HMS Dragon near Gibraltar Flickr: UK Ministry of Defence
If you’ve heard of Gibraltar before, there’s little doubt that you’re aware of the “Rock of Gibraltar.” The small mountain (or large hill, take your pick) is without a doubt the calling card of Gibraltar, and the Rock makes up the bulk of the reason the territory enjoys a prosperous tourism industry. It’s highly recommended to summit the Rock, as the view is spectacular. To the north, one can gaze upon a lengthy stretch of European coastline; this is complemented by the North African coastline on the southern horizon. To your east lies the Mediterranean, and to the West, the Atlantic. Best of all, to reach this superior vantage point, one must travel through the upper section of the Rock. These sections have been designated as a natural reserve and featured flora and fauna that can be difficult or impossible to see elsewhere. Of particular note is the Barbary Macaques, which are Europe’s only wild monkey population.
Gibraltar’s Barbary Macaques Flickr: Miguel ChecaMonkeys in Gibraltar Flickr: Ruben Nadador
It’s worth mentioning the expansive tangle of tunnels beneath Gibraltar. Unfortunately, most of these tunnels are operated by the military and not open to the public, but if you manage to find a (legal) way in the tunnels are very impressive. They’re not worth being tried for sneaking into a military base though, so use your head!
Gibraltar Great Siege Tunnels Flickr: Ronny Siegel Gibraltar Caves Flickr: Oliver Clarke
In contrast to the Upper Rock, the lower sections of Gibraltar are home to a well-populated city. Boasting 30,000 residents, the city of Gibraltar has historically played important roles in European economics and military activity. Being a centre of trade and battle, Gibraltar has been the home of citizens from across Europe for centuries, and its current culture and architecture reflects this history. The country speaks predominately English, and produces its own literature, music, and art. These are all openly on display throughout the city, as the Gibraltarians are fiercely proud of their heritage. The territory is also involved in international sports, specializing in cricket.
Few places on Earth are as alluring as Gibraltar. Being a mixture of all things European (and even a few things African), Gibraltar is unlike any other travel destination. The cultural and natural offerings the territory offers go unrivalled, and if there was one place to get a taste of it all, it would be Gibraltar.