7 reasons to include Gibraltar in your itinerary in Spain
Gibraltar is a British territory on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula that has occupied a huge 400-meter cliff at the most prominent and strategically important point in the Strait of Gibraltar since the early 18th century. It has had many battles and wars in its history, so there are many fortifications, walls, casemates, bastions, military museums, tunnels, etc. Smaller than Gibraltar at 6.8 square kilometers, only the states of Monaco and Vatican City, as well as several islands.
There was a time when Gibraltar was virtually inaccessible to most tourists from the former Soviet Union, because a special Gibraltar visa was required to visit it. Now everything is different. Russians can get there with a regular multiple Schengen visa category C (minimum period of validity – not less than 7 days at the time of exit from Gibraltar), and Belarusians and Ukrainians – a multiple British visa valid for at least 6 months. Citizens of the European Union need only show their passport without any visa. All visa rules are here.
The easiest way to get there is by car or bus from Spanish Málaga. From the bus station to the border it is a 5 minute walk. First you get to the town of La Linea, which directly borders Gibraltar. A good landmark is the Rock of Gibraltar, you can see it from afar.
Directly to the territory of Gibraltar itself you can get on foot or by car. Parking at the border is much easier to find, the cars are right along the road. But visiting Gibraltar by car is not recommended because of the huge problems with parking and very heavy traffic. Many parking lots are not only full, but also open only to residents of the city. A number of restrictions apply to the entry of your car in the national park. In addition, Spanish rental companies usually require separate insurance for Gibraltar.
But if you do go there by car, keep in mind that in Gibraltar, in contrast to the UK, the right-hand traffic, as well as in the whole of mainland Europe. Caution should be exercised when driving in the mountainous protected area, despite the presence of all the necessary road signs and signs plus fences. Mountain roads are narrow, and not everywhere there is a possibility to separate two oncoming cars. Remember also that the protected area is home to many monkeys, roaming freely on most of the peninsula, including the mountain roads and outskirts of the city.
There are not many sights in Gibraltar, but here are the most interesting ones.
1. The Rock of Gibraltar.
It is possible to explore Gibraltar not only in breadth, but also by climbing up the already mentioned Gibraltar Rock and descending into its caves. Monolithic limestone cliff height of 426 meters is known as one of the Hercules Pillars, as evidenced by the monument in the southern part of the rock.
The cliff was formed about 200 million years ago by the collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates. The eastern part of the cliff faces cliffs on the sandy slopes. On this part of the cliff in 1903 built a system of collecting water, which then through channels is fed to two plants. This was done to supply Gibraltar’s poor natural springs. On the more gentle western slope of the mountain is the reserve and the city itself.
There is a system of underground tunnels in the rock which are more than 50 km long. They appeared because the calcite minerals, of which limestone is composed, are slowly eroded by water, and over time caves are formed in them. There are more than a hundred such caves in the Rock of Gibraltar, the largest of which is St. Michael’s Cave, located on the western slope of the mountain. You can wander there on your own through the halls on different levels – the largest of them periodically hosts classical music concerts. Or, for an extra fee, take a three-hour guided tour that will take you through all of the caves, including the lower caves with the clear underground lake.
You can get to the park’s entrance on the cliff by cable car, bus, car, or walk. At the entrance you will be given a map of the park, which will mark all the points of interest: Moorish castle, World War II tunnels, memorials, caves, a thousand-ton cannon and monkey habitats. Admission to the reserve is paid.
In addition to the natural beauty, underground tunnels and fortress, you have a great chance to see the only colony of tailless mahogany monkeys living in the wild on the entire European continent.
There are about 250 Berberian macaques living in the reserve at the top of the cliff. Their population is about 1% of Gibraltar’s population, so they rightfully feel like masters of the reserve.
Since 1855 Gibraltar Magpies are under the official patronage of the British Navy. According to a local belief, Gibraltar will be British as long as at least one monkey is alive. Magot is even depicted on the local 5 pence coin.
The monkeys are not afraid of people and do not allow to be photographed, but you should not relax around them. One more thing – it is strictly forbidden to feed monkeys. There are signs telling you not to do this everywhere. There are even drawings that graphically illustrate what will happen if you feed the monkeys.
3. A View of Africa from Europe
Cape Europa Point is the southernmost point of Gibraltar and offers stunning views of the Strait of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean Sea and the African coastline.
On a clear day, from the observation deck you can see the mountains of Morocco and the Spanish city of Ceuta on the African continent. There is also the Ibrahim Al Ibrahim Mosque, which was a gift to Gibraltar from the King of Saudi Arabia. You can get to this place from the old town along Europa Road.
4. Gibraltar Airport
You can get to Gibraltar not only by car but also by plane. Despite its small size it has its own airport (British Lines Road, Gibraltar). It is considered one of the most dangerous in the world, because it has a very short runway, which is limited on both sides by the sea.
A popular attraction for locals and tourists is to watch planes take off and land. During this time, the road linking Gibraltar with Spain is blocked. You can take up an observation post in the airport building or on the terrace of the cafe across the street. You can see the entire runway from the rock near the Moorish Castle Estate, Gibraltar.
Moorish Castle Gibraltar Airport Rock Gibraltar St. Michael’s Cave Ibrahim Al Ibrahim Mosque Gibraltar Military Heritage Center Catalan Bay Village St. Andrew’s Church
The site contains Gibraltar attractions – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular guidebooks and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to questions: what to see in Gibraltar, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Gibraltar.
One of the unique sights of Gibraltar is the Moorish Castle, built by the Marinid dynasty in the 7th century AD. It is a medieval fortification consisting of a gate, castle walls and a tower of Memory, which is the dominant structure. The castle is visible from afar because of its striking architecture and strategic location – it is a symbol of Arab domination of the Iberian Peninsula for over eight hundred years. Its walls stretch from the top of Gibraltar down to the sea.
The most striking part of the castle is the Tower of Remembrance, rebuilt in the fourteenth century. It is about a hundred meters high and is the tallest tower of the Islamic period on the peninsula. Its sturdy stone walls and bastions proudly bear the “scars” of siege and artillery fire.
This ancient edifice, with its flag flying triumphantly, still dominates the skyline of Gibraltar, a tourist attraction. Nowadays, the recently restored castle complex is accessible to tourists.
Gibraltar Airport is one of the most difficult and unusual in terms of landing a plane, and one of the most intimidating from the point of view of the ordinary passenger. This airport is located on a tiny peninsula of only 6.8 square kilometers. The lack of space led to an original solution: the runway crosses the busiest highway called Winston Churchill Avenue. Despite the low volume of freight traffic in this direction, taking off and landing planes here is no easy task.
Locals have become accustomed to Winston Churchill Avenue being steadily blocked by barriers and the flow of traffic patiently letting the next plane through. It is the only airport of its kind in the world. Gibraltar Airport is located at the foot of the Rock of Gibraltar and is surrounded on two sides by a cliff and the sea. The length of the runway is only 1,828 meters, and absolute precision is required to land the aircraft. In addition, the proximity of the Strait of Gibraltar creates difficulties, making the weather in the area completely unpredictable. But despite this Gibraltar Airport, located right next to the city center, receives around 30 planes a week.
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Rock of Gibraltar
The limestone Rock of Gibraltar is more than 400 meters high and is located in the Strait of Gibraltar on the Iberian Peninsula. The rock is an overseas territory of Britain, although it is surrounded by Spanish territory. The inhabitants of Gibraltar speak a mixture of English and a dialect of Spanish (Janito). In 1704 English troops took possession of Gibraltar, and in 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht made Gibraltar, along with the Rock, a British possession. The Spanish repeatedly tried to take Gibraltar by force, but their attempts ended in failure.
The rock consists of calcite, which is eroded by water. After such natural processes, caves were formed in the rocks. Today, there are more than 100 caves in the rock, and the largest of them is St. Michael’s Cave. In another cave in Gorham, archaeologists have found traces of Neanderthals. There are also many underground tunnels in the rock with a total length of 50 km.
On the territory of Gibraltar there is a nature reserve where rare Berberian macaques and Berberian partridges live.
Coordinates : 36.14466700,-5.34347500
In photo mode you can view the sights in Gibraltar by photo only.
Saint Michael’s Cave
St. Michael’s Cave strikes a chord with the tourists who come here. It is one of the largest caves of the Rock of Gibraltar, with about a hundred of them. St. Michael’s Cave is known for its huge stalactites that have been growing here for tens of thousands of years.
The remains of primitive man, found here in 1974, will also attract much attention. Central to these findings are rock carvings depicting mountain goats. According to the researchers, these drawings were made about 15-20 thousand years ago.
St. Michael’s Cave is a paradise for lovers of exotic places in the heart of Gibraltar. The cave is laid out at a depth of 62 meters and has three entrances and exits, so you can always walk through the mysterious labyrinths in search of the unknown.
The Mosque of Ibrahim Al Ibrahim
A striking landmark in Gibraltar is the Ibrahim Al Ibrahim Mosque, built in 1997. It is located on the coast of the Gulf of Gibraltar, a few kilometers from the African continent. The mosque was a gift from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and is one of the largest mosques in a non-Muslim country.
The mosque complex includes a school, a library, and a lecture hall. The structure stands on a high platform, with three flights of stairs with 22 steps leading to its main entrance. The main entrance is crowned with many turrets. The two-tiered pavilion is made of white marble and red sandstone, in the modern Islamic style, with a high vault decorated with carvings. A tall white marble minaret with a narrow spiral staircase is built at the southeast corner of the building. The central building of the mosque is topped with an exquisite dome. In the upper tier of the pavilion is a small museum, whose glass showcases many relics of Islam.
All the interior decoration is made of openwork carvings with delicate floral ornaments. The Ibrahim Al Ibrahim Mosque is very popular with tourists for its beauty and uniqueness.
Coordinates : 36.11200900,-5.34562400
Gibraltar Military Heritage Centre
The Gibraltar Military Heritage Centre tells the story of the bravery of soldiers who have been garrisoned on the mainland since 1704 through a collection of military weapons and other objects.
Relics, trophies, and 18th century uniforms are now the treasure trove of the center. Moreover, here in the Memorial Chamber is a list of all the units that took part in the Great Siege of 1783. As a rule, tourists look at this list of their namesakes.
It is noteworthy that the strictly male historical heritage is located under the vaults of the Princess Caroline Battery.
Coordinates : 36.17502000,-5.36555500
Catalan Bay Village
On the eastern slope of the Rock of Gibraltar is a small village of Catalan Bay. It was founded by Genoese fishermen, who were apparently attracted by the convenient bay, where they could shelter from bad weather and winds.
The village has about 50 people, mostly the descendants of Genoese, Portuguese and Spanish.
They live in a closed community, only those who work there go to town.
They can perform weddings only between the inhabitants of Catalan Bay. Here the ancient customs of their ancestors are sacred, but under the influence of the influx of tourists, the patriarchal way of life of the village is slowly eroding.
The fishermen are abandoning their trade and focus more on receiving tourists, many men from Catalan Bay to work on the docks of Gibraltar.
The visiting tourist, even for a short time, will certainly be offered an excursion to the most remote point of this mini peninsula, Cape Europa.
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Church of St. Andrew
St. Andrew’s Church was built in Gibraltar to honor the Scottish soldiers who fought in World War I. In 1853, the first brick was laid in the foundations, and the following year (1854), with the help of donations, it opened to all wishing Christians. The church is an integral part of the Presbytery of Europe, that is, it belongs to the Church of Scotland with congregations located in Europe.
Today there are no longer so many military settlements on the territory of Gibraltar. One Church of St. Andrew has not ceased to exist. It is located in the heart of the city, not far from the Garris Library. It has been the object of countless tourist visits in recent years because it is a masterpiece of architectural art.
There are three organs in the room – an original organ installed in 1906 and two electronic organs. The south wall is decorated with the regimental plaques of the battalions that were involved in the history of this small church in Gibraltar. There is a font and pews for visitors.
St. Andrew’s Church not only hosts regular events but also special events throughout the year – compulsory Sunday worship, Sunday school classes, and Bible studies on Tuesdays.
The most popular attractions in Gibraltar with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Gibraltar on our website.
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