Unravelling History: The Pillars of Hercules and Their Mythological Origins

In this Article

1. Introduction
2. The Mythology of the Pillars of Hercules
3. Views from the Pillars of Hercules
4. The Pillars of Hercules from Europa Point
5. The Pillars of Hercules from the Top of The Rock
6. Conclusion


Gibraltar, with its plentiful natural wonders and landmarks, is a small British territory that has captivated the imagination of many tourists and travellers over its extensive history. Among its many popular attractions, the Rock’s status as one of the Pillars of Hercules stands out as a unique testament to ancient mythology. The Pillars of Hercules are a unique symbol of connection between the continents of Europe and Africa. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history and origins of the Pillars of Hercules, as well as explore the breathtaking viewpoints offering stunning vistas of this iconic landmark.

The Mythology of the Pillars of Hercules

Hercules, closely associated with Gibraltar’s Pillars, is an important figure in Greek mythology. The Pillars of Hercules aim to remind the modern world of his extraordinary journey as he travelled to the furthest corners of the Western world. Exploring the iconic territory of Gibraltar brings ancient mythology to life, captivating the imagination of many.

According to Greek mythology, Hercules, who was renowned for his strength, completed twelve labours to showcase his talent. One of these labours was the fetching of the Cattle of Geryon from the far West, before bringing them to Eurystheus. The point that Hercules reached during this particular quest is thought to mark the extent of his travels west, later becoming known as the Pillars of Hercules.

In line with ancient Greek mythology, the Northern Pillar of Hercules is the famous Rock of Gibraltar, which dominates the landscape of the small British territory. The Rock’s limestone serves as a testament to the unique geology of Gibraltar, which is widely known for its unique and extensive biodiversity. Numerous plant and animal species call the Rock home, including the famous Barbary macaques, known for being the only wild monkeys in Europe. 

The southern Pillar, Abila Mons, has been disputed compared to the certainty of the Rock. The two most likely candidates are Monte Hacho in Ceuta and Jebel Musa in Morocco, which can be viewed from Gibraltar on a clear day from locations such as Europa Point and from the Top of the Rock itself.

In Gibraltar, the incredible story of Hercules and the pillars is marked by a bronze statue depicting two pillars, with a map of the ancient world in the centre. The two pillars represent Mons Calpe in Gibraltar and Mons Abila in Africa and can be visited in their position on Queen’s Road.

Views from the Pillars of Hercules

The Pillars of Hercules symbol a gateway between the European and African continents. Their geographical and mythological significance encourages visitors from around the world to come and witness their beauty. Ancient mythology describes the pillars as the endpoints of the known world, and in all land that follows lays mystery and adventure. Today, visiting the Pillars of Hercules offers tourists incredible panoramic views across the Strait of Gibraltar, where the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea meet. Some of the most popular viewpoints include Europa Point, and the Rock itself, accessed either via a cable car, a tour or one of the many hiking trails, including the revered Med Steps.

The Pillars of Hercules from Europa Point

Nestled at the southernmost point of Gibraltar is a wonderful gem that no tourist should miss out on seeing during their next visit to the territory – Europa Point. As the place where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, Europa Point offers incredible views that will leave you in awe of your surroundings.

Behind a classic red and white striped lighthouse, you will find a picturesque view of the coastline, stretching as far as the eye can see. Across the ocean, you will be treated to an unforgettable view of Morocco and behind you, the famous Rock looms large over the town. 

The Pillars of Hercules from the Top of The Rock

The view from the Top of The Rock is sure to leave you spellbound. Gibraltar’s Rock stands almost 1,400 feet high and showcases one of the most incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar and the coastline of Africa. At the summit, guests should be prepared to be mesmerised by the sheer expanse of water and panorama of two continents. 

In addition to the breathtaking natural views, the Top of The Rock also includes many other historic landmarks to explore. These include St Michael’s Cave, the Moorish Castle and the Great Siege Tunnels. These iconic sites offer visitors the opportunity to glimpse further into the centuries of history in Gibraltar.


The Pillars of Hercules are not only beautiful natural formations; they are a rare look at the mythology and history of two unique continents. The Pillars serve as a reminder of the incredible exploration that has come before us and a visit will leave you with an experience you will never forget.

Rock Monkey Tours has a unique tour to suit every style of traveller, from a comprehensive two-hour overview, encompassing highlights such as Europa Point, the Pillars of Hercules, St Michael’s Cave and the famous Macaques, to an intensive six-hour tour that also covers Main Street, Ohara’s Battery and the World War II Tunnels.

With expert guides ready to impart their extensive knowledge and take you to the very best viewpoints in Gibraltar, you are sure to enjoy a memorable experience with Rock Monkey Tours. For more information and to view our full itineraries, visit our website: https://rockymonkey.gi/tours/