Gibraltar (including rainfall and temperature averages)
While Gibraltar is not actually part of Spain, it does get Spanish weather. Overlooking
the Straits of Gibraltar at the entrance to the Mediterranean, the rock has long
been a beacon for travellers returning to Europe. For the last three hundred years
it has been run as a British Overseas Territory but previously it had a long and
In the eighth century it was the landing point for the Moorish armies who went on
to conquer most of the Iberian Peninsula but it was uninhabited until the 1150s,
when Sultan Abd al-Mu’min ordered the construction of a castle, parts of which still
remain. Reconquered by the Christian Duke Medina Sidonia in 1462, it was initially
granted as a sovereignty to Sephardic Jews fleeing Cordoba; in 1476, however, this
was revoked and the Jews were handed over to the Spanish Inquisition.
Gibraltar remained under Spanish control until 1704 when Admiral George Rooke captured
the town. Terrified by the British sailors’ reputation for looting, most of the
Spanish population fled to the mainland. Spain ceded the territory to the British
in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. Due to its strategic importance, the Spanish authorities
have been trying to regain it ever since, whether by military or diplomatic means,
but, as a succession of referenda have shown, the population of the Rock is adamant
in its determination to stay British.
Although tiny – just 2.642 squared-miles in size – Gibraltar offers a lot to tourists
seeking a relaxing holiday. The climate is warm all year and very hot in summer, with
average temperatures never dipping below 11°C and seasonal highs in excess of 40°C.
Many visitors arrive by cruise ship to see the looming Rock from the where you can
see over to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Most of the upper area is covered by
a nature reserve, home to Barbary Macaques, the only wild monkeys found in Europe.
Local superstition states that if the monkeys ever leave, so will the British.
South along Queen’s Road, St Michael’s Cave is an immense natural cavern; the lower
part is a series of chambers going ever deeper into the rock ending in a beautiful
underground lake. The Tower of Homage is the largest surviving part of the old Moorish
Castle; nearby, the Upper Galleries were blasted out of the rock to point guns down
at the Spanish during the Great Siege of 1779-82. Back in the lovely old town, the
Gibraltar museum is home to two well-preserved Moorish Baths.
The Rock is not just for culture vultures, as a tax-free zone this is a popular
shopping destination for both travellers and ex-pats living on the mainland. The
territory even has its own currency; the Gibraltarian pound.
Sun lovers do less well – the only really nice beach is at Catalan Bay, which has
lots of character and a different vibe to the town. As befits a place so caught
between cultures, both the cuisine and the nightlife owe something to Spanish and
British influences. Fish and chips are as common as tapas although there are some
national dishes such as rosto, fideos al horno, calentita, panissa, and rolitos.
Monthly temperature and rainfall averages for Gibraltar
Average minimum temperature
Average maximum temperature
Absolute minimum temperature
Absolute maximum temperature
Average daily rain
Avg monthly rain
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