Gibraltar travel guide
Otherwise known as ‘The Rock’ or ‘Gib’ to those in the know, Gibraltar is a melting pot of Spanish, North African and English cultures, where no one will bat an eyelid if you get your languages muddled up.
Home to a large British naval presence, the rock is also favoured by bookmakers, online gaming companies and tourists keen to take advantage of VAT free shopping. Getting married here is easy too – John Lennon and Yoko Ono tied the knot at the registry office in 1969.
To meet the Barbary macaques – Gibraltar’s most famous residents and the only wild primates in Europe – take a cable car up the rock. Legend has it that if the monkeys ever leave so will the British.
Walk rather than drive over the border, as queues can be obscene in the summer. Know what you can and can’t take through customs too, and never agree to take through cigarettes or other goods for strangers – searches are common.
Gibraltar’s currency is only accepted on the rock, so make sure you spend up before crossing the border.
Gibraltar has a Mediterranean climate with mild rainy winters and hot, dry summers.
Gibraltar airport (GIB) has daily flights to the UK. Malaga and Jerez airports in Spain are alternatives with a bus service to Gibraltar.
Getting into Gibraltar can be a frustrating business from Spain. Long queues at the border means it’s often easier to park in La Línea and walk across. Once you’re in, you can get the number 9 bus to the centre of Gibraltar or the number 3 to Europa Point.
Much of Gibraltar can be tackled on foot as it’s less than 7 square kilometres but bear in mind that some roads are steep. Taxis are plentiful. There are no trains. To visit the Apes’ den on the Upper Rock, take the cable car to the middle station.
Gibraltar isn’t the cheapest place to lay your head but for people on a budget, there are a few small guest houses, budget hotels and a youth hostel. Further up the scale, several hotels offer panoramic sea views, rooftop pools or spa facilities.
Eating in Gibraltar is similar to eating in England. Although there are plenty of places serving up traditional English breakfasts, hearty stews, fish and chips and meaty pies, Gibraltar isn’t short of restaurants serving more international fare. For something truly Gibraltarian, try Calentita, a baked bread-like dish made with chickpea flour, water, olive oil and seasoning.
If you are a British national resident in the UK you can obtain emergency treatment in Gibraltar by presenting your UK passport as proof of residence. However, as some emergency treatment may require transfer to Spain or the UK, you should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Watch out for the monkeys. They may look cute but they’ve been known to bite and can be light-fingered. Hold onto your valuables and don’t feed them – it’s dangerous and against the law.