Gibraltar is part of the United Kingdom but is south of Spain. In
2016, the Gorham's Cave complex in the Rock of Gibraltar was declared a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today, Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory and has a turbulent history. Gibraltar was conquered by the Moors in 711. The rock was named after the Arab general Tarik (Jebel al-Tarik "mountain of Tarik"). Moorish rule would last until the end of the Reconquista in 1492. In 1704 the area around the rock was conquered by the British and in 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht defined it as British territory. In the centuries that followed, the rock was repeatedly fought over and expanded as a fortress, including through tunnels. More than 50 km of tunnels run inside the rock.
As a special feature in Europe, Gibraltar is the only place where monkeys can be found in the wild. These monkeys have become emblematic of British rule in this area. How the monkeys came to Gibraltar is unclear. One thesis says that the monkeys came from Africa to Europe through St. Michael's Cave, a stalactite cave, other assumptions assume that they were settled by Moors or even Romans. British superstition says that when the last monkey leaves Gibraltar, Britain will lose the Rock. According to legend, in the 1940s Winston Churchill ordered that at least 24 monkeys should live on the rock at all times, since the population of the monkeys was endangered at the time, although a British Army corporal has been responsible for feeding the animals since 1913. There are currently over 150 Barbary macaques living in Gibraltar.
Political conflict between Great Britain and Spain
Tensions have flared up between Spain and Britain for the last few decades, with Spain reclaiming Gibraltar territory. In two referendums in 1967 and 2002, 99% of the population voted in favor of remaining in the UK and anyone who observes the people of Gibraltar on their national day will come to the conclusion that later referendums will have similar results. However, there are also said to be polls in which the majority of Gibraltarians are said to have spoken out in favor of Gibraltar becoming a mini-state, like Andorra or San Marino.
In August 2013, Gibraltar responded to Spanish fishermen fishing in Gibraltar's territorial waters and tried to prevent this by dumping concrete pieces in the sea to form an artificial reef. As a result, after protests from Spain, there were increased border controls by the Spanish national police and customs. Tourists waited for hours, but also commuters who wanted to go to Gibraltar and back again. Numerous vehicles were thoroughly searched when leaving the country, and the otherwise "simple" controls were increased to the maximum. Before visiting Gibraltar, you should therefore check the current information as to whether special controls will take place again or not. Pedestrians can usually still pass relatively easily.
Important: Drivers of cars, motorbikes and cyclists (!) have to line up on the street, pedestrians have their own lane. Tip: If you have a folding bike, walk like the pedestrians and carry your folded bike there until you are through.
Gibraltar measures approximately five by two kilometers. From the north, it adjoins Spain (the city of La Linea de la Concepción), there is a round-the-clock border crossing with customs, which allows both cars and pedestrians to pass. South of the border crossing, the entire territory of Gibraltar, from sea to sea, is crossed by the airport runway, which must be crossed or moved. When a plane lands or takes off, traffic is blocked. Most of the territory south of the airport is a cliff about 400 m high. From the east it descends steeply to the sea, there is a road, but there is almost nothing interesting there. To the west, directly south of the airport, is the old city, partly still on a flat spot, partly already rising on a cliff. Above the development, almost the entire rock is a nature reserve, although there are enough paved roads there. A cable car leads to it, the lower station of which is located somewhat south of the old town. On the rock are almost all the fortifications of Gibraltar, of which there are countless. The passenger terminal of the port is located northwest of the old city, and the port itself occupies almost the entire western slope of Gibraltar. It's all within walking distance of the pedestrian crossing. Finally, another cluster of attractions is located at the southernmost point of Gibraltar - Cape Europe. There, theoretically, you can also walk there, but it is better to get there by car or bus.
Attention: Gibraltar is managed by Great Britain and does not legally belong to Spain or to the Schengen area. When entering Gibraltar, you first have to face the Spanish border police at the exit control, followed by the British entry control.
In contrast to the United Kingdom, as of the end of 2022, the EU identity card will continue to be accepted alongside the passport for entry. Entry into Gibraltar is not possible without presentation of one of the two documents.
Since the relationship between Great Britain and the EU is still being negotiated after Brexit, you should find out about the current conditions on the website of the Federal Foreign Office before you travel - a loss of acceptance of the ID card is just as possible in the future as accession to the Schengen area . For travelers from other countries, information on the required visas can be found on the government's official website.
Gibraltar is also not part of the customs territory of the EU. Therefore, the regulations for entry from non-EU countries apply here (including 200 cigarettes, 1l spirits >22%, 4l wine, 16l beer), for German travelers these are listed here. In addition, the Spanish customs are on site and can check the purchased goods if necessary. However, the controls are very lax and do not meet the standards of the Schengen Agreements, as you know them when leaving for London. As a rule, they limit the control to checking the existence of a corresponding document.
The border station is open all year round, from early morning to late evening. There is no fee and you can enter and exit the country as often as you like.
Gibraltar Airport (IATA: GIB) is very small, located at the beginning of the peninsula and cutting right through the narrowest and fairly flat part, its runway jutting out into the sea on the western side. Winston Churchill Avenue runs across the runway and is closed when an airplane takes off or lands. The way from the airport to the city on foot or by bus leads directly across the runway. There is currently no other way to cross the airfield, but a tunnel is being planned.
Currently, only British airlines fly to Gibraltar, namely British Airways to/from London Heathrow, and the British low-cost carrier easyJet to/from London-Gatwick (North Terminal) and Manchester. Spanish airlines have stopped flying to the airport for a number of years, and plans to open up the airport from the Spanish border town of La Linea have also been put on hold. There are four take-offs and four landings per day, around 1 million passengers use the airport per year. There are flights to Morocco twice a week (2018). Password-free WiFi in the terminal. Luggage storage on request at the counter 8.30-22.00 (£3-5).
The nearest airport for those arriving from the rest of Europe is Malaga Airport (IATA: AGP). It is 126 km away and can be reached in 1.5 hours via the AP-7 toll road.
Gibraltar does not have a railway station. The next Spanish train station Estación de Tren de San Roque - La Linea is not in La Linea, but 13 km away behind San Roque.
Gibraltar is not directly connected to the Spanish bus network. However, La Linea bus station is only a 5 minute walk from the border. From Algeciras there is a bus every 30 minutes. There are irregular connections from other cities in Andalusia.
In the street
If you travel by car, you should park it in Spain, since there are either no parking spaces in Gibraltar or they are quite expensive. The approximately 29,000 inhabitants have 23,000 registered vehicles, the streets are narrow and heavily trafficked. In addition, traffic is often backed up at the border crossing point, especially when Winston Churchill Avenue is closed due to a plane taking off or landing. Parking spaces are very easy to find in the approach loop to the border. We recommend a daily parking lot in Puerto Deportivo Alcaidesa for €6, right in the last roundabout (paved paths/spaces at a marina, large parking bays, very decent impression, but about a 10-minute walk to the border). Directly in front of the border you have the choice between entering by car in Gibraltar or a newly created parking lot in St. Barbara, which costs around €2 an hour. From the car park it is less than a 3 minute walk to the border control. Immediately after the ID check you will find a bus stop for the red bus line. Line 10, which goes to the cable car (€2.40 per person one way) or line 5, which goes to the Market Place, stop here. Basically, you shouldn't leave anything in a parked car, no matter how worthless it is.
If you still want to drive your car into Gibraltar, you should make sure that it is insured. With rental cars, the point is usually mentioned in the rental documents, these should be carried with you. The green insurance card is mandatory for your own vehicles from your home country. Large car parks can be found at Grand Parade (by the cable car station), the International Commercial Center (access via Line Wall Road) and Europa Point. If you're lucky, you'll get a spot on the street - but be sure to follow the regulations, otherwise you'll be towed away or the claw will be installed.
It doesn't look good for mobile homes, there are no official parking spaces or even overnight places and no parking facilities at the tourist attractions.
You can refuel a little cheaper in Gibraltar than in Spain. There are 2 gas stations right after the airport. The fuel gauges have a dual display in pounds and euros. If you want to drive to Gibraltar to fill up, you should take into account that you have to go through border control twice and plan for the waiting times that are usual at border controls.
The line in front of the border is very disciplined, there are no tricksters who try to move up a few places. This is because everyone checks each other and, if necessary, calls the police and gives them the car number. Anyone who catches the eye will be waved out at the border and may queue up at the back.
There is a weekly ferry service from Gibraltar to Tangier (Tangier Med port, about 40 minutes from the city). The crossing takes 90 minutes with the high-speed ferry. The port can be found by turning right after crossing the airport runway. But it can already be seen and signposted. However, there are far more ferry connections to Africa from Algeciras in Spain.
Gibraltar has a very busy port, but also has cruise ship berths: Gibraltar Cruise Liner Terminal, (Schedules) and three marinas:
Marina Bay. Tel: +350 200 73300, Fax: +350 200 42656, Email: email@example.com. 209 berths, max. 90 m length, 4.5 m depth. VHF Channel 71. Near the airport. Price: <12m length £9 in winter, £15 in summer; 18-21m length at £22/£35; Electricity £0.15/KWh, water extra.
Ocean Village. Tel: +350 200 73300, Fax: +350 200 42656, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. 95 berths, max. 90 m length, 4.5 m depth. VHF Channel 71. Near the airport. Price: <12m length £10 in winter, £16 in summer; 18-21m length at £24/£36; >50m length all year round £4/metre; Electricity £0.15/KWh, water extra.
Queensway Quay Marina. Tel: +350 200 44700, Fax: +350 200 44699, Email: email@example.com. 185 berths, max. 75 m length, 4.5 m depth. VHF Channel 71. Just off town. Price: <12m length £9.25 winter, £14.60 summer; 18-21m length at £21.65/£33.00; >30m length all year round £3.50/metre; Electricity £0.15/KWh, water extra
The best way to get to the city center and cable car from the border
is to purchase the GibraltarPass, which includes free transport on
Citibus routes 5 and 10 and free access to all top attractions. Please
see the Must Sees section below for more details.
The urban area of Gibraltar is very small and clear, it covers an area of only about 1 by 2 kilometers. Therefore, in most cases, it is not necessary to take a bus. It takes about 10 minutes to walk down Main Street from Market Place to the valley station of the cable car. The journey by bus (6 stops) takes just as long.
There are good bus services from early morning to late evening, Monday to Sunday. There are two different bus systems, one with the red buses (typical large capacity buses and double-decker buses) and one with the blue buses (mostly shorter buses with entry/exit only in front). Both types of bus are operated by different companies, so the tickets you buy are only valid on buses of the right color!
Just across the border is the bus stop for the red buses. Line 5 runs the route between the border (Frontier) and the city center (Market Place), on the way back you can also get off at the airport. The return ticket costs £1.90 (or €2.70) for an adult, the buses leave when they are reasonably full, the next one is often already waiting. To visit the city center and z. B. to walk up to the Upper Rock, this is completely sufficient. With the right change, you can also pay in euros on the bus, but at a ridiculous exchange rate (October 2020): £1.40 = €2.10 [instead of a fair €1.60].
The red buses meet the blue ones at Market Place Terminus, Gibraltar's bus station. The blue buses depart from the remaining lines 1 to 9. The highly recommended Hoppa ticket costs €3 per adult and entitles you to use all blue buses all day. The shortest frequency is 15 minutes on the main route (Line 2, blue buses) between the city center (Market Place), major hotels, the cable car station (Eliott's Way) and the southernmost point of the peninsula (Europa Point). Otherwise, the cycle is between 20 minutes and 1 hour. Since many important stops are served by several lines, the real waiting time is often shorter.
A cable car (bottom station) connects the city to the Upper Rock (cable car top station). There is an intermediate station halfway up to the Forest and Apes Den, but the train only stops there from October to March. The famous monkeys can also be found at the terminus.
Cable Car, Grand Parade, Gibraltar (Eliott's Way bus stop). Tel: +350 200 72735, Fax: +350 200 71608, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. In 6 minutes to the summit station at 412 m, the cable car saves about 2-3 hours on foot over stairs and partly unpaved paths. Departs every 10 minutes, reservations not required. A multimedia tour can be borrowed with the adult ticket and an identity card at the summit station. There is also a cable car & attraction combo on the mountain. This is heavily advertised at the border and by pushers in the pedestrian zone. Open: 9:30-19:15 in summer, last trip down at 19:45; from Nov to March 9:30-17:15, last trip down at 17:45. Price: One way/return for adults €22/€40, children red.
At the end of 2020, all of the RedBike bike rental stations set up were damaged, out of order and without bikes.
A sightseeing tour by e-bike is also an environmentally friendly option. With the eBike you can easily reach the top of the rock and all other great corners of Gibraltar, no matter how hidden.
Alternatively, you can also take minibuses to the top of the rock. With these you stop in several places, but they are more expensive.
Taxis are plentiful, but it's cheaper to take the bus and much of Gibraltar is within easy walking distance.
Handicapped people have a hard time outside the city because of field and forest paths and many stairs.
Incidentally, traffic in Gibraltar is right-hand traffic, not the left-hand traffic that is otherwise widespread in the United Kingdom.
The official language in Gibraltar is English. Because of the high border traffic and because many Spaniards work in Gibraltar, Spanish is almost equally common. The locals usually speak both languages and switch back and forth between them when speaking, sometimes even in the middle of a sentence. In addition, many Spanish words have found their way into the English language. For these reasons, it is not easy even for a practiced Spanish or English speaker to follow a local.
Casemates Square. Located on the remains of a former fortification, Gibraltar's main square has numerous restaurants and bars offering British fish & chips and Spanish tapas, among other things.
Gibraltar Museum, 18/20 Bomb House Lane, P.O. Box 939. Tel: +350 200 74289. Open: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-2pm, Sun, Holidays closed. Price: adults £5.
Alameda Botanic Gardens (Gibraltar Botanic Gardens), Red Sands Rd. Tel: +350 200 41235 . A really beautiful and quite large park with all kinds of subtropical plants. The main entrance is right next to the valley station of the cable car.
Sights that must be seen
The best way to explore Gibraltar and see its sights is through the Gibraltar Pass. It is the latest innovation in The Rock's tourism sector, bringing together all of Gibraltar's top attractions and more under one digital visitor pass. The concept is very simple: visitors buy the GibraltarPass online at www.GibraltarPass.com and receive a digital pass (similar to an online boarding pass) on their mobile phone, giving them access to the Rock's most popular attractions, including cable car rides, Guided Van Rock Tour, Meet the Famous Monkeys, St Michael Cave, SkyWalk, Great Siege Tunnels, WW2 Tunnels and more. Visitors simply show the pass on their mobile device and scan it at each attraction for entry at no additional cost. The pass also includes free transport on Citibus routes from the border to the city center and cable car, as well as a host of freebies and exclusive discounts at over 100 activity providers, shops and restaurants across Gibraltar.
St Michael's Cave
Skywalk. Opened in 2019, this glass viewing platform on the site of a former military lookout offers spectacular views on both sides (east and west) of the rock. Open: daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Grand Siege Tunnels
Windsor Suspension Bridge. This 71 meter long, wooden suspension bridge with steel cables leads over a 50 meter deep gorge. If you don't have a head for heights, you can bypass it on a path to the right along the mountain.
Ape's Rock (at the top station of the cable car) or Ape's Den (at the middle station of the cable car) with the legendary Barbary monkeys. The monkeys (singular ape, plural apes) may not be fed (a fine of £4,000 may be imposed). Attention: the monkeys also bite and are very tricky and sneaky when looking for food, positioning themselves in favorable places already on the railing of the cable car station, from where they can unnoticed open bags and backpacks of passing tourists. Keeping bags and backpacks closed doesn't always help, as the animals open zippers at "ape-like" speed, steal objects from them, and run away with them. They also try to snatch cameras out of their hands. It is generally not recommended to eat food outdoors. Ice cream is also very popular with the monkeys and they get it too. Some try to climb up a tourist's legs, sit on their shoulders and hold their head. Anyone who thinks this is funny will be taught otherwise when they realize that this action only served the monkey to be able to search the pockets for food or other interesting objects from this position. If you fight back, you run the risk of being bitten. One should not forget that the monkeys are wild animals, which, however, have shed any fear of humans. It only helps to keep a certain distance from the animals. See also the Security section below.
On the east side is the former small fishing village of Catalan Bay with colorful houses and the Caleta Hotel and a small beach.
After the waste incineration plant broke down in the late 1980s and all local waste near Catalan Bay was simply dumped into the sea for a good twenty years, the beach was not very attractive. When Gibraltar sought World Heritage status for its Neanderthal Caves, also on this side of the rock, the area was restored. The water is now clean again. Instead, there's a decent dumping ground closer to the airport.
At the southern tip of Gibraltar you can see Africa from here on a clear day. Here you will find a small restaurant, a lighthouse, a playground and a very beautiful mosque. You can also watch the enormous shipping traffic through the Strait of Gibraltar. Here it is only 25 kilometers wide.
Trinity House Lighthouse (Europa Point Lighthouse)
Shrine of Our Lady of Europe. Tel: +350 200 71230 Catholic Church.
A hike through the forest and mountain area is recommended in good
weather. For example, you can take the cable car up the rock and then
walk down or vice versa.
In bad weather you can visit the museum or spend the day in the city center. There is a pedestrian zone with many shops, which are very busy because the goods are offered there cheaper than in Spain due to the tax privileges. There is therefore a large selection of goods, as we know them from the duty-free shops, but not only. Most shops are closed on Sundays.
There are many restaurants. Everything is represented, from pubs to luxury restaurants. In various pubs there is typically British cuisine and British beer. As well as the typical British pubs and restaurants, there are all sorts of restaurants you would find in a holiday resort. This goes from the simple snack bar to the franchise chains, especially to Spanish restaurants that mainly have tapas and paella on the menu. You will also find Asian cuisine or Italian, where you can eat pizza and pasta. The quality of the restaurants varies, so it is worth looking for something.
Means of payment:
The Gibraltar Pound (GIP) is the official currency. But there are only own coins. Notes are paid for in pounds sterling or euros. When paying with the euro, you should pay as appropriate as possible, as it is possible that you will receive GIP as change. The Gibraltar pound is not valid anywhere outside of Gibraltar, although the coins are in British format. It cannot be changed anywhere else. Therefore, one should exchange leftover money in a Gibraltar bank! Banks are usually open Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Gibraltar is a tax haven. Not least because of this, almost three companies have their headquarters here for every inhabitant. So many people come to Gibraltar just to shop. This can be Spaniards from the area who stock up cheaply (especially gas) as well as travelers who like to go shopping. You can get cigarettes and spirits very cheaply, although it is always worth shopping, but you can also buy watches and jewellery, fashion and many other things for very little money. There are numerous shops on Main Street, a pedestrian zone, and its side streets and alleys, where you can buy all sorts of things. Bus trips are taken from many resorts on the Costa del Sol, with visitors coming here just to shop. The city is accordingly crowded from morning to early evening.
In addition to the shops, banks and exchange offices have also settled here. You can withdraw money or exchange money into the desired currency. The money dealers are quite expensive. Buying and selling euros makes a noticeable difference of more than ten cents per euro. If you want to withdraw money from ATMs, you should pay attention to what currency the machine dispenses. Some only offer sterling, with a few offering a choice of sterling or euros. So take a look before you withdraw money.
Sensible purchases, few are cheaper than in Spain, are: liquor and cigarettes. The former is almost only available in liter bottles, about 20% cheaper than in Germany. It should be noted that when exporting to Spain, we crossed an external EU border, so you are not allowed to bring more than 200 cigarettes and a bottle of liquor. However, at least during the Brexit transition period until the end of 2020, there will be almost no checks by Spanish customs.
There are also some curious sales restrictions: Energy drinks can only be bought from the age of 16. Anyone found in possession of more than 800 cigarettes in the area close to the border is liable to prosecution.
Gibraltar has a surprisingly active nightlife.
The Affenfelsen has a handful of hotels in all price ranges. Tip:
book well in advance as Gibraltar is more popular than expected and the
number of hotels is limited. The prices are significantly higher
compared to the Spanish surrounding area, so it might be worth staying
the night in neighboring La Linea.
Emile Hostel, Gibraltar, Montagu Bastion, 25 Line Wall Road (near Casemates square). Tel: +350 200 51106, Fax: +350 200 51106, Email: email@example.com. 42 beds in spartan but clean multi-bed, double and single rooms. Bedding is provided, but not towels, only a few! Shared showers (also for double/single rooms), no shared kitchen, no lockers. Very central location. Open: all year round 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Price: around €20/bed without breakfast.
Con Dios (on a moored yacht), Gibraltar, PO Box 80, Marina Bay. Tel: +350 20050755, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. B&B with 4 naturally small cabins, showers on land, toilets/sinks on board, breakfast included, free WiFi, exceptional location. Feature: pension. Price: Single from £25, Double from £55.
Eliott Hotel (O'Callaghan), Gibraltar, 2 Governor's Parade. Tel: +350 200 70 500, Fax: +350 200 70 243, Email: email@example.com. First house on site, older and only partially renovated, UK sockets. Features: paid WiFi, gym, swimming pool. Price: SR from £89.
Rock Hotel Gibraltar, Gibraltar , 3 Europa Road. Tel.: +350 20073000, Fax: +350 20073513, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Colonial style hotel. Features: ★★★★, Free WiFi, Swimming Pool. Price: Double from £180.
The Caleta Hotel, Gibraltar, Catalan Bay (East side!). Tel.: +350 200 76501, Email: email@example.com.
September 10th is the National Day in Gibraltar. On this day most shops are closed and all residents, from toddlers to the elderly, are dressed in white and red, the national colors of Gibraltar. Music is blaring from every pub in the city center and it's impossible to get through. Cars also drive motorcades, as if Gibraltar had just become soccer world champion.
Gibraltar Tourist Board, Gibraltar, Cathedral Square, Duke of Kent House (At the beginning of Main Street). Tel: +350 200 74950, Fax: +350 200 74943, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a branch just across the border, open Mon-Fri 9am-4.30pm and Sat 10am-1pm. Open: Open Mon-Fri 9:00-17:30, Sat 10:00-15:00, Sun 10:00-13:00
Telephone and Internet: Despite Brexit, EU roaming continues. However, this is a gesture of goodwill by the providers, which e.g. the German O₂ has “temporarily” limited until the end of 2022. Please note the fees of the local provider. Buying a SIM card does not make sense for short-term stays. You simply make calls again as soon as you are registered in the Spanish network.
There are no internet cafes anymore. In the area of the cultural center John Mackintosh House is a free hotspot.
The cobblestone streets and the narrow, sometimes steep streets of the city center make the place torture for wheelchair users.
There is a strong police presence in the border area and in the city,
not least because of tensions between Spain and Great Britain over
Gibraltar. In the rest of the area there is always a police presence or
dealing with the monkeys
The monkeys that live in the rocky terrain are wild animals despite their tourist marketing and habituation to humans. They can become aggressive and also bite - then there is a risk of hepatitis infection! You should never try to pet them and, especially when young animals are nearby, keep a sufficient distance. "Monkey food" is repeatedly sold by dubious dealers, this is not only forbidden but also harmful to the animals' health - do not offer the monkeys any food as a matter of principle. It is also advisable not to have any loose and easily stolen valuables or food near you, the monkeys can steal these quickly and not necessarily peacefully.
Natural caves in the Rock of Gibraltar are believed to be the last
Neanderthal retreats in Europe. Secured traces indicate that Gorham Cave
was inhabited around 28,000 years ago.
In ancient times, Gibraltar was considered one of the Pillars of Heracles. Carthaginian and Roman traces in Gibraltar (lat. Mons Calpe) are not known. The Romans were followed by the Visigoths, who conquered the Iberian Peninsula.
In 711 Gibraltar was taken by the Muslim Arabs and Berbers. The name Gibraltar comes from the Arabic (جبل طارق Dschabal Ṭāriq, "mountain of Tarik"), after Tāriq ibn Ziyād, a Moorish general who recognized the strategic importance of Gibraltar for the conquest of Spain. Around 1160 a first fortress was built in Gibraltar, which was expanded over the coming centuries and is now known as Moorish Castle. The Muslims ruled Gibraltar until the Reconquista in 1462 (from 1309 to 1333 Castilian for the first time by Ferdinand IV).
On April 25, 1607, the Battle of Gibraltar took place during the Eighty Years' War. A Dutch fleet surprised and destroyed a Spanish fleet anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar.
After the Spanish Habsburgs lost dominance in Europe at the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648, the Dutch and English fought for control of the oceans. This was the time of the four Anglo-Dutch naval wars that took place between 1652 and 1784. For example, the Second Anglo-Dutch Naval War was triggered when a Dutch convoy was ambushed by the English in December 1664 in the Strait of Gibraltar. Between these conflicts, there were repeated peace agreements and joint actions against third parties. One of these joint actions was the conquest of Gibraltar on August 4, 1704 by Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt in the War of Spanish Succession on board the Anglo-Dutch fleet under Admiral Sir George Rooke. In a modification of military tactics, the Spanish garrison was not surprised at dawn but during the siesta in the afternoon. The subsequent siege of Gibraltar by Spain was unsuccessful. In 1713 the area was formally granted to the British in the Treaty of Utrecht and has been a British crown colony since 1830. During the Anglo-Spanish War of 1727–1729, Philip V's troops besieged Gibraltar in vain. Between 1779 and 1783 Spanish and French troops tried again to conquer the fortress (Great Siege). During this time, the first tunnels, the so-called Great Siege Tunnels, were dug.
During the Second World War, the civilian population of Gibraltar was resettled in Madeira. During this time, the rock was converted into an underground fortress for up to 15,000 soldiers. The tunnels, the so-called World War II tunnels, can be visited today in parts. The aim of this fortification was to be able to counter a possible attack by the German Wehrmacht. This had planned the capture of the base with a first operational draft of August 20, 1940. However, Operation Felix was never carried out as Spain remained neutral. In a retaliatory strike for the British Operation Catapult, air forces of the remaining French Vichy regime bombed Gibraltar on September 24 and 25, 1940, sinking an auxiliary cruiser in the harbor. Before the start of the Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa, Operation Torch, US General Dwight D. Eisenhower set up his headquarters in Gibraltar on November 5, 1942. Three days later, the invasion of Morocco began with 300,000 soldiers. Ultimately, Gibraltar remained the only part of non-neutral mainland Western Europe that was never occupied by Nazi Germany or its allies.
The prime minister of the Polish government in exile, General Władysław Sikorski, died in a plane accident off Gibraltar on July 4, 1943.
The Strait of Gibraltar, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic, is of great importance to the military. The United Kingdom maintains a naval base in Gibraltar.
There has long been tension between the UK and Spain over Spain's desire to regain sovereignty over Gibraltar. The border to Spain was closed from 1969 to 1985. The territory has been on the UN list of Non-Self-Governing Territories since 1946. In a referendum on 7 November 2002 (turnout: almost 90%), 99% of voters voted to remain under British rule. Only 187 residents were in favor of shared sovereignty.
On September 18, 2006, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain, the Minister for European Affairs of the United Kingdom and the Chief Minister of Gibraltar Peter Caruana concluded a cooperation agreement in Cordoba. It stipulates that a new terminal will be built for Gibraltar Airport so that the airport can also be used from the Spanish side. Spain's foreign minister at the time was Miguel Ángel Moratinos (Zapatero I cabinet), and the UK's Europe minister was Geoff Hoon (Blair III cabinet). From 16 December 2006 there was (for the first time in decades) a scheduled flight from Spain to Gibraltar (read more here). Regulations were also made for the telephone network, compensation for Spanish workers who lost their jobs after the border was closed in 1969, and easing border controls on the land side. Furthermore, a branch of the Instituto Cervantes is to be opened in Gibraltar. On 21 July 2009 Foreign Minister Moratinos made an official visit to Gibraltar, becoming the first representative of the Spanish government since the start of British sovereignty over Gibraltar.
Gibraltar is a peninsula that borders the Bay of Algeciras to the east and lies on the north side of the Strait of Gibraltar, where Europe and Africa meet. The territory covers a land area of 6.5 km², with the border between Gibraltar and Spain being only 1.2 kilometers long. On the Spanish side of the border lies the town of La Línea de la Concepción. The sea area claimed by Gibraltar reaches up to three nautical miles from the coast.
Gibraltar consists of a flat, mostly sandy area and the Rock of Gibraltar. The limestone cliffs (English Upper Rock, Spanish Peñón) that rise spectacularly steeply out of the sea on the east side catch the eye from afar above the bay of Algeciras. It is about 4 kilometers long from north to south and up to 1.2 kilometers wide. The top of the rock reaches a height of 426 m. It consists mainly of limestone formed in the Jurassic, making it older than the neighboring southern Spanish rocks. The flat part of Gibraltar could be enlarged by land reclamation. Most of the material comes from inside the rock, where it accumulated during the construction of the approximately 50 kilometers of tunnel. In addition to the artificial cavities, the rock has a number of naturally formed caves.
The weather in Gibraltar is essentially determined by the Levante (east wind) and the Poniente (west wind). These local winds are created by the Atlas Mountains to the south and the Sierra Nevada to the north.
Gibraltar is divided into the Upper Rock nature reserve, the urban
area, the east side and the part of the Mediterranean Sea that belongs
to Gibraltar, in particular the Bay of Gibraltar.
The nature reserve was established on April 1, 1993 and can be visited for a fee.
The city of Gibraltar stretches along the narrow strip of western side where the cliff slopes more gently towards the sea. While the west side is heavily populated, few people live on the east side in the two villages of Catalan Bay and Sandy Bay. In the north of the peninsula, on the border with Spain, are the airport, some military facilities and a cemetery for those who died in the world wars. A modern, high-rise district has emerged in the north-west, where a marina and terminals for ferries have also been built. To the south on the shore is the military port and an industrial area where, for example, some dry docks can be found. The tourist center in the west is Main Street and the surrounding streets and squares, some of which are car-free.
Since there is no natural freshwater supply, rainwater has long been collected and, where possible, saltwater used. For example, in 1908 a 130,000 m² rainwater catchment basin was built on the east side of the peninsula, which has since been dismantled. Today, the required fresh water is produced by seawater desalination.
In addition to the Upper Rock nature reserve, the entire sea area of
Gibraltar has been under protection since January 1, 1996.
Gibraltar is the only place in Europe where monkeys (animal species: Barbary macaque or Magot, Macaca silvanus) live freely. That's why Gibraltar is also called the "Monkey Rock". While the monkeys are commonly referred to as free-living, they lead a more park-like existence, being fed regularly by humans.
Gibraltar is one of the most densely populated areas on earth. 32,577
people live in Gibraltar. The population density is 5012 inhabitants per
square kilometer (2012), including the uninhabited areas of Upper Rock.
An attempt is made to master the lack of space by means of land
Aging has been an increasing problem since the 1990s. The life expectancy of residents is 78.5 years for men and 83.3 years for women. The annual birth rate is 10.67 births per 1000 inhabitants. On average, there are 1.65 newborns per woman. Infant mortality is 0.483%. Population growth is very low at 0.11% per year.
Most residents of Gibraltar are of British, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese origin. All Gibraltarians have a British passport. The Immigration Office issues immigrants with a British passport for Gibraltar in addition to their old citizenship. According to an analysis of surnames in the 1995 electoral register, 27% were British, 26% Spanish (mostly Andalusian but 2% Menorcan), 19% Italian, 11% Portuguese, 8% Maltese, 3% Israeli origin. Another 4% came from other countries, while the origin of 2% could not be determined.
The majority of the population is Catholic, at over 78 percent. The territory of Gibraltar forms the Diocese of Gibraltar; the Cathedral of St. Mary the Crowned and the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe are considered national shrines. In second place is the Anglican Church with around seven percent of the population. The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is the Episcopal Church of the Diocese in Europe of the Church of England for all of continental Europe. With the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Europe is available as a meeting room for the four percent Muslims. Members of other Christian denominations (3%), Jews (2%), Hindus (2%) and followers of several other religions also live in Gibraltar.
The only official language in Gibraltar is English, but most residents also speak Spanish. Although only English is official, many traffic, road and information signs are also written in Spanish. In addition, many residents speak Llanito colloquially, a dialect largely based on Andalusian Spanish, but with some elements of English and several southern European languages.
Gibraltar is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. It has its
own government that performs the tasks of self-government. It covers all
areas except defence, foreign affairs and homeland security, which are
taken over by the UK. The head of state is the British king; he is
represented in Gibraltar by a governor. The governor is also the supreme
commander of the army and the police. Acting Governor David Steel was
appointed in June 2020.
In November 2006, more than 60 percent of the people of Gibraltar voted in favor of a new constitution that would provide greater autonomy, particularly in the judiciary.
Since 1704, when the English crown gained control of the peninsula
and was guaranteed it in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Spain has been
trying to regain the British colony. In the 18th century this was
attempted by military means, namely in the three sieges of 1704, 1727
and 1779-1783, all without success. In the 19th century, further
military action against Great Britain was hopeless due to its global
political and military dominance and was therefore omitted. Although
Spain had recognized and confirmed British rule in the Accords of
Cartagena (1907), in the 1950s Spanish dictator Francisco Franco made
fresh attempts to annex Gibraltar, also with Spain's exiled President
Claudio Sánchez Albornoz on his side . Since then, several rounds of
negotiations have taken place, but they have not led to a final
solution. In two referendums in which Gibraltar decided on a move to
Spain, the proposals were very clearly rejected: on September 10, 1967
by 12,138 votes to 44 and on November 7, 2002 by 17,900 votes to 187. In
2002, only a joint British-Spanish exercise of sovereignty rights over
Gibraltar had been voted on. Spain had made itself unpopular with the
residents of Gibraltar through various repressions, including the years
of complete closure of the border (from June 9, 1969 to February 4,
1985), even after that there were often long waiting times at the border
crossing, restrictions on access to telecommunications or Attempts to
exclude the people of Gibraltar from participating in international
sporting events. Between 2009 and 2011 there were also minor border
incidents in territorial waters.
Although Spain was initially supported by the United Nations in its efforts to gain sovereignty over Gibraltar, as Gibraltar is officially still a colony to be dissolved, after these votes Jim Murphy, British Minister, made it clear that the United Kingdom would do nothing without the explicit consent of the Gibraltarians would do. In addition, the legal status of Gibraltar is disputed and thus its status as a colony. Meanwhile, the UN sees Gibraltar as a purely bilateral issue between Britain and Spain, leaving it up to those states to find a solution.
Despite the improved cooperation between Spain and the British Overseas Territory, there is still disagreement about the respective sovereign rights off the coast of Gibraltar. Spain recognizes only a small zone around the port as British, citing the Treaty of Utrecht, while the UK claims a three-mile zone, citing the same instrument, which has repeatedly sparked clashes between the Spanish Civil Guard and led British patrol boats. On 18 November 2009, the Guardia Civil observed a British Navy speedboat conducting target practice at a Spanish flag buoy seven nautical miles south of Gibraltar; British Ambassador Giles Paxman later apologized for the crew's "lack of judgment and sensitivity." On December 7, 2009, a Guardia Civil boat in pursuit of suspected drug smugglers pulled into the port of Gibraltar. The Spanish security forces arrested the two occupants of the fleeing speedboat, but were arrested by the Gibraltar Squadron. The Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba apologized a little later to Gibraltar's Chief Minister Peter Caruana for the "incorrect behavior" of his officials. They were released the same day.
At the end of July 2013, the government of Gibraltar had 70 iron-reinforced concrete blocks, each weighing three tons, sunk in the sea. Fishermen protested against the blocks. About three weeks later, in a telephone conversation with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, Prime Minister David Cameron asked “urgently” for EU observers to be sent to the border.
The course of the land border is also legally disputed. The de facto border is the fence erected by Britain in 1909, which runs some half a mile north of the northern slope of the Rock of Gibraltar. This border line is not officially recognized by Spain, since according to the Treaty of Utrecht only "the city and the castle of Gibraltar together with the associated port and the associated defenses and fortifications" were ceded. The disputed area is now largely occupied by Gibraltar Airport. However, unlike the issue of coastal waters, the land border has not given rise to any actual disputes in recent decades. On the Spanish side, however, the de facto border is not referred to as "border" but as la verja ("the fence").
In November 2018, the Spanish government threatened to boycott the EU summit on November 25, 2018. The reason for this was Spain's concern that signing the Brexit agreement would fix the current course of the United Kingdom's borders. As the Spanish government continues to insist on its territorial claim, it has been keen to avoid cementing a UK claim through the agreement. After diplomatic negotiations, the contract was specified on November 24, 2018 in such a way that the Brexit agreement does not create any obligations with regard to the scope. The future agreements between the EU and the United Kingdom would not necessarily have to apply to the areas mentioned in the withdrawal agreement. As a result, Spain gave up its concerns about the agreement.
The people of Gibraltar elect the seventeen-member Gibraltar
Parliament. Each voter has ten votes. There is no division into
constituencies. Since there is an election of persons, the
representation of the parties is not necessarily proportional. There are
currently three parties represented in Parliament.
The candidate supported by a majority is appointed Chief Minister by the governor. In addition to this, the executive consists of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Justice.
In the parliamentary elections on December 8, 2011, the Gibraltar Socialist Labor Party (GSLP) received seven seats, while the Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD) of former Chief Minister Peter Caruana only received seven seats, despite a significantly higher number of votes. The Liberal Party of Gibraltar (Libs) has three seats and is in coalition with the GSLP, so the GSD is currently in opposition.
The GSLP provides the Chief Minister with Fabian Picardo. All parties are in favor of Gibraltar's self-government. Both GSD and GSLP refuse to make deals with Spain, with the GSLP traditionally being more radical.
Until 2006, the body was called the House of Assembly. The name change in the course of the new constitution was also intended to reflect the greater degree of autonomy, since House of Assembly was a name repeatedly used in British colonies. It also had 17 members, but only 15 were elected by the people. Each elector had eight votes, which often resulted in parties nominating eight candidates with a request to elect all of them. As a result, the strongest faction usually received eight seats, and the losing party seven seats.
Unlike all other British Overseas Territories, Gibraltar was a member
of the European Union with the United Kingdom until January 31, 2020.
From the perspective of the European Union, the residents are not nationals of the United Kingdom (CJEU C-145/04, 2006). There are some special regulations:
Gibraltar is not part of the EU internal market in terms of the free movement of goods.
Schengen law has been applied since January 1, 2021.
EU VAT regulations do not apply in Gibraltar.
Gibraltar does not participate in the Common Agricultural Policy and Fisheries Policy.
In 2003, the European Parliament (Representation) Act 2003 gave Gibraltar residents the right to vote in the European Parliament, although the citizens were not citizens of the Union within the meaning of Article 20 TFEU. The ECJ justified this with the close connection between Gibraltar and the United Kingdom. In the European elections, Gibraltar was part of the South West England European electoral constituency, which had seven representatives (consisting of the South West England region and Gibraltar). In the 2004 European elections, 57.5% of Gibraltar's eligible voters used their new right at the time. The turnout was 18.6 percentage points above the UK average.
In the 2016 referendum on whether the UK should remain in the
European Union, 95.9% voted to remain in the European Union (19,322
votes), 4.1% voted to leave (823 votes) – with a turnout of 83.5% .
Gibraltar was thus the electoral district with the highest proportion of
votes for remaining in the EU.
In mid-2014, José Manuel García-Margallo, then Spain's foreign minister in the Rajoy I cabinet, proposed "British-Spanish co-sovereignty" for the peninsula. This status should apply for a limited period until British territory is returned to Spain. During this transitional period, Gibraltar residents could remain British citizens and benefit from a special tax regime. The idea of shared sovereignty was already explored during negotiations between London and Madrid in 2001 and 2002. However, it was rejected by the citizens of Gibraltar in a referendum. Joseph García, Gibraltar's Deputy Chief Minister, said Gibraltar's position on Spain had not changed after the EU referendum. You see yourself as British; the future of Gibraltar lies in the EU.
Due to its special situation, Gibraltar was excluded from the long-term trade and cooperation agreement, which is intended to regulate long-term relations with the EU. At the end of 2020, shortly before the United Kingdom left the European single market, Spain and the United Kingdom surprisingly agreed that Gibraltar would join the Schengen area on January 1, 2021. As a result, the EU's external border will shift to the ports and international airport of Gibraltar. Spain is responsible for controlling Gibraltar's external border.
The economy of Gibraltar is mainly determined by tourism. In 2017
there were 7.7 million arrivals. In addition to many day tourists, more
and more tourists are staying in the numerous hotels. In addition,
offshore finance and shipbuilding and ship repair each contribute around
25 percent to the gross domestic product. In fourth place is the
telecommunications sector, which accounts for around 10 percent of GDP.
The growing number of international providers of online sports betting
and casinos based in Gibraltar represents an ever-increasing part of the
Since 2004, surpluses have regularly been generated in the state budget, each amounting to between 1.1% and 4.1% of GDP. In the 2011/2012 financial year, income of £454.6 million was offset by expenditure of just £420.3 million, which corresponded to a budget surplus of 2.93% of GDP.
The Gibraltar pound is formally its own currency, but is tied to the British pound at a ratio of 1:1. That's why people often pay in British pounds and less in euros.
In a ranking of the most important financial centers worldwide, Gibraltar ranked 66th (as of 2018).
The "Gibraltar Post Office" was responsible for postal services in
Gibraltar from 1886. In 2005 he was awarded the title "Royal" by the
British Queen Elizabeth II, so that the postal system in Gibraltar is
now in the hands of the "Royal Gibraltar Post Office". This makes the
Gibraltar Postal Company the only postal company outside of mainland
Britain to be awarded the title of Royal.
The Royal Gibraltar Post Office issues its own postage stamps, denominated in Gibraltar Pounds (GIP). Due to the geographical limitation, the stamps of the "Royal Gibraltar Post Office" are very popular with tourists and collectors. The stamps often feature the motif of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.
Postal items from Gibraltar abroad (with the exception of Spain) are first flown to London and from there transported on to their destination countries. Postal items for Spain, on the other hand, are handed over to the Spanish post office at the national border. The same procedure also applies in reverse for international mail to Gibraltar. The main post office is at 104 Main Street.
Gibraltar has its own airport, Gibraltar Airport. It is the only
airport in the world whose runway crosses a (four-lane) road at the same
Gibraltar is a very important supply center for marine diesel in the Mediterranean. In 2005, 6662 ocean-going ships called at the port, 90% of them for refueling.
A total of nine bus routes operate in Gibraltar (routes 1 to 4 and 7 to 9 operated by the Gibraltar Bus Company, and routes 5 and 10 operated by Calypso Transport). Travel on the Gibraltar Bus Company routes is free for holders of certain permits, others pay 2.50 Gibraltar pounds or 3.30 euros for a day ticket. On the Calypso Transport lines, a day ticket costs 6 Gibraltar pounds or 9 euros, single journeys cost 1.40 Gibraltar pounds or 2.10 euros.
Because of its small size and its proximity to Spain, Gibraltar has had traffic on the right since 1929.
There is a regular cable car service with one stop between downtown and Upper Rock.
Winston Churchill Avenue is the only connection to Spain.
Gibraltarian culture is heavily influenced by British, Spanish and
Music bands from Gibraltar include Breed 77, The SoulMates and No Direction.
The National Day of Gibraltar is September 10th. In doing so, he commemorates the referendum on September 10, 1967, in which an overwhelming majority of citizens decided to remain in Great Britain. Many houses are decorated with the flag of Gibraltar and red and white balloons. From 1992 to 2015, a balloon was "released into the air" for every citizen on this day, this ritual was banned in 2016 due to conservation concerns.
Henry Francis Cary (1772–1844), British writer and translator
Michael George Bowen (1930–2019), Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark
Charles Caruana (1932–2010), Roman Catholic Bishop of Gibraltar
Albert Hammond (born 1944), singer-songwriter and record producer
John Galliano (born 1960), British fashion designer
Karel Mark Chichon (born 1971), conductor
Ava Addams (born 1979), porn actress
Misha Verollet (born 1981), writer
Kaiane Aldorino (b. 1986), Miss World 2009
Maroua Kharbouch (born 1990), beauty queen
The Gibraltar national football team has existed since 1895 and has,
among other things, finished third in the FIFI Wild Cup. A national
championship is held annually.
Gibraltar has its own football stadium where all league matches and international matches are played. On 8 December 2006, the Football Association of Gibraltar was provisionally admitted as a UEFA member. A final vote took place on January 26, 2007 in Düsseldorf, where Gibraltar's application for UEFA membership was rejected. After a ruling by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport CAS in August 2011, the decision had to be revised and Gibraltar had to be admitted again as a provisional member from October 1, 2012. As a result, Gibraltar was included as an independent national association in the draws for the European Under-17s, the Under-19s and the UEFA Futsal Cup. The final inclusion was decided at the 37th UEFA Congress on May 24, 2013 in London. By executive decision, even as a full member, teams from Spain and Gibraltar are not allowed to meet in group matches. On 19 November 2013, the national team played their first official international match against another UEFA member in Faro, Portugal. The game against Slovakia ended 0-0. The 2016 European Football Championship qualifier was the first tournament in which Gibraltar played for participation. The first game against Germany took place on November 14, 2014 in Nuremberg and ended 4-0 for Germany.
Similar to the development of Gibraltar's UEFA admission, the CAS had to decide on Gibraltar's admission to FIFA. Spain in particular resisted Gibraltar's membership, as it did when it was admitted to UEFA. At the same time, it was argued that Gibraltar would not be a free country in itself and that the requirements for admission to FIFA would therefore not be met. The CAS ruled that FIFA would have to create all the prerequisites for accepting Gibraltar as a full member as soon as possible. Gibraltar was admitted to FIFA in 2016.
The national teams of Gibraltar also fight for international recognition in other sports. Rugby and cricket have established themselves because of Gibraltar's history. In cricket, it takes part in European competition.
Special Olympics Gibraltar was founded in 1985 and has participated in the Special Olympics World Games several times. The association has announced its participation in the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2023 in Berlin. The delegation will be looked after before the games as part of the Host Town Program by the district of Munich with the municipalities of Oberhaching and Taufkirchen.
The Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) operates its own radio
and television station for Gibraltar. The local variant of the British
soldiers' station British Forces Broadcasting Service can be received
both online and via Eutelsat 10A. There are also various daily
newspapers in English and Spanish. The main Gibraltar daily newspapers
are the Gibraltar Chronicle and Panorama.
The country-specific top-level domain .gi has existed since 1995.