ALAMEDA GARDENS

 

FOR A PEACEFUL AFTERNOON STROLL YOU CAN DO NO BETTER THAN ESCAPE THE CARS AND ADMIRE THE BOTANICAL GARDENS.

Gibraltar’s Botanical Gardens were originally laid out in 1816. The Lieutenant-Governor at the time General Sir George Don as well as obtaining voluntary contributions also apparently legalised a series of lotteries to pay for the cost of creating the gardens. The beautiful garden, in the General’s words, “where the inhabitants might enjoy the air protected from the extreme heat of the sun.” After falling into some disrepair it was revitalised in the 1970’s for all future Gibraltarians to enjoy. With themed beds and both flora and fauna from all over the world the gardens contain some unique plants and trees. The gardens also boast a fantastic open air theatre. Another interesting item is the fact that the Alameda is on the list of official wedding venues. They are normally held in an area known as the ‘Dell’ which has a bridge overlooking it and a superb enclosed area for the ceremon. If you are coming to Gibraltar to get married you might be interested to know that it has become very popular to marry in the Dell and then hold the reception at the specacular Mons Calpe Suite located 412m above sea level with in the Cable Car Top Station complex. To find out more go to Mons Calpe Suite and www.gibraltargardens.gi

How to get there:
The Alameda Gardens are located next to Grand Parade which is where you will also find the Cable Car base station. You can find Grand Parade at the south end of Main Street, just continue walking past the Governors residence, the Convent, past Trafalgar Cemetery and you can’t miss it. Alternatively you can catch Buses no2, 3 or 4, which will all drop you off very near to the Gardens. Just ask the bus drive and they should point you in the right direction. If you do plan to drive in (you are warned you might find yourself in a lengthy queue to enter and/or exit Gibraltar) and are looking for a car park you might be lucky and find a free space on Grand Parade.

APES

A VISIT TO GIBRALTAR FOR EVERY TOURIST IS A RARE CHANCE TO SEE AN ANIMAL CLOSE UP IN ITS ENVIRONMENT. LEGEND SAYS IF THE APES DISAPPEAR FROM GIBRALTAR SO WILL THE BRITISH WHICH IS WHY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR WITH THE NUMBERS DWINDLING WINSTON CHURCHILL SENT TO ‘NORTH AFRICA FOR REPLACEMENTS.

Churchill’s plan worked and the colony thrives to this day. There are several places to see the almost 300 apes in their natural habitat as they are littered around the Upper Rock. The easiest way and the way we recommend is to ride the Cable Car to the Top Station where, as soon as you reach the top, you will see apes sitting around waiting for you. If you are lucky you might also meet Brian a local primatologist who is a regular visitor to the Top Station on weekends. The apes roam freely around the Top Station on the look out for any unsuspecting tourist. If you haven’t had enough of the apes by the time you have finished enjoying the views and completed your multimedia tour the Cable Car also has a mid way stop called the Ape’s Den which is exactly, what the name suggests. You can walk amongst them or watch them bounce off cars and buses as they play. Please be advised that the Cable Car will not stop at the middle station between the months of April to October. There are also many to be seen at St Michael’s Cave and around the area of Princess Caroline’s Battery and the Siege Tunnels.

The Gibraltar apes are actually a tailless monkey called a Barbary Macaque (Macaca Sylvanus). No one is actually sure how they got to Gibraltar, however, speculation has it they were brought either by the Arabs sometime after 711CE or the British after 1704. The Macaque is listed as ‘endangered’ in its homelands in Algeria and Morocco but here in Gibraltar they thrive under the care of the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS).

The apes come into contact with humans on a daily basis and it is through this contact they became known as ‘Bags of Fat’ being fed by well meaning but ill informed people. Their general health has improved under GONHS (Gibraltar’s Ornithological and Natural History Society) and there is now a £500 fine if anyone is caught feeding an ape. They are fed at locations around the Rock on a daily basis on a diet strictly observed by experts and though it may seem basic to you to the apes it is balanced for their health, well being and teeth. They are wild but used to humans so it is perfectly ok to approach close enough to take a photograph, some may even pose! You may sit near them but more likely they will come close to you, if they do approach you please do not touch them. You may get away with it once but touch an ape that got out of his cave the wrong side that morning and you will get a bite. They are very protective of their young and often show signs of aggression to keep you at bay. Stay away! One thing the Apes love is a plastic bag. They associate the sound and sight of plastic bags with food. They will grab it immediately and please do not try and stop them as they will bite. It is best to let it go and hope they drop it after their curiosity is satisfied. Only then can you recover whatever was inside they have disregarded as a non food item. They also sometimes jump onto people to get from one perch to another so if they do sit on you just bend over to tip them off, they should go and pick on someone else. If you buy an ice cream or food in the snack bar at the Cable Car Top Station eat it inside. Many a Tour Guide counts the seconds it stays in the hand of the unsuspecting before it is taken by an Ape.

Just remember the following points and your visit to the Apes will be a joy to remember and photograph;

Put away any plastic bag or food before entering an area where apes can be found roaming
Don’t pull faces at them or mimic them. Showing teeth is a sign of aggression
Don’t touch them, they aren’t pets even though they look cuddly
Don’t eat outside if there are apes in the area
Above all, don’t Feed them

APES DEN

YOU GUESSED IT THERE ARE APES HERE TOO.

Whether you come across the Ape’s Den after visiting the Top of the Rock via the Cable Car and use the middle station stop off (N.B. The Cable Car will not stop at the middle station between the months of April to October) or walk down to it via the Phillip II steps after visiting St Michael’s Cave it is here you will be guaranteed to see an Ape. The Den has a few steps leading off the road into it and as you walk along the Apes are normally sat around the walls looking out for the odd photo opportunity or unsuspecting child with a morsel of food, so be careful! Whilst looking out from one of the look outs you might catch a rare glimpse of the wild goats that roam the Rock. Another interesting feature here is a large hole bored into the rock which was an experimental mortar that soldiers would fill up with about 1000 small stones and fire at the enemy. Unfortunately although it could be fired, the angle it was cut into the rock meant it was in reality ineffective.

After the Den you can continue the walk north along the road towards the tunnels or get back onto the Cable Car down into the City.

To find out more about Gibraltar’s famous apes and more importantly how to behave around them click here.

How to get there:
Apes Den is located right in the middle of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. Although there is no ‘entrance’ into Apes Den (and by the way don’t go looking for a ‘den’ or cave because it looks nothing like one!) you do have to purchase an entrance ticket into the Nature Reserve. Since the Cable Car middle station is located at the Apes Den we recommend you get there via the Cable Car. For operational reasons the Cable Car suggests you go straight to the top station, enjoy the views, the company of the resident pack of apes etc and then visit the Apes Den on the way back down. However please be advised that the Cable Car will not stop at the middle station between the months of April to October. There is no extra cost to the Cable Car return ticket for this.

BIRD WATCHING

When it comes to bird watching (and we mean the feathered kind!) Gibraltar is the place to be. Not only does it enjoy an abundance of wildlife in the sea and on land but because of Gibraltar’s strategic geographical location it also enjoys a unique array of bird life . Each Spring and Autumn, the Rock becomes a staging post for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds flying between their breeding grounds in Northern Europe and their wintering areas in tropical Africa.

The Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS), founded in 1976, is a non-governmental, membership-based organization committed to research into and conservation of nature in Gibraltar and the region of the Strait of Gibraltar. They have put together a list of 311 species known to have occurred in Gibraltar, including the resident species such as Peregrine Falcons, Blue Rock Thrush and Gibraltar’s own Barbary Partridge. GONHS are the people to contact should you be interested in bird watching and are contactable through www.gonhs.org. As they say on their website ‘Birdwatchers and others with an interest in nature are always welcome.’

EUROPA POINT

THE FURTHEST POINT AWAY FROM THE FRONTIER AND ONLY 15½ MILES FROM AFRICA.

On a clear day, which it is most days, you can see Jebel Sidi Musa the ‘other’ pillar of Hercules. This is the turning point for the No3 bus from the frontier and if you get a return you can get off the bus and climb on the next one as it leaves after those vital photo’s are taken. The lighthouse was completed in 1841 and is still the only lighthouse outside of the United Kingdom that is administered by Trinity House, the authority that looks after all the UK and the Channel Islands lighthouses. Also here is an impressive mosque built in the mid 1990’s with money donated by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. In essence the first thing you see in continental Europe crossing from Islamic Africa is a mosque. Europa Point itself has it’s own original mosque, a church and the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe which is no ordinary church. The original building stood possibly from before 1309 and has gone through many changes and uses because of war and sieges. The bell tower used to be the original lighthouse when needed and the church itself has been the site of miracles and worship since those early times with pilgrimages to see the ancient statue of Our Lady of Europe and Child. She celebrates her 700h anniversary in 2009. It is open to visitors throughout the year.

How to get there:
Europa Point is located at the Southern most tip of Gibraltar. Your best bet is to jump on the no 2 bus which will take you from the town centre to Europa Point.

GARRISON LIBRARY

THIS MAGNIFICENT 200 YEAR OLD BUILDING HOUSES MANY INTERESTING ARCHIVES AND DOCUMENTS FROM AS FAR BACK AS 1704.

A young Lieutenant called Drinkwater having been in Gibraltar during the Great Siege of 1779 – 1783 and unable to leave the garrison not even by ship because of the blockade, recalled how siege warfare could be mind numbingly boring as there were great swathes of time where the Garrison literally waited for the next period of shelling by the enemy. On his return to Gibraltar the then Captain Drinkwater requested that the Garrison had a library to help alleviate the boredom and provide some recreation. Officers often travelled with their own books but men didn’t and they were a troublesome business among the military baggage handlers. The idea was well received by the Governor Sir Robert Boyd and both he and the Lieutenant-Governor, Major-General O’Hara donated money to help fund the cause, it was so that the library was founded in 1793. Originally in a building on Main Street the library grew large enough to need its own premises including reading rooms, a garden to take refreshments and rooms for games like bridge etc. Using land the Governor had for grazing his horse and cattle, the construction began in 1800 and was completed in 1804. Other buildings were added around it and a new wing added in 1867 but the building is now as it was then including the bookcases and some of the original furniture. Interestingly there is also the original ‘sand glass’ which was used to prevent gentlemen ‘hogging’ The Times newspaper too long.

Also part of the construction was the premises on which the Gibraltar Chronicle was put together and printed. Gibraltar’s ‘national’ newspaper was first printed as a garrison newsletter on the 4th May 1801. It is one of the oldest newspapers still in print in Europe and scored a world exclusive in October 1805 when it reported victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Lord Nelson.

How to get there:
The Garrison library is located close to the centre of Main Street. It is a 5 minute walk behind the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned. Follow the Bishops Rapalo’s Lane between Marks and Spencer and the Cathedral, up a short flight of steps and you will find it across from the parking of the O’Callaghns Hotel. Also look out for the Scottish Church in the same square.

GIBRALTAR MUSEUM

The first mention of opening a museum was back in 1835 during a meeting of the Gibraltar Scientific Society. It wasn’t until almost 100 years later it actually happened.

On the 23 July 1930 the Gibraltar museum was founded and located in the home of the Principal Ordinance Officer, then known as Ordinance House or more colloquially known as ‘Bomb House’. It is located just off Main Street in Bomb House Lane behind the Bristol Hotel. It is probably the best investment of £2 you will ever make for that is the cost of entrance. It has a small room that shows a 15 minute film on the geology around the Rock including how it came to be. After that you can walk it’s few rooms and marvel at some interesting artefacts ancient and not so ancient covering the existence of more than 20,000 years of history. Whatever you do visit the Moorish Baths and in the room just before you enter them you will see two cages full of oyster shells from the Roman period, shells bigger than a large bread roll compared to today’s tiny oysters. Don’t leave without seeing the Egyptian Mummy upstairs dating from 800BCE found floating in the Bay in 1930 and the 1:600 scale model of the Rock made in 1865 accurate even down to the trees by Lieutenant Charles Warren. The same Charles Warren who 23 years later was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police during the infamous ‘Whitechapel’ murders of 1888.

Moorish Baths
The remains of medieval baths built during the 14th Century Menindin Dynasty rule of Gibraltar.

Located beneath what is now the Gibraltar Museum, these ancient remains were actually used as stables during the British occupation of Gibraltar. In fact one of the rooms was sufficiently filled to the level of the road to enable it to accommodate coaches, the horse drawn variety of course. Although smaller than originally built after the house was badly damaged during the Great Siege the baths are on the site of the Palace of the Governor of Gibraltar and are therefore, private baths. They consist of rooms similar to Roman ‘Hypocaust’ system of baths with a normal temperature room for undressing, a cold room and a hot room. Like the saunas of today moving between them cleanses the body by sweating the dirt away. The baths had channels under the floor through which warm air circulated heating the rooms. To look at the baths you need to gain entry to the Museum above.

How to get there:
The Gibraltar Museum can be found off Main Street down Bomb House Lane opposite the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned which is located bang in the middle of Main Street.

GREAT SIEGE TUNNELS

PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF SOLDIERS MORE THAN 200 YEARS AGO AND EXPERIENCE THE SIEGE TUNNELS NEAR ENOUGH AS THEY WERE WHEN THEY WERE FIRST DUG OUT USING JUST SPADES, CHISELS, HAMMERS AND BLASTING POWDER.

“The Spanish are digging in to the north and getting closer with cannon and shot Sir!” said the soldier. Governor of Gibraltar, General Elliott thought for a second, looked at the north face of the Rock where a small platform could be seen jutting out from the sheer cliff. “What I need is cannon on that notch!” he commanded. All around looked to the sky, some of the officers even scratched their heads in thought. Suddenly from the back the small voice of a Cornish tin miner, Sgt Major Ince was heard. “We could dig our way through the rock Sir.” A few murmurs, someone emitted a stifled laugh, the Governor said, “I like it!”

British ingenuity was at its best when during the Great Siege of 1779 – 1783 Governor of Gibraltar General Elliott set a competition and offered $1000 to anyone who could get a cannon on an area on the north face of the Rock called the ‘Notch’. An idea offered by Sgt Major Ince to cut through the limestone rock by hand was taken and the British set to work in 1781. The tunnels were dug using black powder charges, hammers, chisels and shovels. An amazing feat of both engineering and human effort these are a sightseeing opportunity totally unique to Gibraltar. Walking up the steep slope to the entrance of the tunnels gives you some appreciation of the effort of the men who built them, it must have been unimaginable. Even worse, as you walk through the tunnels, is the display case with the rations for the men. The case has a weeks rations that today wouldn’t last a day. Continue the more than 350 foot walk through the 200 year old galleries and experience life as it was for them. Marvel at the cannons lining the holes looking out across the isthmus to Spain and shudder as you imagine the roar of the cannons firing in such a space. The tunnel is lined with ’embrasures’ a fortification that allows the firer to remain protected as the weapon fires. As you walk along the tunnels you will also see ammunition stores and some of the passageways leading to old WWII tunnels. The tunnels were completed in mid 1783 about 3 months after the Great Siege ended. At the end of the tunnel is St Georges Hall where legend says Lord Napier held a banquet for General Ulysses S. Grant 18th President of the USA. Interestingly for his efforts Ince was given a commission in the Army, a plot of land on the Rock still called Ince’s Farm and the Duke of Kent (Queen Victoria’s father) gave him a ‘fine horse’. There is no mention of the $1000.

How to get there:
Before entering the Great Siege Tunnels you must first purchase a Nature Reserve entrance ticket which will allow you access to other sites of interest including St Michael’s Cave. The Tunnels are located to the North of the Nature Reserve and can be accessed either by walking up from the town or by walking down (1.6 km) from the Cable Car Top Station. We recommend you purchase the Cable Car and Nature Reserve combo ticket which includes entrance into all of the sights.

JEW’S GATE & MEDITERRANEAN STEPS

THE ENTRANCE TO THE NATURE RESERVE AND THE PLACE TO START IF YOU FEEL LIKE A WALK AROUND THE SOUTHERN AND EASTERN SIDE OF GIBRALTAR. THE VIEWS ARE FANTASTIC BUT IT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED!

“And Her Britannic Majesty, at the request of the Catholic King, does consent and agree, that no leave shall be given under any pretence whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar”

(Article X – Treaty of Utrecht 1713)

Under the rules of the above mentioned article Gibraltar had a problem, what to do with a fairly sizeable Jewish population? The area ‘Jew’s Gate’ is thus named because of the old Jewish cemetery dating back to the 1700’s. The cemetery was placed here specifically away from the prying eyes of any Spanish visitors so the article was never seen to be broken. The last burial there was in the 1860’s but the cemetery is beautifully maintained to this day. It is now the official entrance into the Nature Reserve through which visiting cars, taxi’s and buses have to pass.

Next to this is the entrance to the Mediterranean steps, roughly an hour long walk through the fauna of Gibraltar that stretches all around the southern end of the Rock snaking upwards towards O’Hara’s battery. By the end of this walk you will have seen examples of the wild flowers unique to Gibraltar such as Candytuft, Thyme, Chickweed, Campion and Saxifrage. The views of the south and along the eastern side are worth the effort. As the name implies there are a lot of steep steps so if you intend to tackle it in the summer take a floppy hat and plenty of drinking water.

How to get there:
The beginning of the walk is located at the main entrance of the Nature Reserve. There is nowhere to park so forget driving your car up. If you do have a car you can park it at Grand Parade which is also where the Cable Car base station is located. Parking is free. Otherwise catch a bus no 3 that will drop you off just after the old Casino. From here follow the signs into the Nature Reserve until you get to Jews Gate. Here you will be asked to pay a walking entrance fee of £0.50pp. This excludes entrance into various sites.

Once you get to the top of the Med Steps we also recommend you head for the Cable Car Top Station which is only a short walk further north. There you can purchase a one way ticket down and avoid the long walk back. Tickets are available on this website or at the Souvenir Shop at the Top Station.

Good luck!

MAIN STREET

SITUATED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 800 METRE LONG PARADE OF SHOPS WE CALL MAIN STREET,

‘Casemates’ has café bars and restaurants of all descriptions from where you can sit and relax and watch the world go by. All of Gibraltar’s life will walk past you and you may even spot the odd famous face from film or television in Gibraltar for a break. It was originally a barracks but more than that as its name suggests it was a store for ammunition hence the shape of all the buildings at one side of the square. The name comes from the Italian word Casamatta meaning ‘Armed House’. It also was the site of Gibraltar’s public executions the last one taking place in the 1860’s in full view of the Garrison.

Looking to the south of the square you will find Main Street and it is along here that you will find everything a shopper would wish for! From perfume, alcohol, tobacco, clothing, linen to electrical goods like camera’s, games consoles, DVD’s and everything in between. As you get halfway up Main Street spend time to look at the piazza which stretches in front of our Parliament. Behind Parliament is John Macintosh Square which is also home to City Hall. Further south you will see the Courts of Justice inside of which John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married in March 1969, the King’s Chapel is along a bit and next to that the Governors Residence, called the Convent, which was built in the late 1490’s and was originally a convent for Franciscan Friars. This building sits resplendent across from the office of our Chief Minister known as No 6 Convent Place. Continue your walk through the arches of Referendum Gates and you will be at Trafalgar Cemetery and the Cable Car base station and Alameda Garden a further 5min walk beyond that.

How to get there:
Casemates Square is what locals call the start of the Main Street and is located at it’s northern end. Bus n5 from the frontier will take you there. You can alight at either Casemates (the northern end) or at the British War Memorial Steps (middle of town).

MARINAS

WITH GIBRALTAR’S LOCATION AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN

With Gibraltar’s location at the entrance of the Mediterranean, it is not surprising that it is considered one of the most important maritime crossroads in the world. Gibraltar is a favourite port of call for cruise liners, with an average of over 220 vessels calling into Gibraltar every year. If you are looking to call into Gibraltar on a slightly smaller yacht, you have a choice of 3 marines, Marina Bay, Ocean Village and Queensway Quay. Vessels arriving in Gibraltar must register at the reporting berth in Marina Bay and crew should expect thorough adherence to procedures due to the variety of illegal trafficking that goes on in the Strait.

If you are arriving in a super yacht and looking for an agent to help you with arrangements we recommend you contact MH Bland Port Agency who have been in the maritime business for the past 200 years! The experienced team will be able to assist you in any way necessary.

To contact MH Bland Port Agency just click here;

Location: At the entrance to the Mediterranean in position Latitude – 36°08°N Longitude – 05°22°W. Gibraltar has three marinas that can handle yachts of up to 70m length and 4.5m draft.

Gibraltar has three marinas:

Tel: +350 20044700 +350 20044699
Email: info@queenswayquay.com
VHF: Channel 71
Postal address: Marina Office
PO Box 19
Queensway Quay Marina
Queensway
Gibraltar
Website: www.queenswayquay.com

With its impressive backdrop of luxury apartments, restaurants, shops and bars, Queensway Quay Marina nestles in the heart of Gibraltar giving easy access to all of the attractions it has to offer.Queensway Quay is noted for its peace and tranquility in spite of being right in town. It is also a popular place to have a meal as there is a variety of restaurants and bars here. Showers and toilets are good, ice is available at the Marina, water and electricity are both metered.

Number of berths: 185
Maximum size: 75 metres
Position: 36° 8′.1N, 5° 21′.3W
Berthing: Stern-to and bow-to floating pontoon
Water/electricity: On pontoon and metered
Services: Toilets, showers, restaurants, laundry

Tel: (+350) 200 73300 (24 hours)
Fax: (+350) 200 42656
Email: pieroffice@marinabay.gi
Contact Name: Karl Bisset
Postal Address:
Marina Bay
Ocean Village Investments Limited
PO Box 80
Gibraltar
Website: www.marinabay.gi

Marina Bay is located at the northern side of the rock, but faces west and is protected from the humid, east wind called the “Levant”. With a draft of 4.5 metres and over 200 berths Marina Bay can accommodate most any vessel up to super yachts. Friendly help and advice is always available from the centrally located pier office, which has all the modern services for the yachtsman.

Each berth has a new total facility point from which easy access is provided for fresh water, power supply, telephone, telefax and satellite TV New shower and toilet facilities are nearby at the pier office building including toilet for the disabled.

Wireless Internet Access is provided by YachtConnect Ltd. and prepaid cards can be purchased from restaurant Biancas.

Tel: + 350 20040048
Fax: + 350 20040068
Email: info@oceanvillage.gi
Postal Address:
Ocean Village
Leisure Island, Business Centre
Leisure Island
Ocean Village
PO Box 685
Gibraltar
Website: www.oceanvillage.gi/marina.html

Ocean Village is located directly opposite Marina Bay and also looks out over the airport runway (which is built over the water). It is the newest marina on the Rock and has several bars and restaurants located within it. It is located a short walk for Casemates Square which is what locals consider the beginning of Main Street. With a draft of 4.5 metres and over 200 berths, Ocean Village Marina can accommodate most vessels including the largest super yachts. Friendly help and advice is always available from the centrally located pier office, which has all the modern services for the yachtsman.

Each berth has a new total facility point from which easy access is provided for fresh water, power supply and telephone. Shower and toilet facilities are nearby at the pier office building including toilet for the disabled. Wireless Internet Access is provided by YachtConnect Ltd. and prepaid cards are available.

MOORISH CASTLE

REALLY A ‘TOWER OF HOMAGE’ THIS ANCIENT BUILDING IS STILL ONE OF THE MOST RECOGNISED FEATURES OF THE ROCK WITH THE UNION FLAG FLYING PROUDLY ABOVE IT.

Originally built in the 1160CE the Moorish Castle was ransacked by the Spanish between 1309 – 1333. This ‘Tower of Homage’ was rebuilt in the 14th century by Abu-l-Hasan and today you can visit the inside of the recently restored castle, wonder at those 14th century walls and marvel at the feats of Gibraltar’s first city builders, the Moors. If you look closely you can still see the canon dents in the castle walls. The original city was called Medina Al Fath – ‘City of Victory’ and was walled with defensive towers, dwellings, mosques and a palace for prayer. It also had Moorish baths, you can still see a similar bath within the Gibraltar Museum.

How to get there:
Moorish Castle is located at the Northern end of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve just below the World War II Tunnels, and Great Siege Tunnels. To enter you will need to buy a Nature Reserve entrance ticket which will also give you access to other sites with in the Nature Reserve including St Michael’s Cave and the Great Siege Tunnels.

NATURE RESERVE

YOU ONLY HAVE TO LOOK AT ANY PHOTO OF THE WEST FACE OF THE ROCK AND YOU WILL NOTICE THAT THE UPPER HALF OF THE ROCK IS MOSTLY GREEN. IT IS THIS UPPER PART OF THE ROCK THAT HAS BEEN DESIGNATED THE UPPER ROCK ‘NATURE RESERVE.’ IN ORDER TO ENTER YOU MUST FIRST PAY AN ENTRANCE FEE.

There are three ways to enter the Reserve.

Jews Gate
Moorish Castle
Cable Car
See below, ‘How to get there’ for more details

There is a fee to enter the Nature Reserve:
Adult £10.00 (13+ yrs)
Child £5.00 (5-12 yrs)
Infants aged 0-4 years inclusive go FREE
Car: £2.00
Walking £0.50 (excludes entrance into various attractions)

Should you buy a Cable Car ticket you are free to roam the upper rock for no extra charge, since the “walk-in fee” is already included in the price of your ticket. However you will not be allowed access to any of the attractions e.g. St Michael’s Cave which are found within the Nature Reserve. You will be required to pay the £8 per adult and £4 per child (12-5yrs inclusive). You can buy your Nature Reserve tickets at the Cable Car and at the Gibraltarinfo kiosk on the Spanish side of the frontier. However please be aware that the tickets issued at the kiosk are vouchers only and will need to be redeemed at the Cable Car ticket office.

So, what does your money entitle you to?
The Nature Reserve is a protected area and where you will find some of Gibraltar’s most important historical sites. These include: St Michael’s Cave, Great Siege Tunnels, City Under Siege Exhibition, Moorish Castle, Apes Den, Mediterranean Steps, World War II Tunnels and the old Jewish Cemetery.

Now, this is where it starts getting complicated so please bear with me! In order to gain entrance into St Michael’s Cave, Great Siege Tunnels, City Under Siege Exhibition and Moorish Castle you must first purchase a Nature Reserve Ticket. This ticket will also gain you entrance into the impressive 100 Ton Gun which is located outside the Nature Reserve. (I warned you it would get complicated!!) Apes Den and Mediterranean Steps have no ‘entrance’ as such but you will still be required to buy a walkers pass.

Now, to really complicate things if you want to visit the World War II Tunnels (the entrance to which is located inside the Nature Reserve boundaries) you will need to purchase not only a Nature Reserve ticket but also a separate ticket for the tunnels themselves. This is because the Government of Gibraltar does not operate them.

Although it is possible to drive around parts of the Upper Rock, the roads are narrow and winding and parking can be a problem. If you do drive you will enter via Jews Gate, located at the southern. It is here that you will be asked to pay the entrance fee.

On busy days during the summer months you may find that the Nature Reserve is closed to private cars. For this and other reasons we recommend that you leave your car on the Spanish side of the border and use the public transport. Gibraltar is a small place and you can walk or catch the bus to most places. The easiest way to access the Nature Reserve is via the Cable Car. The Cable Car operates a continuous shuttle to the Top of the Rock every 10 to 15 minutes and it only takes approximately 6 minutes to reach the top.

Should you choose to wander around the upper rock Nature Reserve on foot you will be rewarded not only by the spectacular views but the abundance of flora and fauna. Gibraltar is home to a wealth of plant life – palms and jacaranda, lavender and jasmine, clematis, honeysuckle, geraniums and bougainvillea live side by side with many rarer species including two, Gibraltar Candytuft and Gibraltar Sea Lavender, named after the Rock itself. You will find many of these up the rock. Look out for the information boards dotted around which will help you to know what to look out for.

Gibraltar is also a well known and popular bird look out. It is a key migration point and keen bird watchers return year after year to the rock in the hope of spotting the myriad of bird life that use the Strait of Gibraltar as their crossing point to and from north Africa. If you are going to spend a week or so up the rock bird watching why not buy a Cable Car season ticket. Click here for more information. Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society are the people to contact if you need more information on anything to do with the environment, plants and wildlife. They can be contacted through their website: www.gonhs.org

Local knowledge is important and in order to enjoy your stay to the full, you are advised to take a Rock Tour by coach or taxi. Included on the tour is the Nature Reserve with St Michael’s Cave and the Apes Den, the Great Siege Tunnels are an optional extra, but the tour may also include the beaches, Europa Point with its panoramic views of the Strait, Europe and Africa, and the Town Centre. Please see below in the section on Rock Tours and refer to the Fact File on Places of Interest for further details

Opening Hours
Summer: 0930 – 1915 hrs, last entry being 1845Hrs. The only exception will be the 100Ton Gun which will be opened from 0930 – 1845Hrs, last entry being 1815Hrs.
Winter: 0900 – 1815Hrs, with last entry being 1745Hrs

How to get there:
St Michael’s Cave is located with in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve therefore to enter into St Michael’s Cave you must first purchase a ticket for the Nature Reserve which will also gain you entrance into other sites. This can be purchased with your Cable Car ticket. For the more independently minded we recommend you travel to the Top Station via the Cable Car then walk the 0.8km down hill to St Michael’s Cave. Once you have finished your visit into the cave you can then walk another 0.9km down hill to the Ape’s Den from where you can catch the Cable Car back down to the base station which is just a 5 minute walk from the shops of Main Street. However please be advised that the Cable Car will not stop at the middle station between the months of April to October. (recommended ticket Cable Car & Nature Reserve combo ticket)

O’HARA’S BATTERY

THE ROCK’S FORMIDABLE HIGHPOINT AND PROTECTOR OF THE STRAITS STILL TOPPED BY A WWII GUN.

If you rode the Cable Car to the top and decided to walk down towards St Michael’s Cave then about halfway down you will see a fork in the road that leads to O’Hara’s Battery. The path is a little steep but well worth it if you are into your military history; read on. Named after Governor General Charles O’Hara there was originally a look out tower at the point we now call O’Hara’s Battery. The Governor believed if such a tower was built it would enable the Garrison to see Cadiz and any ships heading towards Gibraltar. After it was built and his theory was dashed it became known as O’Hara’s Folly. The battery is the highest point of Gibraltar at 426 metres (1400ft approx). The WWII battery is still on MoD property and a locked gate prevents anyone actually getting to the battery. It is the final destination on the trek along the Mediterranean steps before the walk back downhill past St Michael’s cave and on to the Ape’s Den. O’Hara’s tower itself is long gone, being shot down in a bout of target practise by HMS Wasp in 1888 but there still stands a 9.2” gun guarding the straits although it was never or will ever be fired in anger.

If you decided to enjoy the Mediterranean Steps walk then it is at this point you will emerge from the path. On the other hand you may have decided to take the Cable Car up in which case you could enter the Mediterranean steps at this point and walk the trail down the opposite way to Jew’s Gate.

How to get there:
O’Hara’s Battery is located at the very top of the Nature Reserve. No cars are allowed up there so we recommend you take a 10 min walk from the Cable Car Top Station. The gun itself is closed off to the public but you can get very close. The Cable Car will take you to the Top of the Rock in approximately 6 mins. Go to the Cable Car page to find out more…

PRINCESS CAROLINE’S BATTERY

A GREAT VIEWPOINT WITHOUT THE NEED TO CLIMB TO THE SIEGE TUNNELS AND FROM WHERE YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE THE RUNWAY AND THE FRONTIER.

Still operating and manned in the early 1980’s this battery has several WWII guns that though now decommissioned still watch over the Bay of Gibraltar. There is a great view of the airfield, the northern part of the city and the border into Spain. The name itself is a misnomer as the battery is really St Anne’s Battery. Princess Caroline’s Battery is located above it and houses the Military Heritage Centre, the road to it is accessed from here and hence the confusion. The guns, now silent, have been recently refurbished and worth a look as a reminder of Gibraltar’s more modern days as a fortress.

ST. MICHAEL’S CAVE

THIS AMAZING, NATURAL, PHENOMENON HAS THOUSANDS OF VISITORS A YEAR WANDERING THROUGH ITS HUGE CAVERN. WITH A FEW STEPS, EASY ACCESS AND A LEVEL FLOOR ALMOST ANYBODY CAN VISIT IT.

Thought to be bottomless and first mentioned in the writings of Roman travel writer Pomponius Melia in 45CE, St Michael’s has seen millions of visitors since then though not all with tourism in mind. For instance, learn about how 500 Spanish soldiers were led to safety by Simon Susarte, the shepherd who knew a secret path during your visit. Also explore the cave in all its glory, see the stalagmite that eventually got too heavy on one side and literally fell over still lying there after centuries. You can even examine the growth rings, the darker rings occurring during periods of less rain. Wonder at the sight that is the Cathedral cave so called because the mineral formations around the walls resemble the pipes of a cathedral organ. It is here too you will see the famous Leonora’s Cave thought be the undersea link to Africa through which the apes came. St Michael’s is worth the walk the temperature inside remains constant all year round and drips no matter how long it has been since our last rainfall. In fact if you look carefully at the floor, you will see the beginnings of those stalagmites that in a 1000 years might just be knee high to a grasshopper.

For the more adventurous amongst you and with those with a little more time on their hands why not explore Lower St Michael’s Cave. Discovered while opening an alternative entrance to the cave during WWII, this cave is also open to visitors but strictly by appointment only. An experienced guide is needed to guide you as you climb and slide as you explore deep into the cave. One of the many highlights is a walk around the 5cm rim of a small lagoon! Truly an experience that you will talk about long after your return home.

How to get there:
St Michael’s Cave is located with in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve therefore to enter into St Michael’s Cave you must first purchase a ticket for the Nature Reserve which will also gain you entrance into other sites. This can be purchased with your Cable Car ticket. For the more independently minded we recommend you travel to the Top Station via the Cable Car then walk the 0.8km down hill to St Michael’s Cave. Once you have finished your visit into the cave you can then walk another 0.9km down hill to the Ape’s Den from where you can catch the Cable Car back down to the base station which is just a 5 minute walk from the shops of Main Street. However please be advised that the Cable Car will not stop at the middle station between the months of April to October. (recommended ticket Skywalk Combo)

TRAFALGAR CEMETERY

KEEP WALKING ALONG MAIN STREET AND YOU WILL EVENTUALLY COME TO THE REFERENDUM GATES.

Renamed after the 1967 referendum where Gibraltarians decided to remain under British sovereignty by a massive 99%. As you pass through the gates on the left is a small cemetery. It was here that men wounded in the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805 that died of their wounds in Gibraltar were buried. Across from the cemetery is a memorial statue of Admiral Lord Nelson erected in 2005 on the 200th anniversary of the battle. Every year there is a wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the battle in this cemetery.

How to get there:
Easiest way to get to the Cemetery other than walking up from Casemates along Main Street is to catch bus no2. This will leave you at the northern end of Main Street and a stones throw from the Cable Car base station and the Alameda Gardens.

WATER CATCHMENT / CATALAN BAY

ON THE ROCK’S EASTERN SIDE YOU WILL FIND ONE OF GIBRALTAR’S GEOLOGICAL MIRACLES, EVIDENCE THE MEDITERRANEAN WAS ONCE A DESERT.

Catalan Bay is a small fishing village on the eastern side of the Rock. It was named after the Catalans that escaped the perils of the Napoleonic wars and settled in the area. The best way to view this area is from the Cable Car Top Station’s north platform. It is a great bird’s eye view over the village and water catchment. The Caleta Hotel is located here as are a number of restaurants and a small sandy cove. Above the village is a huge slope resting against the side of the Rock. Stripped of the corrugated sheeting that once covered this huge expanse, the slope made of sandstone is now clearly visible as it was millions of years ago. It is accepted fact that the Mediterranean has been both desert and sea several times over the millennia. Not totally drying out but almost, sand from areas around the lower sea levels was blown against the Rock as drift sand to form the slope. This sand eventually joined together into sandstone and was a natural catchment area for rain water during the times when Gibraltar had no water of its own. All Gibraltar’s water is now desalinated so the water catchment, as it is known, was dismantled although you can still see a few sheets left on one corner to give visitors an idea of what it looked like. Another interesting note is that Gibraltar has two water systems; a salt water system that is used for flushing and taking waste away and the clear desalinated system for consumption. Many of the older houses still have their original salt water pumps although often now used as a place to hang flower baskets.

How to get there:
The Water Catchments are located on the East side of the Rock. Bus no 4 is the one that goes that way but we recommend you get a birds eye view of the area from the terraces of the Cable Car. Go to the Cable Car page to find out more…

WORLS WAR II TUNNELS

SEE WHERE CHURCHILL AND EISENHOWER SAT, THOUGHT UP AND PLANNED OPERATION TORCH – THE INVASION OF NORTH AFRICA.

After years of abandonment these tunnels were opened to the public for guided tours. The tour, available on a daily basis, takes about an hour and you will be able to view the places Eisenhower and Churchill worked during the planning of the invasion of North Africa in 1941. You enter the tunnels at Hay’s level just by the Moorish Castle. To get there either walk up Willis’ Road going past the Sacred Heart Church and bearing right at old St Bernard’s Hospital or catch the No2 minibus from town. Walking through the tunnels listening to the qualified tour guide is fascinating enough but you can also look forward to visiting Jock’s balcony, a unique look out on the sheer north face of the Rock which over looks the airfield, the local cemetery and northwards over the Coast del Sol

How to get there:
Although the tunnels are located with in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve this is not one of the sights included in the Nature Reserve entrance ticket. The tunnels are located at the northern end of the Nature Reserve and is a short walk up from the Moorish Castle you will be required to buy a separate entrance ticket for the tour as well as a ticket for the Nature Reserve.

The Top

MAGNIFICENT VIEWS

Getting Married

AN UNFORGETTABLE EVENT

The Restaurant

MONS CALPE TOP CUSINE

The place

PLENTY OF SPACE AND DETAILS

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