Many people will say that the Costa del Sol is the best place to go to experience Spanish weather amidst British surroundings, but those people would be discounting the small patch of land to the south of this popular seaside region. The overseas territory is often maligned for being old fashioned, but Gibraltar is experiencing a resurgence as Brits look for familiar surroundings outside of the UK.
With the pound as its currency, a town that’s easily explored on foot and a flight time of under three hours, there are so many reasons to (re)discover Gibraltar. Here are some excellent things to do whilst you’re in town.
Explore The Rock
Often thought to be one attraction (and the only thing to do in Gibraltar) the famous rock is actually home to various different things to see and do. St Michael’s Cave, once thought to house a secret passage that led to Africa, is a stunning limestone cave that dates back to prehistoric times and, due to its fantastic acoustics, often hosts live theatre performances and concerts.
There are also the tunnels that were used by the British armed forces to prepare for World War Two, essentially creating a city within the rock, and the passages dug out by men during the Great Siege in the late 1700s. And that’s without mentioning the stunning views that can be enjoyed from the Top of the Rock. Take the cable car and be there in just six minutes.
Meet The Macaques
The most famous residents of Gibraltar are definitely the Barbary macaques that have made their home at Ape’s Den. It may be against the law to feed them but you can still get up close to these semi-wild monkeys, albeit at the risk of having one of the crafty critters snatch your camera and make a run for it. Animal lovers may also love the birdwatching opportunities in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. During the spring, this protected wildlife area is home to eagles, falcons and other birds of prey.
Gaze Out From Europa Point
Europa Point it at the southernmost part of the peninsula and is where you will find Trinity Lighthouse. This has been guiding sailors through the sometimes treacherous Strait of Gibraltar since 1841 and which can be seen as far as 19 nautical miles out to sea.
If you gaze across this short stretch of water, you will be able to see Morocco, from which the macaques are said to have travelled. If you would like a closer look, it’s possible to catch a ferry to Tangier from the harbour in town. The crossing takes about an hour and a half, but you will need to set your watch back an hour when you arrive. Europa Point is also home to the Sikorski Memorial, dedicated to the prime minister of Poland who died in exile in Gibraltar, and The Mosque of The Custodian of The Holy Mosques.
Save At The Shops
Thanks to the fact that Gibraltar is free of VAT, it is a great destination to do a bit of shopping before heading home. Whether you are looking for souvenirs, designer fashion or wines and spirits, there are a few places to grab a bargain. Just don’t expect typical British opening hours as most places close at lunchtime on Saturday and don’t open again until Monday morning.
The main area for shopping is, coincidentally, Main Street, but there are also stores in the old part of town and in the modern harbour area known as Ocean Village. When you begin to feel a bit peckish, head over to the latter for a range of chain and independent restaurants, before taking the short walk to Casemates Square to experience a taste of the nightlife.
So if you are looking for somewhere relatively inexpensive, where the sun is almost guaranteed to shine, allow us to show you what Gibraltar can offer.