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.
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
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
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)