Facts about Gibraltar


Gibraltar, or The Rock as it’s known locally is only 3 square miles in size, yet it still manages to rise up over the sea to 1,396 feet.


Gibraltar is located at the entrance of the Mediterranean and is connected to the Spanish mainland by a sandy peninsula and a ferry to Morocco . Its strategic positioning has made it a desirable location and, thus has made it the focus of numerous attacks over the years. It has been a British Territory since 1704 albeit since 1973 it became part of the EU under the British accession. Now it is an international symbol of strength and solidity.


The Rock's diverse history includes the expected colonial glories, but also a deep Moorish past and an amazing variation of accessible natural history. In addition to the military architecture and tunnels that cut through the rock face, you can see what is arguably the best preserved Moorish Bath House in Europe. Another famous local attraction are the dolphins and the legendary Gibraltar Barbary Apes.




Gibraltar derives from Gibel Tariq (Tariq’s Mountain) which is named after Tariq Ibn Zeyad who led the eighth-century conquest of Spain by a combined force of Arabs and Berbers crossing from Africa. Gibraltar’s unusual status was not acquired until almost 1,000 years later, long after the Islamic invaders had been driven out by the Spanish, as a consequence of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht which brought to an end the War of the Spanish Succession and gave the territory to Britain.

The British interpretation of the treaty moreover holds that the territory was ceded to them indefinitely. The presence of a foreign-owned mini-state on the Spanish mainland has been an irritant to Anglo-Spanish relations ever since.

In response to the latest round of talks between London and Madrid which began in 2001 and explored in detail possible joint sovereignty models, the Gibraltar government led by Peter Caruana organised a referendum in November 2002 to assess the popular mood. As expected, it returned a huge majority in favour of the status quo.


The restaurants, Cafes and pubs are plentiful and are packed in close together for easy navigation.


Due to Gibraltar's 300+ days of sunshine per year the beaches are very popular and even in January it is possible to pick up a suntan.


There are four main public beaches:


Catalan Bay has a beautiful hotel over looking the sea and is a small beach that’s reminiscent of a Spanish fishing village, with great sea food.

Eastern Beachhas always been one of the most popular places for the tourists and is by far the largest and with sunshine from early hours till sunset.

Sandy Bay and Western Beach are popular with locals but are less frequented by tourists .


You can get to the rock via a number of UK airlines such as Monarch and British Airways with Monarch providing low cost scheduled flights from Manchester and London Luton airports. You can also now get flights to Madrid with the local provider and a Gibraltar based airline to be lanuched soon.



Gibraltar is a duty free location so the purchase of Tobacco and perfume are especially cheap but see our section on the duty free allowances for Gibraltar for more information.


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