Gibraltar – What to see outside the city
There is plenty to see and do outside of the obvious destinations of Gibraltar city center and even the Upper Rock. Gibraltar has a quieter and less frequented side with natural beauty and Mediterranean views that should not be missed.
Alameda Botanical Garden
The gardens serve as a lush and peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Located next to the cable car station, just 10 minutes’ walk from the town centre, the Alameda Gardens have been part of Gibraltar for many years. Here you will find an impressive and well-organized variety of tree and plant species, along with quiet areas where you can have a picnic or rest in the shade. A small playground is located at the lower edge of the park next to the Alameda open-air theater, a magical place used during the summer for local shows.
Don’t miss the delightful wildlife conservation park that forms part of the upper edge of the gardens. Run by 3 full-time workers and a number of dedicated volunteers, the wildlife park is home to abandoned and homeless animals, many of whom have come by boat. Today it is home to many species of birds, aquatic turtles, reptiles, bats, prairie dogs, pigs, monkeys and more.
100 ton gun
Of the four 100-ton guns ever raised at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, two remain in Gibraltar and the other two are stationed in Malta. Although never fired, the two 100-ton guns could easily hit ships in the Strait of Gibraltar.
This is an old British fort that was built to protect Rosia Bay and was used by naval galleons to collect ammunition and provisions during the war. After the British victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the damaged British flagship, HMS Victory, was brought to Rosia Bay. Aboard the ship, Admiral Nelson’s corpse was found inside a brandy barrel strapped to the center mast. Later, his body was transferred to another ship and taken back to England for his burial.
If you like a natural and quiet beach in summer, we recommend that you go to the Atlantic beaches of Spain to find it. However, the beaches of Gibraltar offer their own interest in terms of local atmosphere and if you don’t mind the crowds they can be a good day out.
Most people come loaded with picnics and drinks in coolers, umbrellas and chairs, ready for a full day, although the beaches have basic kiosks for emergency drinks, sweets or ice cream.
The Bay dates back to the 18th century when Genoese fishermen settled here. Today it is a favorite summer spot for beach-loving Gibraltarians. As it is located on the eastern side of the Rock, the sun sets behind the summit sooner than on the western side, offering a welcome break from the summer heat. Don’t forget to stop for morning coffee on the terrace of Hotel Caleta and enjoy its panoramic views in an exquisite setting. Catalan Bay has a popular fish restaurant at the top of the hill and a few sweet or ice cream kiosks.
Continuing 200 meters down the road from Catalan Bay, you come to Sandy Bay, another popular beach, also with a small emergency refreshment kiosk. The beach is flanked by the Both Worlds aparthotel complex.
This is the largest stretch of the three sandy beaches located on the eastern side of the Rock and is very popular with locals as it is the closest to town.
To camp Bay
On the western side of The Rock, just past Rosia Bay (a concrete lido in need of repairs), Camp Bay is located just past a small rock tunnel. At first glance, to be honest, it looks more like an ugly concrete lido jutting out into the sea. But take a closer look and you’ll find that it’s ideal for children with its large swimming pool and toddler pool, plus a play park, as well as a couple of kiosks, a bar/restaurant and a small sandy cove. Here you can also enjoy the excellent views of the Strait to Spain and the many ships anchored offshore.
Go through another tunnel and you’ll come to Little Bay, another lido with pools and facilities on a smaller scale than Camp Bay. The seawater in Camp Bay and Little Bay is generally crystal clear and is considered to be the cleanest in Gibraltar.
There are two marinas in Gibraltar: Ocean Village and Queensway Quay. Both offer first-class moorings and facilities, as well as a number of stylish quayside restaurants and bars. Ocean Village is the larger of the two and consequently offers a greater variety of bars and terrace restaurants, as well as several real estate agencies and boutiques.
From both marinas, several companies offer boat trips to see dolphins and/or whales in the wild. The boats not only allow you to see these magnificent creatures up close, but you can also enjoy great views of the Rock, Spain and Morocco, making for an unforgettable experience.
Still clamoring for investment from the government, this stunning tourist spot offers its own form of natural beauty in the breathtaking and expansive views it offers. This is the southern tip of Europe, from where you can see the Strait of Gibraltar, between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. On a clear day it is easy to see houses in Morocco and the mystical Rif mountains.
Built in 1997, the mosque is logically located on Punta Europa facing Morocco, to serve the Muslim population of Gibraltar. The mosque can be visited at certain times of the day.
Sitting on the precarious Europa Point, this lighthouse has seen many shipwrecks fall to the perils of the fierce winds and currents found at this point. The lighthouse dates from 1841 and stands 49 meters above sea level with a range of around 37 kilometers.
Dolphin and whale watching
The warm waters of the Mediterranean make Gibraltar an ideal place for dolphins. Regular dolphin safaris depart from Gibraltar for one or two hour tours of the Bay of Algeciras, home to a large community of dolphins. Boat tours depart from the popular Marina Bay and last from a few hours to a full day. Throughout the year pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and striped dolphins can be regularly observed. From April to June the sperm whales migrate through the Strait of Gibraltar and in July/August the killer whales arrive in the area. From time to time, you will be lucky enough to see a fin whale, the second largest species of whale.
For more information on the above, contact the Gibraltar Tourist Office, tel. 00350 200 45000.