A mix of languages and cultures can be found in Gibraltar (also known as The Rock), the British Overseas Territory situated on the Iberian Peninsula, right next to Spanish Andalusia. It is Great Britain with no doubt, yet undeniably there are some differences between the rest of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar, with the weather being the most obvious one. British pubs in a sunny town, doesn’t it sound like paradise? And there’s even more to The Rock than that. The extraordinary nature and rich history make holidays in Gibraltar an excellent idea. Here’s a list of 5 places you should see once you’re already there.
Upper Rock Nature Reserve (Apes’ Rock)
The Upper Rock comprises over 40% of Gibraltar’s area. Many of the Rock’s attractions are located within the park. The Ape’s Rock is a perfect destination for bird-watchers because it not only shelters a variety of species but is also a great point for observing the birds migrating between Europe and Africa. It’s also a home for Barbary apes, adorable, but edgy monkeys, known for their interest in biting humans (that’s why you should be careful when you deal with them). You simply can’t miss The Upper Rock during your holidays in Gibraltar. It would be hard even if you tried since the reserve covers such a big part of the Rock, but make sure you not only don’t miss it but also pay enough attention to the magnificent views it offers.
If you’re lucky enough to reach the Europa Point on a sunny day, you can see the Rif Mountains of Morocco from there. Add to that the views of the Bay of Gibraltar and lovely towns located on its shore and what you get are a breathtaking landscape, one that can’t be forgotten. Europa Point is the southernmost corner of Gibraltar, and it could easily feel like the edge of the world if it wasn’t for the views of what’s on the other side of the sea and the buildings making it look a bit less dramatic. First of all, there’s the lovely lighthouse, standing gracefully at the edge of the rock. Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque, the Harding’s Battery and a few more buildings are fascinating as well. After you’ve seen them all, you can drive the scenic Europa Road and visit these Spanish towns you’ve seen from the rock.
This beautiful trail is weaving through the area of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, from the Jew’s Gate bird observatory, up to the top of the rock. The steps were built by the British military, but now they’re used by curious tourists on their way to discovering Gibraltar’s history and nature. The path offers fantastic views of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean Sea, and Costa del Sol. Besides of the landscapes, there are also abandoned tunnels, caves and other mysterious sites on the way. You can walk the path or, if you’re not fond of heights and stairs, catch a cable car.
St. Michael’s Cave
This most often visited cave of Gibraltar attracts so many tourists not without reason. It’s a wondrous natural phenomenon, a network of limestone caves that was thought to be bottomless. The cave was a subject of many legends, out of which one claimed it was one of the Pillars of Hercules. Ancient Greeks believed the cave was a gate to Hades, the underworld. It is deep indeed, but not bottomless for sure. The cave was already known to people in Neolithic era. A Neolithic bowl and examples of cave art were discovered in the St. Michael’s Cave. Scientists aren’t sure whether it was Homo Sapiens who first set their foot in the cave or Neanderthals whose skulls were recently found there. Right now it’s a popular tourist attraction, a beautiful nature site and not only. The Cathedral Cave, one of the chambers, is turned into an auditorium in which concerts and performances are being held.
Alameda Botanic Gardens
The subtropical gardens with lush vegetation make a perfect getaway if you want to relax a bit during your adventurous holidays in Gibraltar. After you’ve already seen all the rocks, caves and tunnels, after you’ve climbed all the steps and became friends with angry monkeys (or not, then you surely need a break even more to lick your wounds in peace and quiet), you can visit the Alameda Botanic Gardens. Stroll around, make a picnic, take a closer look at the exotic flowers and just soak up the atmosphere.
Have you already spent holidays in Gibraltar? If yes, let us know how it was and share your recommendations!