Gibraltar Attractions for you to visit, from historical sites, natural history and places of worship to leisure centres and restaurants
Today Gibraltar attractions can offer something for everyone, ranging from archaeological treasures, priceless artefacts, historical sites and natural history to a variety of shops, restaurants and night spots to entertain you.
Historical Gibraltar Attractions
The first of our Gibraltar attractions is Casemates Square, named after the British Barracks located at the north of the square; throughout history, this area has served many purposes. Formerly the site of public executions, the commercial and social square contains remains of an old Moorish galley house and a gun mounted on a Koehler Depression Gun Carriage, of the type developed during the Great Siege.
A couple of old memorial tablets shown here give some idea of the age and history of these old barracks, converted into a shopping mall and restaurants with true 18th century character. Above these popular shops and restaurants, on the first floor, you will find more of our Gibraltar attractions, like the Fine Arts Gallery, housing regular painting exhibitions. Next door to the Fine Arts Gallery is the Gibraltar’s Arts & Crafts Centre, which is also well worth visiting to pick up some locally made gifts. Further along this level are various other shops for your enjoyment.
Nowadays, this historic entrance to the City and the Main Street shopping area has become the hub of social activities.
Charles V Wall
Being one of the biggest of the Gibraltar attractions, Charles V Wall can be seen from a distance, cutting across the Upper Rock. This sixteenth century wall, descending from the ancient Moorish Wall, past Southport and Trafalgar Cemetery at the southern end of Main Street, was built in the reign of Charles V in 1552 by the Italian Engineer Calvi.
It was designed to defend the City after the attack of September 1540 by Turkish pirates (lead by Barbarrossa) who took over 70 captives to sell into slavery. When Charles V died, Phillip II took over the building of the wall and he decided to continue the top half further south, hence the continuation starting at the Apes’ Den, named “Philip II Wall”. This would greatly reduce any enemy attack by arrows, catapults etc from high ground into the lower reaches.
Devil’s Tongue Battery
Located on Waterport Wharf Road, this old mole protected the seaward entrance to Gibraltar. It was originally the old Spanish pier, built during the reign of King Philip III.
Guns were placed at each of the gaps (embrasures) during the Great Siege, hence its importance as one of the Gibraltar attractions.
This mole is an extension of Chatham Counterguard; a drawbridge named the “Chatham Wicker” led on to the mole (the cemented blocked-up opening in the sea wall is still visible).
Europa Point is at the southern most tip of the Rock of Gibraltar and can be accessed by taking a guided tour or the No.3 bus, which runs from the frontier to Spain.
Here you will find several of the Gibraltar attractions; the Lighthouse (more information on this below) the impressive Mosque, the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe and some stunning views of the Strait of Gibraltar across to Morocco, North Africa.
Flat Bastion Magazine
Located on Flat Bastion Road, this interesting Geological Research Station, Lithology of Gibraltar and exhibition centre can be visited by prior arrangement only (contact us for further details).
The Garrison Library is a handsome building and one of the more interesting of our Gibraltar attractions. Built on the site of the Governor’s residence during the Spanish occupation. The Library was inaugurated in 1793 and houses a remarkable collection of works on Gibraltar.
Next to The Garrison Library were some of the offices of the Gibraltar Chronicle, Gibraltar’s oldest newspaper (found in 1801); Europe’s second oldest English periodical and the first to report the victory at Trafalgar. The Gibraltar Chronicle has since moved to newer premises at Watergate House, Line Wall Road.
Gibraltar, a City under Siege Exhibition
The buildings in which this exhibition is housed are probably one of the first buildings ever constructed by the British in Gibraltar, dating back to the beginning of the 18th century. Originally, it is thought that they were built as magazines and a laboratory to store and prepare ammunition. Some believe these buildings predate the British period and may well have been of Spanish origin (17th century). The area is known as Willis’s Magazine, although there is no record of who Willis was and why it was given that name.
The most important aspect of the building, earning it a place as one of the Gibraltar attractions, is the graffiti that can be seen on the walls, the earliest of which dates back to 1726. It is thought that the solders in the area used to spend their time drawing graffiti so as not to fall asleep during the long hours of guard duty, an offence punishable by death in those days! Two outstanding examples of the graffiti are those featuring a drawing of a galleon together with some attributed to Sergeant Major Ince, the architect of the Great Siege Tunnels.
The exhibition demonstrates the terrible conditions the soldiers lived in, as well as an old drainage system and water cisterns used.
Access is just before reaching the WWII Tunnels and Moorish Castle on your decent from the Upper Rock (via road).
Experience and enjoy Gibraltar’s fascinating 200-million year history with an audiovisual presentation and several galleries displaying original artefacts, old prints and photographs.
The Rock’s rich and diverse natural history is also represented while the lower part of the building houses what is arguably the best-preserved 14th century Moorish Bath House in Europe. An impressive model of the Rock, as at 1867, leads to the Great Siege Gallery and a well documented display on our ‘Gibraltar Woman’ skull (discovered in 1848).
The Museum was officially opened on 23rd July 1930 by the Governor, Sir Alexander Godley and is situated in the premises which were the house of the Principal Ordnance Officer.
A "must visit" amongst the Gibraltar attractions.
Built by public subscription in 1817, the former Commercial Exchange and public library building is now the seat of the Gibraltar Parliament (House of Assembly), situated in the centre of town at John Mackintosh Square.
Great Siege Tunnels
Located on the Upper Rock and one of the most famous of our Gibraltar attractions, the Great Siege Tunnels are fascinating and a cool retreat from the heat of the day.
The sieges of the late 18th century led to a network of tunneled defences being excavated in the Rock to allow the mounting of a prototype gun, the first ever able to fire downwards. This tunnel was the first to be excavated on the Upper Rock in 1782.
This is a fascinating, old Jewish Cemetery that was used up until 1848. It is tucked away behind the trees and reflects the important role the Jewish people have played in moulding Gibraltar’s history.
John Mackintosh Hall
Perhaps not one of the most exciting, but significant, in our list of Gibraltar attractions, is the John Mackintosh Hall.
This Hall has become the centre of Gibraltar’s cultural activities where some two hundred societies and associations meet regularly. It was opened by the Governor and Commander in Chief, General Sir Dudley Ward, on 8th April 1964.
The Hall contains a public library, a theatre, conference hall, gymnasium, spacious halls for exhibitions and other public functions and also includes a wing for higher education.
This complex was gifted to Gibraltar by the John Mackintosh Trust, following the wishes of the late John and Lady Victoria Mackintosh, most generous benefactors to Gibraltar.
This bastion, along Rosia Road, is named after Captain Jumper who was the first to land his troops on Gibraltar during the capture in 1704, for the Habsburg pretender to the Spanish Crown, Archduke Charles of Austria.
King’s Bastion Leisure Centre
General Sir Robert Boyd, Governor of Gibraltar, built King’s Bastion in 1772, although it was designed by Lt. Col. Sir William Green, Chief Engineer.
King’s Bastion was the keystone of the defences during he Great Siege and it was from this bastion that the ‘hot potatoes’ (red-hot shots) were fired at the French and Spanish floating batteries.
This area provided accommodation for 800 men, an entire infantry battalion. General Sir Robert Boyd is buried inside a vault at the base of the bastion and a plaque on the north wall bears testimony to his work.
In 1896, after it had ceased to enjoy its front-line military role, works begun on the construction (within the bastion) of Gibraltar’s first small power station.
Nowadays the bastion has been carefully transformed into our youth Leisure Centre which opened on 28th February 2008, retaining all the bastion’s originally walls and features. The Leisure Centre has a bowling alley, ice-skating rink, multi-cinema, youth lounge, internet area, games arcade, restaurants and bars.
This gate, reconstructed in 1729 by the British on the site of earlier Moorish and Spanish gates, was at the time the only landward access into the city. It was through this gate that the troops emerged to carry out the surprise attack on the Spanish lines during the Great Siege – the Sortie 26th November 1781.
Landport Gate is located at the beginning of Casemates Square and the Main Street shopping area.
The Law Courts are located near the far end of Main Street. Probably the most famous case heard here was that of the sailing ship “Mary Celeste” (1872) which was the greatest sea mystery of all time.
Gibraltar is also a popular wedding destination – John Lennon and Yoko Ono married at the Registry Office, in this building, on 20th March 1969 and many other famous people have also married here.
The Gibraltar Lighthouse dates back to 1841 and stands 49 metres above sea level with a range of some 37 kilometres. Now fully automated, is the only one regulated by Trinity House outside UK. The Lighthouse is located at the southern most tip of the Rock, Europa Point.
Located in the Upper Rock area, this kiln dates back to the late 19th century and is the last remaining lime kiln on the Rock.
These kilns (ovens) were used to produce lime, which was then used for the whitewashing of buildings, painting of water cisterns (so the water would remain free of bacteria) and for pouring over dead bodies in mass graves, to prevent further spread of disease.
Running along Line Wall Road, from the north face of the Rock to Europa Point, there has been a co-ordinated system of defence long before the British captured Gibraltar in 1704. These defences, some of which date back to the Moorish Period, were subsequently improved by Spain (1462-1704) and then by Britain (1704-1940s) and came to be known as Line Wall.
All the land to the west of this wall has been reclaimed from the sea during the last century, however, most of this reclaimed area were dangerous reefs, which actually helped to protect the ancient walls from a direct assault by sea.
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