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  • Writer's pictureKrista the Explorer

How To Spend 2 Days in Gibraltar

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Whether you’re entering Gibraltar on one of the world’s shortest runways or are making your way across the border on foot or by car, this small but intriguing country is sure to impress you. Even if you’ve been here before, there are plenty of things to see in Gibraltar that appeal to a wide variety of interests. This popular Overseas British Territory shares a border with a small Spanish town called La Línea de la Concepción in the Province of Cádiz. If you’re wondering where to stay in Gibraltar, it may be a better option to stay over the border in La Línea as prices are significantly cheaper. I stayed at the AC Hotel by Marriott which was only a short walk to the border with street parking available.


Gibraltar may be small, but it has a rich history that you can explore both within the old town and throughout the Rock of Gibraltar. The origins of inhabitants in Gibraltar can be traced back over 100 000 years ago, and due to its strategic position it’s seen its fair share of sieges and battles between different peoples. If you only have enough time in your schedule to spend 2 days in Gibraltar you should be able to see the majority of the main attractions here, especially if you don’t plan on visiting the beaches in Gibraltar.


Day 1

For those of you only spending one day in Gibraltar, it’s very common to join a guided tour of the Rock of Gibraltar so you can see as much as possible in a short amount of time. However, the old town itself is equally worth visiting, which is why I would suggest spending the first day in Gibraltar exploring the area below the Rock before you’re too tired to move. If you have some spare time, the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens are easily accessible by bus outside of the old town.


Grand Casemates Square

A square in old town Gibraltar with view of the Rock.
Grand Casemates Square

One of the first places to go in Gibraltar is Grand Casemates Square. This is a popular square in Gibraltar and is where you can find a lot of restaurants and places to grab a drink. You can also get a great view of the Rock from here. One of my favourite spots in Grand Casemates Square is a juice bar called Get Joost which is a must-visit on a hot day. The square itself gets its name from a Spanish word meaning “fortified position” and it’s been used as a place for boat repairs, public executions, and a military parade ground.


American War Memorial

Steps leading up to an arch with large gold coins in middle.
American War Memorial

The American War Memorial, also called the Naval Monument at Gibraltar, was built in 1933 to commemorate the alliance between the US and the UK during World War I. In 1998 a bronze plaque was also unveiled here to commemorate the World War II allied invasion of North Africa. It’s a beautiful monument to visit and isn’t too far from Grand Casemates Square so it’s easy to add to your Gibraltar itinerary.


Irish Town

View of an old street in Gibraltar with bars lining it.
Irish Town

There are plenty of places to explore in Gibraltar, but one of the most popular and lively is an area known as Irish Town. This street is one of the oldest in Gibraltar and today is home to a number of bars that are busy both day and night. If you’re looking for somewhere to get a drink and relax for a bit then there are lots of great options here.


St Mary the Crowned Cathedral

A cathedral in the centre of Gibraltar on a sunny day.
St Mary the Crowned Cathedral

Located in the very centre of Gibraltar, along one of the main shopping streets, is St Mary the Crowned Cathedral. This cathedral was built on the site of a mosque and originates from the 15th century. Part of the length of the cathedral was shortened following the Great Siege of the 18th century however, to allow the street to run parallel to it. It was eventually given cathedral status in 1926 and is a must-see in Gibraltar.


Gibraltar National Museum

A white long building with stone entrance in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar National Museum

Not far from the cathedral is the Gibraltar National Museum, which is often missed by tourists as it’s tucked away down a side street. It’s a very interesting museum to visit where you can learn more about the culture, history and natural history of Gibraltar, all housed within a historic building. Entry is only £5.00 so it’s certainly worth visiting during your 2 days in Gibraltar.


Sacred Heart Church

Large stone church tower on a hill in Gibraltar.
Sacred Heart Church

A short walk out of the town centre, slightly uphill, will land you at the impressive Sacred Heart Church. It’s located in the upper part of the old town and dates back to the 19th century. If you’re walking up to the Nature Reserve then you may pass this as it sits along one of the main routes. It has a slight resemblance to Notre Dame in Paris, and has a nice courtyard where you can sit and rest for a few moments.


Union Jack Steps

A street in Gibraltar with steps painted in Union Jack pattern.
Devil's Gap Road

Less than 5 minutes from Sacred Heart Church is the Devil’s Gap Road, which you’ll need to walk up to get to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. Along this road is a very popular photo spot in Gibraltar, known as the Union Jack Steps. They were originally painted in 1967 following the outcome of the country’s first referendum and since then have been lovingly preserved. It’s one of the lesser known Gibraltar tourist attractions and shouldn’t be too busy whatever time of the day you choose to visit.


Europa Point

A white and red lighthouse at the edge of Gibraltar.
Europa Point Lighthouse

Europa Point is a must-visit if you’re spending 2 days in Gibraltar. This area is known as the southernmost tip of Europe, and is home to the Gibraltar Trinity Lighthouse which dates back to 1841. The famous Pillars of Hercules are located nearby too, within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, which will take a bit of time to walk to. This point of interest in Gibraltar isn’t near any of the other attractions in the Nature Reserve so I would recommend seeing both Europa Point and the Pillars of Hercules together.


Ocean Village

A large marina with yachts at Ocean Village in Gibraltar.
Marina

If you’re looking for places to eat in Gibraltar, there are a lot of options within Ocean Village. This marina is very lively during the day and evening, with eateries, casinos, bars, and many expensive yachts on show. This isn’t a place you should come if you want to eat at local restaurants, but it does have all of the big British names like Las Iguanas and Pizza Express.


Hustle n' Flow

Burger with a charcoal sesame seed bun and sweet potato fries.
Burger

One of the best places in Gibraltar for brunch is Hustle n’ Flow. This is a healthy restaurant in Gibraltar’s business district with a lot of great dishes and drinks, including freshly blended smoothies. The prices are reasonable compared to other restaurants closer to the main tourist areas, and there are some tasty vegetarian and vegan options available too. If you’re feeling hungry I would recommend a burger or the Brexit Mess - their spin on a full English breakfast.


Day 2

There’s probably a lot more to see in Gibraltar’s old town and the surrounding neighbourhoods than you originally thought, but many of the attractions are either close to one another or easily accessible by bus so you should have no issues seeing everything in a day. Your second day in Gibraltar is all about the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.


There are a few different ways to explore the Nature Reserve, depending on your preference. I personally chose to walk the entire thing, but you can book a guided tour which will take you up in a private vehicle. Or you can purchase tickets for the cable car which will take you up and down the rock. If you plan on walking make sure you have very comfortable shoes, a hat, sunscreen, lots of water, and some willpower!


Tickets for the Gibraltar Nature Reserve cost £16 per person and will give you access to all of the sites in the reserve. The ticket is valid for 24 hours so you can come and go as you please. You can either book your pass online or purchase them in person.


Moorish Castle

A Moorish Castle located on the Rock of Gibraltar.
Moorish Castle

The iconic Moorish Castle in Gibraltar sits just inside one of the entrances to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. The current remains of the castle date back to the 14th century, with the main feature being the Tower of Homage. The top of the tower offers incredible views of Gibraltar’s old town, the marinas, as well as the airport. It’s a unique spot to watch the planes land on one of the world’s smallest runways too.


WWII Tunnels

Entrance to the WWII Tunnels on the Rock of Gibraltar.
Entrance to the tunnels

A very short walk from the Moorish Castle will bring you to the WWII Tunnels. These tunnels offer a fascinating insight into how important Gibraltar was from a strategic standpoint for the allies. It’s an enormous complex built into the rock, and was constructed to act as a shield from any potential hostilities from the Spanish mainland. On a hot day you’ll be very happy to spend some time in these tunnels and cool down!


City Under Siege Exhibition

Mannequins in the courtyard of an old building in Gibraltar.
Outside exhibition

The City Under Siege Exhibition is often bypassed by tourists who want to make their way to the more popular attractions in the Nature Reserve. However, it’s a very unique outdoor museum to visit, housed around original buildings from the capture of Gibraltar in 1704. That would make them the first buildings constructed by the British! The exhibition teaches visitors about this period in Gibraltar’s history and the hard times the inhabitants went through during the siege.


Great Siege Tunnels

Room in the siege tunnels with cannons facing out.
Great Siege Tunnels

One of the top things to do in Gibraltar is to take a walk through the Great Siege Tunnels. These tunnels are slightly different from the WWII Tunnels, because they were built much earlier in the 18th century. These tunnels are known for being the most impressive defence system created by man, and really are incredible to walk around. The tunnels are set up like a museum, with information boards in different rooms as well as lifelike mannequins set up to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. People who are only spending 24 hours in Gibraltar often flock to see this attraction in the Nature Reserve - it’s that popular.


Saint Michael's Cave

Pink and blue lights shining on part of a cave.
Saint Michael's Cave

Out of all of the caves in Gibraltar, Saint Michael’s Cave is by far the most visited and most easily accessible for tourists. This limestone cave network is jaw dropping, with a beautiful light and sound show taking place regularly in the large auditorium. There’s evidence to suggest that this cave complex would have been used as early as 40 000 BC thanks to skulls and cave drawings found recently. The entrance to the cave has a restaurant and shop attached to it so it’s a good place to stock up on water - just watch out for the monkeys!


Cable Car

A small cable car coming up the Rock of Gibraltar.
Cable Car

If you don’t think you have enough time during your 2 days in Gibraltar to walk up the entirety of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, there’s a very handy cable car, with a base station next to Alameda Gardens, that will take you right up to the top. From here there are various viewpoints and you can take advantage of the Skywalk - and maybe treat yourself to a meal at Mons Calpe while taking in the views too. There are a lot of monkeys hanging around at the top station, so be careful with your belongings.


The cable car costs £34 which includes entry into the Nature Reserve and a return trip which is the same price as purchasing the cable car return ticket and Nature Reserve entry separately.


Charles V Wall

View of a long wall stretching down from the Rock.
Charles V Wall

One of my favourite Gibraltar attractions is the Charles V Wall. The view from the top of the steps is incredible, but it’s quite a trek! The wall dates back to the 16th century during the reign of Charles V and was built to defend the city from pirate attacks. I’ve walked up this wall twice and each time it’s been lined with monkeys either sitting on the steps or on top of the wall. Most of the time the monkeys are tame, but as soon as they get agitated you need to make a run for it because it’s not a pretty picture!


A monkey in Gibraltar sitting on a metal barrier.
Barbary Macaque

The Apes Den is located next to the wall, at the cable car’s middle station. The station isn’t open between April and October so to access this part of the Nature Reserve you’ll either have to walk down from the top station or visit it as you walk up the hill on foot. As you can imagine this is where you’ll find a lot of the apes in Gibraltar so if you’re brave enough to go make sure you’re cautious and don't leave anything hanging that they can grab.


Mediterranean Steps & O’Hara’s Battery

View from the top of the Rock of Gibraltar with woman walking.
Rock of Gibraltar summit

If you’re into hiking then you’re going to love the Mediterranean Steps. It takes about an hour and a half to walk the entire route, and it’s considered a moderately challenging hike so wear proper running shoes. The path runs along the eastern side of the rock with beautiful views across the Strait and you’ll come across some old fortifications along the route too. If you start at the bottom of the trail you’ll end up near O’Hara’s Battery at the summit of the Nature Reserve, which was unfortunately closed for restoration purposes when I visited.


Windsor Suspension Bridge

A long suspension bridge above the old town of Gibraltar.
Windsor Suspension Bridge

If you’re not afraid of heights then you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss the Windsor Suspension Bridge. It was officially opened in 2016 and is a big draw for thrill seekers. It forms part of a hiking trail that’s proving to be very popular with tourists, and offers visitors a unique spot to look down on Gibraltar from. Crossing the bridge is one of the best things to do in Gibraltar, and you won’t find any monkeys hanging around either.


Pillars of Hercules

Statue of two pillars with a coin in the middle.
Pillars of Hercules

If you didn’t manage to visit the Pillars of Hercules while visiting Europa Point, maybe you have enough time to see it at the end of your 2 days in Gibraltar. I wouldn’t say that this is a must-visit in Gibraltar, but it is a unique spot in the Nature Reserve with an interesting background story. This was the ancient name given to the Strait of Gibraltar and has some mythology tied to it which is worth reading up on. It marks one of the entrances to the Nature Reserve and will only take 5 minutes to visit.


If you follow my schedule then you will have a very busy 2 days in Gibraltar, but it’s really the only way to see everything with such a limited amount of time. It would be better to spend 3 days in Gibraltar so you can spend more than a few hours in the Nature Reserve, but it’s not necessary. In my opinion, the best way to see Gibraltar is on foot, but you may need to take some public transportation to speed things up. I don’t recommend driving to Gibraltar as it can be expensive to park and only authorized vehicles are allowed in the Nature Reserve anyways.


If you’re wondering when the best time to visit Gibraltar is, I would recommend September or October when there are less tourists and the temperature is a little cooler (it’s still hot though). Gibraltar is a very small country but there is a lot to see here. If you have any questions about visiting Gibraltar or would like some clarification about some of the main attractions in Gibraltar, please leave me a message below or send me an email. You can also follow me on Instagram and get in touch with me there!


 

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