Gibraltar hides more than 143 caves, over 48 kilometers of tunnels and roads, about 500 species of small flowering plants, and Europe’s only free-ranging monkeys (Barbary macaque). From Europa Point, you can see the coast of Africa. Visitors can find breathtaking scenery, historic architecture, VAT-free shopping, and many opportunities to sail, dive, fish, or watch birds in this little piece of heaven. While it is a bastion of British military might, the military presence is discrete: you’ll hardly know they’re there.
Visitors who don’t mind walking will want to take the Mediterranean Steps from the Jew’s Gate bird observatory to the top of the Rock’s east side. Those who don’t want to make the climb can take a cable car to the Upper Rock. The views of the peninsula and the sea are magnificent, and here is where you will likely see the Barbary “apes.”
The Port of Gibraltar’s 11th Century Moorish Castle is the last remaining structure of the once-great castle complex that stood there. The castle played an important role in the Arab conquest. Today’s Tower of Homage and parts of the castle were rebuilt by the Moors during the 14th Century.
St. Michael’s Cave is a natural cavern that begins about 350 meters above sea level and descends into the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s been visited by man since early times. The cave forms an auditorium where concerts and live shows are performed. The chambers beyond hold huge stalagmites and stalactites and an amazing underground lake. Two light and sound shows delight visitors every day.
The Port of Gibraltar Siege Tunnels are a complex of tunnels dug by the British during the Great Siege when France and Spain tried to take the Rock during the war of American Independence. The siege lasted about 3-1/2 years, and the tunnels were used to mount cannon to defend the Rock. Digging continued after the war. In fact, the Royal Engineers added another 40 kilometers of tunnels during World War II. Today, the tunnels contain exhibits re-enacting some of the fights that occurred there. Wear comfortable shoes, and remember that those who walk down must also walk up to return to the open air! Travelers who want to visit the Port of Gibraltar by sea can find a comprehensive list of scheduled cruises on the Port of Gibraltar website or on the Cruise Compete website.