The best way to familiarise yourself with Gibraltar’s diverse heritage, as well as witnessing some of its natural beauty, is to walk up to the Gibraltar Nature Reserve, Upper Rock. This will take around 4 hours giving time to visit to the attractions. Fancy a quick tour? The official taxi tours have a 1.5 hour guided tour of the Nature Reserve, Upper Rock. Alternatively, take the Cable Car to the Top of the Rock and discover the Nature Reserve at your leisure.
Start by entering the Reserve at Jew’s Gate and make your way up to St Michael’s Cave, with its stunning stalagmites and stalactites. St Michael’s cave is home to many live performances and is used as an auditorium.
After leaving St Michael’s Cave carry on up to the highest point of the Rock, O’Hara’s Battery, that houses a 9.2” gun with original WWII material on display. A film from 1947 about the Battery is also on show.
Head back down the hill towards the Gibraltar Skywalk. At 340 metres above sea level, Gibraltar’s Skywalk offers breath-taking 360º views, spanning three countries and two continents. Near the Skywalk you will find our famous Barbary Macaques, Europe’s only free roaming monkeys, that can be found at various locations within the Reserve.
Head on down the steps on Charles V towards The Windsor Suspsension Bridge, the impressive suspension bridge at Royal Anglian Way.
Walk towards the northern point of the Rock and up a steep hill to The Great Siege Tunnels, an impressive defence system devised by military engineers. Excavated during the Great Siege of 1779-83, these tunnels were hewn into the rock with the aid of the simplest of tools and gunpowder.
On your way back down, stop at the Military Heritage Centre for a fascinating array of artefacts of military history, housed in Princess Caroline’s Battery.
The City Under Siege Exhibition is one of the first buildings ever constructed by the British in Gibraltar. The most important aspect of the building is the graffiti that can be seen on the walls, the earliest of which dates back to 1726.
Finish your visit to the Reserve with two attractions, The Moorish Castle and The WWII Tunnels. The tunnels accommodated what amounted to an underground city. An entire 16,000-strong garrison could be housed there along with enough food to last for 16 months. Within the tunnels there was also an underground telephone exchange, a power generating station, a water distillation plant, a hospital, a bakery, ammunition magazines and a vehicle maintenance workshop. The total length of the entire tunnel network inside the Rock is approximately 34 miles or 55 kilometres.
The fortifications on and around the site of the Moorish Castle were first built in 1160. The Tower of Homage, its main feature, dates primarily from about 1333 AD when Abu’l Hassan recaptured Gibraltar from the Spanish.
Feeling peckish now? Head towards Chatham Counterguard, where the old magazines have been converted to house a string of restaurants, or perhaps visit one of Gibraltar’s stylish marinas, Queensway Quay or Ocean Village. Enjoy a meal at the water’s edge beside a number of luxury yachts - a stunning location, taking a break before the afternoon’s activities.
It is a little known fact that the Bay of Gibraltar is home to several species of dolphin. Visitors are able to go out into the Bay in one of the many dolphin watching boats to watch pods of dolphin at play. The tour takes approximately an hour and a half.
Casemates Square at the end of Main Street, was once the centre of public executions. Today it is the thriving hub of Gibraltar’s café lifestyle, alongside with the sunny marinas and bustling Main Street. There is a wide selection of places to eat to suit all palates, well into the evening.
Later, make your way to Rosia Bay. Stop to visit the Victorian 100 Ton Gun and walk through Camp Bay, a beach area, which was formally a quarry and now a lido where divers discover Gibraltar’s wrecks and marine life.
Venture through one of Gibraltar’s tunnels and exit at Europa Point where a sea, an ocean and two continents meet. Gibraltar was recently granted UNESCO World Heritage status for the Gorham’s Cave Complex, which is now recognised as the last known home of Neanderthal man. This is a vital part of Gibraltar’s historical past and visitors can now visit the interpretation centre at nearby Europa Advance Road.
As time approaches for lunch in the area of Europa Point, you can make your way to The University of Gibraltar and enjoy lunch at a restaurant with spectacular views of the Strait and Africa.
Head back towards the centre of city and stop off for a stroll and some peace and quiet in the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, The Alameda, designed in 1816 and linked to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. Spectacular examples of rare flora, fauna and succulents enjoy a calming six hectares of serenity that also includes an open-air theatre and wildlife conservation park. Pop into the Animal Wildlife and Conservation Park located within the gardens and get to know the excellent work they are doing for international wildlife.
Why not finish off the afternoon with a Cable Car ride to the Top of the Rock for an afternoon tea with a panoramic 360 degrees view.
Kick off your day by delving into Gibraltar’s history. The Gibraltar National Museum houses a collection of Gibraltar’s original artefacts, old prints and photographs along with an audiovisual presentation of the making of the Neanderthal models; two very accurate forensic reconstructions of a Neanderthal woman and child. The Rock’s rich military and diverse natural history is also represented, while the lower part of the building is arguably the best preserved Moorish Bath House in Europe.
Head into Main Street for a VAT-free shopping experience with a range of local and famous British brands, and walk through Gibraltar’s mix of historic architecture.
Try some locally produced gin made with locally sourced botanicals at Gibraltar's only gin distillery.
Casemates Square is a good starting point for those with an interest in art. Visit the Fine Arts Gallery on the first floor of these former barracks, showcasing temporary exhibitions. Here you can sample the work of some of the more prominent local artists and groups, with international artists also using the venue.
From the Square walk up Casemates Hill to Montagu Bastion and visit the Gibraltar Exhibitions of Modern Art Gallery, GEMA. Here you can enjoy around 50 artworks, many previous winners of the three main art competitions held annually in Gibraltar. GEMA is also home to six works of internationally acclaimed Gibraltarian artist Christian Hook. A varied collection, which includes sculptures, video, installation and photography.
Continue your walk through Irish Town before arriving at John Mackintosh Square, where you will find the City Hall. This building has an interesting history in its own right and houses the Mario Finlayson National Art Gallery, established in 2015. This Gallery is dedicated to four deceased artists, Gustavo Bacarisas, Jacobo Azagury, Leni Mifsud, and Rudesindo mania, considered to be the most renowned and prolific local artists of the time. It also pays tribute to the work of Mario Finlayson, the artist who was the main campaigner for a National Art Gallery in Gibraltar.
Take it easy on your final day at King’s Bastion Leisure centre, which can also offer an evening of entertainment. Choose from the multiplex cinema and bowling to accompany your dinner in the former military bastion, that has been redeveloped as a leisure centre for families, offering food and activities for all ages.