The rock of Gibraltar is arguably one of the most fascinating places in Europe. Not only is it physically beautiful, but it also has a rich history, incredible landscape, tax-free shopping, and those friendly monkeys that always show up in travelers’ photographs. Gibraltar is a tiny British territory surrounded by the Spanish region of Andalusia, right on the Mediterranean. Many travelers combine a trip to Gibraltar with an exploration of this south of Spain, including Granada, Marbella, Malaga, Algeciras, and the southern tip of Europe, Tarifa. It is easy to see Gibraltar in a day, but some travelers are so intrigued by this place that they choose to stay longer.
Upon visiting Gibraltar it will be clear that there is still anger and resentment between Spain and Britain about the territory. Spain seeks the return of the property from Britain, yet when local residents had their say in a vote, they opted to stay a part of Britain but to govern themselves independently. When you visit, don’t be surprised if this historical tension can still be felt today. It won’t, however, interrupt your trip. The climate of Gibraltar is Mediterranean and offers mild winters and warm summers. No matter what time of year you want to plan a road trip in the south of Spain and visit Gibraltar you will be greeted by sunny skies. Cruising along the coast of Spain, the rock of Gibraltar, with an elevation of 1,400 feet, is a striking sight.
Travelers are drawn to Gibraltar for several reasons. First of all, the official language is English. After spending time in Spain, many non-Spanish speakers enjoy spending a day or two in Gibraltar. The Rock itself is a major tourist attraction, and visitors can ride a cable car from the Botanic Gardens to the top of the Rock. The views are excellent in all directions, and if visitors do one thing during their visit to Gibraltar, this is usually it. Another important part of tourism is the famous semi-wild monkeys. These animals have adapted to the great deal of visitors and attention, and often interact with people creating rare photo opportunities.
There is a wide variety of hotels in Gibraltar, which make it popular among travelers on a variety of budgets. There are youth hostels and guest houses for anyone trying to save as much money as possible, while the luxury options include accommodations close to Main Street, such as The Bristol Hotel or The Elliott Hotel, as well as more remote properties that aren’t as centrally located but have amazing views. These include The Caleta Hotel and The Rock Hotel, which has a scenic setting over the bay and was the site of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s wedding.
Other attractions in Gibraltar include the Moorish Castle, the main street with its colonial architecture, and the marinas and beaches. Gibraltar also offers duty-free alcohol and tobacco, which visitors usually take full advantage of. Travelers should be aware of a few restrictions when it comes to visiting Gibraltar. If you’re renting a car for your visit to southern Spain, taking the vehicle into Gibraltar might not be permitted. There are, however, parking lots right on the border where you can safely park your rental car and take a shuttle bus across the border. Be sure to bring your passport. After these few small practical things are taken care of, you can enjoy the shopping, beaches, and attractions in one of the most famous destinations in Europe.