A Pocket Guide To Scenic Gibraltar
As a British Overseas Territory, Gibraltar very much feels like a home away from home. You’ll recognise some of the shops (including M&S!) nestled amongst the tapas restaurants, and you won’t have to search far and wide to find a roast dinner or a red postbox. For some, a miniature version of the UK perched on a peninsula in the Mediterranean might sound like bliss, but for others, the whole magic of a holiday is really getting away from it all. Here are some things to do in Gibraltar that you definitely wouldn’t be able to do back on British shores….
Gibraltar Nature Reserve
The beacon of Gibraltar is, of course, the limestone monolith that the town surrounds. Here, you’ll find cheeky macaques casually wandering around, lush flora – including lavender, jasmine and bougainvillea – and sublime panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea.
You’ll also find many of the area’s most popular attractions within the Nature Reserve, which can be accessed via cable car or on foot. For the very reasonable price of £13 for adults and £8 for children aged 5-11 (under 5s go free), there are a total of 16 sights to see.
Highlights of the reserve include the 14th-century Moorish Castle and World War II relics, such as the tunnels where Eisenhower and Churchill planned their next move and O’Hara’s battery, which is the highest point of Gibraltar at 426 metres. The battery is also the summit of the Mediterranean Steps, which is a strenuous walk around the southern end of the rock.
For those who fancy a few thrills throughout a holiday, there’s the Skywalk, which was actually opened by Star Wars actor Mark Hamill in 2018. The glass platform juts out from the edge of the cliff and looks out over the expansive ocean. Equally butterfly-inducing is the Windsor Suspension Bridge, which is 70 metres long and crosses a deep ravine!
Finally, St Michael’s Cave is a spectacular cavern filled with thousands of stalactites that hang like icicles from the ceiling.
Gibraltar Botanic Gardens
West of the rock, and back on ground level, you’ll find Gibraltar Botanic Gardens. This five-hectare subtropical expanse is filled with quiet nooks and crannies, oddities including a red telephone box, and Instagrammable flora such as cacti and palms. Within the gardens, you’ll also find the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park, which is home to all sorts of exotic fauna, including lemurs, cockatoos, otters, pythons and iguanas.
For a blissful beach day, head over to the east of the rock where you’ll find Catalan Bay. Here, you’ll feel like you really are abroad in the Mediterranean. The wide, golden sands and crystal-clear aqua sea is incredibly inviting and make it picturesque enough to spend a whole day there. The buildings are painted in bright, whimsical colours, like tubs of ice cream, and the seafood restaurants serve the freshest catch. You might even be able to spot some of the resident dolphins that frolic in the waters around the peninsula. If you’d prefer to get a closer look, there are three dolphin watching companies located in the port.
Gorham’s Cave Complex
Gibraltar is also home to an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gorham’s Cave Complex, on the east side of the Rock, is a cluster of four caverns within which evidence of early human occupation has been found, including rock engravings and skulls. Tours of the caves are possible, but are often dependant on the weather and there is a maximum number of people allowed in each group. Tours must be led by a representative from the Gibraltar National Museum.
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