The top of the Mediterranean Steps, Gibraltar. © D. Stillingfleet


Gibraltar - The Rock

, 426m - Info | Trip Report

Introduction :

Gibraltar is a self-governing British Territory situated on a 2.75 mile long peninsular on Spain's southern coastline.

In 711 AD, General Tarik lead a successful Moorish conquest of Spain landing his fleet at Gibraltar. The Moors named the hill below which they landed "Jebal Tarik" (meaning Mountain of Tarik), and it is a corruption of this name that stays with us to this day.

The Highest point on the rock is close to O'Hara's Battery, a gun placement built at the end of the 18th Century, now demolished. An artillery position was reconstructed here in 1935 with a 9.2 inch gun which had a range of 16.82 miles.

Today the entire Upper Rock is a nature reserve and an entrance fee is charged; one rate allows you to enter attractions such the Apes Den, and a lower rate for those who simply wish to wander around. The reserve is open daily from 09:30 to 19:00.

O'Hara's Battery, and the steps up the side of Gibralta
O'Hara's Battery, and the steps up the side of Gibralta

Routes :

There are a number of single track roads that lead from the town to the Upper Rock and these are clearly shown on the maps available from the tourist office. The less energetic might take a cable car ride to the Top Station.

There are also a number of footpaths on the Rock, although these are less often shown on the maps;
  • The Mediterranean Steps lead off from the Jew's Gate on the Rock's southern end, and contour round anti-clockwise to the Rock's Mediterranean flank where they begin the steep ascent up towards O'Hara's Battery. On the way the path passes numerous crumbling military installations, past caves, and through a short tunnel. The path and steps are much over grown, exposed, and in a bad state of repair. This is certainly not the route for the faint hearted. At a junction where the path really begins to climb, there was another path that continues over a wall along the eastern flank of the Rock in a down hill direction. This path leads to an out of bounds cave.

  • Another path leaves from the upper town near the Garrison Library. A flight of steps deposits you on a rough trail which if followed will take you up to the Devil Gap Battery. Pass this derelict building on a tarmac road, and turn sharply to the right and uphill towards the Ape's Den. Before reaching the Ape's Den a gate in the King Charles V Wall is reached. The adventurous sort may chose to ignore the warning signs and follow the steps along the wall to the Top Station.
Which ever route you chose, the length and time taken can be adjusted to fit in visits to St. Michael's Caves and the Great Siege Tunnels (entrance fees apply).

Getting there and away :

  • By Air - Gibraltar is approximately two and a half hours flying time from the UK.

    British Airways operates scheduled daily flights from London Gatwick to Gibraltar. For more information on flight availability and fares, visit

    Alternatively fly with one of the budget airlines (perhaps or to one of the many airports in southern Spain and travel onward by hire car, bus or rail; Malaga (1hr 30mins by car), Jerez (2hrs by car), Seville (3hrs 45 mins by car), and Almeria (4hrs 30mins by car).

  • By Rail - Although there is no railway system in Gibraltar, the neighbouring towns of San Roque and Algeciras, in Spain, are both serviced by the national railway network of Spain (RENFE), visit for timetables and fares. Both towns are just a few minutes drive away from Gibraltar.

  • By Road - Driving to Gibraltar from Spain, take the N340 or the A7 (Cadiz - Malaga highway) and turn off at Junction 119 into the N351 which takes you to La Linea, the border town between Spain and Gibraltar. The border is open 24 hours a day. You can drive or walk through with no restrictions on the number of crossings per day. Entry into Gibraltar is free. The frontier is just a five minute walk away from La Linea Bus Station.

Maps & Books :


Useful Links :

The is the official Tourist website fro Gibraltar and has useful fact about traveling to, accomodation, events, etc. is the official tourist website for Andalucia (the neighbouring region of Spain) and this can also be useful in planning your trip.

You can read the latest UK government travel advise to Gibraltar at

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