Human settlement in Gibraltar can be traced back to the Phoenicians around 950 BC, although there is earlier evidence of habitation by the Neanderthals, a prehistoric subspecies of man. Semi-permanent settlements were later established by the Carthaginians and Romans. Gibraltar was named at that time as one of the Pillars of Hercules, after the legend of the creation of the Straits of Gibraltar. On April 30, 711, the Umayyad general Tariq ibn Ziyad, leading a Berber-dominated army, sailed across the Strait from Ceuta. He first attempted to land on Algeciras but failed. Upon his failure, he landed undetected at the southern point of the Rock from present-day Morocco in his quest for Spain. Little was built during the first four centuries of Moorish control. (See Islamic conquest of Iberia, Reconquest.)
Gibraltar was ceded from the Spanish to the British in the early 18th century and for most of its history since that time Spain has been trying to get it back. There is evidence of this wherever you go on the rock. The rock itself is honeycombed with tunnels constructed at one time or another for the purposes of adding to the defenses of Gibraltar. Many of the older tunnels are open to the public and feature exhibitions of how life was for the soldiers of the day. Other tunnels are not open to the public and there is considerable speculation as to what might be seen in these. You can see Rosia Bay where Admiral Lord Nelson's body was bought ashore from HMS Victory following his famous victory over a combined French and Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson's body was returned to Britain for a hero's funeral but many of the seamen who died alongside him in the battle are buried on the rock at the Trafalgar cemetery.
Today Gibraltar is bustling place with many liquor stores and other tax-free items for sale. It is a pleasant enough place combining Spanish ambience with British efficiency.
Visiting yachts can usually find a berth at one of the three marinas along the western shore of the Rock (although space is very scarce in high season) or alternatively at the new marina in La Linea in Spain, a few hundred kilometers north of the airport.
- 92 Cabo de Sao Vicente to Strait of Gibraltar
- 142 Strait of Gibraltar
- 144 Gibraltar
- 773 Straight of Gibraltar to Isla Alborán
- 1448 Gibraltar Bay
- 3578 Eastern Approaches to Gibraltar
- C19 Cabo Finisterre To Gibraltar
- 52031 Strait Of Gibraltar To Balearic Isl
- 52039 Strait of Gibraltar
- 52040 Strait of Gibraltar to Cabo de Gata and Cao Milonia
Mediterranean with mild winters (although they can be rather wet and at times quite cold) and warm summers. There are two main prevailing winds, an easterly one known as the Levante coming from the Sahara in Africa which brings humid weather and warmer sea and the other as Poniente which is westerly and brings fresher air in and colder sea.
Weather information sources
- Weather on Line provides detailed 7 day forecast charts for the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Atlantic
- Windguru A surfer's site with worldwide wind forecasts
- Passage weather Worldwide Weather Maps
- Navtex Broadcasts List of all the Navtex broadcast times and frequencies
If you're heading from Gibraltar to Morocco a good stop off is Ceuta. It's a little Spanish colony with a decent Marina and nice town. There are 3 tapas bars and several other eating places. There is a Moroccan restaurant by the name of Oasis up at the top of the hill. Taxi's will take you there for a few Euros. Watch out for the ferries when entering or leaving the marina. Although it's in Africa ...it's still part of the EU.
Gibraltar, unlike most of the Mediterranean, is subject to significant tides and associated currents. It is advisable to consult tide tables and plan a passage so that the current will be favorable. Also bear in mind that when the current flows in opposition to a strong wind large seas build up.
Also see World Cruiser's Nets.
Submit details of Cruiser's Nets and VHF operating/calling channels here.
Warning: While the international telephone prefix for Gibraltar is +350 if you are calling from Spain you must use the local area code (+34) 9567.
There are three marinas in Gibraltar: Marina Bay, Ocean Village, and Queensway Quay. In addition, one can anchor offshore just S of the runway and N of Marina Bay (avoiding the flight path!). Marina berths in this busy crossroads of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean are at a premium. Advance reservations are usually a necessity during the season. If you cannot find a berth in Gibraltar, try the Sotogrande Marina, 15 nM SE, or the new marina at La Linea just north of the airport (opening spring 2010).
Yachts must proceed either to the fuel dock at the entrance of Marina Bay and from there to the near-by custom's shack or the Queens Way marina, where customs forms will be available for skippers to complete.
Customs and Immigration
Entry formalities are simple, at least for boats from the EU. The official are friendly and efficient. Exit formalities are dispensed with. --Istioploos 14:24, 17 June 2008 (MDT)
Nationals from EU countries do not require visas for visiting Gibraltar. Being a British territory, the same immigration rules apply as for Britain, however, nationals of those countries normally requiring a visa for a visit to Britain are usually allowed to stop in Gibraltar if they arrive and depart by yacht.
Visas are required by nationals of Bangladesh, Cameroon, Fiji, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The Immigration authority must be notified of any changes of crew as well as details of any crew member that stays ashore while the vessel is in port.
Firearms and ammunition MUST be declared on arrival and will be held in custody until your departure.
PETS: Gibraltar accepts those animals arriving under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) which have a Pet Passport, microchip, a current Health Certificate, Rabies Vaccination Certificate and have been blood tested by a recognised Veterinarian prior to entry.
Gibraltar is part of the E U but is however outside the VAT area. This means that yachts remaining here will not be eligible for VAT, but if the yacht sails on to a VAT area of the EU, Customs will consider the 18 month VAT-free temporary importation to have commenced on arrival in Gibraltar.
VAT is not due on vessels that are purchased in Gibraltar. Vessels kept in Gibraltar for longer than six months are subject to an import duty of 12%. Yachts purchased in Gibraltar by non-Gibraltarian persons and companies and taken away from Gibraltar within a six month period are exempt from import duty. However, yachts can be left unaccompanied in Gibraltar for a longer period (under bond) without paying duty if permission is obtained from Customs.
Health & Security
Submit any health warnings/information and any security details here.
Marinas and Yacht Clubs
Also see: La Linea (Spain).
The former Marina Bay marinais now part of a gigantic luxury residential, commercial and marina development under way by Ocean Village Investment Limited. The development, once completed, will offer a high-class marina for larger yachts (including superyachts) from 15 up to 90 metres - Ocean Village Marina - while retaining the existing marina for smaller vessels.
Marina Bay currently has berths for 200 vessels up to 100 metres in length (although it is likely the larger vessels will berth in Ocean Village Marina once it is complete). Maximum draught 4.5 metres. All berths are bows- or stern-to on pontoons. Water and electricity at all berths (a charge is made). Toilets and showers. Laundry. Shops and restaurants. Chandlery. WiFi (a charge is made). Health clinic. The marina is well sheltered and is located close to the airport and handy for the restaurants and shops of the town as well as those springing up around the marina development. The facilities here were reported as 'adequate if slightly worn' in 2005, but this may have changed with the new development (details needed). The marina is staffed 7/24.
Ocean Village Marina
Ocean Village Marina is planned to have berths for around 80 larger yachts ranging in size from 15 to 90 metres. Maximum draught 4.5 metres. The marina will be surrounded by an exclusive residential and commercial development. Once complete, it is likely that smaller yachts will be directed to Marina Bay. In addition to all the usual facilities, the berths will also benefit from telephone and satellite TV connections; 24hr security (card access); concierge services and even a casino. Numerous restaurants and bars are planned around the basin.
Queensway Quay Marina
Queensway Quay Marina was until recently Gibraltar’s newest marina. It has berths for 185 boats up to a maximum length of 75 metres. Maximum draught 3.5 metres. Water and electricity at all berths. Fuel station. Chandlery. Laundrette. WiFi network. The marina also has many bars and restaurants and is only a few minutes walking distance from Main Street. It is a great place to enjoy a meal or a drink whilst looking out across the bay. The marina can be contacted by telephone at +350 200 44700, by VHF Channel 71 or via e-mail at Email. Website. The marina office opening times are: 1st May to 31st October: 08.30 - 22.00; 1st November to 30th April: 8.30 - 21.00.
Sheppard's was the oldest of Gibraltar's marinas. Its land was acquired by Ocean Village Investment for development and Sheppards is now operating just as a shipyard, currently the only one in Gibraltar, and chandlery. The yard is located in Coaling Island, near Queensway Quay marina.
Also see: La Linea (Spain).
Yacht Repairs and Services
Sheppard's operates a very well-stocked chandlery. They are located in the ground floor of Marina Court, on the marina side. Access is from Waterport Road, during the Ocean Village building works. From Marina Bay, you need to walk along Glacis Road to the Waterport roundabout, turn right at the BP petrol station and right again, to reach the marina side of Portland House and Marina Court.
- Sheppard's had been operating a shipyard, the only one in Gibraltar. It is now located in Coaling Island, near Queensway Quay Marina
- Alternatively, one can go to Sotogrande Marina, 15 nM SE of Gibraltar
Fuel, Water, & Electricity
- There is a fuel dock right across from Marina Bay
- On the docks
- On the docks (240 V)
Things to do Ashore
There is enough to see in Gibraltar to satisfy most cruising visitors. Wandering along the largely 18th century main street is fun and so are some of its pubs and cafés. A visit by cable car or, if you fancy a good stretch of the legs, on foot up to the famous Rock is a must and could easily occupy the best part of a day. At the Apes’ Den you will encounter some of Gibraltar’s famous Barbary apes Barbary apes (actually tailless macaques). From here, you can walk up to St Michael’s cave, an impressive limestone cavern with elaborate stalactites and evidence of occupation by Neanderthal man. One cavern is so huge, it has been converted into a concert venue. At the very end, one can look down over Europa Point, the southernmost tip of Europe and the gateway to the Mediterranean. Continuing along the crest of the Rock, the path climbs up to an old Moorish lookout tower and Second World War observation post with wonderful views over the coast of Morocco to the south. At the northern end of the Rock, once can visit the Great Siege Tunnels, which were excavated with great ingenuity during the Spanish siege of 1779-83 in order to pour shot down on the Spanish batteries besieging the colony. The British gunners even invented a special gun carriage that could be depressed to fire with a downward trajectory, thus finally breaking the stalemate and forcing the besiegers to quit. When coming down by cable car, don't leave it late - there are only two cars and long delays build up as the afternoon progresses. You can walk down but you need to have good knees! An alternative for the fairly nimble is to descend on the north side of the Rock by the little-frequented Mediterranean Steps, a rock-cut staircase that winds down past Goats Hair Caves, two caves high on the Rock in which Neolithic remains were found. The path offers stunning views out over the Mediterranean. At the bottom, a wander through the Botanic Gardens, with its exotic palms and cacti from all over the world on the way back to the marina, is very relaxing. Finally, for the history buff, the Gibraltar Museum down in the town has some interesting exhibits on the history (especially military) of the Rock, the Great Siege of 1779-83 and the original skull of Gibraltar Man (actually a female), which was unearthed on the Rock a full eight years before a similar skull of so-called Neanderthal man was discovered in the Neander valley of Germany. Also featured here is a large scale model of the Rock as it would have appeared back in the eighteenth century.
Grocery & Supply Stores
- In the shopping area of Marina Bay there is a supermarket
- Within walking distance, behind Sheppard's old site, there is a very large Safeway supermarket
- In the shopping area of Marina Bay there a number of restaurants
- There is a Camping Gaz outlet behind the main harbor, about a 10 min taxi ride from Marina Bay, also possible to obtain Camping Gaz from the fuel dock
There is a laundry in the shopping area of Marina Bay. They will wash your clothes on the same day.
Motorbike & Car Rentals
It is best to rent from Algeciras across the border in Spain.
There are bins around the marinas.
There are daily flights to Gatwick (UK) and from Malaga (2 hr drive) to destinations within the EU.
Submit details/contacts of cruiser's "friends" that can be contacted in advance or on arrival - who can offer information and assistance to our cruising "family".
List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)
References & Publications
- R.C.C. Pilotage Foundation, North Africa - Gibraltar to Maroco, Algeria, Tunisia & Malta, Imray Laurie and Wilson, Cambridgeshire, ISBN 9781846232817
- Rod Heikell , Mediterranean Cruising Handbook, Imray Laurie and Wilson, Cambridgeshire, ISBN 9781846231704
- Rod and Lucinda Heikell, Mediterranean Almanac, Imray Laurie and Wilson, Cambridgeshire, ISBN 9781846235986
We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.
Date of member's last visit to Gibraltar and this page's details validated:
- June 2001 --Athene of Lymington 17:21, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
- January 2005 --Istioploos Travels with S/Y Thetis
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