The Rock of Gibraltar is a little slice of the UK just off Southern Spain, which was inhabited by the Neanderthals over 50,000 years ago. Since then it has been important to the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and the Romans – who dubbed it one of the Pillars of Hercules. More recently it has been inhabited (and fought over) by the Moors, the Spanish and of course the British and continues to be of strategic importance and a bone of contention between the Spanish and the British.
All this history and the mixing of cultures and languages has created a unique country which is a real melting pot and a very interesting place to go for a day trip from Marbella. It is odd to cross the border and see British Policemen, red telephone boxes and post boxes and hear a strange cross of English and Spanish, yet it does have a certain charm.
There is a real blend of ancient history and modern development to be seen here, with the new airport and shiny Ocean Village development alongside the old walls, tunnels and caves which show evidence of some of the oldest inhabitants of Gibraltar.
Insider’s Tip – It is a duty free zone, so alcohol, cigarettes and perfume are excellent value and Main Street is a great little shopping area.
There’s a lot more to Gibraltar than just the shopping mind you. Here are a few fascinating things to do on a tour of Gibraltar.
Visit the caves and the Gibraltar Museum
St Michael’s Cave is a huge cave consisting of an upper hall, a smaller hall and then a succession of chambers. You can explore some parts of the cave system, a part of which has been converted into a theatre and it is dramatically lit.
Gorham’s Cave is thought to be one of the very last places that the Neanderthals lived in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a site of archaeological interest and is still being excavated so sadly you can’t visit, but you can find a wonderful selection of information and remains from Gibraltar’s history in the informative Gibraltar Museum.
Ride the cable car and meet the monkeys
Any day trip to Gibraltar has to include a trip up to the top of the Rock – 412 meters above sea level in a cable car. The six-minute ride offers amazing views of the Rock, Africa and Spain and is a wonderful way to see Gibraltar. At the top you will be able to meet the Barbary macaques, wild monkeys which came over from North Africa and made themselves at home on the Rock. If you want to visit St Michael’s Cave, you can walk down from the top for a pleasant 20 minute stroll through the Gibraltar Nature Reserve.
Visit the World War 2 Tunnels
Gibraltar has always been an important military site and in World War 2 a huge network of tunnels were built that were capable of holding the 16,000 strong garrison and supplies for 16 months. The total length of the tunnel network is around 34 miles! It’s possible to do a guided tour of the tunnels, and we’d recommend it as it’s a really amazing insight into the history of the rock. Bookings are essential, find out more on the Visit Gibraltar website
We recommend taking a tour to really understand what Gibraltar has to offer and be able to visit the caves, tunnels and ride the cable car up to the top of the rock. It is possible to do it yourself, but it takes a little bit of organising and with a private tour you can relax in the hands of the professionals.
If you stay in one of our Estepona vacation rentals you will be just 30 minutes’ away from the Rock of Gibraltar. If you choose a Marbella vacation rental it will take you around 50 minutes to get there, but we can get you there and back and make sure you have an unforgettable day.