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Review: Gibraltar


Gibraltar, United Kingdom

Spanish Britain

  • By SilverTraveller soopernan

    35 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon

  • Apr 2013
  • Wife

124 people found this review helpful

We have been told by friends that Gibraltar is a great place to visit, and also on a cruise ship, so we recently had a 14 night trip on Boudicca, one of Fred Olsen’s four ships. Because of the good feedback, we were really looking forward to Gibraltar. The port of Gibraltar is small, the ship docks within easy walking distance of the town. Why? Because it is such a small place, buildings are concentrated, leisure and roads are at a premium, all overshadowed by The Rock. Just the name, The Rock, implies stability, which has been brought to this small outcrop of Britain for well over two hundred years. We walked through the dock gates, no passport necessary, and strolled to some walled battlements, with remains of fortifications proving its troubled history, Spain as well as Africa wanting to take possession. Go back ten thousand years, and there were no straits of Gibraltar. There was no Mediterranean Sea. There was just land, with the Atlantic bringing more pressure to bear on the narrow strip. There was a breach, with a waterfall taking one hundred years for the Mediterranean to fill up, leaving a twelve mile gap between land. Spanish is the predominant language, with English being spoken by all. You will see English phone boxes, English policemen, and a branch of Marks and Spencer with prices that match those in the UK. No duty free concession here. We walked into the wide main square, but watch out for all kinds of motorised traffic, because they are allowed through here on a limited basis, as they are in Main Street, the narrow thoroughfare with all the shops and commerce. The reason for our cruise was our Ruby wedding anniversary, but I had committed the worst possible sin by forgetting the card. Yes, I really had bought it, but left it at home. I know exactly where it was, but it was no good sitting there, so I went into three speciality shops, hoping to redeem myself by buying an English ‘Thank You for all Those Happy Years Together’ creepy card. No. None for sale. Not even in Marks, who are usually so reliable. So the long-awaited card was presented on our return. We liked Gibraltar’s Main Street. It is bustling, interesting, we could have walked up and down three or four times and seen something different each time. To divert attention away from the missing card, I had immediately acquiesced to the suggestion that we went in the cable car to visit the apes. This meant walking past the fascinating old naval cemetery, photo with this article. The cable car was only a short ride, 21 Euros for two, we decided against also visiting the gardens, just as well, because had we wanted to there was no-one on the door to check the tickets. We didn’t feel comfortable trying, because some of the apes were roaming freely, and we had been warned that they are vicious, they bite, they attack, and are attempting to breed, so are worse than normal. But they creep up on you when you are not looking. Suddenly there are there. I am pretty aware of my surroundings, so is the wife, but as we were preparing to return to the cable car she was aware of a tap on the shoulder. She screamed. The monkey didn’t. We walked very quickly the short few paces to the cable car, dignity (almost) intact, no-one being close to hear the piercing shriek. I bought a couple of paperback books in English for £15 the pair, quite a fair price, and two Daily Mails for £3 the pair, receiving the coins in English pounds against the Gibraltar pounds, which are worthless outside the Rock. The third currency is Euros. We had a very reasonable lunch in a pavement cafe, then it was back to the ship. There is a narrow strip of land that connects The Rock to Spain, part of that land is the airstrip, so they have to stop the traffic when an aeroplane takes priority. Seems logical, really. No, there is no trouble visiting Spain these days, but of course that could easily change. What did we think of Gibraltar? We liked it, we felt very comfortable, but would have become bored had we been on a week long holiday. Good for three or four days relaxation, we would certainly recommend for a long weekend. Strange really, it’s not somewhere that features on top ten lists for weekend breaks. It should do.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 2 Comment(s)

  • northernblue
    over 1 year ago
    We have visited Gibraltar twice, in December 2018 and December 2019, in both cases for four nights. This was ideal, giving three full days - two to explore the rock, and an intervening day to explore the town and coastal attractions. Any longer would have been too longer. We did not rate Gibraltar town highly; the main street is dominated by cheap booze shops and the eating establishments try too hard to be British (we do not go to the Mediterranean to eat fish and chips or British pub grub). The principal attraction is the rock itself, which I have reviewed separately, and this is best explored on foot if you are fit enough and have the time. On the intervening day, we made good use of the local bus services, which are cheap and frequent. It isn't possible to go all the way around Gibraltar by public bus or on foot - there is a tunnel on the eastern side of the rock, which is not served by public bus or accessible to pedestrians - but we went as far as we could. Overall, it was a great break for four nights.
  • PropertyInvestor
    almost 5 years ago
    We visited Gibralter in 2014 and again yesterday (2016). What struck us immediately was the extent of 'new build' going on. Block after block of glass balconied flats...or perhaps I should say apartments as it sounds more posh. Elsewhere I'd have said they were attractive, but stood next to the lovely old buildings of Kings Wharf, they stuck out like a sore thumb. Gib is at risk of drowning its historical buildings and character in a sea of modernism!

    Interesting that you say 'the Rock' should feature as a weekend break - that was pretty much our conclusion too. Two to three days would be enough to see what there is to see. Having said all this, the people were lovely and of those we spoke to, no-one could imagine living anywhere else!