Gibraltar is famous worldwide for its dramatic Rock. It is located in a strategic position at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. It overlooks the Straits of Gibraltar and is linked to Spain by a narrow isthmus.
Gibraltar is imposing but small. It measures less than six square kilometers in total. It is inhabited by around 30,000 people made up of Gibraltarians, British, Moroccans, Indians and Spanish. There is also a colony of the famous apes, the only ones in Europe to run free in a semi-wild state.
Due to Gibraltar's unique geographical position it is very diverse. The official language is English, but natives are typically bi-lingual, speaking Spanish as fluently as English. It is not unusual to hear languages of neighboring areas such as Arabic and Portuguese. Italian and Russian are not uncommon tongues in these parts either.
When people think of the history of Gibraltar they often think in terms of the bloody 18th century sieges when Spain tried to regain the Rock from the British. However, the history of Gibraltar very much reflects that of the Mediterranean and it could indeed be argued that it reflects that of man himself.
When you first see the Rock of Gibraltar, it is its impressive stature, towering isolated above the surrounding countryside that causes the greatest impact. Gibraltar is a beacon which signals the position of the Strait of Gibraltar, the narrow neck which separates Europe from Africa and provides the only link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. So why is Gibraltar, a lump of limestone, so different from the surrounding countryside? It all has to do with events which took place long before any kind of human had appeared on the face of the earth. The first thing to remember is that limestone is made up of millions of small shelled animals which have died and settled in the sea bed; slowly these shells harden and become rock. So another point to remember is that when you walk on the Rock you are stepping on an ancient sea bed! Many still refer to Gibraltar as an island. Historically, biologically, even politically it has been an island even in recent times, but physically it is a peninsula.
The first stop on our tour is Europa Point, the southernmost tip of Gibraltar, and the home to the lighthouse. The first thing you’ll notice as we make our stop here is the beautiful views of the Northern coast of Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar.