Recently, Gibraltar’s been scooping headline after headline. Catherine Roberts hopped on a trip to find out more about the famous Rock…
10am Coffee: check. Breakfast buffet fry up: inhaled. I reckon I’m ready to hit the road. We jump on the coach and, as we travel, the tour guide keeps up a running commentary of the Costa del Sol‘s history. But I keep getting distracted by the countryside. Spain‘s tallest mountains over here, envy-inducing houses over there, bright white villas clustered in the hills – why have I spent all my spare time on the beach, again?
11.30am We hit Gibraltar’s border.
11.40am Border successfully crossed. Take that, doom and gloom headlines.
12pm We’re unleashed on Gibraltar’s high street. The shopaholics dive straight onto Main Street, where the shops couldn’t be more British if they tried – Marks and Sparks, BHS, Dorothy Perkins, Topshop. And they’re all stuffed with duty free goodies. The high street’s braced by narrow roads and a square lined with restaurants and cafés, so finding somewhere for lunch is a cinch.
2pm Our minibus tour of the Rock begins. Europa Point is first up – it’s got a really photogenic lighthouse and a skyscraping mosque. Apparently you even get a view of Africa on a clear day.
3pm The famous Ape’s Den. “Don’t feed them. Don’t stroke them. Don’t get too close to the babies,” our driver intones. But what if they want to get close to us? As it turns out, the (mega-cute) baby apes think the minibuses make great playgrounds, while the adults stare out moodily across the cityscape. And I proceed to spam Instagram.
3.30pm We stop off for a whirlwind tour of Gibraltar’s World War II tunnels. They’re miles and miles of cool, damp defensive passageways scooped out by British and Canadian engineers. Awed silence ensues.
4.30pm On the drive back to the border crossing, the minibus zigzags through tiered streets lined with pretty houses. Plus, we get to have a gander at the Moorish Castle and glittering cathedral.
5pm We say adios to Gibraltar. And zoom across the border in 20 minutes flat.
A few tips:
- Euros, pound sterling, and Gibraltar pounds are all accepted in shops. Watch your change, though – Gibraltar pounds can only be spent within the territory.
- Shopping is duty free, but there are some restrictions when it comes to buying cigarettes, alcohol, and electronics. Ask your guide for extra info before you splash your cash.
- Remember your passport! You’ll be crossing the Spanish border into a British territory.