Lonely Planet Writer

Gibraltar bans foreign registered cars from entering the Upper Rock to help save environment

The Gibraltar government has banned foreign registered cars from entering the Upper Rock Nature Reserve as part of a “wider policy of environmentally sustainable tourism” for the area.

The Rock of Gibraltar is a major attraction for visitors
The Rock of Gibraltar is a major attraction for visitors

The ban, which came into effect this week, means access for tourists will be restricted to Rock Tours run by the local Taxi Association, via the Cable Car or on foot.

Minister for Tourism, Samantha Sacramento, said: “The Upper Rock is not just a product that is for sale that can be exploited without thinking of the long-term impacts that this might have.”

View of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve
View of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve

“We also have to think about the type of tourist product that we want to offer, and the natural environment is an extremely important, attractive part of it.”  Some of the reasons behind the ban include; addressing logistical issues due to narrow roads, reduction of emissions from cars, crowd control and access for emergency vehicles.

The Government believes the move would improve the overall experience for visitors to the Nature Reserve as, “Neither tourists nor locals visiting the Upper Rock want to encounter congestion, pollution and disorganised crowds.”

Narrow-roads-of-the-Upper-Rock.
Narrow-roads-of-the-Upper-Rock

“The result of this holistic policy will be a markedly improved Upper Rock experience for everyone to enjoy for years to come.” The government has invested in a selection of tourist products for the Upper Rock in recent years, which include upgrading existing attractions and improving access for people with mobility issues. In addition, it is creating new attractions such as the 71-metre long suspension bridge constructed over a 50-metre gorge at Royal Anglian Way and a glazed walkway at Mount Misery, which is located at one of the highest points in the Upper Rock.

A record number of tourists are expected to visit the Rock this year due to an increase in flights and visits from cruise liners.