Gibraltar - What to See Outside Town
There's plenty to see and do outside the obvious destinations of the Gibraltar's town centre and even the Upper Rock. Gibraltar has a quieter, less frequented side with natural beauty and Mediterranean views not to be missed.
Alameda Botanical Gardens
The gardens serve as a lush, peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of town. 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'll find an impressive and well organised array of tree and plant species, along with quiet areas where you can picnic or rest in the shade. A small children's park lies at the lower edge of the park alongside the Alameda open-air theatre, a magical location used during summer for local performances.
Don't miss the charming wildlife conservation park which is part of the top edge of the gardens. Run by 3 full-time workers and a number of dedicated volunteers, the wildlife park is home to abandoned or homeless animals, many of whom have come over on ships. Currently it's home to many species of bird, terrapins, reptiles, bats, prairie dogs, pigs, monkeys and more.
100 Ton Gun
Of only four 100 ton guns ever created in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, two remain in Gibraltar and the other two are stationed in Malta. Although they were never fired, the two 100 ton guns could easily reach ships in the Straits of Gibraltar.
This is an old British fort was built to protect Rosia Bay and naval galleons used to use it to collect ammunition and provisions during war. After the British victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the damaged British Flagship, HMS Victory was brought to Rosia Bay. On board the ship, the dead body of Admiral Nelson was found inside a barrel of brandy tied around the central mast. His body was later transferred to another ship and taken back to England for burial.
If you like a natural, quiet beach in the summer, you'd be well advised to go to Spain's Atlantic beaches to find it. However, beaches in Gibraltar offer their own interest in terms of local atmosphere and if you don't mind the crowds, they can make for a good day out.
Most people come laden with picnics and drinks in cool boxes, umbrellas and chairs, ready for a full day out, though beaches have basic kiosk facilities for emergency drinks, sweets or ice creams.
The Bay dates back to the 18th century when Genoese fishermen settled here. Today it's a favourite summer haunt for beach-loving Gibraltarians. As it's located on the eastern side of the Rock, the sun sinks behind the summit earlier than on the western side, offering a welcome break from the summer's heat. Don't forget to stop for morning coffee at on the terrace of the Caleta Hotel and enjoy its panoramic views in exquisite surroundings. Catalan Bay has a popular fish restaurant at the top of the hill and a few kiosks for sweets or ice creams.
Continuing 200 metres along the road from Catalan Bay, you reach Sandy Bay, another popular beach, also with a small kiosk for emergency refreshments. The beach is flanked by the apart hotel resort, Both Worlds.
This is the largest stretch of the three sandy beaches located on the Eastern side of the Rock and it is very popular with locals, being the nearest to town.
On the western side of the Rock, just past Rosia Bay (a concreted lido in much need of repair), Camp Bay sits just past a short rock tunnel. At first sight, to be honest, it seems rather an ugly concrete lido jutting out to sea. But take a closer look and you'll find it's ideal for the kids with its large swimming pool and toddlers' pool, plus play park, as well as a couple of kiosks, a bar/restaurant and a small sandy cove. Here you can also enjoy the great views across the Straits to Spain and the many ships anchored offshore.
Follow through another tunnel and you'll arrive at Little Bay, another lido with pools and facilities on a smaller scale than in Camp Bay. The sea water in Camp Bay and Little Bay is generally crystal clear and considered to be the cleanest in Gibraltar.
There are two marinas in Gibraltar: Ocean Village and Queensway Quay. Both offer top class berthing and facilities, as well as a number of classy quayside restaurants and bars. Ocean Village is the larger one of the two and consequently offers a greater choice of bars and terraced restaurants, as well as several real estate agencies and boutiques.
From both marinas, various companies offer boat trips to view dolphins and/or whales in the wild. The boats not only allow you to see these magnificent creatures close at hand but you can also to enjoy excellent views of the Rock, Spain and Morocco, making for an unforgettable experience.
Still crying out for government investment, this stunning tourist spot offers its own form of natural beauty in the breathtaking and expansive views it offers. This is the southernmost tip of Europe, from where you stand overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar, between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic seas. 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 at Europa Point facing Morocco, to serve the Muslim population of Gibraltar. The mosque may be visited at certain times of the day.
Sitting at the precarious Europa Point, this lighthouse has witnessed many a wrecked ship that has fallen to the perils of fierce winds and currents to be found at this point. The lighthouse dates back to 1841 and stands 49 metres 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 leave Gibraltar for one or two hour tours of the Bay of Algeciras, home to a large community of dolphins. The boat trips depart from the popular marina Bay for anything up to a few hours or a full day. Throughout the year long-finned pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, common and striped dolphins can be seen regularly. From April to June sperm whales migrate through the Strait of Gibraltar and in July/August orcas come to the area. Occasionally, you'll be lucky enough to catch sight of a fin whale, the second largest species of whale.