Gibraltar is all dressed up and ready for Christmas. The Christmas trees have been placed in Sir John Mackintosh Square and other public spaces, bright with baubles and festooned with ribbons and sparkles of fairy lights.
Hundreds of people have taken to Gibraltar’s busy Main Street and gathered outside City Hall for the “big switch on” of the Christmas lights at an event that included singing, dancing and a pretty impressive laser show. Waterport Road, the road that runs from the cruise terminal in Gibraltar’s harbour right into the entrance of the city at Casemates Square, is a glittering avenue of lights leading tourists eager to enjoy some duty free shopping towards the delights of a bustling city centre bursting with Christmas offerings.
Whether enjoying the sparkle of Christmas lights or the glitter of the shops along Main Street, tourists can be sure of a treat in this build up to the festive season. Restaurants and cafés offer warm sanctuary and delicious examples of both local and international cuisine, whether as a reprieve from nosing about the shops to take advantage of those competitive duty-free prices, or for spending a relaxing few hours enjoying stunning sunsets from the water’s edge at some of our west-facing marina restaurants.
But this year, besides the lights and the shopping, the traditional nativity scenes – belen – at Gibraltar’s picturesque churches (including the rather magnificent belen at the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned), the dressed Christmas trees, various Santa’s Grottos, and groups of carollers, Gibraltar has also set up its own Christmas Market.
Christmas markets have been growing in popularity across Europe for a number of years now. This year, Gibraltar Artisan Market Association, working in conjunction with Gibraltar Cultural Services, has set up market stalls along the Boulevard on Line Wall Road by the British War Memorial. Running now until Saturday 23rd December 2017, the market offers a broad selection of craft and artisan items for sale; perfect for presents. And for visitors perhaps just stopping in Gibraltar on a day trip, cruise or Rock Tour, these make charming souvenirs of Gibraltar’s Christmas celebrations. Alongside the market there are entertainments and – ideal for getting into the Christmas spirit – the traditional mulled wine and mince pies. Set right at the heart of town, the Christmas Market is a perfect aperitif to a more in-depth duty free shopping experience in Main Street.
Whether planning a longer stay, a day trip or just spending a few hours on the Rock as part of a cruise, Gibraltar is ready for some fun and festivities in the run up to Christmas.