Rock of Gibraltar Tour: Europa Point, Upper Rock, St. Michael's Cave and Ape's Den
- Europa Point: Take in views of one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, where Mediterranean and Atlantic waters mingle as Trinity Lighthouse stands guard.
- Upper Rock Nature Preserve: Look off from this amazing vantage point and then descend deep into St. Michael's Cave, a thrilling and theatrical limestone grotto.
- Ape's Den: See the famous "locals," a colony of semi-wild Barbary macaques. Listed as endangered in their indigenous homes, they're thriving on the Rock.
- Free time and shopping: Enjoy a slice of "England in the sun," have a spot of tea, or browse for duty-free bargains in an enticing array of shops and boutiques.
About this Gibraltar tour
St. Michael's Cave has always seemed mysterious, even bottomless. The Ancient Greeks believed it was the Gates of Hades, an entryway to the underworld. Others thought it was a passage under the Strait of Gibraltar, a link to Africa that brought the first apes to the Rock. Today the cave continues to beguile scientists, historians, and curious travelers.
One thing we know for sure is that it's old. Archeologists have found Neolithic bowls, cave drawings, and Neanderthal skulls – all clues prehistoric man was there long before your visit. Geologists have figured out the caves were formed as rainwater created a carbonic acid solution that slowly, over eons, created tiny fissures that eventually grew into a vast network of passageways and caverns almost 1000 feet above the sea.
Historians know the cave's role in Gibraltar's conflict-filled past. (It's been one of Europe's most fought-after places due to a strategic location near the entrance to the Mediterranean.) Going back to the 700s, Berber warlords used the caves during conquests. Then in 1704, after the British had captured the Rock, 500 Spaniards attempted to take it back by hiding overnight in the caves before springing a surprise attack. (But not surprising enough. They lost.)
St. Michael's Cave has been more harmonious since then. In the largest chamber, called Cathedral Cave for its stalactites that resemble church organ pipes, Victorians held elaborate parties, weddings, and picnics. Today, with its fine acoustics, Cathedral Cave is a perfect venue for musical and dramatic events – and for beauties vying for top spot in the annual Miss Gibraltar pageant.
Churchill didn't monkey around
The Rock's famous apes are Europe's only free-roaming primates. Legend has it that if the apes ever left Gibraltar, the colony would cease to be British – and this was taken seriously. During World War II, when the ape population decreased to a mere seven, Winston Churchill ordered five females brought in from Morocco. Then, just to make sure, a troop transport was dispatched to North Africa to bring more apes to the Rock.
Arriving by cruise ship? Please proceed quay side and look for our tour representative with the displayed logo sign.
Apes roam wild and can at times be intrigued by bags and cameras. Do not approach, touch, or feed the apes. Travelers can be dropped off in town at the end of the tour. They are responsible for their own return to the pier in the port. You will be traveling in a mini-coach with driver/guide only. There is no storage for wheelchairs in the transport. Travelers must navigate a step to enter/exit the vehicle.
Transportation is unable to store wheelchairs. Travelers must be able to enter/exit the vehicle without assistance. Must be able to walk approximately 1 mile over uneven terrain including gravel paths and walkways.
Cultural, Family Friendly, Bus Tour, Wilderness/Wildlife, Shopping
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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