Gibraltar - Britain in the Sun
I first visited Gibraltar on September 10th, 2013 - Gibraltar's National Day. I fell in love with the place immediately. It's very unique and special, and seeing everybody out and proudly wearing their countries colours, proclaiming their love for being a part of the United Kingdom and celebrating everything about Gibraltar was amazing, and a great first experience. Though I was only there for a day that time, i knew that I would be back.
in February 2014 I went back. I'd decided I wanted to spend my birthday in Gibraltar. A friend and I visited for 5 days and had an amazing time. It's still unreal to me - Magical, even. It's so British, yet it isn't. The Mediterranean lifestyle is much more laidback and relaxed. The people are friendly, the weather is nice.... and they have monkeys!
All of the pictures used in this lens are ones that I took myself during the vacation... Enjoy!!
Where is Gibraltar?
You may have heard of Gibraltar, but WHERE exactly is it?
I've mentioned my trips to Gibraltar to may people and it surprises me how many don't actually know where it is.
Gibraltar is a tiny overseas British territory that is located at the southernmost point of the Iberian peninsula. It shares a land border with Spain and is approximately 15 miles across the water from Morocco. When I say it's tiny, I mean it! This unique little place is just 2.6 square miles, with a lot of that space being taken up by the incredible Rock of Gibraltar.
The Rock of Gibraltar
A magnificent sight
The Rock of Gibraltar is perhaps the best known attraction of the tiny little territory. Towering at 426 m (1,398 ft), it is a mammoth limestone rock that takes up a majority of Gibraltar's 2.6 square miles. I was amazed at just how big it was when I first saw it, and every time I looked at it I was still in awe.
The Rock served as a huge military defense base during the sieges and wars that have taken place over time. Situated within The Rock is a network of tunnels that is almost twice as big as Gibraltar's road network. It's a huge tourist attraction and visitors to Gibraltar can walk or drive up The Rock, or take a tour in a taxi. There's also a cable car that goes from the ground to the top of The Rock in under 6 minutes.
There's much to see and do on The Rock. There's the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, St. Michael's Cabin and Cave, The Great Siege Exhibition and Tunnels, World War II Tunnels, The Moorish Castle and amazing views for those who just want to take a little stroll.
i visited all of The Upper Rock's attractions except for the World War II tunnels, as they can only be seen while on a guided tour.
Barbary Macaques of Gibraltar
The only wild monkeys in Europe!
Gibraltar is home to the only wild monkeys in Europe, and they are a major tourist attraction for the territory. Many mistake the animals for apes, but they are in fact tailless monkeys. They mainly live up on The Rock and visitors are more than welcome to go and see them. They are mostly tame around humans, because they are used to the interaction, and will frequently climb on people. The monkeys are wild animals, however, so people are warned to not touch or torment them. They are very sneaky, too, and will steal any food or drink you may have on you if they find it. You can't willingly feed the monkeys, however, as this is punishable under Gibraltarian law and carries a fine of up to Â£4,000. The monkeys are well taken care of and are fed fresh fruit daily by the government.
They are known to wander down into the town on occasion and can be sometimes found on or around Main Street, or on rooftops of buildings. We actually had a monkey in our hotel room the first night we were there! My friend thought it would be a good idea to open the window when she noticed one of the locals on the windowsill outside. It proceeded to eat all of the sachets of coffee, sugar and milk that had been put in the room for us, and then tried to get into the fridge (which had a lock on it - for this exact reason!)
British or Spanish? - Do you think Gibraltar should remain British or be returned to Spain?
There has been conflict and disagreement over the disputed status of Gibraltar for years. Since the 1700's it has been under British rule, and the Gibraltarian people are proud to be British, but the Spanish government still think it should be returned to Spain. What do you think?
Should Gibraltar remain British or return to being Spanish?
There are a few companies that run trips to see the dolphins (and even whales) from The Marina in Gibraltar. We took a trip into the Bay with one of the longest running and most successful dolphin cruises. We saw many common dolphins, that happened to be quite nosy! The juvenile ones would swim alongside the boat and frequently jump out of the water to show off. There's also a bottlenose dolphin, named Billy, who can sometimes be found along the pods of common dolphins, but we didn't see him on our trip. In some seasons you can also see whales out in the Bay, but again, we didn't see any on our trip.
It was a great experience and one I'd definitely recommend to anybody who visits Gibraltar. The trips are on relatively small boats, so cater to small groups at a time to make sure that everybody can see the dolphins and move around the boat. The operators of the tour were really great, too. They told us about the dolphins and their behaviour, explaining that the juvenile ones are just like teenagers - cheeky, curious and like to show off!
We caught some monkeys playing around near St. Michael's Cabin in the Upper Rock area... and also had one in our hotel room!
St Michael's Cave
It has to be seen to be believed!
St. Michael's Cave is one of the places I didn't manage to visit when I was in Gibraltar the first time around, so I knew that this time it had to be done. I'd heard many great things about it and when we got there, I understood why. It's an amazing cave of Jurassic limestone located inside The Rock, and it is a sight that has to be seen to be believed.
We walked around in awe at the beautifully attractive surroundings.One of the chambers inside the cave today is used as an auditorium, and with the incredible natural acoustics I can only imagine what it's like to attend a show there! It hosts dramas and other theatrical performances, music shows and the annual Miss Gibraltar pageant.
Gibraltar Guides and Information
Things to see and do in Gibraltar!
Though Gibraltar is small, there's so much to see and do... and lots of walking to be done!
Gibraltar has plenty of history and has been under siege more than once. Learn more in this fascinating book!
Learn more about Gibraltar and its history.
The Barbary Macaques are one of the most loved things about Gibraltar. Read about their history!
Europa Point - You can see Africa across the water!
Europa Point was one area of Gibraltar that I especially wanted to visit my second time there because, not only is it one of the last points of Europe, but one of my favourite bands filmed a music video there a few years ago. Breed 77 are a Gibraltarian band, and the reason I took an interest in the place to begin with, and they are more than proud of their heritage and never forget where they came from.
From Europa Point you can see across the Straight of Gibraltar to Morocco in Africa. On a good day you can clearly see the mountains on the opposing continent and it's a great thing to witness. There are also many points with information for tourists, detailing the history of Gibraltar and information on the wildlife that can be found in and around the waters there.
Photo Gallery - A collection of photos from the trip.Click thumbnail to view full-size
There's lots more to see and do in Gibraltar other than the couple of things I've mentioned in this lens, and once I've sorted through more pictures and recalled more details about the trip I will probably update it. It's fascinating place filled with history and culture. Don't let the size fool you - Gibraltar is bigger than it appears to be!
Is Gibraltar a place you'd like to go to, or have you already been? What do you think of it?