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You may have heard of the world famous Rock of Gibraltar, but do you know what this iconic piece of rock situated at the southern end of the Iberian peninsula has to offer?
Gibraltar’s appeal as a travel destination continues to grow with activities as diverse as they are plentiful. This British Overseas Territory is almost entirely surrounded by water other than the narrow isthmus which links it to mainland Spain, where the main road into the city crosses the runway where your flight will arrive and depart! Gibraltar is less than seven square kilometres on the outside, but inside lies a myriad of caves and tunnels that stretch for almost fifty kilometres, and hold some of Gibraltar’s biggest mysteries and secrets.
Gibraltar’s legendary tale is filled with battles and sieges that weave civilisations and cultures through the ages. This historical legacy lives on today and can be enjoyed in its numerous attractions. Make sure you bring enough memory space in your camera as Gibraltar offers visitors views of unparalleled beauty both on land and at sea. Wildlife flourishes on the Rock’s porous limestone and its flora and fauna are world renowned and of conservational importance. Visit the Upper Rock Nature Reserve and you’ll be clicking away for hours, taking snaps of the famous Barbary Macaques or inside the Great Siege Tunnels or St Michaels Cave, one man made, the other natural.
Gibraltar is also a vibrant city with a range of leisure pursuits to suit all tastes and budgets. The busy bustling café society of Casemates Square transforms into lively nightlife with live entertainment and music from young resident bands. Or why not try Queensway Quay or Ocean Village Marinas where the nightlife and cuisine experience continues.
If the beauty of the place puts you in a romantic mood then you won’t be the first. The warm climate and natural dramatic settings have led to a significant rise in couples choosing to wed and honeymoon on the Rock. Gibraltar earned its status in the romantic stakes in the 1950s and 60s following a string of high profile weddings, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono!
If you’re after the ‘local’ experience then you will be struck by the vibrancy and colour of local life. A myriad of cultures have lived harmoniously in Gibraltar over the centuries, and thanks to this a wide range of internationally inspired dishes can be found in the Rock’s many restaurants.
Shopping? Gibraltar welcomes millions of tourists every year and if you’re after a bargain thanks to Gibraltar’s VAT and Tax Free status, many of you will head to Main Street, the centre of Gibraltar’s commercial district and the scene of some of the best value shopping on the Mediterranean.
A visit to Gibraltar is certainly much more than you can imagine.
Described by The Sunday Times as the most prestigious open chess tournament in the world, the Gibraltar Chess Festival will take place on 27 January - 6 February. gibraltarchesscongress.com
Take a break from the pubs and the shops and visit the evocative Trafalgar Cemetery. Lushly planted with tropical foliage, palms and plants, the tombstones date back to the famous Battle of Trafalgar and make poignant reading (Devil's Tower Road, behind St Teresa's Church).
Visit the fine Gibraltar Museum with its Muslim bathhouse and extraordinary Egyptian mummy that dates from the 7th century and was washed up here in the 1800s. Plus plenty of fascinating history about the Rock (18-20 Bomb House, gibmuseum.gi).
Take a trip to the stunningly beautiful and pristine beach of Bolonia, which has the added perk of being the home of some fascinating Roman ruins. Find it 20km from Tarifa on the Cádiz coastline (around an hour's drive from the Rock).