Jutting out into the sea at the western end of the Costa Del Sol, Gibraltar, known affectionately as the “Rock”, is still a place with a predominantly British feel. Walking the streets will bring you face to face with some of the high street names you will find anywhere in the U.K. Getting into Gibraltar from mainland Spain involves border control, so don’t forget your passport if you are taking a trip.
Below are some suggestions of what to take in whilst exploring the island.
1. St. Michaels Cave.
This big natural Grotto was once inhabited by Neolithic man. The modern grotto plays host to concerts and displays and visitors can get refreshment from the little cafe situated at the entrance. Getting to the cave involves a walk either down from the top of the cable car station or up from the Apes Den and takes around twenty minutes.
2. The Apes Den.
Most postcards of Gibraltar have one of the Rock’s famous Apes on them. The Barbary Macaques are Europe’s only free living primates and can be found hanging out near the main cable car station at the top of the island. There is a legend that claims if the Apes disappear from Gibraltar, British rule of the island will fail. No visit to Gibraltar is complete without a visit to the den, but for those who choose to walk, be warned; it is a long and steep climb.
3. The Great Siege Tunnels.
These tunnels were hand hewn out of the rock by the British during the 1779-83 siege. The Rock contains a labyrinth of tunnels and these are only a very small part of the network. Other tunnels that can be visited are the WWII caves, tours of which are organised by the Ministry of Defence.
Whilst visiting the Siege Tunnels, it is worth paying a visit to the Tower of Homage, the remains of Gibraltar’s former Muslim castle.
4. Smugglers Cove.
This cave was once a bandits’ lair and stocked with contraband, used by the mountain bandits from the historical Andalucian city of Ronda. Its link with piracy has not yet died, as there have been several allegations in recent years about the illegal trade of goods with mainland Spain.
5. Nelsons Anchorage.
Lovers of nautical history will want to visit this point, where Nelsons body was brought ashore from HMS Victory. Legend tells that the body was preserved in a rum barrel. The spot is now commemorated by a one hundred tonne supergun and can be found just south of Trafalgar Cemetery.
6. Dolphin Safari.
Not so much on the Rock as off it, a Dolphin Safari not only gives you the chance to see these wonderful mammals in their natural habitat, but also to view the Rock itself from the sea. Boats run trips from April to September and trips take around two to three hours. This stretch of the Mediterranean sea is teeming with Dolphins and most trips return a with a sighting.
7. Rock Tour.
If your sea legs are not that good, then take a tour of the Rock on the rock itself. There is an official one and a half hour tour and the fee includes the admission charge to enter the nature reserve at the top of the island and see the Apes in their natural habitat.
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