20 Jun 13

The Upper Rock, the epicentre of Gibraltar

As unique and fascinating as the entire territory may be, there’s no question that Gibraltar breaks are geographically dominated by just one thing… the Rock of Gibraltar itself. This monolithic limestone promontory is a staggering 426m (1,398ft) high, so wherever you are in the area, you can’t help but be awed.

As unique and fascinating as the entire territory may be, there’s no question that Gibraltar breaks are geographically dominated by just one thing… the Rock of Gibraltar itself. This monolithic limestone promontory is a staggering 426m (1,398ft) high, so wherever you are in the area, you can’t help but be awed. Sooner or later, though, we reckon here at Visit Gibraltar (http://www.visitgibraltar.gi), you’ll want to work your way up to the attraction-packed Upper Rock.

The view from the top is, of course, quite a highlight of Gibraltar tourism. It’s from here that Europe will seem small, while across another horizon, the continent of Africa is to be seen, flanked by the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Look further down, and the City’s bays, marinas and quays are viewable in truly panoramic form. For an even more tranquil experience with nature, leave this breath-taking sight behind and take the quiet path to St Michael’s Cave.

The Rock of Gibraltar houses more than 150 caves, but it is this particular one that attracts the most visitors – almost a million a year. This network of limestone caves is located more than 300 metres above sea level and you’ll barely be able to take your gaze off the colourfully lit cave formations, with their numerous stalactites and stalagmites. While you’re here, don’t forget to visit Lower St Michael’s Cave, the deeper system of caves that was only discovered during World War II. Gibraltar tours centre on this cave, which remains in a completely natural state.

Fans of the territory’s underground are also urged to spend part of their Gibraltar holiday in the Great Siege Tunnels. Unlike the caves, they are certainly not a natural creation, having been dug out from the solid limestone by the British during the late 18th century Great Siege of Gibraltar. On being shown the fortifications that had been instrumental in defeating his French and Spanish troops after the Siege, the Duc de Crillon described them as being “worthy of the Romans”, and we don’t think you’ll disagree.

Those who are interested in learning more about how ordinary people lived under siege conditions are invited to visit the City Under Siege exhibition, in buildings that are thought to be among the first constructed by the British in Gibraltar in the early 18th century. Or for some even deeper history, you might want to check out the Moorish Castle, a “Tower of Homage” that dates back to the 11th century and was once part of a much wider castle complex.

For a greater challenge on your holidays in Gibraltar, you may want to take to the steep and arduous Mediterranean Steps, which bring you close to the summit of the Rock. Or, if you lack that much of a head for heights, you might just want to keep some of the territory’s famous Barbary macaques company, by visiting the Apes’ Den. You’ll be glad you turned to Visit Gibraltar (http://www.visitgibraltar.gi) for advice relating to travel in the territory!