‘The Rock’ is a slice of Britain on the Spanish Mediterranean Coast. Strategically located where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic, Gibraltar has been British since the early 18th century. Despite Spanish pressure, Gibraltarians have voted to remain a British dependency twice in the last 50 years. There are plenty of red post-boxes, pubs, and fish and chip shops to prove the point.
The Gibraltarians themselves are a mix of British, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, and Portuguese with a smattering of Indian and Moroccan thrown in for good measure. So far for the human side, there are also a couple of hundred Barbary Macaques whose ethnicity has not been established, but who are the only wild monkeys found on the European continent. Legend has it that if the apes disappear so will the British. Naturally the apes are therefore well protected.
Gibraltar’s economy hinges on online-gambling, tourism, shipping, banking and the Royal Navy. And where do the tourists (and the sailors) go? Well, probably to The Rock to see those famous apes, they hang around the cable car station for your convenience. Or at the Apes Den. Then there are also some fine views from up there to boot. Other worthy sites are Trafalgar Cemetery and the Gibraltar Museum. By the time you are finished you might want to grab a pint in a quintessential British pub, together with some quintessential British pub-grub.
Tired of cold, grey, wet wintry days? Come to Gibraltar for some fun in the sun!
Highlights from Gibraltar
- Take the cable car to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve for those Barbary Macaques
- The Great Siege Tunnels, Military Heritage Centre and the 100-tonne gun, also on The Rock, and included in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve entry tickets
- St. Michaels Cave, included in the entry ticket of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve has some fine stalagmites and stalactites
- The Moorish Castle, is also included in the entry ticket of the … yep, you get it…
- Go to Europa Point where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean and you can see the African coast
- Visit the Gibraltar Museum to learn about its history
- Stroll around Trafalgar Cemetery with the graves of British sailors who died during the famous battle of the same name
- Go on a dolphin watching tour
- For some exercise and more good views walk up The Mediterranean Steps
- Soak up some rays on the beach at Catalan Bay
Hints and Tips for Gibraltar
- You can reach Gibraltar by plane, bus, car or boat. There are daily flights from various British airports, and there is ferry to Tangiers in Morocco. The buses coming from Spain stop just short of the border in La Linea from where it is a three minute stroll to the frontier where you can hop on another bus to the city.
- Despite being an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, cars drive on the right in Gibraltar!
- The official language of Gibraltar is obviously English, but Spanish is also widely spoken, as well as Llanito, a mix of Spanish, English, Maltese, Portuguese and Genoese.