Hike the Mediterranean Steps & The Rock of Gibraltar

Rate this Adventure 1 miles 780 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Jordan + Jacki Bolt

Hike up the rocky, south-eastern end of the Rock of Gibraltar, with the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa as a backdrop.

The most prominent geographical feature in Southern Spain, the Rock of Gibraltar technically sits in a British Overseas Territory. The Rock has served as a strategic military fortress for millennia, as far back as 1000BC, and is known as one-half of the Pillars of Hercules, a term that originates in Greek mythology and refers to The Rock and a corresponding mountain in North Africa. The Pillars of Hercules, on either side of the Straights of Gibraltar, are the gateway from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. 

Although the most popular route to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar is via cable car, take the Mediterranean Steps for an unforgettable trek to the peak that will leave you feeling sorry for the tourists who opt for the easy route. 

The path to the Mediterranean Steps begins near the Jew's Gate, near the entrance to the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. From the town of Gibraltar, you'll need to walk or taxi to the top of Engineer Rd. If you walk, make sure to get a map ahead of time as the roads are not well marked. 

Once you reach Jew's Gate, on a clear day you can see across the straight to the mountains on Morocco's north coast. 

The trail starts quite level as you'll wind along the side of the rock, but intermittently you'll hit points of steep, switchback stairs that bring you closer and closer to the top. During the summer the sun can be hot, but there's plenty of places to rest in the shade, including a pair of caves with graffiti and drawings on the wall, and several abandoned military battery outposts. 

When you reach the top of the trail, you'll crest the rock at its highest point, near O'Hara's Battery. Once you've reached the summit and you've taken in the view, you can either return down the rock the same way you came, or follow O'Hara Road toward a wide variety of historical and natural sites such as St. Michael's Cave, Douglas Lookout, and Charles V Wall and take the cable car back to the bottom. If you're up for a full day of activity, you can make your way to the Moorish Castle and the Great Seige Tunnels. 

If you opt for the active route, make sure you've got a map and pay attention to signs. Distances can be deceiving when you're hiking up, down and across the rocks to see everything its got to offer. 

From the start of Mediterranean Steps trail, the route to the top is 1400m (.86 mile) with an elevation gain approximately 240m (780 ft). The terrain is rocky with large steps at times; shoes with good traction are a must. 

The Mediterranean sun is bright, so don't forget sunscreen. It's windy at the top, so you may want to bring a jacket. Water is scarce, so bring plenty from the start. And lastly, make sure any snacks or scented lotions you have are sealed away in a backpack. Gibraltar is famous for its large Barbary macaque population, and those apes are familiar with snacks and they can steal from unsuspecting visitors! 

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