20 sights of Gibraltar worth visiting
Despite its small size, Gibraltar has many interesting sights. For example, this island boasts 56 kilometers of tunnels that pierce its cliffs and a quaint old town. The famous Varvara monkeys live here, as well as dolphins that swim in the coastal waters. And that’s not all of Gibraltar’s attractions!
Magots are a unique species of monkey that lives in Gibraltar. It is the only species of wild monkeys that live in Europe. Most of the 230-plus members of this species live on top of a 400-meter high cliff, and the only way to see them is to take a cable car up.
Nevertheless, these cheeky and curious inhabitants of Gibraltar can be seen all over the island, sometimes even sneaking into hotel rooms. Although these animals are harmless, tourists should keep their belongings to themselves, as Varvara monkeys are skilled pickpockets.
The address is Apes Den, Old Queen’s Road, Gibraltar.
The Great Siege Tunnels
The tunnels of the Great Siege.| Photo: Anita Gould / Flickr.
There are miles of underground tunnels in the rock of Gibraltar. The earliest of them were created during the Great Siege of Gibraltar in 1779-1783. Their construction began near the end of the siege on the orders of the governor of Gibraltar, General Eliot, who used them to install weapons.
While touring these tunnels tourists are often amazed to think that most of these underground tunnels were dug with a sledgehammer in just a few weeks and were instrumental in defeating the French and Spanish attackers.
The address is Great Siege Tunnels, Gibraltar.
Gibraltar Museum allows you to explore the rich cultural, military and natural history of the area. In this museum you can learn about the different peoples who have lived here from the time of Carthage to the present day. This is where you can get an idea of the history that made Gibraltar what we see today.
In the museum you can find separate rooms dedicated to the natural and prehistoric history of the area, in the basement tourists can look at the ruins of what was once an Arab bath. Although they were once used by the British military as stables for horses, they are still some of the best-preserved Moorish baths in Europe.
The address is Gibraltar Museum, Bomb House Lane, Gibraltar.
Old Town. | Photo: Scott Wylie / Flickr.
One of the most interesting areas of Gibraltar is its old town, which occupies the northwestern part of the territory and is located very close to the airport. It is a peculiar interweaving of narrow streets that surround the main street.
You get a contradictory feeling in this place: the traditional British pubs tell you that you are in Britain, and the interesting combination of architecture and clear blue skies reminds you that this is the Mediterranean after all.
The area’s main square is considered Casemates Square and boasts plenty of sunny terraces where you can enjoy a pint of beer and a delicious meal.
Address: SRGEurope, Main Street, Gibraltar.
Main Street Monastery
Main Street Monastery.
The Monastery of Main Street is one of the oldest buildings in Gibraltar and dates back to 1531. It was originally used as a residence for Franciscan monks. However, after 1728 this monastery was transformed into the official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar.
The monastery is one of the most visited public buildings in Europe and yet it has lost none of its former appearance. There is a legend that “The Lady in Gray” (a Spanish nun who was immured alive in one of the rooms by her father) still roams the corridors of this convent.
The address is The Convent, Main Street, Gibraltar.
The Rock of Gibraltar.
The Rock of Gibraltar | Photo: Tony Fernandez / Flickr.
This geographic object, which Gibraltar owes its full name to, is a 400-meter cliff. From the top of this cliff you have a breathtaking view of three countries (Gibraltar itself, Spain and Morocco) and two continents (Europe and Africa).
You can get to the cliff from the base station on the southern edge of the city by cable car. At the top you will be immediately greeted with a warm welcome the famous local macaques – Magothas. Please note: on days when the wind blows particularly strong ropeway does not work.
Address: Rock of Gibraltar, Gibraltar.
Europa Point (Cape Europa) is located at the southernmost point of Gibraltar. From here you have a fairly modest view of the northern coast of Morocco, which is only 21 kilometers across the strait. There is also an observation deck from which, on a clear day, you can see the blurry outline of the Rif mountain range, where Jebel Musa Peak can be seen.
According to legend, Musa was once one with the rock until Hercules broke through them and created two Hercules Pillars. It is a long walk from the city center to this place, so it is better to take bus number 2, which goes in both directions about every 10 minutes.
The address is Europa Point, Gibraltar, Gibraltar.
Ocean Village | Photo: Visit Gibraltar / Flickr.
Ocean Village is an interesting neighborhood that is located in the marina of the same name. Most of the residents of this neighborhood live on boats. The Ocean Village is a bit like a scaled-down version of Marbella with its attractive waterfront bars and restaurants, a huge yacht hotel and exclusive private boats that sail along the waterfront.
This is where nightlife lovers should go, as it is home to popular local bar Bruno’s and the Sunborn Casino. This is also one of the few establishments that serve food after 11pm.
The address is Ocean Village, Gibraltar.
World War II Tunnels
The tunnels of the Second World War.
The largest section of Gibraltar’s underground tunnels was built during the Second World War. That’s when another 13 kilometers of underground passages were added to the seven already existing ones (dug during the Great Siege of Gibraltar in 1779-1783). The main purpose of their creation was to place there 16 thousand garrison and all its supplies, as well as to connect the new military headquarters in the southeastern part of the territory with the western one.
There are also two major underground highways, Foss Way and Great Northern Road, which run along almost the entire cliff.
Address: World War II tunnel, Williss Road, Gibraltar.
St Michael’s Cave
St. Michael’s Cave.
Wondering what else to see in Gibraltar? Visit its most impressive attraction, St. Michael’s Cave. It is a series of limestone tunnels and chambers. The tunnels here are so deep that it was once even thought that you could walk through them under the strait to Africa.
The cave itself consists of upper and lower sections, which are connected by drops up to 45 meters deep. Below that are narrower tunnels that go as deep as 62 meters. These impressive underground chambers were used for defense purposes by the Moors and Spaniards, and during World War II they were also planned to be used as hospitals (although those plans never materialized).
Today the Cathedral Cave houses a 600-seat auditorium. In these caves you can also look at the very beautiful stalagmites and stalactites.
Address: Saint Michael’s Cave, Saint Michael Road, Gibraltar.
Gibraltar Nature Reserve
Lookout point of Gibraltar Nature Reserve.
Originally named Upper Rock Nature Reserve, the area was renamed Gibraltar Nature Reserve in 2013, which now covers nearly 40% of the area.
The reserve runs the entire length of Gibraltar and is home to a large population of Berber monkeys (Magothas), as well as red foxes, nightjars, the Gibraltar leucopautine spider, five species of lizards and six species of snakes. From here you have a wonderful view of Spain (in the north), Africa (in the south), as well as the outline of the Atlas mountain range.
Address: Gibraltar Nature Reserve, Gibraltar.
Mediterranean Steps. | Photo: Visit Gibraltar / Flickr.
If you are unlucky enough to get to Gibraltar during high winds and the cable car doesn’t work, then you can climb the Mediterranean Steps, which were originally used by the British military to access the bases on your own. This tricky path starts at the Jewish Gate at the southern end of the reserve and leads tourists up winding stone stairs.
Locals use these steps to keep in shape as a kind of exercise machine. Some sections on the way up are a bit overgrown, but the observation deck at the top has a great view of the northern coast of Africa. Expect it to take about two hours to climb up and down.
The address is Mediterranin Stees, Ojaras Road, Gibraltar.
Holy Trinity Cathedral
Holy Trinity Cathedral.
This cathedral was built in the Moorish Revival style of the Church of England and dates back to 1832. In its appearance it resembles more a mosque than a church. It is located in the northern part of Gibraltar’s old town, and its elegant understated style doesn’t draw much attention, so keep an eye on every building to make sure you don’t walk by.
The cathedral successfully survived both World Wars and remained intact. Serious damage was done to the building in 1951 when a British battleship exploded while it was anchored at the nearby docks. The roof and windows were replaced after the bombing.
Address: Holy Trinity Cathedral, Secretary’s Lane, Gibraltar, Gibraltar.
Saint Mary of the Crowned Mother of God Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Mary Crowned.
This cathedral belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, and its history stretches back to 1462, when it was consecrated by the Spanish monarchs, King Ferdinand III of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. During the reign of the Moors, there was a mosque here, which was located just on the site of the present cathedral’s courtyard. The coat of arms of the Catholic monarchs can be seen here.
Address: Cathedral of Saint Mary the Crowned, Main Street, Gibraltar.
Irish Town Street
Irish Town Street.
Irish Town is one of the busiest streets on the island (it is a street, not a block, as the name might suggest). It runs parallel to the main street and is named after the Irish women who came here in the 1720s to support the British garrison.
Its fortunate location near the port turned this street into a flourishing commercial center, and so it was until the Great Siege of 1779-1783 when all its buildings were destroyed. Most of the elegant buildings on this street that we see today underwent global renovations in the 19th century. After the reconstruction this street has become one of the most modern areas of the island.
Address: Irish Town, Gibraltar, Gibraltar.
The Tower of Homage
Tower of Honor. | Photo: Steve Slater / Flickr.
This tower is the main defensive structure of the Moorish fort in the 8th century. It is the tallest tower that has survived since Moorish rule. The building’s mutilated and shabby facade testifies to the many battles it has seen. The tower was badly damaged during the reconquest of the territory from the Christians by the Moors (Gibraltar was under their rule from 711 to 1309, and from 1350 to 1462), so it underwent extensive reconstruction in the 14th century.
Located high on the west side of the cliff, the tower is the first thing you see when you cross the border between Spain and Gibraltar.
The address is Moorish Castle, Moorish Castle Estate, Gibraltar.
Gibraltar’s waters boast a very rich marine fauna, especially in the Bay of Algeciras. For example, here live whales, pacific bluefin tuna and a large population of dolphins. But the most touching sight to see on a trip here are the dolphins, which swim and jump in the clear blue waters, often with cubs at their sides.
This looks especially beautiful at sunset (during this period dolphins are most active). They often jump right over the bows of small boats, so tourists after such trips remain beautiful pictures. Dolphin Adventure and Dolphin Safari are regular tours here.
Windsor Suspension Bridge
Windsor Suspension Bridge | Photo: Tony Fernandez / Flickr.
The Windsor Suspension Bridge was opened just recently, it is the newest addition to attract even more tourists to Gibraltar. This place is a must-see for visitors looking for an adrenaline rush. This bridge covers a gorge 70 meters wide and 50 meters deep, which is located in a nature reserve.
It constantly ripples in the wind and is definitely not suitable for people who are afraid of heights. Such a sight will be highly appreciated by thrill-seekers. Walking over this bridge, you can get acquainted with the fauna and flora of this beautiful protected area.
Address: Windsor Suspension Bridge, Gibraltar.
The Mosque of Ibrahim El Ibrahim
Ibrahim El Ibrahim Mosque.| Photo: Visit Gibraltar / Flickr.
The Mosque of Ibrahim al-Ibrahim is the southernmost mosque in continental Europe, and although it does not compare with the ancient Mosque of Cordoba, it is a fine example of modern Islamic architecture. The mosque is located at Cape Europa, at the southernmost point of Gibraltar.
It looks simply spectacular, especially when viewed from the west. The mosque was built between 1995 and 1997 and inside there is a lecture theatre, library and place of worship. The Ibrahim al-Ibrahim Mosque is one of the largest mosques of its kind in a non-Muslim country.
Address: Ibrahim al-Ibrahim Mosque, Gibraltar.
Alameda – botanical garden of Gibraltar
Alameda is Gibraltar’s botanical garden.| Photo: Visit Gibraltar / Flickr.
Gibraltar’s beautiful botanical garden – also known as the Alameda Garden – is a great place to relax away from the often tourist-filled attractions in other parts of the island. Located at the end of Main Street near Southport Gate, this beautiful garden was commissioned in 1816 for the entertainment of the soldiers stationed here.
Visitors can also walk to the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park, a small zoo that houses animals rescued by customs or police who cannot be returned to the wild. There is also an open-air theater with interesting cultural and musical events. Once a month there are fun guided tours.
Address: Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, Red Sands Road, Gibraltar.
The 20 Great Sights of Gibraltar
The city-state of Gibraltar is located at the most strategic point on the planet – the exit of the Mediterranean Sea into the Atlantic Ocean. Many people go here to see Africa while standing in Europe. You can explore the city not only in breadth, but also by climbing the rock, a giant towering in the middle of the peninsula. This is the main attraction of Gibraltar. For tourists there is free rein – viewing platforms with spectacular views, a reserve with rare monkeys, maze tunnels, suspension bridge.
Given the geographical location of the city, in its history was a lot of bloody battles and wars, so there are a large number of bastions, casemates, walls, fortifications and defense posts. Most of them have been restored and are available for viewing.
What to see and where to go in Gibraltar?
The most interesting and beautiful places to walk. Photos and a brief description.
The Rock of Gibraltar.
Occupies most of the territory of the country. Height – 426 meters, length – 5 km, width – 1200 meters. It is about 200 million years old. It consists of limestone rocks which are eroded over time, and caves are formed. There are more than 100 of them, the largest and most visited is St. Michael. Part of the rock is part of the reserve, its most valuable inhabitants are Berberian macaques-magoths and partridges. Tourists are attracted by the unique labyrinth of tunnels, carved in the rock in the XVIII-XX centuries.
This species of narrow-necked tailless macaques is a kind of symbol of Gibraltar. On the territory of Europe only here they live in their natural environment and enjoy complete freedom – they pester tourists, steal food, and break into homes. On the rock is their fiefdom – the reserve Apes Den. You can observe and photograph the mahots, but it is forbidden to feed them. According to legend, as long as the monkeys are alive, Gibraltar remains in British possession, so they are loved and protected.
Resort complex with excellent infrastructure. Includes a 5-star hotel “Sunborn”, residential apartments, a large office center. On the waterfront there are many boutiques of the most fashionable brands, restaurants and bars, nightclubs and casinos, other cultural and entertainment facilities. The pier in this area has more than 300 berths and accepts vessels up to 100 meters long. Popular are boat trips along the Iberian Peninsula.
Taking off and landing of airliners at the local airport is quite a spectacle. The fact is that due to lack of space, the runway is very short – 1828 meters, and in addition is surrounded on both sides by the sea. And it crosses Gibraltar’s busiest highway. It has to be blocked by barriers to let the next plane through. Because of the proximity of the strait, the weather in the area is unpredictable. But despite all the difficulties, the airport receives up to 30 planes every week.
This is the name of the bay at the eastern foot of the cliff, the sandy beach and the village on the shore. The local beach – the second largest in Gibraltar, but the most popular among tourists and residents of the peninsula. Its history dates back to the XVII century. Today it is a picturesque, very clean and comfortable area with cafes and restaurants specializing in seafood. Nearby – parking, bus stop. In a few minutes walk – the hotel “Caletta Palace”.
The square of the Casemates
It gets its name from the soldiers’ stone barracks built during the British colonization period. Today they have been converted into the Arts and Crafts Center. The square is surrounded by museums, cafes and bars, and souvenir stores. In the center is a monument dedicated to the soldiers of the Gibraltar Regiment. There is also a building of the Health Authority. On the square is always noisy and crowded. Held various festivals, concerts, celebrations.
John McIntosh Square
Since 1940 the square was named after a famous businessman, philanthropist and philanthropist in Gibraltar, who lived in the late XIX-early XX centuries. Before that it was called Market Square. It has its history since the XIV century. Today the main buildings of the city are situated here – the City Hall and the Parliament, as well as the Tourist Information Center. Since 1992, it has been the official place for celebrations of Gibraltar’s National Day on September 10.
It opened in 1930. The museum displays show the main stages of the history of Gibraltar. Here are the remains and tools of primitive people, exhibits ranging from the Phoenician to the British period. And also extensive collections of weapons of different times, printed editions and lithographs, local flora and fauna. The museum complex includes unique fourteenth-century Moorish baths. There is a small souvenir store.
Church of Saint Mary Crowned
The center of the Catholic faith in Gibraltar. Traces its history back to the fifteenth century, the time of Spanish rule. After the Great Siege the building was badly damaged. The governor offered to rebuild it to replace some of the land belonging to the church. It was used to redevelop Main Street. In 1820, the clock tower was completed. A statue of a soldier at the entrance to the cathedral was received as a gift from the British Army Corps, the Royal Engineers.
The first burials appeared in 1798. Although the name of the cemetery is associated with the legendary battle of 1805, only two of its participants are officially buried here. But there are several dozen unnamed graves, which may well belong to the British sailors. Basically, in the small cemetery are buried those who died in other battles of 1801-1812. As well as the victims of several fever epidemics that occurred in the early 19th century.
Gibraltar Botanical Gardens
Date of foundation – 1816. The area of the garden is 6 hectares. There are about 2 thousand interesting species of tropical vegetation and trees. Some of them are more than 200 years old, including the Dragon Tree, Pine Tree, and Olive Tree. On the territory of the botanical garden are Summer Theater, Wildlife Park with exotic animals, Italian Dell Garden with ponds and waterfalls, playground. There are also monuments to General Elliott and the Duke of Wellington.
Originally built in the 8th century and radically rebuilt 6 centuries later. It is considered the largest defensive structure of the Moorish period on the territory of Europe. It is situated in the north-west of the rock massif. It consists of surviving ramparts, gates and a 100-metre high tower. The walls of the complex are riddled with potholes from cannon balls and artillery fire. Today there is a museum, but only 4 rooms at the top of the tower are accessible to the public.
Artillery batteries and structures
One of the main military components of Gibraltar – coastal artillery – is now converted into a tourist attraction. At the top of the cliff is the O`Hara Battery. Its main exhibit is a powerful 9.2-inch gun. The southernmost battery, Harding’s Fort 1859, contains a 12.5-mm cannon weighing 50 tons. The 18th-century Princess Anne’s Battery consisted of 9 guns; in the 19th century 5.25-inch guns were added, 3 of them in enclosed turrets, 1 underground.
The tunnels of the Great Siege
Gibraltar’s unique defense system. The Labyrinth of Tunnels was built in six weeks by the British to defend against the combined forces of Spain and France in 1779-1783. They were carved by hand on the north side of the cliff. Thanks in large part to the cannons moved here, England was able to prevail. During World War II, the tunnels were greatly expanded. Today there are exhibition halls where cannons, dummy soldiers and other exhibits of military history are displayed.
World War II tunnels
The siege tunnels were continued in the wartime 1940s, their total length was 50 km. They served as a shelter for local residents, and there were warehouses with ammunition, ammunition, and provisions. Today, only some of them are available for tourists, they are converted into a military museum and serve as a place for exhibitions and theatrical performances. Most of the labyrinth still belongs to the military leadership and is closed to the public.
St Michael’s Cave
A fascinating work of natural craftsmanship. The largest of the hundreds of caves of the Rock of Gibraltar. Located at an altitude of 300 meters. Famous for its huge stalactite formations, which in the light of multicolored spotlights look fantastic. Has three entrances and exits, numerous halls on different levels. In the largest of them are classical music concerts. In the lower caves is an underground lake. Traces of cavemen and cave paintings were found here.
Trail “Mediterranean Steps”.
The route is recommended only for trained tourists. Created by the British military in the 18th century on the scale of the communication system. With the help of steps was established access to defense posts and firing points on the cliff. The trail begins at the Hercules Pillars, runs through a nature reserve, along the eastern side of the cliff, and ends at the very top, near the O’Hara and Lord Eyrie batteries. It is 1,800 meters long. The steps were reconstructed in 2007.
Windsor Suspension Bridge
It was opened in 2016. The bridge was built over a 50-meter gorge in the Upper Rock Preserve. It is 71 meters long. On both sides it is firmly attached to the cliff walls with large supports set at a depth of 12 meters. But still when passing there are small vibrations, which adds a portion of thrill to a fascinating walk. But the breathtaking views of the city and the sea below make you forget about the fear of heights.
Connects the city center to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar. It was inaugurated in 1966 and has been renovated several times since. The lower station is located near the botanical garden. The length of the road is 673 meters. Travel time is 6-7 minutes. Booths are designed for 30 people. Near the upper station there are several observation decks, cafes and a souvenir store. The trip includes a stop at the middle station, near the Monkey’s Den, but only from November to March.
A great lookout point where you can see the African coastline in clear weather. The southernmost point of the peninsula. Here stands the Trinity Lighthouse, built in the XIX century and now in operation. The light from it is visible to all the ships passing along the strait. Since 1994 it is fully automated. There are also other noteworthy objects – a mosque, a Catholic chapel, a monument to General Sikorsky, who died in 1943, guns coastal artillery, a large playground.
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