Gibraltar often referred to as The Rock is a small British overseas territory located on the southern coast of Spain, bordered with Andalusia and the Mediterranean sea. The peninsula has an area of a bit less than 7 square kilometres, occupied by some 30,000 Gibraltarians most of whom are British Citizens, making it one of the more densely populated city in the region. The majority of the area is occupied by the Rock of Gibraltar, which is visible from a far distance.
Gibraltar became British in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht when it was ceded by Spain "in perpetuity". It was since mostly known as an important base for the British Royal Navy with its naval dockyards but in the last decade has also became a important touristic destination. Indeed being just a quick 2,5 hours flight from the UK, it is a strategic place to stay to discover Spain, or take a boat trip to Morocco, while still being almost at home.
Top 10 Gibraltar attractions
Gibraltar is today a great place to be discovered packed with a variety of interesting attractions from its Upper Rock home to the famous Gibraltar monkeys to the Europa Point on its southern end, passing by numerous caves and tunnels to be explored. The top 10 most interesting Gibraltar attractions include:
- Europa Point
- Upper Rock
- St Michael’s Cave
- Siege Tunnels
- Gibraltar Museum
- Mediterranean Steps
- Moorish Castle
- Catalan Bay
- Gibraltar Casinos
- Dolphin Watching
The Gibraltar’s Europa Point is located on the southernmost point of the peninsula. It is considered the place where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, and where the coast of North Africa can be seen on a clear day across the Strait of Gibraltar. The area is mostly flat and is home to a tourist centre, a kids playing field as well as the Europe Point Lighthouse, the Roman Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Europe and the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque. The mosque complex with its unique design that also contains a lecture hall, a library and a school, was a gift from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia which cost several million dollars and took two years to build.
The Upper Rock which was declared a nature reserve since 1993 covers no less than 40% of Gibraltar’s land area. It is perhaps mostly famous for being home to the Rock Apes, the Barbary Macaques as well as a variety of Flora and fauna such as Gibraltar’s own Chickweed, Thyme and the Gibraltar Candytuft. The unique vegetation on the Rock attracts a variety of migratory birds on their journeys to Western Europe. As for the inside of the rock it is an absolute labyrinth with the secret internal roads and tunnels 4 times longer than those on the surface. The Upper Rock also host some important military installation.
The best way to visit to visit the Upper Rock is through the Cable car service which also may offers entrance to the St. Michael’s Cave and the Siege Tunnels. There is also the option to take a taxi-tour around the peninsula.
St Michael’s Cave
The St Michael’s Cave or Cueva de San Miguel are located within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve and consists of a network of limestone caves. It is believed that this breathtaking natural grotto was used a far back as the Neolithic times. It is today, with a million visitors a years the most visited cave in Gibraltar.
The Great Siege Tunnels also known as the Galleries is a system of underground passages and tunnels which once acted as a defence system. It was first built towards the end of the four years’ siege which lasted from 1779-1783, and quickly followed by other tunnels constructions. It is today possible to visit this system of more than 300 metres of various passages, halls and embrasures, with some offering a spectacular views over the Bay of Gibraltar and Spain.
The Gibraltar Museum situated in the Bomb House Lane is the perfect place to discover the history of the peninsula. Indeed the museum chronicles Gibraltar’s key events starting some 30,000 years ago up to more recent one such as the Great Siege. It also try to explain what it mean to be Gibraltarian.
The Mediterranean Steps, recently renovated in 2007 is a great hike on the Rock, offering breathtaking views at the top. The walk starts at the end of Engineer Road, where the Jew’s Gate bird observatory it located and goes up to the top of the rock on the eastern side. Alternatively, there is always the option to take the cable car going up and come down using the Mediterranean Steps.
The Moorish Castle is one of the most spectacular landmark of the Rock, dominating the area and once considered of the largest construction of its kind in Europe. The current Castle dates back to 1333 and built by the Moors but a previous version goes back 711 when the Berber chieftain Tariq ibn-Ziyad first landed on the Rock. Today the main building remaining is the Tower of Homage.
The Catalan Bay is a small charming village on the north eastern side of Gibraltar offering great local pubs and a wonderful beach. It is mainly used by Genoese men who once came to repair the ships of the British Fleet and today many still fish from traditional boats.
The Gibraltar Casino located on the central west side of the peninsula is the perfect place to test your luck. It is often considered the place to be when it comes to elegant night life in Gibraltar.
The Dolphins are another key attraction of Gibraltar. With only a short trip to the bay of Gibraltar you may watch plenty of playful dolphins including the striped and bottle nosed one, which are sometimes gathering in herd of more than a hundred.
Flights to Gibraltar
Although very small, Gibraltar has its own airports, making it the fastest way to get to British territory. It was built during the Second World War and is uniquely located in the middle of the road, stopping the city traffic each time a planes needs to land.
Top Gibraltar hotels
The following are some of the best 3, 4 and 5 stars hotels in Gibraltar as voted by the users. To view the full list of available hotels and apartments on specific dates, you may visit our partner site Agoda Gibraltar smarter Hotel Booking.
O’Callaghan Eliott Hotel
2 Governors Parade, Gibraltar, Gibraltar – 4 Stars
With 120 rooms, this property contains all the amenities and services you would expect from a 4-star hotel. All rooms have internet access – wireless, hair dryer, in room safe as well as other amenities. This excellent hotel in Gibraltar also has bar/pub, restaurant, meeting facilities. Golf course (on site), gym, massage are on-site for guests’ enjoyment. Convenient location, a dedicated staff and first-rate facilities make this hotel a favourite among travellers.
Book a room at the O’Callaghan Eliott Hotel now, best price guaranteed.
The Rock Hotel
3 Europa Road , Gibraltar, Gibraltar – 5 Stars
Each of the 104 rooms at this 5-star hotel have all the comforts and conveniences of home. To make each guest’s stay comfortable, all rooms feature bathrobes, coffee/tea maker, satellite/cable TV. Guests will enjoy the hotel’s excellent facilities and services including meeting facilities, restaurant, Wi-Fi in public areas. After a day of work or exploring, outdoor pool are some of the ways to unwind. With a full range of popular amenities and a friendly, caring staff, it’s no wonder guests keep returning to The Rock Hotel.
Book a room at The Rock Hotel now, best price guaranteed.