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Gibraltar Travel & Holiday Tips


Gibraltar is full of surprises: from its lively population of Barbary macaques to its sub-tropical climate, people never fail to marvel at how little they knew of this little British enclave on the Mediterranean before they came.

'The Rock', as Gibraltar is known, is a monolithic peninsula riddled with curious caves and tunnels. Atop its limestone base thrives unique vegetation and many species of migrating birds; glorious views and stimulating walks make Gibraltar a popular destination for nature enthusiasts.

The town itself is densely concentrated on the western side of the Rock; those with an interest in history should visit the Gibraltar Museum for an insight into Gibraltar's heritage of Moorish, Spanish and British rulers, while foodies will enjoy sampling fresh seafood and colourful Spanish dishes.

Town of Gibraltar

The town of Gibraltar is an 18th-century British Regency town built on a 15th-century Spanish town which was, in turn, built on a 12th-century Moorish town. The principal tourist sites and places of interest include St Michael’s Cave, situated 300 m (1000 ft) above sea level. This was known to the Romans for its spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. It is part of a complex series of interlinked caves including Leonora’s Cave and Lower St Michael’s Cave. Today, it is used for concerts and ballet. The Upper Galleries, hewn by hand from the Rock in 1782, house old cannons and tableaux, evoking the Great Siege (1779-1783). The Apes’ Den is the home of the famous Barbary apes, which are in fact not apes but Macaque monkeys without tails.

The Gibraltar Museum contains caveman tools and ornaments excavated from the Rock’s caves, including a replica of the Gibraltar Skull, the first Neanderthal skull found in Europe (1848). There are also exhibits from the Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Moorish, Spanish and British periods of the Rock’s history; a comprehensive collection of prints and lithographs; a collection of weapons from 1727 to 1800; a large-scale model of the Rock made in 1865; and displays of fauna and flora. The museum itself was built above a spectacular and complete 14th-century Moorish Bath House.

Other sites of interest are: the 14th-century keep of the much rebuilt Moorish Castle; the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe, a mosque before conversion to a Christian chapel in 1462, housing the 15th-century image of the Patroness of Gibraltar; the Lighthouse and new Mosque, beautifully designed blending classic Islamic designs with modern facilities, situated within a few yards of the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe; the ancient Nun’s Well, a Moorish cistern; Parson’s Lodge Battery (1865), above Rosia Bay; the Rock Buster, a 100-ton gun; the 18th-century Garrison Library; Trafalgar Cemetery; Alameda Gardens; Europa Point, just 26 km (16 miles) from Africa; the almost-complete city walls, dating in part from the Moorish occupation.

Some popular tourist activities in Gibraltar are: the cable-car trip to the top of the Rock, stopping at the Apes’ Den on the way up; the Convent, residence of the Governor, and formerly a 16th-century Franciscan Monastic house; the Guided Walking Tour of Places of Worship, every Wednesday at 10 am, including visits to Gibraltar’s two cathedrals, a synagogue, the Garrison chapel, the Presbyterian church and the Methodist chapel – all buildings of historical interest; the guided walking tour around the city walls, every Friday at 10:30 am; and the Mediterranean Steps Walk which starts at O’Hara’s Battery (the highest point in Gibraltar), snakes down the eastern cliff and around the southern slopes to the western side of the Rock. Marina Quay and Queensway Quay (two modern marina developments) provide visitors with the chance to indulge in some serious people watching while sampling delicious seafood in one of the many attractive harbour-side restaurants.


Gibraltar has five beaches. On the east side are Eastern Beach, Catalan Bay and, towards the south, Sandy Bay, where the Rock is very sheer and parking difficult. Little Bay, a pebble beach, and Camp Bay/Keys Promenade are on the western coast.





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