Gibraltar, UK | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Gibraltar, UK

Gibraltar, colloquially known as The Rock or Gib, is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Spain to the north; Morocco is a short distance over the sea to the south. It has a population of 30,000 people.

Gibraltar is a unique place for the curious traveler: a British community on the Iberian Peninsula, separated by a narrow gap of the sea from Africa. The historic military legacy has created a veritable labyrinth inside "the Rock" itself, with many secret internal roads and tunnels worth exploring. It is also worth climbing the Rock for its views and famous monkeys.


In Greek mythology, Gibraltar was Calpe, one of the Pillars of Hercules, which marked the edge of the Mediterranean and the known world. In 711 Tariq ibn Ziyad, the Muslim governor of... Read more

Gibraltar, UK


Gibraltar, colloquially known as The Rock or Gib, is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Spain to the north; Morocco is a short distance over the sea to the south. It has a population of 30,000 people.

Gibraltar is a unique place for the curious traveler: a British community on the Iberian Peninsula, separated by a narrow gap of the sea from Africa. The historic military legacy has created a veritable labyrinth inside "the Rock" itself, with many secret internal roads and tunnels worth exploring. It is also worth climbing the Rock for its views and famous monkeys.


In Greek mythology, Gibraltar was Calpe, one of the Pillars of Hercules, which marked the edge of the Mediterranean and the known world. In 711 Tariq ibn Ziyad, the Muslim governor of Tangier, landed at Gibraltar to launch the Islamic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. The Rock took his name - Jabal Tariq (Mountain of Tariq) eventually became Gibraltar.
Strategically important for international shipping, Gibraltar was ceded to Great Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht and was formally declared a British colony in 1830. Spain still claims sovereignty over this territory, although Gibraltarians consider themselves British with no apparent interest in rejoining Spain.
The topmost part of the


is still used as a British military installation, and is off-limits to the public.


People from Gibraltar refer to themselves as Gibraltarian or 'Llanito' pronounced Ya-ni-to. Even though the vast majority of Gibraltarians speak Spanish (with a local dialect), they are easily offended if referred to as Spanish because they regard themselves as Gibraltarians and are very proud of their identity. In fact, Gibraltarians have voted overwhelmingly to remain British in several referendums. Some Gibraltarians also feel sensitive to the erroneous use of the term 'colony' due to its connotations of being a deposited population or ruled by a foreign country or lacking in self-government, none of which apply to Gibraltar either now or historically. Additionally, the term 'colony' is legally incorrect; it is a 'British Overseas Territory'. The term 'colony' wasn't used in reference to Gibraltar until the 1830s, at which time there were other places that were colonies and Gibraltar was grouped with them under the term colonies, despite the circumstances being different.
Although the popular view is that the Spanish Government is the cause of many problems concerning Gibraltar, there is no animosity directed by Gibraltarians towards Spanish individuals in general; Spanish tourists and workers experience no problems. Recent airport agreements have opened up the relationship Gibraltar has with Spain.

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Gibraltar, UK: Port Information

Gibraltar receives a large number of visits from cruise ships, and the strait of Gibraltar is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Over 200 cruise ships call each year on the Port of Gibraltar with a passenger total approaching 350,000. The cruise port is at the western end of Waterport Road, about 1.3 km from Casemates Square and Main St. A port call is one of the easiest ways to get in to visit Gibraltar, especially given the occasional delays at the land border crossing with Spain.

Get around Gibraltar, UK

On foot

Gibraltar is less than 7 square kilometers, so much of it can be seen on foot. Bear in mind, though, that some of the roads (especially up to the Upper Rock) are very steep. Taxis will take the strain out of the climbs, and all the taxi drivers seem to know all the Barbary macaques by name. Additionally, buses can be a cheap option to expedite things.

By bus

Though Gibraltar's area is small - it is long and thin, so distances can be a bit further than expected. Buses can be paid in pounds or euros. For at least some routes, the option is either for a single journey or a pass good for unlimited rides that day. If planning to use the bus more than once, a one day pass is best. Of highest interest to the traveler is bus route 2, which in addition to going by the cable car station, is the only bus that visits Europa Point - the southernmost point of Gibraltar, and the one with all the views of Africa.


What to see in Gibraltar, UK

  • Europa Point - where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, and from which the coast of Africa can be seen
  • Upper Rock - military installation, and nature reserve where the famous monkeys live (Barbary Macaques)
  • St Michael's Cave - an impressive natural grotto used by the Neolithic inhabitants of the Rock
  • Siege Tunnels

    - a system of tunnels dug during the Great Siege which acted as a defense system
  • Dolphin Watching - short trips in the bay (several times a day) - there are plenty of playful dolphins to see
  • Gibraltar Museum, 18-20 Bomb House Ln, ☎ +350-20074289, e-mail: Mon-Fri 10:00-18:00, 10:00-14:00, closed on Sundays.
  • The Mediterranean Steps - for those not afraid of walking (and with a head for heights), this is a walk that starts at Jew's Gate bird observatory (at the end of Engineer Road) and winds its way up the east side of the rock to the top. The views are fantastic, and the path underwent renovation work in 2007, so it is less treacherous than in the past. If you don't fancy the uphill struggle, you can always get the cable car up and then come down this way - however note, if trying to reach the steps from the cable car - there are *NO* signs posted on how to reach them until one has literally found the beginning of the steps. Make your way to the ape den, continue walking, then take the left (uphill) turn toward the military battery. The steps begin/end here. If unsure - ask along the way.

Stop by the tourist office in Casemates Square (if entering by land, this is immediately after passing through Landport tunnel). The tourist office will give you a map and recommend the following basic itinerary. Take bus #2 free of charge from Market Place (around the corner of the tourist office) to Europa Point. Take pictures and enjoy Europa Point with the rest of the tourists. Then take the bus back towards Market Place but get off at the cable cars. Ask the driver for help, but you will see the cable cars before the stop. Take the cable cars up to see the Upper Rock and Nature Preserve. Then take the cable car down and walk the main street back to Landport tunnel.
Cable cars run from 9.30 AM until 5.45 PM to the Upper Rock, but the last car up the hill might leave as early as 17.00 PM.

What to do in Gibraltar, UK

  • Dolphin Safari, 6 The Square, Marina Bay, (cross the runway and take the first exit at the roundabout on the other side of the runway down Bayside Road. Approximately 100 meters walk down a small road on the right just past the pay and display carpark where the sign reads Marina Bay. At the end of that road in the bottom left hand corner walk through the black iron gates to see the two gold dolphins and the check-in offices), ☎ +350 200 71914. 10 AM - 6 PM. See the wild Common, Striped and Bottlenose dolphins of Gibraltar so close you could almost touch them. Sail in complete comfort, this boat has front-line cushioned seating and cushioned seating in the indoor observation lounge.

What to eat and drink in Gibraltar, UK

If you like to sit outside and watch the world go by, head for Casemates Square where a number of pubs & restaurants serve fairly similar meals, with the exception of Cafe Solo which serves good Italian food.
Irish Town, the road which runs parallel to Main Street has a number of bars, like The Clipper which has good food, friendly staff, and satellite television. They serve a hearty English breakfast. There is also Corks which serves more substantial lunches.
If you fancy dining waterside the marinas are worth a visit.
The Edinburgh Arms - The most southerly pub in Europe. Good food, draught Bass and many others on tap. Happy hour daily at 6 PM. Full Sunday lunch available.
Queensway Quay is home to The Waterfront, which serves a good quality, if somewhat eclectic menu which ranges from steak to high quality local fish and Indian food. Casa Pepe's, on the other side of the marina, is worth a splurge.
Marina Bay is home to several restaurants. Bianca's and Charlie's Tavern at Marina Bay are worth a visit, the former being very well known for its busy ambience. Marina Bay has recently also become home to Gibraltar's first Mexican restaurant.
Ocean Village, Gibraltar's newest marina, is an extension to Marina Bay. It is home to several new pubs and restaurants, including a Chinese, and an Indian.
O'Reilly's Situated on Leisure Island, part of the Ocean Village marina complex, the traditional Victorian Irish bar has been designed and built by Ireland's leading design teams.
The Gibraltar Arms is situated next to Stag Bros' at 184 Main Street, telephone 200 72133 or e-mail and is open from 7.30am (9.30am on a Sunday) serving meals all day until late.
The Star Bar in Parliament Lane holds itself out as Gibraltar's Oldest bar. With a menu and drinks selection to appeal to most tastes, the pub seeks to cater to a wide audience.
The Lord Nelson In Casemates Square, the official home of the Gibraltar Rugby Club and Live Music Venue Of The Year, top entertainment on stage every night. Offers free WiFi.
The Horseshoe 193 Main Street, near King St & Bombhouse Lane & Gibraltar Museum. Small pub with nice outdoor seating, decent prices, homemade pies on the menu, and offers the local beer Gibraltar IPA on tap. Free wifi, ask a staff member.
"Jury's", a nice little cafe located on the main street, near the Gibraltar Bookshop and Governor's House, has some very nice coffee, breakfasts, simple meals, and some sandwiches to go.
Sai Darbar, 6a Prince Edward Rd, ☎ +350-20061312. 11:00-15:00, 19:00-23:00. Vegetarian take-away restaurant.

Eating kosher

There are a number of kosher restaurants, bakeries and minimarkets in Gibraltar. Just ask around, and someone will point you in the right direction. Gibraltar is not the only place you could stock up on kosher food when you're travelling in the Costa del Sol; there are many kosher shops and restaurants in Marbella, Torremolinos and Málaga.

Shopping in Gibraltar, UK

The currency of Gibraltar is the Gibraltar pound (GIP) - equivalent in value to the British pound sterling. British pounds are accepted everywhere in Gibraltar, in addition to the local version.
Gibraltar pounds aren't accepted outside of Gibraltar - not even in the UK. If you are traveling to the UK you will be able to exchange them there at a bank for a service fee. If you are traveling elsewhere, then you may not be able to exchange them at all. Best to change any leftover Gibraltar pounds before leaving (free of charge to British pounds), and to ask shops to give your change in UK notes if you aren't going to spend them there.
Gibraltar coins are identical in denomination, color and size to UK coins, and tend to circulate in the UK without question.
Most shops in Gibraltar will also accept U.S. dollars and Euros, with the risk of getting a poor rate of exchange. Government offices and post offices do not accept foreign currency.
Credit and debit cards are sometimes not accepted in some shops (especially restaurants).
Shops: Morrisons, Westside Road, Europort, ☎ +350-20041114. Mon-Sat 08:00-22:00, Sun 08:00-20:00. Large supermarket, the selection seems to be the same as in the UK

Safety in Gibraltar, UK

Gibraltar has a low crime rate and a large and efficient police force to ensure it stays that way.
There are a few recent reports, however, of people being attacked on the Spanish side of the border while returning to Gibraltar on foot late at night.​

Barbary Macaques

Tourists should be aware that the Barbary macaques are wild animals and do bite. It is advisable not to feed the Barbary macaque, despite encouragement from irresponsible taxi drivers. In addition, there are kiosks recklessly selling 'monkey food', further encouraging this. It is indeed illegal (hefty fines are in force) and bad for their health. Never try to pick up a baby Barbary macaque - its mother will not be happy, and neither will you. If you are bitten by a Barbary macaque, you will require hospital treatment. Whilst the Barbary macaques are rabies-free they can infect you with hepatitis, and they are most aggressive on the top of the rock, as the most successful animals claim the uppermost reaches of the rock, with their less successful fellows being shoved down the rock and the social pecking order.

Language spoken in Gibraltar, UK

Gibraltar's official language is English, although most local people also speak Spanish.
That said, most locals converse in Llanito, which is essentially a mix of Andalusian Spanish and British English, a creole unique to Gibraltar. Also, keep in mind that many businesses such as cafes and restaurants employ monolingual Spanish workers from across the border. In restaurants, it may not be that different from dining in Spain, language-wise.


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