What to visit in Gibraltar? When planning my pre-travels on my exchange semester, Gibraltar popped up in my head as one of the travel destinations. To be very honest, I was very half-hearted on whether I should visit Gibraltar in the midst of exploring Spain. In fact, the only reason why I knew about Gibraltar was the replica of “Watchpoint Gibraltar” in the FPS game of Overwatch. In hindsight, I have no regrets and in fact, is one of my favourite places in the world. I have included below a short introduction on Gibraltar and what to do in Gibraltar!
What to do in Gibraltar?
A short introduction on Gibraltar
It is considered British Overseas Territory,which means the locals speaks British English, use the pounds and resembles UK in a lot of ways. The strategic importance of Gibraltar cannot be underestimated as its serves as mid point between the Mediterranean and Atlantic Sea. Most of their income comes from tourism, cargo ship refuelling and financial services today. It has Moorish, Spanish and British influences on their architecture or historical sites, 3 elements that still coexists in this tiny land.
The strange part of Gibraltar is that it is situated very close to Southern Spain. When you cross the border, it is some sort of cultural awakening when you cross the borders from Spain to Gibraltar. If you have plans to tour the Andalusian cities along the coast, getting to Gibraltar is very easy. For us, we dropped off at Tarifa Port from Tangier Port in Morocco and took a complimentary bus to Algeciras. From Algeciras Bus Station, it was a 30minutes ride to La Linea Bus Station. From there, you can actually see the iconic Rock of Gibraltar and walk across. So if you are ever in the vicinity, adding Gibraltar would just take a day trip. Without further ado, here are things you can visit in Gibraltar!
1. Visit the Gibraltar Runway
The first thing to visit or spot in Gibraltar is the runway. Gibraltar has its own airfield which was interestingly only used by the Royal Air Force. However, the state has allowed commercial flights to land which becomes a huge affair. Part of the border crossing from Gibraltar and Spain serves as a runway, which means that roads have to be closed for planes to land.
You can see that the middle portion of the road has just been reopened. Sadly for us, we only managed to see the plane being taxied into its hangar. But still, it is a surreal experience to see the border coming to a standstill for the landing of planes.
2. Visit the Devil’s Gap Road
Secondly, before Brexit, there was Gibraltar against Spain. Spain has repeatedly laid claims to Gibraltar based on geographical evidence. In the latest referendum conducted in 2002, Gibraltarians rejected the proposal of joint soverignty of Spain and Britain,leaving them a pure British territory in Spain. A clear monument of this is the Devil’s Gap Road, which has been painted in the bright colours of blue, red and white of the colours of the Union Jack. A quick tip for travellers is that this is considered the fasted route from the centre of the city to Upper Rock Nature Reserve (more on this below)
3. Visit the Gibraltar Museum
Dating back to the Neantherdals to World War 2, there is a lot to learn on how important Gibraltar is to historians. The museum of Gibraltar holds a reconstruction of how Neantherdals looks, from actual remains found in the Rock of Gibraltar. If you are enjoy understanding the culture of a country through artifacts, the Gibraltar Museum is a good place to start with!
4. The Rock of Gibraltar
Here we are entering the most iconic part of Gibraltar. Literally from any angle, you can look up to this big rock and wonder how Gibraltar functions? The Rock of Gibraltar stretches through the island and houses many exciting tours, like the exciting World War 2 Tunnels Tour where you get to explore the man made tunnels used during the war for the supply of ammunitions. Either way, when in Gibraltar, be sure to take pictures of the Rock from different angles, starting from the top!
5. Visit the Top of the Rock of Gibraltar
The top of the Rock of Gibraltar grants you the best view of the harbours and Gibraltar as a whole. You can also see both the Mediterranean Sea on one side and Atlantic Sea on the other.
Be accompanied by the native Babary Apes that are cheeky and out to take food from you.
6. Enter the beautiful St Michael’s Cave
Other than the majestic exterior of the Rock of Gibraltar, another reason why you should visit is the beautiful natural formations inside. St Michael’s Cave houses amazing natural staglactites and staglamites that formed over millions of years ago that is guaranted to take your breath away. It now functions as a concert venue which makes it a must-see on how a natural cave can be used in a concert setting. Plus, they have accompanying lights and music for maximum vibes.
7. Sunset at Europa Point
Take a bus to Europa Point,the southernmost point of Gibratar for some breathtaking views of the Rock and the coastline. Simply breathtaking views that you will remember!
8. Visiting Gibraltar’s Beaches
A unlikely sight,but Gibraltar does have beautiful beaches situated along its coastlines. The largest Eastern Beach is ideal for sunbathers as this is the angle that the Rock would not cast a shadow over. If you are lucky,you might get to see flights landing up close! Check out the other beaches like Catalan Bay and Sandy Bay for al fresco dining or simply just to be close to the sea. We particularly enjoyed a leisurely stroll along Catalan Bay Beach and enjoying the shade of the Rock in the late afternoon.
There are definitely more tours and activities to do in Gibraltar, but this is great for those who are making a decision to visit this iconic overseas territory of Great Britain. Coming from Singapore, a small city state, I am genuinely impressed at how the people of Gibraltar are proud of their heritage and how the territory can still operate given the small land mass. I strongly urge everyone to at least have a day trip planned if you are in southern Spain. Cheers and enjoy your trip to Gibraltar!