Bobby's, English pubs and Union Jacks - it's not only in Great Britain. At the very south of the Iberian Peninsula a completely different world awaits you. The miniature state of Gibraltar, with its 1.2 km long border with Spain, boasts beautiful beaches, an imposing mosque, a photogenic lighthouse with a magnificent view of Africa, the famous Monkey Rock, a fascinating stalactite cave and an inviting pedestrian area with a wide range of shops and restaurants.

Are you currently travelling through Andalusia and are you looking for a special adventure? I recommend a detour to Gibraltar, a special corner of the world that served as a British military base during the Second World War and is still British overseas territory today. Together with the Rock of Gibraltar, the strait between the two continents of Europe and Africa ensures that Gibraltar is sheltered from all weather extremes, so it doesn't get particularly cold in winter or super hot in summer.

The journey alone is special: As Gibraltar is not part of the Schengen area, you have to show your identity card when entering the country. If you are travelling by rental car, there is another special feature: Gibraltar Airport is the only international airport in the world that is crossed by a four-lane road. This road is closed at every take-off and landing, which can take over an hour. Fortunately, the landings and take-offs during the day can be counted on one hand.

Everything in Gibraltar is "very British". On arrival you notice the red telephone booths and letterboxes, which are normally only found in Great Britain. There are children in school uniforms and everywhere the Queen, who smiles at you from above from posters. Tourists are driven around in red double-decker buses and the streets are filled with fish and chips and British beer, tapas and Spanish wine. Mainstreet is a cosy pedestrian area with many shops for shopping and strolling. In the British colony there is no value added tax, so many things are much cheaper than here. This is also the reason why the dwarf state is considered the shopping paradise par excellence.
The border between Spain and Gibraltar is a proud 1.2 kilometres long. Off the coast is the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Europe and Africa. If the weather is good, you can see Morocco from almost every point, 14 km away. The best place to see Morocco is from Europa Point, where there is a photogenic lighthouse, a Roman Catholic pilgrimage church and the southernmost mosque in Europe.

The landmark and figurehead of the peninsula is, of course, the Rock of Gibraltar, a 426m high limestone monolith that catches the eye in the otherwise flat area. But it is not only because of its size and unique views that the limestone rock in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve is so popular. Tourists arrive in droves to see the Barbary apes living there. The cable car will take you directly from the valley to the terminus, the Monkey Rock, for a few British Pounds. The monkeys are said to have escaped from Africa during an animal transport and have lived on the rock ever since. Always keep an eye on your valuables, the monkeys love wallets, jewellery and valuables of all kinds. Inside the rock is the cave system St. Michael's Cave. This stalactite cave leads several hundred metres into the interior of the rock. One cave even provides excellent acoustics, so it was converted into an auditorium and is now used as a concert hall.

Spain and Portugal are among the best beach holiday destinations in Europe. Of course, the British exclave on the Iberian Peninsula is no exception. During the summer months the air and water temperatures in Gibraltar rise to perfect bathing weather conditions. Wreck diving, dolphin tours and sailing are also popular here. One of the absolute hotspots is the Eastern Beach of Gibraltar. As the name suggests, this beach is located in the east of Gibraltar. Because of its proximity to the airport, you can admire the arriving and departing planes while tanning in the sun. Even in the evening it is cosy here. Treat yourself to a delicious dinner or a cool drink in a bar or in one of the numerous restaurants.
Not far away there is another great beach. Sandy Bay was filled with 50,000 tons of sand from the Sahara desert. And the beach at Catalan Bay is also worth seeing. The small cute bay in the east of the peninsula trumps with a small fishing village with many colourful houses and bright sandstone rocks.
Since 2016 Gibraltar has another attraction and is definitely not for the faint hearted. The Windsor Suspension Bridge with a length of 71 meters leads over a 50m deep gorge. Those who dare to cross the bridge are rewarded with a fabulous view over the city, the bay and the strait.

And if you have always wanted to put your foot on another continent. Nothing could be easier! Morocco is only a short ferry ride away. Once there, you can immerse yourself in a completely different world: Colourful markets, historical medinas and magnificent churches. My tip: Chefchaouen. The city is completely wrapped in blue and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013.

This is how you get there:
With Edelweiss or Swiss to Jerez/Malaga and further with a rental car

How long am I supposed to go:
3 - 4 days, connect with Andalusia

Best time to travel:
Spring to autumn

Ape rock, Mainstreet, Europa Point

Tip for excursions:
The Blue City Chefchaouen

Restaurant tip:
The Landings Restaurant and Bar

More info:

Realised by Michael Bachmann
Further travel pictures under​​​​​​​