Do you like the idea? This rocky crag It is in the hands of the English for a long time but receives curious tourists from around the world The rock is nothing more than a promontory of monolithic rocks that was formed a long time ago, around 200 million years ago, when two tectonic plates collided. The meeting also shaped the Mediterranean basin, then a saline lake.
Today much of its geography is a nature reserve and is a unique recreational destination in this area of Europe that it combines nature and history in its tourist offer.
The rock It is linked to the Iberian Peninsula by a sandy isthmus which is cut at the same time by a channel. It is limestone and it reaches about 426 meters of altitude. Since the beginning of the XNUMXth century it has been in the hands of Great Britain, the crown it passed to after the War of the Spanish Succession.
We said at the beginning that It was formed after the collision of two tectonic plates, the African and the Eurasian. Then the Mediterranean lake that also formed at that time, during the Jurassic Period, dried up and only time later did the waters of the Atlantic flood the empty basin, seeping through the strait to give shape to the Mediterranean Sea that we know today.
There is a rock and a strait, but the rock forms a peninsula that juts out into the strait located on the southern coast of Spain. The views from this site are fantastic, much more if one knows geology and knows the hectic history of the rocks.
The composition of these rocks added to wind and water erosion have shaped caves, about a hundred, nothing more and nothing less. And many of them are tourist attractions.
How to get to Gibraltar
You can do it by boat, plane, road or train. There is regular air service from England, of course. The flights are by British Airways, easyJet, Monarqch Airlines and Royal Air Maroc. If you are in Spain you can get to Jerez, Seville or Malaga and from there go along the route in a walk of no more than an hour and a half.
The local airport is only a five minute drive from the port. Talking about the port you can get to the rock by cruise. There are several companies: Saga Cruises, HAL, P&O, Granc Circle Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas, for example. You can also use the train from Spain, France and England. For example, if you are in Madrid, you take the Altaria, at night, heading to Algeciras. This train has first class and second class.
Once in Algeciras you take a bus right in front of the train station, which leaves every half hour for La Linea, which is the Spanish border with Gibraltar. Calculate half an hour .. from there, because you cross walking. Very easy!
Regarding the documents, if you are a European citizen you only need an identification card but if you are not, you must have a valid passport. Think that if you need a visa to enter the United Kingdom you will need it to set foot on Gibraltar.
What to visit in Gibraltar
The truth is that it is a very small area and you can easily explore it on foot, at least the town and the Rock. From the border to the center the walk is 20 minutes, for example, although if you visit the Nature Reserve it may take a little longer. For the most sedentary you can always take a taxi or the cableway. Taxis can act as tour guides and even offer their own tours.
The cableway has been in operation since 1966 and takes you to the top of the Rock to enjoy great views. The station at the base is located on the Grand Parade, at the southern end of the city and next to the Botanical Gardens. On the rock public buses also run.
La Gibraltar Nature Reserve It is in the upper area of the Rock. You see Europe, Africa, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea. Remember that the height is 426 meters. From here you can go on a tour and visit some of the most popular caves such as the Cave of San Miguel, of which it has always been said that it is bottomless and that it connects with Europe. The truth is that it has many stories as a protagonist, it was even a hospital in the Second War, and its underground chambers are beautiful.
The Cathedral is one of these chambers and is open to the public as an auditorium for concerts and ballet galas as it has a capacity for 600 people. Another of the caves is the Gornham Cave, known for being one of the last havens of the Neanderthals. At that time it was only five kilometers from the coast and was discovered in 1907. A very valuable wonder.
On the other hand there are also Tunnels of the Siege, a labyrinthine network of corridors dating from the late XNUMXth century and it was part of a defense system.
The Great Siege was siege number 14 on the Rock, another attempt by the Spanish and French to regain the territory. It lasted from July 1779 to February 1783, four years in all. Today part of these galleries and corridors are open to the public: 300 meters in total and there are some holes that provide great views of Spain, the isthmus itself, and the bay. It is a walk through history.
Finally, not only the Romans, English or Spanish walked around here. So did the Arabs. And they were not short but 701 years! From those days a fortification known as Moorish castle, from the XNUMXth century. The old Torre del Homenaje is made of mortar and old bricks but still stands tall, defying the passing of the centuries. When you visit it you will hear many stories and it was at its tip that the English raised the flag of the kingdom in 1704 so as not to lower it any more.
Finally, a recommended walk: the so-called Steps of the Mediterranean. It's a 1400 meter run quite arduous that takes from an hour and a half to two and a half hours. It is advisable to start early in the morning, especially these summer months, or when the sun is about to fall for shade. In spring the route is full of flowers and it is a beauty.
It goes from the Puerta de los Judíos, on the south side of the Nature Reserve at about 180 meters of altitude, to the O'Hara Battery at 419 meters of altitude at the very top of the rock.
The views are something worth enjoying and you can take the opportunity to visit some caves more, once inhabited by prehistoric men, constructions of the middle of the XNUMXth century, Cliffs giddy, monkeys and military batteries centenarians. Although it is true that Gibraltar is not a place to stay for fifteen days, you can spend two or three days enjoying the sun, the views, nature and its offer of restaurants and bars.
Accommodation? You can sleep in hotels, tourist rental houses and with less money, in a youth hostel. For more information, do not hesitate to visit the official Gibraltar tourism website, Visit Gibraltar.