Gibraltar may be a small city in comparison to the giants of the cruising world: Rome, Barcelona, Marseilles, Valetta, to name just a few in the Mediterranean alone. But this tiny jewel of a destination at the gateway to the Atlantic Ocean puts heart and soul into welcoming visitors who alight at the North Mole Cruise Terminal.
Gibraltar’s Port is renowned throughout the world and is classed as a centre of Maritime Excellence. Through centuries of sea-faring, Gibraltar’s shores have been visited by people from all over the world, from Phoenicians in ancient days, Moorish ships from the days of the Umayyad invasion in the Middle Ages, Barbary pirates, Spanish warships, Dutch trading vessels and, of course, the British navy. Along with these came Genoese, Balearic and Catalonian fishermen, and intrepid travellers from all over the globe.
From the moment the traveller alights at Gibraltar’s well-served Cruise Terminal, the Rock’s maritime and military history is evident. Many tourists take the decision to arrange a tour of the most important places in Gibraltar – whether their interest is exploring military history, the nature reserve or just general sightseeing. Taking a tour of the Rock of Gibraltar is one of the most efficient ways of making the most of a visit, especially if, as many cruise passengers know, the visit is only for the day.
Private tours, in particular, help the new visitor to learn about and enjoy this unique destination, ensuring the main tourist sites are explored, that tourists can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Straits and North Africa from superb vantage points on the Upper Rock, and allowing time for some duty-free shopping in Gibraltar’s vibrant city centre and a meal in one of the Rock’s many restaurants. Gibraltar offers some wonderful experiences for visitors and by pre-arranging a private tour in one of Gibraltar’s comfortable taxis with the benefit of guidance and information from the knowledgeable local drivers, visitors really can make the most of their trip to the Rock.
Many of those who visit the Rock during a cruise, return time after time to enjoy the warm, friendly environment and Gibraltar’s rich offerings. Day-trippers can book ahead and enjoy numerous activities, such as boat trips to explore Gibraltar’s Neanderthal coastline from the sea. There are also ‘dolphin safaris’; boat trips which offer the opportunity to see dolphins, porpoises, sea turtles and other fascinating marine life. For those who prefer life on land, the sea still provides many opportunities to take a break from life on board the cruise liner and get active, with opportunities to enjoy activities, such as stand up paddle, snorkeling and diving.
And for travellers who prefer to slow the pace, Gibraltar offers the calm of sea front restaurants for quiet dining, the inspiration of numerous art galleries, the glorious colour of the Gibraltar Botanical Gardens at the Alameda and the contemplative cool of the numerous churches and chapels, such as the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Crowned and the Sacred Heart Church, with their fascinating architectural features.