Attractions in Gibraltar

10 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Gibraltar

Long known as the “key to the Mediterranean”, Gibraltar has been a British Overseas Territory since 1713 after being seized during the War of the Spanish Succession. Near the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula and overlooking one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the “Rock of Gibraltar”, as it is still often called, rises from the sea at the eastern end of the Bay of Algeciras and is connected to mainland Spain by a narrow isthmus. The city of Gibraltar itself lies on the west side of the rock. Given its proximity to Spain – one could almost throw a stone from the island to the mainland – Gibraltar’s sovereignty remains a bone of contention, and the Spanish government has occasionally been known to close the border. However, the island is generally easily accessible by bus or even on foot from the mainland, and the port serves as a busy terminus for cruise ships. For such a small country – it’s only four square kilometers – Gibraltar certainly has more than its share of tourist attractions.

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1 Europa Point

On the southern tip of the Gibraltar peninsula is Europa Point, well worth a visit for its historic 19th century lighthouse, the ancient chapel of Nuestra Señora de Europa (the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe) and the impressive Mosque of the Custodian of the Holy Mosques. The subject of a great deal of redevelopment in recent years, the area is also where you will find the impressive Harding batterya restored fortification built in 1859, and Nun’s Well, an old underground water reservoir. Recently added attractions include the island’s only cricket ground and the Sikorski Memorial, a monument to one of Poland’s leading World War II generals who died here in a plane crash in 1943. You will also be rewarded with stunning views over the Bay of Algeciras and the African coast.

2 The monkeys of Gibraltar

The monkeys of Gibraltar

Gibraltar is famous for its Barbary macaques, the only monkeys that live wild in Europe. Legend has it that if the monkeys ever leave Gibraltar, so will the British, but with more than 300 of the animals thriving on the island, this event seems far away. The best place to see them is in the Gibraltar Nature Reserve in the Upper Rock section of the island. Here you’ll find the Apes’ Den, where you can get up close without fear of being bothered. (Beware of visitors: as cute as these monkeys are, they are wild and bite too, and from time to time they venture into town, so watch your belongings. Eating is strictly prohibited.)

3 Highest point and O’Hara’s battery

Highest point and O'Hara's battery
Highest point and O’Hara’s battery

The highest point in Gibraltar is approximately 425 meters high and is definitely worth a visit. It is here, you will find O’Hara’s Battery, an artillery fortification built in 1890 that quickly earned the nickname “O’Hara’s Folly” as military, it proved next to useless. Now open to the public, it is worth a visit to see how these large artillery pieces worked, and also for the beautiful views from the top of the rock. Access to the Highest Point is by hard means the miraculous Mediterranean stairs – a steep staircase that literally takes you from the top to the bottom of the island – or aboard the Gibraltar cable car.

4 Gibraltar Nature Reserve

Cable car to the nature reserve
Cable car to the nature reserve

Not only does Gibraltar Nature Reserve offer fantastic views, it is also a good place to see some of the millions of birds that stop while migrating between Africa and Europe. The reserve covers over 40% of the island and contains many of Gibraltar’s main attractions. In addition to St. Michael’s Caveit is here you will find Forbes’ Quarry where one of the world’s first female Neanderthal skulls was found in 1848. In addition to the unique flora and fauna, the reserve contains numerous reminders of the island’s military importance, including the 100-ton cannon at Magdala Battery, as well as informative displays relating to the island’s history at the Heritage Center at Princess Caroline’s Battery .

5 St. Michael’s Cave

St. Michael's Cave
St. Michael’s Cave

No visit to Gibraltar would be complete without seeing St. Michael’s Cave. The largest of the island’s more than 150 caves, St. Michael’s Cave is at least 274 meters above sea level and is packed with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. First recorded in 45 AD, the cave has many legends associated with it, including one that suggests the island is secretly connected to Africa via a 15-mile tunnel. However, the reality is just as impressive. The largest part of the cave, the Upper Hall, is connected by five passages to a smaller hall where you can see spectacular drops of between 12 and 45 meters. A number of smaller chambers, some reaching depths of 76 metres, are accessed through a series of small holes. During the excavations of the Second World War, the Lower Michael’s Cave was discovered, with many more equally breathtaking chambers, as well as a small underground lake. For a truly unforgettable experience, take in a concert in the fantastic Cathedral cave, a natural underground concert hall that seats 400 people for performances of music, ballet and drama. Several tour options are available.

6 The Moorish castle

The Moorish castle
The Moorish castle

High above Gibraltar’s old town and overlooking Casemate Square is the ancient Moorish castle. Originally built in the eighth century and rebuilt in the 14th century, much of the castle has been destroyed over time, although the parts that remain – including a tower, a massive gatehouse and some fragments of masonry – suggest the building’s former glory (in some places battle scars from the island’s many sieges can still be seen). The Tower of Homage is in fact the tallest Islamic structure remaining on the Iberian Peninsula, while the walled Kasbah, where local dignitaries would reside, is one of the largest in the area.

7 Hoofdstraat and Casematesplein

Fountain in Kazemsplein
Fountain in Kazemsplein

At the northern end of Main Street, Casemates Square is the largest public space in the old city center and is a popular meeting place for its many restaurants, cafes and shops. Although completed in 1817, evidence of settlements dating from the Moors of the 10th century has been found. Although it served as a trading place (and also an execution site) for centuries, today the square is the scene of numerous fun cultural events, such as open-air concerts, National Day celebrations, and the increasingly popular Calentita Food Festival. Other attractions along Main Street include the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Mary the Crowned (a former mosque rebuilt in the Gothic style in 1502). In Cathedral Square stands the Moorish-style Anglican Cathedral (1821), while on the south side of Main Street is the Governor’s Residence, originally a Franciscan monastery built in 1531.

8 Gibraltar Museum

With a focus on the cultural and natural history of Gibraltar, including the Strait of Gibraltar, the Gibraltar Museum was founded in 1930 and is located in Bomb House, the former residence of the Principal Artillery Officer. Highlights of this excellent (although small) museum include the well-preserved Moorish baths from the 14th century and the huge model of the rock as it looked in 1865. Other galleries cover the island’s geological origins from the Jurassic to the present day, a collection of rare Roman anchors and an exhibition on the Great Siege of Gibraltar of 1779-1783.

Address: 18-20 Bomb House Lane, Gibraltar

Official site:

9 The Great Siege Tunnels

The Great Siege Tunnels
The Great Siege Tunnels

Perhaps the most important military installation in the Mediterranean, Gibraltar’s Great Siege Tunnels are an engineering marvel. Carved from the sheer face of the “Notch”, the northern face of the Rock, using only manual labor, this labyrinth of tunnels was built by the British in just six weeks as a defense against a combined force from France and Spain as they attempted to conquer the Rock to recapture from the British. The 14th of many sieges that the island has endured over the centuries, the Great Siege lasted from 1779 to 1783 and, thanks to its tunnels, resulted in Britain’s victory in what, without the cannons that could be mounted here, would undoubtedly have been have ended in defeat. Additional tunnels were added during World War II, bringing the total length of the tunnel system to a whopping 51 kilometers. Guided tours of both tunnels are available.

10 Gibraltar Botanical Gardens

Gibraltar Botanical Gardens
Gibraltar Botanical Gardens

The beautiful Botanical Gardens of Gibraltar – also known as La Alameda Gardens – is a great place to spend time away from the often busy attractions elsewhere on the island. At the end of main Street near the Southport Gates, this public garden with its lush subtropical vegetation was commissioned in 1816 for the enjoyment of soldiers stationed here. Visitors can also enjoy the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Parka small zoo set up to house animals rescued by customs or police, which cannot be returned to the wild, as well as an open-air theater where many excellent cultural and musical events take place.

Address: The Alameda, Red Sands Road, Gibraltar

Official site:

Where to stay in Gibraltar for sightseeing

We recommend these unique hotels in Gibraltar with easy access to the top attractions:

  • Sunborn Gibraltar: luxury superyacht hotel, sleek interior, marble bathrooms, outdoor pool, extensive spa.
  • Rock Hotel Gibraltar: mid-range price, hillside location, sea views, friendly staff, wisteria-covered terrace, seasonal outdoor pool.
  • Caleta Hotel: affordable prices, views of the Catalan bay, suites and apartments, piano lounge and wellness center.
  • Con Dios: budget-friendly boat hotel, friendly hosts, sun terrace, marina bathrooms.
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