Day 5. E-Biking around Gibraltar

After a delicious breakfast at the Rock Hotel we were all set to go for another fun filled day exploring Gibraltar.  First on the agenda was something totally new to us, a morning of e-biking up to the top of Rock.  EBike Gibraltar are based at Ocean Village and from there one can take a three hour guided tour around the Upper Rock Nature Reserve or simply hire one of their e-bikes by the hour or half day to go at your own pace.

EBike Gibraltar shop and bike rental
The e-bike shop at Ocean Village

We met Stuart Hadley, the joint owner of the company at his shop on Imperial Ocean Plaza close to the cruise terminal.  He explained that the e-bikes are all premium Riese & Muller and are easy to operate as you just need to pedal to engage the motor.

EBike Gibraltar shop at Ocean Village
Inside the Ebike store, the starting point for tours and bike rentals

After a quick demonstration and being fitted out with helmets and equipped with bottles of water, we were soon on our way.  If like us you’ve never ridden an e-bike before, you will be surprised how easy they are to use.

Setting off from EBike Gibraltar
Preparing to set off

From Ocean Village we followed the road around to Catalan Bay with its picturesque coloured buildings surrounding the bay.  After a short photo stop we passed Sandy Bay and moved onto Europa Point with its Trinity House lighthouse which we had visited on our first day in the territory.

Taking the Gibraltar EBike to Catalan Bay
First stop at Catalan Bay

From there it was an uphill climb to the top of the Rock, some 420 metres above sea level but we were able to let the e-bike take the strain, requiring minimal effort on our part.  It was such an exhilarating experience taking in the beauty of the nature reserve and stopping wherever we wished.

The Pillars of Hercules, Gibraltar
The Pillars of Hercules

We paused to take a look at one of the Pillars of Hercules that guard the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean.  According to Greek mythology Hercules needed to undertake 12 tasks and whilst on his journey he needed to cross the Atlas Mountains.  Rather than climbing over them, legend has it that he used all his might to smash through them, bringing the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean together. The Pillars of Hercules are the result of achieving this task with this one on the northern side and the other to the south on the African side of the Strait at Jebel Musa in Morocco.

E-bikes and monkeys, Gibraltar
Sharing the view with some Barbary macaques

Our Greek mythology lesson over it was time to continue on our tour of the Rock.  We passed numerous Barbary macaques sitting on walls and crossing our path on the way but as the e-bikes are silent and kind to the environment they just ignored us.

The Top of the Rock with EBike Gibraltar
Pausing to take in the stunning views from the Top of the Rock

Our next stop was at O’Hara’s Battery at the very top of the Rock, a lookout point with spectacular views across the strait, taking in three countries and two continents.

Letting the EBikes take the strain in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve
Letting the e-bikes take the strain on the steep hills

Back on the bikes we cycled along the length of the Rock before descending back into town at the Moorish Castle, a distance of approximately 12 miles.  The e-bikes are suitable for anyone over the age of 12 who can ride a bike and with the option of utilising as much or as little power assistance as required, an adventurous activity for all abilities.

Gibraltar Market Hall
Interior of the Gibraltar Market Hall

Our cycling adventure over, we popped into the Gibraltar Market which lies on the edge of Grand Casemates Square.  This traditional market hall stocks fresh produce and local delicacies from local vendors, a good place to pick up a treat.  Opening hours: Mon-Sat 8.00-14.00.

Ceremony of the Keys, Gibraltar
The Ceremony of the Keys, Grand Casemates Square

Wandering through the old city walls into Grand Casemates Square we were just in time to watch the Ceremony of the Keys re-enactment ceremony.

Re-enactment Ceremony of the Keys, Gibraltar
Presenting the Keys

The official Ceremony of the Keys is performed once a year by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and re-enacted each Saturday at midday by the Gibraltar Re-Enactment Association.  A group of volunteers re-enact the locking of the gates to the old town before parading down Main Street in their bright red uniforms.

The Gibraltar Re-Enactment Parade
The parade continued along Main Street

We followed the parade part of the way along Main Street on our way to the Kasbar Vegan Restaurant on Castle Street.  We’re neither vegans nor vegetarians but had heard such glowing reports about the Kasbar, serving 100% plant based food that we simply had to try it.

The Kasbar Vegan Restaurant, Gibraltar
The Kasbar Vegan Restaurant

The setting is beautiful and has a cosy feel with its vaulted ceilings and exposed brickwork.  Staff are friendly and welcoming and being our first visit to a vegan restaurant, helped with suggestions from the daily changing menu.

Inside The Kasbar Restaurant, Gibraltar
Inside the Kasbar Restaurant with its vaulted ceilings

Simon opted for their signature Jackfruit Burger, served with caramelised onions, vegan cheese and a side of chips whilst I selected a mezzo bowl featuring another of the Kasbar’s culinary delights – the kasball.  These falafel balls contain beets, making them moist and even more nutritious.  Talking about beets, another first for me was my beetroot latte which was divine.

Kasballs at the Kasbar Vegan Restaurant, Gibraltar
My delicious mezze bowl with kasballs

The verdict on our vegan lunch – a big thumbs up from both of us.  If you’re not a fan of vegetarian/ vegan food and think it’s all just soy beans and lentils, well think again.  The cuisine is so much more interesting and flavoursome than that if the Kasbar is anything to go by.

Devil's Gap Road, Union Jack Steps GIbraltar
The Union Jack Steps on Devil’s Gap Road

Leaving the Kasbar it was just a few minutes walk to Devil’s Gap Road, our next destination.  This street is also known as the Union Jack or Referendum Steps.  The steps were originally painted in 1967 to celebrate Gibraltar’s first sovereignty referendum.  The street is also the quickest route on foot from the centre of town up to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve.

Courtyard of St. Mary the Crowned, Gibraltar
The exquisite courtyard of St. Mary the Crowned

More shopping followed along Main Street and in between the stores we came across this beautiful entrance to the Cathedral of St. Mary the Crowned.  The church is located on the site of the former main mosque in the centre of town, retaining its richly decorated Moorish traditional courtyard and exquisite tiling.

Relaxing with a beer outside the Governor's Residence, Gibraltar
Relaxing with a beer outside the Governor’s Residence

Before returning up the hill to our hotel we enjoyed glasses of beer sitting out in the warm sunshine on the terrace of a bar facing the Convent (Governor’s Residence) watching the world go by.

Entrance to the Sunborn Yacht Hotel Gibraltar
The entrance to the Sunborn Yacht Hotel

During the evening we set out again to board a cruise ship, which was to be another first for us!  Moored at Ocean Village is the Sunborn Gibraltar.  This seven deck, 465ft cruise ship doesn’t set sail but is in fact a five star super-yacht floating hotel.

The Sunborn Hotel, Gibraltar, reception
The hotel reception with its glittering disco ball

Guests enter via a covered gangway with a red carpet leading to an opulent reception hall with a marble floor and a giant disco ball above the reception desk.  The hotel features 189 contemporary styled rooms and suites and as we’d arrived a little early for our dinner reservation we managed to take a sneak peek at a couple of them.  The stylish rooms are decorated in shades of cream and have either marina or sea views and sumptuous marble bathrooms.

Room, Sunborn Yacht Hotel, GIbraltar
One of the rooms at the Sunborn Hotel

We then took one of the high powered lifts up to the Barbary restaurant on the seventh floor, pausing to look out over the deck at the twinkling lights of Ocean Village and the marina below.

Barbary Restaurant, Gibraltar
Entrance to the Barbary Restaurant

The spacious restaurant continues the Sunborn’s contemporary theme with cream leather sofas and matching chairs.  We were shown to our table where we accessed menus via a QR code on our phones.  Over glasses of wine we perused the fine dining inspired North African and Mediterranean menu, catering for all tastes.  It was so hard to decide what to have as we were tempted by everything on the menu.  Eventually, we made up our minds and whilst waiting for our starters enjoyed sharing a Mediterranean and Arabic bread basket with an harissa dipping sauce.

Dining in the Barbary Restaurant, Sunborn Yacht Hotel Gibraltar
Dining in the Barbary restaurant

Our starters of lemon infused squid and drunken prawns were delicious.  For mains I opted for an aged beef fillet with garlic and coriander potatoes in a red wine jus which was served to perfection and so tender it just melted in my mouth.  Across the table, Simon was also in raptures with his yoghurt marinated chicken breast served on a bed of couscous.  After two delicious courses, it was impossible to resist a dessert so we completed our fine dining experience with a raspberry cheesecake and a vegan Elton Mess, sampling a little of each other’s as they were both delectable.

Our dinner had been a delight, the service attentive but unhurried and each of the dishes creatively presented.  Definitely an evening to remember with cuisine that I’m certain would please the most discerning of diners.

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60 thoughts on “Day 5. E-Biking around Gibraltar

  1. Garry

    Interesting to read about your e-bike experience. I note that, prior to ascending the Rock, you cycled from Catalan Bay to Europa Point. Did you feel safe cycling though the Dudley Ward Tunnel and were your bikes fitted with have safety lights? It is not possible to walk through this tunnel and it is not part of any public transport route so e-bikes would seem to be a good way of covering the complete circuit around the Rock.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. A detailed and enlightening post. So many familiar spots and indeed photo choices from my own trip. I literally have ‘that’ shot from Devil’s Gap Road. One of these years I shall get round to redoing my old Gibraltar pieces. I’ve never been E-biking, but would definitely be interested in trying after reading this article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your ever welcome thoughts Leighton. Riding the e-bikes was great fun and as you know, the Rock is so steep, that only professional cyclists could probably make it up there without the aid of some pedal power. As they’re so quiet, they are great for the environment too. Hope you get a chance to try one out later in the year. Marion

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Gibraltar is beautiful and it was so much fun riding the e-bikes up the steep hills. It was idyllic having the place almost to ourselves but like everywhere else, Gibraltar needs tourists and I hope they will be able to return before too long. Thanks so much for your welcome thoughts.

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  5. I’ve always found e-bikes rather baffling, just because they defeat the purpose of exercising your legs when you ride them…but I suppose they’re also an efficient way to get around town faster, especially when you don’t need to use as much energy! Looks like you covered a lot of ground, and your photos of the coastal (and macaque) views, along with the Union Jack staircase and lush St. Mary courtyard make it all the more worth it. I’ve never had kasballs before, but as I love falafels, I’ll have to give them a try someday! Thanks for taking us around Gibraltar once more!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s so steep to get up the Rock that unless you are either a professional cyclist, take the cable car or walk then I think it would be very difficult. I’m not sure if they’re all the same but the ones we used let you exert as much energy as you wished thereby providing exercise. I loved that they were perfectly silent. St. Mary’s Courtyard was so pretty too. Thanks for your welcome thoughts Rebecca and have a good weekend! Marion

      Liked by 2 people

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  7. E-bikes are the best way to explore a city, especially when you are trying to keep up with a cyclist son, whose legs are the size of tree trunks. We used them often in Vancouver and two years ago, bought our own. During the 2020 pandemic, they were the perfect way to get out in the country and explore. Our longest ride was about 50 km. We would have been able to go further if not for the incessant wind. Looks like the perfect way to see Gibraltar. Stay well Marion. Allan

    Liked by 4 people

  8. What a great way to explore the town. I’ve never rented an e-bike before, but I can definitely see the appeal, especially when there are a lot of hills. And what a neat place to eat dinner. Can’t say I’ve been to a super-yacht floating hotel before!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Those e-bikes are absolutely great as you can use as much or as little pedal power as you want. We live in a hilly area so I’d love one to get around on and being silent they are really good for the environment. I’d never been on board a super yacht either but it’s a great idea in somewhere like Gibraltar where land is at a premium. Definitely a unique and memorable evening. Thanks so much for your continued interest in this series of posts, it’s much appreciated.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. jasonlikestotravel

    Wow, you pretty much covered all of Gibraltar by bike haha. Sounds like a great way to get around though.
    Glad you managed to dine out on the yacht too, I didn’t make it there but it looked a cool place to stay or eat 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I wouldn’t have had a chance on an ordinary bike but with the E-bike it was perfect letting you pedal as hard or as easily as you wish. Would love to have one but think it’ll have to wait awhile as they are so expensive. Dining on the Sunborn was a new experience even if we didn’t actually go anywhere. Loved the re-enactment ceremony too and pleased it was still able to take place when we were there. Were you there on a Saturday to see it as well? Hope your weekend goes reasonably well Jason. M.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. jasonlikestotravel

        Yeah, I can imagine they’re pretty expensive! I meant to comment on the re-enactment but forgot! That looked so cool. I was there on a Saturday but must have missed it, I’ll make sure to check it out!

        Spurs just spoilt the end to my weekend! Hope you’ve had a nice one though 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Reena Deshmukh

    I always believe that, to explore a place, the best idea is to be on bicycle or on foot.
    But, I guess it would have been difficult to climb back on the steep hill.
    Beautiful views and seems a wonderful day spent.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. E-bikes seem to be perfect for Gilbratar for effortless uphill riding. I’ve already had the opportunity to use them, they make you feel like Superman at the beginning, it’s so easy. I have a feeling you’ll be looking to do it again.

    Liked by 4 people

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