Located on Spain’s sunny south coast, you’ll find the distinctive yet homely Gibraltar. A British Overseas Territory easily reachable with cruises from Southampton, visiting Gibraltar gives a sense of familiarity while offering a unique and curious extension of Britain’s culture (but with clear skies and year-round sunshine!).
From meeting mischievous monkeys and hiking to the infamous Rock and shopping till you drop on Main Street, read on to see what amazing adventures can be had on a day trip to Gibraltar.
Visit Gibraltar’s gem: The Rock
Of course, a holiday to Gibraltar is not complete without a visit to the destination’s most popular attraction: The Rock. Standing at 426 metres high, this stunning natural cliff formation offers breathtaking views of the horizon and the patchwork of buildings sweeping across the region below.
Getting to the top is also an unmissable experience, with cable cars on hand to whisk you up the cliffside, offering you more rounded views of the destination and its far-reaching sights. Or if you’d prefer, you can trek the winding trails and immerse yourself in nature.
Dare to walk across the Skywalk
Image credit: InfoGibraltar, Flickr
As well as taking in the sights from The Rock, you also won’t want to miss walking along Gibraltar’s glass skywalk for thrilling views of lush green foliage and dramatic cliffsides.
Travel blogger Steve from The Trip Goes On told us what makes this attraction a must.
“One of the best attractions on The Rock of Gibraltar is the newly opened 340m high Skywalk. One of the best things about doing the Skywalk is being able to see not only Spain but Africa too, after all, there aren’t many other viewing platforms in the world where you can see two continents!
“The Skywalk is part of Gibraltar’s upper nature reserve, which itself is a wonderful place to while away a few hours, but watch out for the macaques!”
Get up close to Barbary macaques
As Steve mentions, you’re likely to meet Gibraltar’s mischievous friends around The Rock - Barbary macaques or apes. These playful monkeys are very used to humans and won’t hesitate to approach or even jump on you. They are also known to open pockets and unzip bags to find food! As these monkeys are more commonly found in Algeria and Morocco, no one knows how these playful apes came to live in Gibraltar. A common legend, however, is that Lower St. Michael’s Cave is linked by an undersea passage over 15 miles (24 km) to Morocco, which is how the monkeys first arrived at The Rock.
Although you’re likely to find them all over Gibraltar, if you want to ensure you get to see these spirited apes up close, you’ll want to head to Queen's Gate, where a large population of them reside.
Go on a dolphin watching trip
Image credit: Visit Gibraltar
As well as being famous for its mischievous monkeys, Gibraltar is also famous for spotting dolphins. In the Strait of Gibraltar, you’ll find common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and even striped dolphins.
If you’d love to catch a glimpse of these majestic sea creatures, luxury travel blogger Paul from A Luxury Travel Blog highly recommends booking onto a dolphin watching excursion.
"Go on a dolphin watching trip. Cruises typically take a little over an hour on specially designed boats that are perfect for cruising alongside dolphin pods. The chances of seeing dolphins are around 99% and you may even see large pods of up to 200 dolphins! If you go during July or August when the tuna migrate, you may even see an orca, too."
Enjoy afternoon tea at The Rock Hotel
Worked up an appetite? Living part-time in Gibraltar, Angie from The Belle Blog has a great afternoon tea recommendation perfect for when you need an afternoon pick-me-up.
“My top tip for spending the day in Gibraltar is to go for afternoon tea at The Rock Hotel and then shop until you drop on Main Street!”
Described as ‘one of the Mediterranean’s most famous hotels’, The Rock Hotel serves up a fantastic afternoon tea as well as other delicious dining options. The hotel is also set in an 8.9-acre landscaped garden with geraniums and a wisteria-covered terrace, making for a gorgeous backdrop to enjoy a cuppa and a bite to eat.
Hit the shops on Main Street
Image credit: rp72, Flickr
As Angie suggested, you’ll want to head to Main Street after a visit to The Rock Hotel to check out Gibraltar’s fantastic shopping scene. Just one kilometre long, Main Street is the arterial artery of Gibraltar. Here people run day-to-day errands, hit the shops and enjoy Gibraltar’s nightlife – all along one vibrant, bustling stretch.
From quaint coffee shops to a very familiar Debenhams department store, Main Street is Gibraltar’s commercial hub. Just don’t forget to look up and check out the age-old architecture and past cultural influences etched on the street’s buildings.
Visit the Botanical Gardens
Gibraltar is thriving with plants and wildlife, but a visit to Gibraltar’s Botanical Gardens is something else and the perfect stop-off when hiking to or from The Rock.
Mighty Mama Bear blogger Jennifer explains what makes it such a must-do experience.
“After the buzz of The Rock and Main Street, it can be really quite tranquil and relaxing if you time it right. The colours are beautiful if you visit at the right time of year.”
Mary from Campaign and Cruising also recommends visiting these glorious gardens.
“I also second the botanical gardens. There is a children’s play park there too. We visited in a day when local children were making their Holy Communion and having photographs taken in the botanical garden. It was so lovely to watch and see their outfits.”
Catch some rays at Camp Bay & Little Bay
Image credit: purplepassport, Flickr
Need a breather after hiking down The Rock? Blogger Natalie from Hello Cuppies has a great stop-off location that is perfect for catching your breath.
“My top tip after hiking back down The Rock would be to walk around to the southwestern end where you’ll find an amazing open public swimming pool to cool off in."
Complete with two swimming pools, a bar, restaurant and its very own rocky beach, Camp Bay & Little Bay is a picturesque location. You’ll also find a manmade waterfall and even an artificial reef with thriving marine life which is also a popular diving site. This south-facing haven is perfect for sun-worshippers, so make sure you stop here for some well-earned R&R.
Try the local cuisine at Café Rojo
Although inherently British, Gibraltar’s Spanish influence means it serves up some gorgeously delectable dishes.
Blogger Violet Glenton has a fantastic recommendation on where to sample some local cuisine in a fun and lively atmosphere.
“My brother-in-law lived in Gibraltar for two years, so I have a little insider knowledge! An absolute must is to go to Café Rojo, not only can you then explore one of the more fun parts of the region but also taste the local cuisine.
“It’s very reasonably priced and enriches you in that cosy, culture-full context. Also, make sure you try the goats’ cheese!”
Although Gibraltar may seem small, there is so much fun and adventure to be had here. From sunning yourself at Camp Bay & Little Bay to getting back to nature at the Botanical Gardens, Gibraltar is a home from home that will certainly delight and relax you. To find out more about our Gibraltar cruises, get in touch with our knowledgeable team today.