With its extremely prized position for the various sailing ships negotiating the trade routes through its Strait, Gibraltar has been an important location and safe haven for many centuries and has been fought over and defended by a variety of nations in its historical past, evident in the numerous military attractions of the Rock that bear testimony to its turbulent times. These days some of the old military traditions in Gibraltar are still carried out for the benefit of its tourists, such as the Ceremony of the Keys held in Grand Casemates Square, an old British Military fortress and barracks that was once the place where military hangings took place.
On a brighter note, Grand Casemates Square is now one Gibraltar's most lively entertainment areas lined with shops, bars and restaurants that, along with Main Street and the picturesque Ocean Village Marina, attract visitors from far and wide to enjoy a few weeks of fun in the sun. Visitors to Gibraltar can enjoy a variety of things to do during their holiday, with a series of small bays making up its beach areas, the marina and harbour perfect for an evening stroll and a chance to enjoy the views, shopping galore along Main Street, wining & dining in Grand Casemates Square, and of course the many attractions of the Rock and its surrounds.
With its wonderful nature reserve and fascinating history, the famous Rock of Gibraltar attracts thousands of visitors each year and the stars of the show, the Barbary Macaques never cease to amuse with their funny antics and sneaky food raids. The Rock is a pleasure to explore and offers a variety of access points depending on what attractions visitors want to see. Some of the lower parts of the rock can be reached by car but the majority of visitors take the cable car which is a short journey to the top station and boasts splendid views. For the fitter visitor much of the rock can be explored on foot via the scary and challenging Mediterranean Steps.
Upper Rock Nature Reserve – Once at the cable car top station visitors are greeted with the green expanse of the beautiful nature reserve where, besides the cheeky monkeys, it is possible to see a variety of bird and animal life, colourful and sometimes rare plants and flowers, and nature trails that lead to several of the Rock's other attractions.
Great Siege Tunnels – A bit of a steep climb down the north end of the Rock is the Great Siege Tunnels that were instrumental in ending years of constant attacks by French and Spanish troops, enabling the British troops to move their cannons to more strategic defensive points and finally putting an end to the 14th siege of the Rock.
Saint Michael's Cave – Located at the southern end of the Rock, the caves are splendid to visit during the heat of the afternoon, offering respite from the sun and a veritable wonderland of grotto's, tunnels and the main attraction, Cathedral Cave that is colourfully spotlighted and with its near perfect natural acoustics, serves as the venue for live music performances.
Mediterranean Steps – Originally created in the 18th century to aid the movement of British troops around the Rock, the Steps are by far the most scenic way to explore the entire reserve with many stunning viewing points and an abundance of interesting flora & fauna. However, they are steep and slippery in places and really only for those who have a head for heights.
Throughout the lower lying areas of Gibraltar, its central district, harbour area and Europa Point there are many more historical and picturesque attractions for visitors to see. Whether it's grand architecture, ancient ruins, military monuments, peaceful gardens or thrilling boat tours to view whales and dolphins, Gibraltar makes for a fun and interesting holiday.
Alameda Botanic Gardens – Located close to the cable car base station on Red Sands Rd, these beautiful gardens are an oasis of calm and tranquillity and the stunning area known as The Dell is often the venue for wedding ceremonies. Home to a fascinating array of flora & fauna, terraced seating areas, ponds and a small wildlife sanctuary, the gardens are well tended and have a pleasant cafeteria and outdoor terrace to sit back and enjoy the surrounding nature.
Europa Point Lighthouse – Standing stoically on the southernmost point of Gibraltar, the welcoming beacon of the lighthouse has been guiding ships to safe haven since 1841, and if monuments could tell stories, Europa Point Lighthouse would certainly have a few.
Whale & Dolphin Tours – With the influence of both the Atlantic ocean and Mediterranean sea converging in the Strait of Gibraltar, visitors are treated to nature at its finest where a variety of magnificent whale and dolphin species can be seen during a thrilling boat tour.