Your ship will dock at the Western Arm of North Mole Pier, at Gibraltar Harbour. The dedicated Cruise Terminal has been opened since 1997 and has welcomed nearly three million passengers since. It has everything a cruise passenger might desire, such as public phones, a café, souvenir shops, a tourist information centre and a taxi booking desk. The cruise terminal is about less than a mile from town, about a 15-minute walk. If you don’t wish to walk, you can take the port shuttles (there could be a wait) that would take you to Casemates square (the main square), which would otherwise be a 25-minute walk. There is convenient public transport, that could take you to most of the popular sites, however the closest bus stop is about 1km away. There are plenty of taxis waiting right outside the terminal and they offer two options for tours of the city – a standard one with 4 stops and an extended one with 6 stops. Gibraltar International Airport is only 15 min by car away, 2.4 miles distance.
The local currency is the British pound. Gibraltar print their own bank notes and coins, which are unfortunately not always accepted in Britain. So, you can pay in British Pounds, but make sure you ask for your change back in British pounds. Euros are also widely accepted. All major credit cards re widely accepted as well.
The opening hours in Gibraltar tend to follow the British guidance, rather than the Spanish. Most shops are open Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm, with a few working until later. Most of them close at midday Saturday and are closed on Sundays. Many of the bank offices follow similar schedule - open 9 am to 4.30 pm and work until midday Saturday, closed on Sundays. Most outlets are closed on public holidays. If you are looking to visit a specific attraction the best thing to do would be to check on their website for the opening hours to avoid disappointment.
Tipping is similar to home – around 10% is appreciated at restaurants if the service was good, sometimes just rounding up the bill is enough. Have a look at your bill first, as there might be service charge already included. Tipping for drinks, taxis and counter service isn’t expected.
Locals traditionally speak English language, so you would have no issues being understood.
The local time in Gibraltar is GMT + 1 and the international dialling code is + 350.
Things To Do
The first permanent settlement of Gibraltar was founded in 1160 at the base of The Rock of Gibraltar, also known as one of the Pillars of Hercules is a limestone rock, steeply climbing up to 400m above sea level. There are many sites within the Rock itself that could easily take a whole day. Amongst the most popular ones is the Upper Rock Nature Reserve – just standing there gives you the most unforgettable and incredible views over three countries – Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco and two continents – Europe and Africa. The Reserve covers 40% of the country’s land area and is a home to caves, nature trails, military and historical sites. St Michael’s Cave is the largest and most popular cave at the rock with spectacular stalagmites and stalactites and an underground lake – today also a popular concert spot due to the great natural acoustics. The Apes’ Den is the home of the famous Barbary macaques. Around 160 of those playful monkeys live in the area and appear near the cable car stations, looking for treats. Legends says that once those monkeys disappear from Gibraltar, so will the British. If you visit them, remember they are wild animals, don’t take food with you and always keep a safe distance. The Moorish Castle is a medieval fortress, built around 1160, or even earlier and features the Gate House the Tower of Homage with its striking and dominant position, scared by the numerous battles for control over Gibraltar. The 50km of World War Two tunnels are hard to imagine when you are standing outside of The Rock. Built mostly with hand tools, they were used as living quarters for soldiers sometimes for months on end and were prepared to even function as a hospital during the war. The City Under Siege Museum is a small unstaffed museum, that is one of the first buildings that the British built after they took over the city in 1713. It presents the life as it was for the residents of the territory during the long siege by the French and the Spanish in the 18th century.
There are a few more sites to see in the city itself, all not far from the cruise port. One of them is the Grand Casemates Square – named after the Grand Casemates – a casemates and bombproof barracks at the northern end of the square from 1817. The square is as old as the city itself and has once been the place for public executions, now the city’s liveliest area, fringed by trendy bars and restaurants.
Europa point & Gibraltar Trinity Lighthouse is another site with a stunning view – at the very entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, the lighthouse was inaugurated on 1st August 1841. It is the only one, operated by the Trinity House outside of the United Kingdom and is of classic British design.
The Alameda Gibraltar Botanical Gardens at the base of the Rock of Gibraltar are a breath of fresh air in this otherwise densely populated city. They span on 15 acres and reach up to 60m above sea level. The gardens feature popular monuments, such as the General Elliot Column and two Russian guns given to Gibraltar by the British, for their help with the Crimean was of 1858, as well as native and imported plants and trees. Some of the oldest of them have been there even before the garden itself – the Stone Pine, the wild Olive and the Dragon Tree, to name a few.
If you have time to visit just one site in Gibraltar – make it the Gibraltar Museum. It’s a summary of all the discoveries in anthropology, archaeology and biology, made in this remarkable city, as well as exhibits of artefacts, describes the unique history and culture of its people. Gibraltar is also a great spot to see whales, but more often dolphins.
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