Gibraltar Town ~ Travel Pictures
Day Trips from Algarve Portugal, Spain
Gibraltar's town area is about 15 minutes' walk from the border with Andalusia (Andalucia), Spain and the resorts on the south coast. Gibraltar has a fine collection of high end shops, trendy restaurants and elegant hotels. Gibraltar's citizens are a cosmopolitan mix of British, Moors, Europeans and Asians.
Gibraltar day trips from Portugal's Algarve or from Spain are one option, but Gibraltar is well worth a longer stay. From diving and watching the whales and dolphins to caving and shopping, Gibraltar has something to suit every taste. Make time for a visit to the Gibraltar Museum and Gibraltar Botanic Gardens.
Gibraltar town views from Rock
From the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, this narrow, one-way road begins its descent into Gibraltar town.
I took this photo through the glass from the front passsenger seat. Then I shut my eyes until we were lower down the mountain.
It's a very steep drop at first. I remember thinking, "I wonder when the brakes were last serviced?"
Back seat passengers don't get this same view, so plan accordingly.
We could not stop for photos, as the traffic route up and down the Rock of Gibraltar is a well-oiled assembly line, and anyone who stops would gum up the system.
Next time, I would take the cable car; there's also a trail if you're energetic.
Moorish Castle walls show Gibraltar's History
Not far from the border, heading towards the city centre, are the walls and fortifications of a Moorish Castle dating back to the 11th Century.
It's thought that the Berber chief, Tarik, first laid out the basic castle, in 742. It was rebuilt in its present form in the 14th Century.
The entrance to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve is near the tip of the peninsula, to the far right of this view point.
Once past the residential area, the road becomes one way only, to exit near the Moorish Castle.
The cable car to the top of The Rock leaves from the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, not far from here, to the right; the City Under Siege display is towards the Rock.
Gibraltar Town Square Nestles Under the Rock
This square is a towards the border end of down town. Its perimeter is lined with shops and restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines, or showcasing the 'catch of the day'.
Tours end in the city centre, usually in time for lunch, and allow for a few hours to explore other attractions like the Botanic Gardens, the Gibraltar Museum or the casino.
Main Street is largely for pedestrians only, with park benches, shady trees and splashes of flower baskets.
Look for Irish pubs and coffee houses and restaurants in Irish Town, which runs parallel to Main Street.
Visitors from the U.K. will find many familiar shops, and enjoy VAT-free shopping. (There are lots of exchange centres and banks.)
The best photos of the Rock of Gibraltar, in my opinion, are those taken from the air, on the north (Spain) side (they show the 'slab of limestone' to best advantage), so scan the post card racks and pick up a great souvenir.
Town Square in Gibraltar - Another View of Shopping area
The view from the other side of the square (above), looking towards one of several tourism offices.
At the time I was last here, there was a visitors's bureau where you could pick up a city map and other information.
On this cool February day with clouds threatening rain, the patio tables were not in use.
High-end perfume, crystal, electronics Shopping in Gibraltar
Gibraltar offers a wealth of shopping (especially if you're wealthy or otherwise not bothered about the exchange rate).
U.K. shoppers seem to have a great time, though. Tobacco and alcohol products are hot sellers, as are perfumes, designer clothing and gold jewellery.
Look for Gibraltar crystal. There's lots of high-end electronics and camera shops (and also the usual Tshirt, handicraft and postcards outlets).
North American shoppers and others should take into consideration that these are geared to the European market and may be problematic to adapt for use at home.
Gibraltar town lane to Tattoo Parlour
From the main street, small laneways give access to homes and shops. There's even a tattoo parlour at the end of this lane.
With so many options and activities on offer, you'll soon see that a few hours in Gibraltar is too short a time, and wish you had planned to stay longer.
If you are planning a long stay in south Spain or Portugal, you might really enjoy a few days in Gibraltar.
Opposite this main town area are some lovely hotels right on the Mediterranean.
One hotel had fabulous views-- the Caleta Hotel -- our Rock Tour guide pointed out, and named various celebrities who were often guests there.
Gibraltar Border with Spain
The Gibraltar - Spain border formalities are minimal and even large bus tours were processed fairly quickly.
If you've come on a tour, your driver will wait on the Spain side for you to return.
Gibraltar tour operators and cabs are stationed just across the border to take tours up The Rock.
The rates vary by number of people and what's included. (See Gibraltar Home page for approximate rates).
Gibraltar's airport runway also a pedestrian walkway
In 1969, the border was closed for 13 years (during the Franco era, when Spain tried to restake its claim.
There are not many opportunities to stand in the middle of an international airport runway, so I took it. (Airport code for Gibraltar is GIB)
A siren sounds to clear the runway when flights come in or take off.
Gibraltar town, and the Rock of Gibraltar, as seen from the west, just across the border in Spain, at sunset.
There were a number of windsurfers on the bay, and a few cruise ships in harbour.
After an afternoon of cloudy weather that threatened rain, I was sad to be leaving what promised to be a fine evening.
If you can stay a night or two, you'll be glad you did.
Highway at Algeciras Near Gibraltar
Looking ahead through the tour bus window, a picture of the highway going west.
Hotels in Algeciras (Andalusia, Spain are usually less expensive than those in Gibraltar, so you may want to consider staying in Algeciras and making day trips to explore the Rock of Gibraltar.
The ferry to Tangiers, Morocco, is in Algeciras, so you could take an escorted tour to Tangiers. Ask your hotel for recommended tour operators.
Note : Andalusia is also spelled Andalucia, so check both spellings)