Gibraltar is perhaps most well-known for its resident monkeys. This is the only place in Europe where wild monkeys roam free. The tailless Barbary Macaques are thought to originate from nearby North Africa. There are around 300 monkeys in Gibraltar, packs can be seen on the Rock but particularly at the Apes’ Den which been especially made for the monkeys. Visitors can watch the monkeys in their own environment – it’s quite a sight, but be warned that these monkeys are cheeky – don’t eat food near them and watch your bags – the monkeys are bold, quick and this is their turf!
Gibraltar was captured by the British in the early 18th century and has in incredible history. Due to its position at the mouth of the Mediterranean, Gibraltar was always highly sort after, especially by the Spanish who surround Gibraltar. During World War II most of Gibraltar’s nationals were evacuated and the army and navy used it as their base. As such, Gibraltar is steeped in military history. The Gibraltar museum has numerous exhibits and facts from bygone years. War memorials and monuments can be found all around Gibraltar, paying respects to service men and women over the years.
Gibraltar is a shopper’s paradise and is all duty free. Main Street is the best place to head to for shopping with many familiar British high street shops on offer. Clothes, electricals, tobacco, spirits – all are much cheaper than at home due there being zero tax. The main square is also home to some nice souvenir shops alongside cafés and restaurants. Casemates square is a great place to sit and watch the world go by after all that shopping!
A great way to explore the Rock of Gibraltar is by taking advantage of the cable car. A swift six-minute ride will take visitors to the Upper Rock area and it’s Nature Reserve which is over 400 metres above sea level. The views are spectacular with 3 countries and 2 continents being seen from the viewing terraces, as well as far reaching sea views. There is a Skywalk for the ultimate viewing experience which juts out from the cliff side with a glass floor and glass sides. Not for the faint hearted, but so memorable for those that walk it. The Windsor Suspension Bridge is also within the Nature reserve which is enjoyed by those wishing to follow the walking trails.
Gibraltar owes everything to its impressive network of underground tunnels. The Great Siege Tunnels were used in the 18th century to defend British Gibraltar from being captured by neighbouring France and Spain. It took just six weeks for the tunnels to be created by British Marines using only gunpowder and manual labour. More tunnels were added to the network during World War II, bring the total length to over 50 kilometres. The tunnels played a vital part in defending the land and are fascinating to visit and explore. Some of the tunnels have been made in to a museum where visitors can learn about how the tunnels were made, see the cannons still in place and try to imagine what it was like during wartime.
Located half way down the Rock, St Michael’s Cave is a must see whilst on holiday in Gibraltar. This natural cave houses the most beautiful stalactites and stalagmites of all colours and sizes which have been forming for thousands of years. The lower cave has a stunning lake which was once believed to be bottomless with an underground tunnel leading to North Africa. Many believed that this is how the monkeys came to Gibraltar, through the tunnel from Africa. Visitors can experience lower St Michael’s Cave by joining a guided tour and learning about the formations and history of the caves. In recent times, the Cave has been used for concerts and theatrical performances. The cave can seat up to 600 people and is a simply stunning venue.
With influences from Britain and neighbouring Spain and North Africa there is a hugely diverse range of cuisine on offer in Gibraltar and some great seafood to be enjoyed at the harbour side. A national dish of Gibraltar is the Calentita. This simple recipe is cooked using chickpea flour, olive oil and seasoning. Served warm, this tasty bread-like food was once produced by local bakeries and sold on the streets. Calentita is a word for hot, or warm. Tasty and filling, this is still a firm favourite with Gibraltarians. Gibraltar also plays host to a yearly food festival named ‘Calentita’ which attracts many visitors every summer to enjoy food tasting, show cooking, music and dancing.
On a holiday to Gibraltar, visitors can expect a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers with plenty of sunshine.
If you are a British citizen, you don’t need a visa to enter Gibraltar but you must have a valid passport. For the latest information on European travel regulations, visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/gibraltar.
The currency in Gibraltar is the Gibraltar Pound (GIP).
In Gibraltar, the main language spoken is English.