When the opportunity arose to go on a very special adventure to sunny Gibraltar, I was more than happy to oblige – after all, it’s not everyday your job lands you a jet setting trip abroad is it?! But don’t worry; there was a very important purpose behind the visit (aside from catching some much-needed rays of course). Along with a lovely group of fellow SuperBreakers, I was sent on mission to discover the wonderful sights and surroundings on offer at this iconic British overseas territory and much-loved UK holiday destination.
While I admit it’s no Rome, Paris or Barcelona, I did find little ole’ Gibraltar had more than enough to keep us Brits happily entertained on a short break in the sun. My expectations were impressively exceeded throughout this little trip with brilliant weather, fantastic people, amazing excursions, outstanding food and beautiful scenery at every turn.
The ‘Spanglish’ feel of Gibraltar makes it the ideal place to enjoy a summer European break without any dramatic culture shocks. Forget about changing currency or bringing adaptors, you’re on British turf in Gibraltar and I for one love it! Gibraltar really does tick all the boxes for an affordable stress-free short break in the sun, but let’s take a look at the evidence…
Day 1: Hanging out with Dolphins & Monkeys in the sun
Landing early on in the day via Monarch Airlines from Birmingham Airport, we felt surprisingly alert and ready to explore this unique British city. First things first though…checking out the hotel and enjoying a Gibraltarian buffet lunch.
The 4* Caleta Hotel sits on the east side of the Rock of Gibraltar offering a serene and tranquil atmosphere next to a delightful sandy beach. My room was equally delightful with its super comfy bed, pristine bathroom complete with huge shower and stunning balcony views of southern Spain and Morocco. Combining Mediterranean vibes with a contemporary British style, this hotel is perfect for both relaxing and sightseeing in Gibraltar.
After freshening up and applying a dollop of suncream, our group of SuperBreakers gathered on the hotel terrace to enjoy a delicious lunch, glass of champers and spectacular sea views – the trip was going well so far.
All fed and watered, we set off on our first Gibraltarian adventure out at sea for some exciting dolphin watching. Now usually when I book a boat excursion abroad I keep my expectations of the safety standards low, but on this occasion there was definitely no need. The little yellow boat drifted into the harbour looking all shiny and clean with smiley uniformed staff ready to lead us out to sea.
Shortly after leaving the harbour, we were greeted with fantastic views of the Rock of Gibraltar – perfect for practising my photography skills on a boat and preparing to get all David Attenborough on the local dolphins. And boyo, did I need the practice…snapping those sneaky little fellas zipping all around the boat was a real challenge, but honestly I didn’t care.
It’s definitely one of those excursions that no photo – no matter how good of a photographer you are – can do justice. Being in the presence of these beautiful creatures splashing about in the sea enjoying their natural habitat made me go all warm and fuzzy inside. The added element of surprise from not knowing where they were going to pop up made the whole experience incredibly fun and exciting. Jumping from one side of the boat the next shouting “it’s over there, oh wait…now it’s there!” was a unique experience and a must-try for anyone visiting Gibraltar.
Back on dry land, we didn’t hang around for long as we made our way to Gibraltar’s Cable Car. Built in 1967 and still going strong today, the cable car is another must for visitors on the Rock. Reaching an impressive 412m above sea level, you’ll be able to enjoy panoramic views of the area, as well as making friends with the cute (yet slightly mischievous) Barbury Apes that live at the top – this I particularly enjoyed!
As the evening fell upon the Rock, we all donned our glad rags for a special visit to the oldest hotel in Gibraltar, The Rock Hotel. With its 1930s colonial style, impeccable service and unique position on the Rock, this hotel is a firm contender when choosing accommodation in Gibraltar.
The hotel is currently undergoing refurbishment, soon to be finished in July, and us lucky lot got a sneak peek at one of the finished rooms. Absolutely lush is all I can say; staying in that hotel this summer is going to be a real treat!
To finish off day one in Gibraltar, we enjoyed a delectable 3-course meal from the hotel’s superb a la carte menu. Boasting two AA Rosettes, the food is of course fantastic, and the sunset views from the restaurant were a truly beautiful accompaniment to our meal. A wonderful first day in Gibraltar complete!
How would you spend a day in Gibraltar ? Would you head out to sea to watch the dolphins or brave the dizzy heights of the Rock on the cable car? Let us know using the comments box below.
Day 2 of our trip to Gibraltar will be coming soon featuring a tour of the Rock and a delightful dinner on the wonderful 5* Sunborn Hotel – stay tuned everyone!