Gibraltar is tiny, and mostly dominated by the Nature Reserve, but it’s a hub for visitors looking for a taste of Britain on the southernmost tip of Spain; year-round sunshine, dolphin spotting and accessible shipwrecks are a few highlights of a visit.
Piercing the skyline, the Rock of Gibraltar greets you as you approach this British Overseas Territory on Spain’s southern coast. It’s home to wild monkeys, and you can spot these furry creatures as you climb the Mediterranean Steps up to O’Hara’s Battery before descending into the city to explore the medieval Moorish Castle and St Michael’s Caves. Fun fact: it’s also where John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married.
Jasmine Coral Jay comprises several rooms split over two yachts in the fashionable Ocean Village. The accommodation is cosy and comfortable; some rooms come with small bathrooms, although you have access to the superb Marina Bay facilities as well. Enjoy an exhilarating speedboat ride out into the Bay of Algeciras, where dolphins leap through the waters. When it’s time to head out in the evening, the lively bars and restaurants of Ocean Village are about a minute’s walk away.
Looking like a giant cruise liner stranded amongst the greenery of the lower Rock, this vast, whitewashed hotel offers smart accommodation with a view. All of its 84 rooms and suites overlook the bay. The Rock’s facilities include a bright and spacious bar, a highly rated restaurant, a sea-facing terrace and a swimming pool, while an extensive buffet breakfast is included in the price. The old town is about a ten-minute walk away and Gibraltar’s southernmost tip, Europa Point, can be reached by bus.
Located in the heart of Gibraltar’s old town, the Eliott offers a stylish, convenient base from which to explore the peninsula. The chic rooms include Juliet balconies, rainfall showers and Paul Costelloe toiletries as standard. A real draw is the spectacular eighth-floor pool, dotted with sun loungers. Come sunset, make your way to the rooftop Rock Salt bistro with views over the Straits of Gibraltar – start with spicy king prawn tapas before tucking into a juicy rib-eye steak.
Sunborn Gibraltar offers five-star accommodation spread out over six decks, ranging from the standard king double to fabulous suites and two-bedroom apartments boasting views of the Marina and the Bay of Algeciras. Facilities are impressive: there’s a top-deck restaurant where you can enjoy dishes from a north African/Mediterranean menu, while the Aqua Bar is the perfect place for a sunset cocktail or for a dip in the plunge pool. An extensive spa, fitness centre and casino complete Sunborn’s luxury offering. The bars and restaurants of Ocean Village are about 30 seconds from your bedroom, while the old town is less than a ten-minute walk away.
The four-star Caleta is located in the charming former fishing community of Catalan Bay, on the sparsely populated east side of the Rock. The rooms (quirkily kitted out with dental, sewing and shoe-shine kits) offer either views of the Rock itself or of the Mediterranean. The range of facilities means you’re spoiled for choice: the Catalan Bar and Lounge is a smart chill-out space, while the in-house eateries include the Italian Nuno’s and the Bay View Bistro, which offers some of the most stunning panoramas in Gibraltar. If you fancy hitting the beach, just take the steps down from the pool area.
Nina Zietman contributed additional reporting to this article.