There are a lot of misconceptions about the tiny British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. For one thing it’s a peninsula, not an island. The inhabitants speak English as their first language and are fiercely proud of their independence from neighbouring Spain. Because it is owned by the UK, Gibraltarians all carry British passports, use sterling as their currency and have access to the National Health Service. With Brexit in the news a lot these days, Gibraltar has earned more international attention as it has become one of the pawns in the game of negotiations between Britain and the European Union. For now at least, this embattled territory remains a British enclave on the southern tip of Spain, and tourists will be rewarded if they pay a visit to this unique place.
Here’s our list of the 5 best things to do on a visit to Gibraltar.
1. The Rock of Gibraltar
Whether you cross the border between Spain and Gibraltar or arrive by plane, you will be struck by the sheer awesome scale of the famous Rock of Gibraltar. No visit is complete without taking a trip to the top of this internationally renowned landmark, and cable cars will take you to the top in no more than 5 or 6 minutes. There you can wander about the former military buildings, meet the famous barbary macaques which make their home there and even try out the new Perspex Skywalk bridge, if you have a good head for heights!
2. St Michael’s Caves
Around a million people visit St Michael’s Caves every year, and with very good reason. The cave has been well known all the way back to Ancient Roman times, and in fact artefacts have been found which show that prehistoric humans made this giant cave system their home. Today the caves are used as a concert venue, with their acoustics adding a unique element to musical events.
3. Moorish Castle
While the original castle on this site dated back to the 1100s, the castle visible today was constructed in 1333 when Arab invaders took Gibraltar back from the Spanish. In fact, Gibraltar was held by the Moors for more than 700 years, far longer than the couple of hundred years that Britain has ruled this territory. A visit to the Moorish Castle provides some pretty spectacular views over the main town, as well as an insight into the diverse history of Gibraltar.
4. Europa Point
Europa Point is the most southerly part of Gibraltar, and as such it is the perfect place from which to gaze across to the mountains of Africa. There are various notable buildings in this area, not least the dominant lighthouse which has been in that spot since its construction in 1841. A visit to Europa Point will also allow visitors to take in the military battery, mosque and 15th century church.
5. Ocean Village
Apart from being home to many multi-national businesses like KPMG and Lottoland, Ocean Village is also the entertainment centre of Gibraltar. This whole area was reclaimed from the sea – hence the name – and now hosts luxury apartments, bars, restaurants, a hotel and a floating casino. The perfect place to stop for lunch or a cold drink after a day spent exploring this treasure in the Med.