Here’s our guide on things to see and do at the Gibraltar Nature Reserve on the Upper Rock. It includes an explainer of the different types of tickets you can get for the attractions.
If you think the Rock of Gibraltar is just a big rock with some monkeys on it, you’d be mistaken. The Rock (which is really the Upper Rock) is no ordinary rock. There are spectacular views overlooking the peninsula and across the border into Spain as well as the Gibraltar Strait. You can even see Morocco! But there are also miles of secret tunnels, which have helped prevent the Rock from invasion, a moorish castle, the atmospheric St Michael’s Cave and yes, rather a lot of monkeys.
And when you visit the Upper Rock, you’re visiting the Gibraltar Nature Reserve.
Visiting the Gibraltar Nature Reserve
For visitors, there are basically two sides to the Nature Reserve, there is the bulk of it, which is out in the open for people to enjoy. This includes the forested areas, the various walking trails and the incredible views. There are also a number of different attractions, which you a different ticket for. We explain the types of tickets you can get further below.
How much time should you allow for a visit?
How much time you need depends on what you want to do. If you’re planning to just do the walking trails and enjoy the views, a good few hours should leave you satisfied. You could have a full-packed day here and include some of the ticketed attractions. Or if you have more time in Gibraltar, you might want to spread it out over two days.
The different sights and walking trails on the Nature Reserve are well-signposted so you should be able to find where you want to go easily enough.
Tickets for the Gibraltar Nature Reserve
The ticket structure for the Gibraltar Nature Reserve changed from 1 April 2018. There are now two types of Nature Reserve entrance tickets: a ‘Walk’ ticket and an ‘Attractions’ ticket. There are also specific attractions which require an additional ticket.
‘Walk the Gibraltar Nature Reserve’ is the basic entrance ticket to the Reserve. This gives you access to the Nature Reserve’s walking trails. So, if you’re just planning to do some walking and enjoy the views, this is the ticket you should get. With this ticket, you’ll be able to see the various batteries dotted around the Nature Reserve with the exception of O’Hara’s Battery, which requires a separate ticket. You’ll also be able to access the Skywalk, Windsor Suspension Bridge, Mediterranean Steps and Apes Den.
Here’s actor Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) tweeting about opening up the Skywalk, the Reserve’s newest attraction.
Why they would ever invite me to the opening of something called “#Skywalk” remains a mystery-but it was beyond thrilling to @visit_gibraltar! Stunningly beautiful-marvelous Macaques & truly friendly folks who all got selfies whether they wanted them or not. pic.twitter.com/taQJemAC0B
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) 22 March 2018
The cost of the ‘Walk’ ticket is £5 for adults and children from age 5. Children aged 4 years old or younger are free. If you’re taking a Cable Car up, the cost of the ticket includes the Walk ticket.
However, if you’d like to see some of the other attractions such as St Michael’s Cave and the Great Siege Tunnels, you should buy the Gibraltar Nature Reserve Attractions ticket instead.
The other type of entrance ticket is the ‘Gibraltar Nature Reserve Attractions’ ticket. It includes entrance to several important attractions which, we list below. The cost of the ‘Attractions’ ticket is £12 for adults and £7 for children aged 5-12 years old. Children aged 4 years old or younger are free.
If you’re taking the Cable Car up, you can buy the Attractions ticket when you buy the your Cable Car ticket.
In addition to all the sights you can see with the Walk ticket, you can also see the following attractions:
- St Michael’s Cave
- Great Siege Tunnels
- City Under Siege Exhibition
- Moorish Castle
- Military Heritage Centre
It also includes entry to the 100 Ton Gun, which isn’t part of the Nature Reserve on the Upper Rock. The 100 Ton Gun is located at sea level near Rosia Harbour.
St Michael’s Cave
St Michael’s Cave is actually a series of caves, which have been created from rainwater seeping through the limestone rock. The caves are notable for their numerous stalagmites and stalactites. The main cave is also now used for concerts and other events. From the Cable Car’s top station, St Michael’s Cave is about 1 kilometre south.
There is a separate section of the Cave called ‘Lower St Michael’s Cave’, which requires an additional ticket. You can find more info on Lower St Michael’s Cave further down in this post.
Great Siege Tunnels
Dug out from the limestone by the British during the Great Siege of Gibraltar, the tunnels allowed them to reach the northeast side of the Upper Rock. It was seen as the only viable option as the vertical cliff face made it impossible to build a path to it. As you can see from the above photo, it offers pretty spectacular vantage point.
Sights requiring a separate ticket
The following sights require a separate and specific ticket:
World War II Tunnels
A network of secret tunnels built during World War II that were like an underground city. They were used to house a 16,000 garrison along with their food, equipment and ammunition. It features a hospital, bakery and a power generating station. You can visit the tunnels on a guided tour. It’s a fascinating insight into what life was like for them during the War.
Tickets cost £8 (this is in addition the the Nature Reserve Attractions ticket). The tunnels are open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5.00pm. You must book in advance. For more information, go to: visitgibraltar.gi.
Lower St Michael’s Cave
This part of St Michael’s Cave was only discovered in 1942. It contains several chambers, which experts believe may have been hidden for 20,000 years! As well as stunning rock formations, Lower St Michael’s Cave also features a crystal clear lake. You can visit it on an organised tour lasting around three hours and involves some minor climbing with ropes provided.
Tours cost £25 per person and must be booked at least three days in advance. For more information, go to: visitgibraltar.gi.
O’Hara’s Battery is located at the highest point of the Reserve and offers incredible views. It’s located about 1 kilometre south of the Cable Car top station.
Tickets cost £3. You’ll still need to buy either a ‘Walk’ or ‘Attractions’ ticket.
You can buy tickets either at the Cable Car base station or at the two other main entry points: Jew’s Gate and the Moorish Castle. Remember that if you want to visit the World War II Tunnels and/or Lower St Michael’s Cave, you will need to book these in advance.
Gibraltar Nature Reserve Map
We’ve highlighted the main attractions on the Nature Reserve in: Rock of Gibraltar Map. We’ve colour coded them too so it’s clear which ticket type you’ll need.