 25 degrees Celsius. January is the coolest month, with temperatures averaging 14 degrees Celsius.
The Apes’ Den – The first stop on the Gibraltar cable car is the Apes’ Den, home to the famous Barbary apes. Don’t be fooled by the name; the ‘apes’ are actually cinnamon-coloured tailless monkeys called macaques. They get fed every day at 8am and 4pm, so these are ideal times to be passing by. While you’re up at the Apes’ Den, take a moment to enjoy the breathtaking views over the Mediterranean.
St. Michael's Cave – For a truly unique experience, descend into this extraordinary natural grotto bursting with striking stalagmites and stalactites. Once thought to connect with Africa, the cave system is vast and renowned for its extraordinary beauty. The main auditorium of the Upper Cave has hosted concerts, plays and even fashion shows.
Gibraltar Museum – Located in a 14th century Muslim bathhouse, the Gibraltar Museum reveals the history of the Rock of Gibraltar. Explore the bathhouse’s many rooms to watch the story of Gibraltar unfold from Neanderthal times through the medieval age to the 18th century siege.