Thursday 23 March 2017

36 Hours in Gibraltar: What To Do

mountains rock gibraltarmonkey mountains gibraltar rock

Martin and I had wanted to go on a weekend away in lieu of Valentines and anniversary celebrations to use the money in a way that we would enjoy more than two £50-60 "date nights". We also had a voucher that we needed to use ASAP, so when we saw return flights to Gib for £50 each from Bristol we booked without thinking! We were only away from Tuesday evening to Thursday evening, so it was a super brief trip but a few people had said that, really, 2 days was all you need to see the main things. And I pretty much agree!

We had a really jam-packed couple of days and I think we managed to see everything that we wanted to see and discover a few places we didn't know were there. A side note - as I've said in my budget interrail post and my Morroco on a budget post, we don't really drink on holidays so I can't really talk about that aspect of Gibraltar. I can tell you that there is absolutely no shortage of pubs, as can be expected from a British territory, so you'll be fine!

We stayed at the Caleta Hotel, located on the quieter, more beachy side of the rock. It is SO unlike us - we are always budget conscious and usually use spare rooms found on Airbnb (if you want to know more about how we enjoy cheap holidays read my post with all my budget travel resources!) but it was beautiful. It was so luxurious with a beautiful sea view from our room and the hotel restaurant, Nunos was deslish. Kind of expensive but the service was exceptional and, really, 2 pasta main meals, 2 soft drinks and a jug of water for the table for £35 is not too outrageous. I HIGHLY recommend visiting - their pasta was beautiful.

misty mountain beach hotel fishing village
Early morning mist over the beach (our hotel is at the end!)

Day 1
1. Explore the high street /main town

And grab some breakfast! I had no idea what to expect from the town centre. Part of me expected it to be like a sunny Plymouth with monkeys, with all the M&S, Peacocks and Pizza Hut, y'know. I was pleasantly surprised though - it had a much more Mediterranean vibe with plenty of independent  shops and restaurants. Make sure you find your way to the "Irish town" too, I think that was my favourite part of the city centre. We actually walked aaall the way through the town, out of the touristy areas along the docks and more industrial bits and pretty much did a whole lap of the country. How bloody cool is that?

gibraltar high street view

 2. Get a cable car up to The Rock Nature Reserve

I am quite badly claustrophobic and Martin is pretty scared of heights but we decided to face our fears and try the cable car. I was PETRIFIED but I am so glad we did it - it only lasted about six minutes and the views were enough to take my mind off it. They were spectacular! I highly recommend NOT getting the cable car back down though - walk the rest of the way, even if you don't want to visit the attractions (Which you defo should *see point 3*) as the panoramic views over the Med are breathtaking.

3. Make sure you get the ticket including all the "extra sites"

It definitely takes a WHOOOLE  afternoon to see everything on the rock and walk your lil' legs off. I did over 40k steps and around 8-9 miles the day we visited the rock  which is pretty impressive on a country that's only 2.6 square miles! I wasn't blown away by the battery which is a hell of an extra walk up-hill, but St Michael's caves were incredible and the war tunnels were absolutely fascinating. The tickets cost us just under £40 for the two of us, for effectively a whole day out.

gibraltar view nature reserve rock 
 st michaels cave gibraltar
gibraltar monkeys nature reserve

4. Visit the monkeys (but please be nice to them)

The monkey sanctuary at the end of the cable car was bloody amazing. But I think there are two types of people who visit: Those who want to simply see the monkeys playing and doing their thing and maybe get a picture or two. Maybe even a selfie from a (mega safe) distance! Then those who try to feed the monkeys and get all up in their grill Don't be like them. I didn't really go near them, antagonise them or feed them but one still jumped on my head and pulled my hair and it was fucking scary *RESPECT THE MONKEYS OKAY GUYS.*

gibraltar monkeys steal food
gibraltar monkey photo

We walked back into town for some pretty underwhelming dinner so I won't bore you with the details then headed back to the hotel for a chilled, quiet night because we were pooped.HOWEVER! If we had known about point 8 we almost definitely would have gone there for a few hours before bed... Just sayin'.

Day 2

5. Watch the sunrise

I am in no way whatsoever a morning person, but seeing as Martin and I had a sea view room we decided to wake up early and watch the sunrise from our balcony. The location of Gibraltar means that you get uninterrupted views over the sea all the way to Africa. I highly recommend making the trip to one of Gib's beaches to watch the sun rise over the horizon. (Then if you're anything like us go back to sleep for another hour or two. #naplife)

gibraltar ocean sunrise caleta hotel sea view

6.  Take a stroll around the Botanical Gardens

This was 100% one of my favourite parts of the trip - there's something so special about walking amongst flowers and birds and beautiful trees with good company on a sunny day. It was perfect. I thoroughly recommend grabbing an ice cream and taking a visit there, even if the cable car or exploring the rock isn't your cup of tea. It's free to visit and there's plenty of photo ops if you want some *one-with-nature* fashion blog shots.

gibraltar botanical garden flowers nature 
gibraltar botanical garden sea view

7. Visit the beaches

I think the beaches are easily neglected in Gibraltar because they are on the opposite side of the rock and a hefty walk away from where all the bars and shops etc are located. Even if like us you're not there for a sunbathing, relaxing holiday it would be such a shame not to wander round to the beaches. Or even take us bus - the public transport is pretty affordable! Pure blue sea, jagged rocks, pretty coloured houses framing the sand; it is quite spectacular!

gibraltar beach march
gibraltar sea mediterranean rocks march
mediterranean sea gibraltar beach

8. Food & Drink at the Marina

I can't believe we nearly missed this place! We stumbled upon it completely by chance when looking for a shop to buy some snacks for our flight. It was a lot more modern, built up and "sleek" than I normally enjoy but OH MY GOD. It was just so lovely and had a great atmosphere. We walked along the boardwalk/promenade thing in the harbour (Idek what I'm talking about, soz) and oggled all the yachts, had THE single nicest curry I can remember having at The Bay Leaf Indian Tapas, and sat and had a cuppa and a cake outside in the sun. There were looads of restaurants and cocktail bars and pubs so if that's your thing you would LOVE it there. I wish we'd known about it the night before because a cocktail would have gone down quite nicely after a long day getting sunburnt AF on the rock. Don't miss it!

gibraltar marina yachts boats harbour sea
the bay leaf gibraltar marina

Like I said, Gibraltar is so teeny weeny that everything is relatively close together.You definitely can walk everywhere. So we actually walked to and from the airport - over the runway, might I add!

Adios Gibraltar.

sunset airplane aeroplane gibraltar view


  1. I love your little story - looks like a proper exploration!! :) Especially the sunset picture is super cool...
    xx finja |

    1. It was a lovely little weekend thank you, the sunset was pretty special :-) X

  2. Oh, this sounds & looks amazing! Yet another travel destination to put on my never ending wish list. The pictures at the marina are absolutely stunning and who could say no to a cocktail after a day of sightseeing and walking?!
    xx Lisa | Following Lisa

    1. I would never have thought to visit until I saw the cheap flights - if you see them for around £50 I highly recommend it! The marina really was so lovely :-) X

  3. The AlMontazah's big Attraction in Sharjah, though, is the 60-meter-high Eye of the Emirates observation wheel. Head up on this big wheel to get a soaring perspective over the city. Views from the to

  4. Gibraltar in 36 hours: Explore the Rock, visit St. Michael's Cave, and enjoy local cuisine at Casemates Square.


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