Discussion in 'Travel' started by AT55, Jan 13, 2008.

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  1. I have always wanted to pay a visit to Gib and notice that the flights by Monarch airlines are very cheap at the moment. Can anyone offer me some advice about hotels, things to do , places to see, rip offs etc ,etc etc? I am planning to spend three days there is this too long or too short?
  2. Three days will see you rushing about, seeing only the major tourist attractions. Your tour operator or hotel may be able to arrange for you to go to the front of the queue for the cable car to the Top of the Rock, otherwise you could end up spending several of your precious hours lining up.

    If you research the place in advance, plan what you do and leave spare time to relax, 7-10 days wouldn't be excessive.

    What you do will be dependent on who you go with. If you're on your own, then you'll be able to charge up and down the hill - essential as that's where half of the interesting bits are. If you're going with the missus, allow for any lower level of fitness and be aware that toilets are few and far between outside the main town area. If you've got kids, be further aware that the only cafe in the hilly areas is at the top cable car station and their prices are ridiculous - but as it's the only place to get water....

    My personal view is that it's best to get about on foot - you see more and you don't have to worry about where to park a car or get stuck in the interminable traffic jams - most roads are narrow and you often find that some clot has parked thoughtlessly. Taxis are good when you're travelling out from the town centre, but not so easy to find if you're travelling back. There are a few buses but they're not frequent and as a result get crowded.

    Typical tourist sites include the Napoleonic Tunnels, Cable Car, Europa Point. You can also go for a trip in a glass-bottomed boat to see the dolphins - if they're about. There are many museums around, but some of the smaller ones don't seem to advertise much, yet can be the best. There's one on the way to Rosia Bay that's well worth a visit.

    The best beaches are on the eastern side but you need to visit these in the morning. From mid-afternoon, they're in the shadow of the Rock. A shame really as the bistros on this side are good for evening meals.

    Visit Casemates (a large square at the northern end of Main Street) for good eating in the evening. Prices are reasonable and there's quite a bit of variation at the many restaurants to be found there. Night clubs are also to be found in this area.

    During the day, food and drink is to be had in the hundreds(?) of bars along Main Street and the parallel street to the west (I forget it's name).

    There are very few public toilets, but it's accepted that you use the bogs in the bars, even if you're not drinking there.

    If you get bored with Gib, you can walk across the airport runway and visit La Linea, the Spanish town over the border, though I find that it's a bit grotty. There's also an excellent brothel a short taxi drive away on the main road to Algeciras. So I'm led to believe. There's a thread on ARRSE somewhere that mentions it, but I've forgotten the name.

    All up, Gib's a place with lots of history, good food, cheap drink and no language problems. But get a decent map before you start, spend hours on the internet following links and plan in advance.

    Visiting Morocco

    You could go on a trip to Morocco but I'd strongly advise you to go on an organised tour - one organised by the tour operator or hotel, NOT one arranged in a tourist outlet. The proper organised tour will see you collected in a coach, taken to the ferry (probably at Algeciras, though occasionally there is a ferry that departs from Gib), and you'll carry on your tour in a bus with commentary provided by a guide. The less organised version comprises a taxi to Algeciras (you may have to get the taxi from the other side of the border) where the driver could try to rip you off for an additional fare (he claims that the taxi fare isn't included or that the voucher that you've given him is worthless and you have the choice of stumping up or missing the ferry). You then have to find your own way around the docks at Algeciras to get to the ferry terminal. After arriving in Morocco, you have to find the way out of the docks and to the taxi stand where you go through the same rigmarole about the driver not accepting the vouchers. You could also find yourself in a 5-seater taxi along with 7 other passengers. The taxi driver will take you on the same route as taken by the organised tour, but with no commentary, it becomes a long, meaningless drive.

    Both organised and ad hoc tours take you to a restaurant with local "band" and a belly dancer (talk to her - you may find that she's not Moroccan, I met one from Manchester) then end up with a visit to a carpet warehouse where you'll also be offered leatherware, spices and other strange compounds (not drugs, I hasten to add). Reports indicate that if you buy a carpet, it will turn up at your home as promised.

    The organised tour will take you back home. The less organised tour leaves you trying to find the docks and ferry terminal. You may also get involved in a scam to get you to pay again for the return part of the ticket. The customs officials and police are in on the scam, so you need to be VERY careful about what you do and say. You'll also end up paying for a taxi to get you from Algeciras back to Gib.

    The place you bought the tickets from won't give you a refund, claiming that you mustn't have followed the instructions correctly and approached the wrong taxi drivers or failed to find the waiting coach.

    edited to add:

    Driving directions to that place on the road to Algeciras. ;)

    If you need to know something, just ask a Sapper! :)
  3. Cow

    Cow LE

    7-10 days? I'd be bored stupid. 5 I'd say is about the limit, yeah it's a nice place with a bit to see but there's not that much there once you've gone up the hill and back. Lots of good places for food and drink, as putty said, try to visit the places off the tourist track, some excellent finds. We got the Mil trip round, visiting some awesome caves and the inside of the rock, shame you won't get that!
  4. After several fortnight visits courtesy of The Queen, I went for a week on holiday, taking the wife and kids. Ended up not seeing all of the things I wanted to.

    It's a small area on a map with a much larger surface area. Getting around involves long distances (and time) because of the winding routes that are taken getting up and down the hill.

    You could get TO all the places in 3 days, but you wouldn't have time to browse. Or you could spend 3 days there and THINK you'd been everywhere. All told, I'd spent about 12 weeks there before going on holiday (often being bored to tears - after all, there's only so many times you can go up and down Main Street) and didn't see a quarter of what I did on holiday.

    Cow reminded me of an attraction that I'd missed. St Michael's Cave. You can do a tour of the Upper Cave, but the Lower Cave is accessible by arrangement only for Service Personnel. (Unless that's stopped recently).

    You can also go on a Tunnel Tour, where you are taken on a drive through the more modern tunnels. But for this you need to find the name and adddress of the bloke who runs it as you need to give (IIRC) a fortnight's notice. His details are on the web somewhere, but quite hidden as I recall. The Tourist Office on Main Street has details, though last time I looked (about 4 years ago) it wasn't on their website.

    edit, having looked at a website:

    You can now get access to Lower St Michaels Cave and details for arranging tunnel tours are more visible:
  5. Thanks to all the guys who replied - very interesting. The problem I have is that a lot of people I have spoken to have said, "Gib is a grotty dockyard with lots of ex MOD buildings" Others say you can do it one day whilst others say it takes at least a week. I don't want to book an hotel for 7 days and find after 2 or 3 days I am wandering around Morrison's supermarket looking for bargains. I hope go in March or April and will not be taking the memsahib as she will be working to finance the trip. I am looking for a reasonably priced, reasonable quality and centrally located hotel. I like history and am not averse to the odd beer of three served to me by dusk maidens (or their mothers). Wisdom has taught me that taking it easy and conserving energy is an art-form wasted on the young.
  6. Dont forget to do the Mediterranean Steps while you are there, its a bit of a climb but it takes you right to the top of the Rock. Theres also Trafalgar Cemetary which as the name implies contains the bodies of some othe British dead from the Battle of Trafalgar, Rosia Bay is the spot at which Nelsons body was first brought ashore and then pickled for the journey home. You have the Moorish Castle and the Union Jack steps as well. The Bristol Hotel is about halfway down main street (if its still there that is) it was clean and reasonably priced back then.
  7. if you cross the border in to spain the town of La Linea is ok. there is a big seafood restaurant just over the border and the scoff is fantastic.

    The beach on the west part of Gib (cant remember its name, but the toms accom backs on to it) is ok. Have a look on google earth.

    The town itself in the square is ok and prices are pretty much as the same here.

    personally with wife and kids i would spend 5 days there - no more!!!
  8. Beware of the so called Duty Free bargains: A lot of the camera gear that I saw on offer was cheaper in Argos, London Camera Exchange and Jessops in the UK.
    Watch out for the thieving Apes. They had some one's camera last time I was up there. I think that they're in league with the shops :(

    edit for mong spelign
  9. Hotels can be pricey. Look for apartments - they're more economical and some have better facilities than the hotels.

    I'd reiterate about the length of time to spend - search the internet and track every link that comes up, then decide which places rock your boat and how long you want to browse.

    If you take a taxi up to the Napoleonic Tunnels, you'll be back down in the town centre within a couple of hours. If you elect to walk, you'll see several bits of interest on the way, get better photo opportunities, but you'll spend a whole day doing it.

    Similarly with the Med Steps. Alllow for a full day, even though you could walk it within 2 hours (again, missing many places of interest). I'm not sure of the situation now, but at one time the entry to the bottom of the Steps was closed, so if you wanted to experience the Steps, it was a two-way journey.

    With any of the walks on the Rock, take water and nibblies. And sunglasses and sunscreen etc. Exposure to the sun is increased because of the reflection from the sea.
  10. Cannon Hotel is just off the main street, its not bad with a nice little courtyard, 3 pin plugs so you won't need adapters, go on a Bus tour of the Rock, very interesting.
  11. There's a good chinky just across the border too.

    Not sure you could spend a week there but it is pleasant enough. It is a bit of a dump in certain respects and there are some parts best given a wide berth but it doesn't get much more relaxing than a cold beer by the marina.

    It's a weird combination of British pub culture, Spanish prices (beer and food quite a bit cheaper than the UK) and opening hours and indeterminate Mediterranean locals who are distinctly un-British and un-Spanish.
  12. Agree with clownbasher about the chinky.

    5 days - more than enough. I spent 10 days there and to be honest it was about 6 days too long, ended up travelling into Spain most days.

    It might be easier, and potentially cheaper to go to Spain instead, hire a car/bike and visit Gib for a couple of days.

    Just my opinion though.
  13. yes cow is right on the length of time but i d also say its a its a scruffy dump of a place still interesting though. we got the military trip as well by a gibraltar regt guy who if you dig around a bit you ll be able to use and do the same trip as there were some civvys on our guided trip perhaps someone on here might have his contact address or try gib regt ta bit as im sure he was their nrps :D
  14. Thanks for that deefadog and everyone else. It looks like about 5 or 6 days then. Just hoping that a member of the ROYAL GIBRALTAR REGIMENT pm's me to offer to get me on one of those guided trips.
  15. Colonel_Foreskin-Crumb
    I think I know The scoffhouse - Is it called " restaurante grande de los mariscos?"