When to fly
If you’re planning on visiting Gibraltar hoping to relax on the beach and spend your time outdoors, book a flight to Gibraltar between June and September.
These summer months also provide a whole host of annual events and festivals. Calentita Nights taking place in June, is a street party and food festival to mark the end of Gibraltar’s Spring Festival. This colourful celebration of Gibraltar’s society is reflected in the wide variety of multicultural food on offer. Everyone is invited to taste the different samples, whilst listening to music. On the September 10, Gibraltar’s National Day is celebrated. The streets will be packed with locals dressed in red and white – Gibraltar’s national colours – creating a lively atmosphere. Across the city, festivities include DJs, live music, fireworks and thousands of red and white balloons being let off into the sky.
Winter temperatures (December to February) are generally around the early teens, making even this time of year comfortable. This period is the low season, so a good time to look for cheaper flights and hotel rates. As the temperature remains mild, you will still be able to make the most out of your trip.
The Rock of Gibraltar dominates this tiny British colony at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, Gibraltar was one of the Pillars of Hercules, the promontories that mark the edge of the world. Ownership of the Rock has been contentious since the Treaty of Utrecht granted it to Britain in 1713.
At the Governor's residence the guard changes several times a day. Main Street offers a chance to snap up VAT-free bargains (in Sterling) and admire the British Regency-style buildings.
Less than 3sq miles (7 sq km) in size, you can get around Gibraltar mostly on foot, although the highest parts can be quite steep. The top of “The Rock” can be accessed by cable car, and will reward you with stunning views across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco, as well as views back towards Spain. Due to its military past, The Rock contains an intricate system of tunnels that stretches over 30 miles, allowing people to walk from one end to the other, or even top to bottom. This limestone cave network marvel, with its collection of cannons pointing out of carved outlooks and other military relics and displays, is alone worth getting flights to Gibraltar for. The most important cave in The Rock is St Michael’s Cave, which has been dated back to the Neolithic period and contains ancient wondrous stalactites and stalagmites.
Gibraltar is famously covered in barbary macaque monkeys that roam around, with the dominant ones living at the very peak of the area. Although they are cute to watch scamper around, make sure you don’t feed them as it’s illegal. Offshore, you can go dolphin watching in the bay.
Gibraltar has a pleasant Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and warm summers. During the summer months, the temperature usually sits in the 20s, with August being the hottest month.
Getting around Gibraltar
Getting around isn’t much of a problem in a territory so small. You can walk it, or use a bus or car.
To get up the Rock itself, the quickest route is by cable car. You can also drive, or take one of the bus tours.
Getting from the airport
All flights land at Gibraltar Airport (GIB) (North Front Airport), half a mile (1km) north of the town centre. There is a bus service operating from the airport. Taxis and rental cars are also available.
Gibraltar insider information
- From the top of the Rock of Gibraltar you can see Africa, Spain and Gibraltar itself. If you’ve got time, hiking up the rock is an enjoyable way to see the landscape on the way up, and the famous Barbary Apes.
- The Upper Galleries, or Siege Tunnels, are a series of tunnels in the Rock covering about 50 mile (80km). Dug by hand by the British during the 18th century, the tunnels were a means of carrying the guns onto the northern face of the Rock, in order to defend Gibraltar from Spanish or French attacks. Parts are open to tourists to explore.
- Of the six beaches on Gibraltar’s shoreline, four are sandy. One of the most popular is Catalan Bay, a former fishing village, but today a popular tourist resort. The cove surrounds the sandy beach, and there are a few pubs and restaurants here. It is one of the furthest out of town, so be prepared for a long(ish) walk or take a taxi.
- Dolphins swim in the waters around Gibraltar and can often be spotted from the shore. For a better chance, take a boat trip dolphin spotting. Three agencies currently offer trips – you can book at the tourist office.
- For shopping, or just passing time, take a walk down Main Street. This is the heart of the town and it feels very British (except for the weather).