The slightly strange anomaly that is the rather large jutting rock that is part of the British territory neighbouring Spain is Gibraltar. Not perhaps the first place you would think about visiting for a short break or as a day trip but with more than 1500 years of Moorish, Spanish and British history, why not? For People visiting Southern Spain Gibraltar hold its own in terms of luring visitors. It’s a major tourist attraction as well as an international airport, military base and home to approximately 30000 residents. On top of that it holds some of the most extensive military fortifications in the world. So you’re wanting to pass a day or so in the 6.8 square kilometres that makes up Gibraltar and here’s why.
The Novelty Factor
You are the most southern point of the Iberian Peninsula, so close to Morocco you could almost smell the cumin yet the cars are driven on the left, the signs are in English and there are even British shops. It is a strange thing for a people who are from an island to cross a border from a country vastly different to the UK like Spain to a place where it all rather familiar. There is a Gibraltarian twist when it comes to food in particular which is rather like visiting another county in the UK, just one with much better weather.
In Moorish times the great Rock of Gibraltar was called one of Pillars of Hercules and to this day you can absolutely see why. Explore Gibraltar’s main land mass from above and underground. Within this enormous jutting rock which is Jurassic limestone are some of the best caves in Europe and from the top of it are easily the best views of North Africa. You can get to the upper part of the rock by taxi or walking but the best way is by cable car from the centre of Town.
The upper rock is a nature reserve and is well known to bird watches but the birds aren’t the main attraction. Gibraltar’s main tourist pull are the semi-wild Apes that call the rock home, these Apes are ever present while you walk around. When it comes to views the east side of Gibraltar offers some of the most breath-taking. That’s not all the wildlife Gibraltar has to offer though in on land, as the Bay of Gibraltar has some of the best places to go dolphin watching on this coast line.
There are bargains to be had with Gibraltar’s Tax free shopping, particularly when it comes to alcohol and cigarettes. There are also the familiar high street names such as Marks and Spenser, BHS and Topshop. From clothing to accessories Gibraltar shopping Main Street caters for all tastes and budgets. If designer brands with 20% off sounds attractive to you, then you’ll love having a leisurely day shopping in Gibraltar.
In 1704 an Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar and thus under the Treaty of Utrecht Gibraltar was given to Britain. It has played an important military base since. For the military historians there is enough to interest at least a day trip. Most of the historical sites are to the South of the city and the museum with a detailed history, artifacts and Neanderthal man remains within the city walls in the centre. Also of the South side of Gibraltar is a Moorish castle, with some of the oldest remains in the city.
About the Author:
Philip Mennell is a passionate travel writer whose greatest love is Southern Spain and Gibraltar. He works for www.espacar.es a family run car hire company based in Gibraltar.
This guest post was written for Travel & Leisure Group leading European timeshare resales company specialising in those looking to buy timeshare in Europe, or worldwide.