Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located on the southern end of the Iberian peninsula, where the Atlantic Ocean ended and began with the Mediterranean sea. Known as “The Rock” because of its shape, it is a tourist destination for anyone travelling through the Andalusia region, Spain.
Gibraltar is really a very peculiar place as, in just seven square kilometres there is a natural park with wild animals and many monkeys, caves and a city with a lot of life, an airport and a very busy commercial pier.
If you are thinking of visiting Gibraltar, this article can serve as a guide for your trip.
A little bit of your history
Not wanting to be too detailed, since the history of Gibraltar is very easy to find on other websites that have that objective, I think it is important to mention that Gibraltar is and was very important for the control of the passages of the Mediterranean Sea, has been the subject of several disputes over the years, from Carthaginians, Romans, Muslims and even the Spanish. However, in 1713, Gibraltar was ceded to Great Britain, by Spain, in fulfilment of the Treaty of Utrecht. Today it is a British Overseas Territory with some differences from the United Kingdom in some aspects, such as the borders.
How to get to Gibraltar
By road, the main gateway is through the Spanish town of La Linea de La Concepcion, located right on the border with Gibraltar. La Linea is located near Algeciras and is easily accessible by highways.
The land border is open 24 hours a day, every day, and you can cross the border by motor vehicle or by foot. The entry and exit of people and cars from Gibraltar is only closed when there is a flight arriving or departing from Gibraltar because the access crosses the airport runway. Yes, this is a huge feature of the Gibraltar border. The space is so small that the airport was built next to the border and stole land from the sea.
From England, you can enter Gibraltar through the airport, which has connections essentially with cities in the United Kingdom.
There is also entry by ferries through its commercial port.
Is it necessary to change money?
No, you can use pounds and also Euro. In addition, we can always pay with an ATM or credit card.
When is the best time to visit?
Gibraltar is located in the south of Spain, at the intersection of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. For this reason, it suffers from maritime influence. Summers are dry and hot, but winters are more irregular between hot and humid. During our last visit, in spring, near the city, the weather was mild. However, in the nature reserve, in the highest area, the climate was overcast and with a little drizzle (and the distance is short but the slope is high).
Gibraltar is safe?
Our guide mentioned that in Gibraltar the biggest thieves are the monkeys. This observation demonstrates that in this small territory crime levels are quite low.
Our experience in Gibraltar
After crossing the border, we parked in the park next to the cable car. There we considered all the possibilities that existed to visit the monkeys and all of Upper Rock Park. However, the cloudy weather and some rain led us to choose the tour with a guide in one of the many vans and companies. But before the trip, we decided to walk through its most famous street.
Main Street is a traditional shopping street with about 1 mile and passes by some of the main buildings. All its shops, the English atmosphere of some pubs, all the advertising in English and even the traditional red telephone boxes and mailboxes help us to feel in the UK, without ever leaving the outskirts of Spain.
Along the street, we find the Parliament, the Governor’s House and a Cathedral. When we started our walk we found an old and small cemetery, next to the city walls. This is Trafalgar Cemetery.
The Upper Rock Natural Park
When we are confronted with the prices charged by the guides, we are always doubts because it seems somewhat confused. The reason is that the entrance to the Natural Park of Gibraltar costs a certain amount and then the entrance to some of the attractions is added by another amount. In our case, we chose the tour that allowed us to visit the Pilates of Hercules, St. Michael’s Cave, Apes’ Den and Princess Caroline’s Battery.
There weren’t all the attractions, but with children and with the unstable weather, the comfort of doing it inside a car was something that was worth it.
The Pillars of Hercules
It is next to one of the entrances to the Natural Park and where you bought access to the various attractions. In this place, which is also a viewpoint, where you can see Africa. We tried, but Upper Rock welcomed us with UK weather. The Pillars of Hercules refer to a mythical image in which Hercules supported the columns located in the Strait of Gibraltar, between Europe and Africa.
Saint Michael’s Cave
After passing the park entrance, were given wristbands that allow us to visit some of the attractions inside the park by scanning the bar code. The Sant Michael Cave is a huge cave where you can see stalactites and stalagmites and is surprising for its size. Currently, the cave is illuminated by a light and sound show. The spectacle is set up, in the biggest cave, where a stage is set up, through sound effects and projection, giving the sensation that the walls are moving.
The visit to the cave can last about 10 minutes or more if you are watching the projection and sound show or fascinated by the corners of the cave.
This is the main attraction of the Natural Park and the Ape are living freely throughout the park. For this reason, it is normal to find apes in all parks. It is the only place in Europe where you can still see monkeys in the wild.
Throughout the park, we are always advised to take care of them. We shouldn’t feed them, we shouldn’t confront them, we should pay attention to the flash, we shouldn’t walk around with food in hand because they can take them away, pay attention to suitcases and bags and especially not confront or disturb them. The truth is that they have stations where they are fed and have water.
In addition, as they live in groups, they can sometimes clash and as such we must keep a safe distance and follow the guidelines of the guides.
We found some baby monkeys that just wanted to play, we also found some that completely ignored our presence, but also some that jumped on our backs, curious about what was inside their coat hat.
Next to the highest point that our guide took us to was the monkey feeding station. In addition and within walking distance was the Skywalk.
The Skywalk is located 340 meters above the sea and is a structure with a glass floor and only for the bravest. It’s a structure that, according to our guide, is not included in the tariff we pay and that’s why we don’t visit it up close. We stayed to observe the monkey feeding station, which is also located at the upper end of the natural park. Here you can also see the ocean below the cliff and all the frenzy of tourists and monkeys.
Princess Caroline’s Battery
This tourist spot is just a military strategic point where there was a cannon that made it possible to defend Gibraltar. It is located on the north side opposite the airport, thus serving as a viewpoint for the peculiar airport of Gibraltar.
Great Siege Tunnels
The Rock has several tunnels that served as a defence when Spain tried to invade Gibraltar and also tunnels used in World War II. In the huge tunnels we can see the structures that were previously assembled and through the “windows” opened in the rocks we can observe the airport and La Linea de La Concepcion, Spain. It was by making use of this strategic advantage that Gibraltar was able to defend itself over the centuries.
This suspension bridge was not visited by us because it was not part of the paid itinerary with the guides. However, we were quite curious, since being located in the natural park it is visible from the city. Being at a considerable height and inserted in the natural park, we believe that it will be another point to visit.
How to plan your trip to Gibraltar?
Using the following assistants, you can plan your trip to Gibraltar by booking flights and hotels, among others.
Plan your trip using the following tools and/or website
Using the following links and tools on the website you are helping to maintain Scannertrip. This use is the same for you and you do not pay more for it. For Scannertrip it makes all the difference!!
- To find the best stays use Booking. It is one of the best websites for booking stays and always with some promotions on some destinations. The reliability and ease of booking and cancelling make it even the most popular.
- Transfers to and from the airport can be purchased via the website kiwitaxi. So you don’t need to get in touch with the different companies in your destination looking for the best price.
- If you choose to rent a car, also use the price comparators. The autoeurope website compares prices from different rental companies.
Suggestions for your stay in Gibraltar
On our brief stay in Gibraltar, we chose to stay on the Spanish side. The city of La Linea de la Concepcion has accommodation at lower prices and is a short distance from the border.Booking.com
Or choose from the most popular options.
Like Gibraltar! Are you ready to make your visit? You will certainly find reasons to visit on more days than those presented, but we hope that this small one-day guide will be useful to you. Enjoy and also get to know the side of Spain, more specifically Algeciras. If you are curious, you can read other articles about Andalucia.
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