Destinations Talk #1 – Gibraltar

Welcome to Destinations Talk! My name’s Jordan and I’m the new Co-Blogger on Mikey’s site! I have just been on a cruise onboard Grandeur of the Seas in October and so I thought what better way to start this topic, than choosing my favourite port of call from the cruise, Gibraltar!

Information and History…

Gibraltar is a small strip of land, approximately 3 miles long and 1 mile wide. It is dominated by ‘the Rock’ which reaches a height of 1,400ft. It is the gateway to the Mediterranean and is just 14 miles from Morocco. It is separated by the Strait of Gibraltar. Some ship captains describe the Strait as one of the most stressful shipping lanes in the world. As a result of Gibraltar being a gateway to the Mediterranean, it means that any ship that wishes to enter that area to travel to places like Italy and the Middle East have to travel through the 14 mile clearance between the two countries. As a result of this, the channel becomes very congested and is full of cargo ships, tankers and other ships traveling at different speeds, some vessels are anchored near land and some waiting or pulling out of docks.

Gibraltar is full of history. In 711 A.D. Gibraltar was captured by a Moorish Chief known as Tarik Ibn Zeyad and the place became known as Gibel Tarik, which means Tarik’s Mountain. This is where we get the name Gibraltar from today. The Moors brought with them the Islamic faith and with the exception of a few brief interludes, when the Spanish won control of the region, Gibraltar remained Islamic for almost 700 years.

In 1462 the Moors were conquered and this began a period of Spanish rule which lasted for 242 years, during which time the Spanish fortified the Rock and used it as a naval base.

In 1704 it was once again taken over, but this time it became under British colony.  It has remained like this ever since.

Gibraltar played a major role in both World Wars. Its location made it an important, strategic naval base for the Allied Forces during WWII.

In the 1960’s, Spain, once again, laid claim to Gibraltar and the United Nations made a ruling of decolonization. However, the British Government refused to comply, unless it be the wish of the people of Gibraltar. A referendum was held and the majority of people voted for Gibraltar to remain under British control.

Top Things to see… 

Some of the sights I would recommend you seeing when visiting Gibraltar are obviously the Rock! You can take a trip up the famous rock by Cable Car or Minibus. You can get the Minibus straight from the Port.  The Apes Den is the main spot for tourists. This is right next to the Cable Car station. When at the top, you can visit many other different points. For instance, you may want to walk to Europa Point – The most southern tip of the peninsula. It provides gorgeous views overlooking the Strait to Morocco. Many people call this the point where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean. Another great place to visit is the Main Street. Nearly all the shops in Gibraltar are located on this street. You can visit the English shops, have an afternoon tea in a quaint tea room or try a British dish. You can grab great bargains too, as all prices are tax free.

Good and Bad Points…

Good:

  • Beautiful scenery
  • Quaint shops and restaurants

Bad:

  • Few taxis
  • Some steep roads and uneven pavements
  • Busy on Main Street

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Gibraltar. It is well worth a stop off if you are planning on taking a cruise around the Mediterranean. I don’t think Gibraltar is the best place to spend a week long holiday (or Vacation!), but it is a good port of call on a cruise as you can see most of the popular tourist sites in one day.

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Mike Faust

Mike Faust is an avid world traveler, often found traversing city streets in Asia and Europe rather than his home city of Boca Raton. Mike has touched down in 39 countries, set sail on 35 cruises, and flown over 400,000 lifetime miles.