Next up on our tour of the world comes all the reasons to visit Gibraltar. Small, but homely and under the bright sun, Gibraltar is a place any UK visitor will fit right in.
A British over-seas territory located on the south coast of Spain and riddled with Moorish, Spanish, and British history, Gibraltar will be a perfect (and incredibly interesting) spot for your COVID friendly get away this summer when international travel opens.
We’re going to give you our top 10 reasons to visit Gibraltar in no particular order, but we highly recommend you go to the Gibraltar tourism board to browse their array of splendid activities and sights for yourself – you won’t be disappointed.
1. British Comforts, Spanish Sun
Namely, this is an odd place to start when convincing you to go abroad.
However, the combination of British territory and Spanish neighbours gives Gibraltar a great mix of the British feel of home, with English signs, cars on the left, and English shops, and the climate and landscape of Spanish land.
If you want to get away from everything for a little while, but you’re a homebody at heart, this alone could make Gibraltar a very peaceful and soothing spot for you to take a holiday and escape from the chaos of 2021 thus far.
It doesn’t lose any of its interest or freshness either, with the food and the land, the warm sun and the ocean, such a small island with only 30,000 residents packs a hearty punch and draws you into a land of comforts.
2. The History
With so many separate influences over the course of its life, it’s no surprise that Gibraltar is so steeped in history.
From The Rock itself, known in Moorish times as one of the ‘Pillars of Hercules’, and riddled with caves to explore, to the Moorish Castle and baths that date back to the 11th and 14th centuries, it’s a subject that could suit any kind of traveller and easily keep you occupied for your entire holiday if you let yourself get sucked in.
The history lives on in the residents themselves and in their outstanding sites.
The Rock is one of the top reasons to visit Gibraltar without question, with many easy ways to access it and so much to explore and discover, it will bring out the adventurer in you while you get to soak in the sun at the same time, there is no downside (except maybe your head feeling fit to burst when you learn all of this history).
3. The Wildlife
Did we forget to mention that when you take a cable car up The Rock you will possibly see a few of Europe’s only wild monkeys? Who am I kidding, how could we forget a beautiful creature like the Barbary Macaques?
Just one of the splendours of Gibraltar’s wildlife, these Barbary Macaques are Europe’s only wild monkeys and are usually found in South Africa. Living in the mountains in Gibraltar, these monkeys are suspected to have been imported to the country by the Brits and have since taken to the landscape of Gibraltar’s limestone cliffs.
This isn’t all either. Gibraltar is also home to a great nature reserve which the monkeys live in, dolphin watching, the sleek and mysterious Barbary Partridge, and a wildlife conservation park that borders their botanical gardens.
This isn’t a place you’ll want to miss if that mix of nature and history is up your alley.
On an island so close to both Spain and Morocco, we could hardly avoid talking about the beach.
Though the island is only a few miles in size, that doesn’t stop any part of it from being just as stunning and worth indulging in. It does means that getting to the beach is easier and quicker than ever, though.
With four different beaches of different pleasures to choose from, we won’t be selling you on each of them individually. However, we will attest to all of them being worth separate visits as they have very different atmospheres.
Catalan Bay is certainly a beautiful, isolated place to start. It’s not just a beach, but a secluded fishing village on the eastern side of the island, away from the city. The houses hug the base of the Rock and the beach forms a crescent right at the feet of the village.
It is a truly picturesque sight and you may leave it jealous of the inhabitants who get to live there each day with such a beautiful view.
It is also another home to some history mysteries as no one quite knows the origin of the village, but there are many theories.
And of course, with its own fishing village it’s not a surprise that Gibraltar is the perfect place for fresh seafood. From classic British fish and chips to Spanish paella, you won’t be bored with the cuisine here.
It is a weird and wonderful mix of cuisines that makes it a place like no other to eat and won’t leave you feeling homesick nor will you feel without variety and new things to try.
6. The Caves
Thanks to visitgibraltar.gi for this wonderful image.
Both a natural and manmade wonder comes the St Michael’s Caves.
Depending on where in these caves you visit, you’ll get an exciting visit. The lower caves (you can get a taste of their mystery here) being home to their very own lake and big, open spaces, and only discovered very recently in 1942 where it may have been hidden for 20,000 years away from the more populated caves.
You can get tours of these caves to enjoy their natural beauty safely, and it is truly a whole world of its own, the tour is around 3 hours long and involves some climbing, so you really get to experience the entire structure of the caves themselves and feel like an explorer.
Alongside this, there are the upper caves that have been known for a lot longer. Some of these caves have been transformed into theatres and other entertainment facilities that utilise and show off the beauty of the caves themselves. You could easily spend a whole day along exploring this underground wonderland, and then want to go back for more the next day.
There is no place quite like it, the caves going on and on seemingly infinitely, only the surface having been utilised thus far.
7. Spain and Morocco Are Right There
We’ve mentioned it a couple times, but it’s a great advantage to being in Gibraltar that you can very easily cross the border, though this isn’t an advantage at the moment, it’s something to keep in mind for your inevitable next trip there when either of those countries could have become green listed, Spain is already ready to welcome travellers so you may be in luck.
Beyond this there is the view. Even if you’re not in the position to cross over at the moment, being on such a small and comfortable place and being able to see the beautiful lands nearby is a great reason to just stop and relax for a while, looking out across the land you can see and plan your next great holiday.
In fact, Spain is so close that you could walk from the city of Gibraltar to the nearest town in Spain within the space of an hour.
8. The Activities
Beyond the unique experiences that Gibraltar offers on its own, there are many other activities that are made that much more enjoyable by doing them in such a gorgeous environment.
There are a variety of different walks you can go on, included a guided tour, and a historical walk through the towns to explore the local culture and history of the island. History can be found and read other ways, but you’ll get so much more out of it when you’re in the centre of it, hence being one of the reasons to visit Gibraltar yourself.
Next to this there is the cable cars, coasteering, and diving to offer. So, you can get the most out of every meter of the island and leave it knowing Gibraltar like a friend.
9. Europa Point
One of the shorter attractions, but no less enjoyable, is Europa Point and the lighthouse.
Another place just bathing in the history and myth that surrounds Gibraltar, the lighthouse is at the top of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. If nothing else, it is a wonderful place to overlook the ocean and the island with the sun high above.
I may be biased towards lighthouses, but this one is in such a wonderful location, and is one of a few built in the 1950s around British territory. It is said to be in the place that Hercules passed through all those centuries ago.
For a richer experience of the context here, reading up on the history of the place will only make it more fascinating.
10. Moorish Castle
Thanks to visitgibraltar.gi for this stunning photo of Moorish Castle.
It only seems right to round off the list with a majestic monument of the past, Moorish Castle.
We mentioned this earlier when discussing the history, and it’s a point worth going into more depth with. This castle was built in the 1000s and is still standing strong, still watching over the story of Gibraltar today.
This castle has also got a lot of military history, having suffered and survived through many battles with Spain. It displays its scars with pride and is a prideful monument of Gibraltar.
You can learn even more about this stunning monument on the visit Gibraltar page, but standing there is a whole other beast you can’t miss.
It is included as part of the nature reserve when you enter, so make sure to adventure round both. Although this one may satisfy a more morbid interest than the rest of the preserve.
Now that you’ve been thoroughly convinced of the reasons to visit Gibraltar, don’t forget to check out the tourist board for Gibraltar. Or get in touch with a trusted travel agent that is a PTS member for complete security and peace of mind on holiday.
Also be aware of the current state of travel, and ensure you always keep up to date on restrictions. Of 28th of May 2021, Gibraltar is on the green list for travel, but this may be subject to change.