I took a rather long walk on the Saturday morning, and walked up to the Upper Rock. I could have taken a taxi tour but decided to walk instead. I took the Mediterranean Steps and enjoyed the views and the former gun emplacements from WWII.
The weather was rather warm and I had not brought any water with me, and I was feeling slightly drained by the time I reached the Upper Rock itself. However the views were wonderful - both of Europe and North Africa.
I even made a visit to the Ape's Den and saw the Barbary Macaque at close range. I was not so interested as to let them sit on me, like some of the other tourists.
There is a charge for walkers as well as vehicles. A ticket can be bought to visit some of the historical locations. You should note that not all attractions are included in the ticket, some are private venues.
so this is what the Rock of Gibraltar is!
On a clear day you can see Africa from here. Right at the end of Europe
The Rock of Gibraltar is 426 meters high (1398 feet), the top part of which is dominated by a natural reserve. The Rock historically was considered one of the Pillars of Hercules, the limit of the known world. Gibraltar is the northern pillar, the second pillar is on the African side, thought to be Jebel Musa in Morocco, though some argue that it would be Monte Hacho, which is in Ceuta, a Spanish possession.
Awesome views of Morocco and Spain in the distance, certainly helps clear a hangover, discounts for forces personnel and good exercise (I personnaly chose to walk down rather than up) reasonable fee for the cable car. Not a big fan of the apes , the would probably think the same of me but they're interesting to watch from a distance.
Now that the military restrictions were reduced, a couple of hours will be enough to go up to the top, visit the caves, enjoy the wide sights over the straight and Moroccan coast, and descend meeting the apes.
The Mediterranean Steps are a footpath leading from Jews Gate to the top of the rock, close to O’Hara’s Battery. At a heighth of over 420 meters below sea level, their upper end is the highest publicly accesible point, with the battery itself standing on the highest at 426 meters. The steps were originally built for the British Military in the 18th century for soldiers to move quickly from one guard post to another. The footpath was for a long time in bad shape and was closed for some years. But after being refurbished in 2007, it again became one of the most popular hiking paths – and one of the most beautiful – in Gibraltar. Many plant species can be seen from the Mediterranean steps, including some unique to Gibraltar. And of course, do not forget the magnificent view onto the sea, including some African horizon in the background on a clear day.
It takes around 1 ½ hours to hike up the path, a little less to use it downwards. Although it is well secured, you should have some basic physical strength (meaning not suitable for young children or people with walking disabilities).
The levante is a mountain gap wind in western Spain which is famous for its fogs and clouds. It blows southwestwards along the coasts until the strait of Gibraltar. While on top of the mountain, it is interesting to observe how the Levante pushes the clouds and fog over the rock. Looking southwards, you will often see a dense cloudy left side and a clear right side. Do not miss this spectacle of nature when you visit the rock on a day without perfect visibility.
Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, also known as Charles V of Spain, was the initiator of this defensice wall. From 1552 on, it was constructed as the Southern defence line of the town. Although they have protected the city for 150 years, they did not stop the English forces when Gibraltar was capture in 1704 and remained British ever since.
After a recent refurbishment, the Walls are a convenient way to get from the town to the top of the rock. They are located close to the Apes’ den. A pair of benches and tables to make a stop are located close to the walls. The lowest preserved point is located close to the Ape Den / Cable Car Station at Old Queens Road. From there, it is possible to use the steps attached to the wall to get up to the to of the rock. For further instructions on how to get on the rock, please check my separate tips about that.
I knew we had arrived when, from the bus (and still in the distance) I saw the rock for which Gibraltar is famous for: the Rock of Gibraltar, also known as Calpe or Pillar of Hercules. A tower white cliff 426 metres high which would be the home to a colony of Barbary Macaques.
This colony, of course, I did not manage to see it. I had been wanting to visit this little corner of Britain for such a long time... and I was welcomed by a typical British weather: pouring rain and chilly air. When we had left Malaga in the morning, it was 20 degrees celsius...
Gibraltar's most famous and most visible sight is the 426 m high Rock.
From the viewing terraces at the top of the Rock you can enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic ocean, the bay of Gibraltar and the Spanish city of Algeciras to the West.
To the East you can see the Mediterranean Sea, the Spanish city La Linea and the Costa del Sol.
Last but not least it is most fascinating to watch the busy Gibraltar Strait with the African continent in the background.
The top of the Rock can be reached by cable car, on foot or by car. All options are sort of expensive, even though there are rumours that there is still a footpath up the hill which can be used for free. Please find more information about the cable car in my "Transportation tips".
As you get off the airplane at if I am correct the only airport in the world, where traffic and pedestrians can drive or walk across the runway in between the landing times of the three daily flights to Gibraltar, this is the view you will get!
A trip up the rock is worth it, we went in a bus (so not the cable cart) which seems to be cheaper and you'll get the explainations from a real spaniard. You can see Marocco from the rock, which I found rather special. On the rock you can see caves, WWII buildings and monkeys.
Ok, this will seem like a no-brainer, but anyone even thinking about going to Gibraltar has to know that the view from the top of the Rock is high on the most amazing things I have ever seen! You can see all the way to Morocco across the sea. And don't just take the cable car up, snap a couple pictures and laugh at the barbary apes then head back down - I *highly* recommend that you also take some time to hike along the top. It's beautiful and breath-taking. And the little forts and lookouts left have a lot of character to them, as well.
Gibraltar's main sight is the Rock, which rises to over 400 metres, and offers great views over Gibraltar, of Spain and even across to Africa. There is more to do up here than simply admire the views; if you have the time you could visit the Nature Reserve, St. Michael's Cave, the Siege Tunnels or O'Hara's Battery.
This limestone rock has got a 200 Million year history and makes this end of the Iberian Peninsula so spectacular. It can be reached by cable car or small tour bus and the view from the top across the Straits of Gibraltar and the surrounding areas of Spain are spectacular. The Rock is also riddled with caves one of the largest the St. Michael’s Cave can be visited.
The trouble with being on a big rock is that it is very hard to see exactly what it looks like when you are standing somewhere on it. It is therefore necessary to drive a little way onto Spanish soil to get the best views. You don't need to go that far, and the best way to see it is to stay by the waters edge.
Of course to see what's inside Gibraltar you need to be in Gibraltar itself. Even though I come from Britain and am used to seeing the British Union Jack flag, nothing prepared me for the number I saw in Gibraltar. It's like Britain on steroids. I think the harder the Spanish squeeze, the more British the people become, and if Spain is ever to win control, it has a lot of hearts and minds to win over first! Just recently, they haven't been trying too hard at this!