Gibraltar is a piece of British territory on the European mainland that is small enough, quirky, and different enough to be enjoyed in one short trip. And don’t be afraid to enjoy Gibraltar with children, we bring you some tips on where to go on this peninsula.
Somehow we never thought about visiting Gibraltar, but when we decided to go to Andalucia in Spain this year, we included it among the places we want to see. And it ended up being one of the best trips ever.
10 things you should know about Gibraltar
- Gibraltar is a British overseas territory
- It is small, measuring just over six square kilometers in total
- Despite the fact that English is the official language here, most of the inhabitants speak Spanish in everyday life
- This is the only place in Europe where monkeys roam freely in a semi-wild state
- Gibraltar is located at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. Historically, it is recognized as one of the southernmost points of Europe
- The Rock of Gibraltar – the first thing you notice from a distance is a large slab of jagged Jurassic limestone
- In 2016, Gorham’s Cave Complex was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List
- You don’t drive on the left here, as is customary in Britain, but on the right
- The airstrip crosses the road, the main access road to the country
- Alcohol under 15% is legal to drink from the age of 16
Arrival in Gibraltar with kids
It is usually recommended to leave the car in a large car park in Spain at the border crossing to Gibraltar and then enter the country on foot. After passing through customs and then walking across the airstrip, you can shorten the journey inland by bus or taxi. You can even get a free bus from the border to the cable car if you buy your Gibraltar National Park tickets online in advance – link here.
We tried our luck, we didn’t leave the car in Spain and drove straight into the country. The distance from the Spanish parking lot to the bottom station of the cable car leading to this rock was almost 4 kilometers one way and we did not want to complete the route with a fresh four-year-old or by bus. So we ended up entering the country by car.
The streets of Gibraltar are narrow and, in most cases, one-way, so parking spaces are scarce and limited. Anyone can park in the white spots for free at any time. On yellow only citizens of Gibraltar. And blue places are for anyone, but they are paid. We entered the country in the morning, and we planned to leave the car in the parking lot right next to the cable car, and there were plenty of places. Only the white parking spaces were completely occupied, so we had to pay extra for the blue ones. Later in the afternoon not even the blue one was free.
Rock of Gibraltar
As you approach Gibraltar, you can’t help but notice it. It is an incredible place offering surprises both from the outside and inside. The ascent is steep and you will sweat quite a bit. Fortunately, you can also go up by cable car or by one of the ubiquitous taxis. In any case, don’t forget to bring a stroller or baby carrier with you, you’ll be walking kilometers here and your children’s little legs would soon get tired.
Almost the entire Rock of Gibraltar is covered by a national park, entrance to it is paid and the price can seem quite high. But after paying the entrance fee to the national park, the door suddenly opens to all the attractions that this place has to offer – a glass lookout, a cave, a castle, a museum or underground tunnels are only part of what you can find here.
Monkeys in Europe
Gibraltar is the only place in Europe where we find wild monkeys. Tailless macaques have become a symbol of this place. It is said that when the last monkey disappears from Gibraltar, then this territory will fall to Spain. But at present there is no threat of this. You will meet macaques here at every turn. You will meet them as soon as you exit the cable car and they will accompany you all the way through the national park. They are not evil, on the contrary, they are used to people and thus quite rude. Sunglasses, a hat, a phone, they’ll take anything they like.
Lookout with a glass bottom or suspended bridge
The massive Rock of Gibraltar literally promises a spectacular view, and it does. From it you can see the land, the sea, and even nearby Africa. Already at the top station of the cable car above the restaurant you will find the first viewpoint. And other places with a view are scattered throughout the area. Worth mentioning is the highest point on the rock, where you can see in all directions at once (just be careful, it’s quite a climb). Or an observation deck with a glass bottom or a suspended bridge with a beautiful view of the city.
Gibraltar’s underground secrets
The Rock of Gibraltar is not just an ordinary piece of giant overgrown stone, but is literally riddled with cavities and tunnels.
The Caves of Gibraltar
In Gibraltar, we can find several caves hiding their treasures. Some amaze with their beauty of stalactites, others are important sites and artifacts dating back to prehistoric times. The most famous stalactite cave accessible to the public is St. Michael’s. We can find it in the National Park not far from the highest point on the rock. You can walk in it without a guide and it alternates between a laser show and acoustic music. It sounds weird, but it’s amazing. Just one of those things that cannot be described and must be experienced firsthand.
Bunkers and tunnels
Gibraltar is known to be the gateway to the Mediterranean Sea, which is why a number of bunkers, embrasures and tunnels were built here in the past. Some embrasures are abandoned and you can view them, others are locked. Like most tunnels and underground bunkers. Nevertheless, here they allow you to look underground for a while. This option is included in the price of the entrance fee to the national park and in several places – the Great Siege Tunnels and the tunnels from World War II.
Gibraltar is not just a rock
This whole place is unique. Such a small area will captivate everyone with its beauty. And it only begins with the national park and its attractions. There is also a lot to see in and around the city. Whether you visit the Almeda gardens, the high street, the Gibraltar museum, enjoy one of the beaches or go on a boat to see the dolphins, your enthusiasm for this country will be multiplied.GibraltarSpainUnited Kingdom