The famous rock of Gibraltar rises sharply out of the Mediterranean Sea, where the Iberian Peninsula dips down to meet the African continent. Originally a fortress town, standing as a lone sentry of the strait, today Gibraltar is open to visitors who can enjoy the sun, the sights and a curious feeling of not really being that far from home.
Connected to Spain via a narrow isthmus, on which the local airport is located, Gibraltar winds its streets and houses around the monolithic limestone rock. Featured in the James Bond-film The Living Daylights the town can today be explored in a less hair-raising manner than Timothy Dalton’s 007 did. The first thing that greets visitors to the peninsula, after crossing the runway, is the memorial named The Cradle of History. A Neanderthal-skull was found in a cave here in 1848, and is believed to be over 100,000 years old, making Gibraltar one of the earliest settlements in European history. Visit the Gibraltar Museum for further exploration of the people and cultures that have settled around the rock for tens of thousands of years, and then venture into the nature park located on the eastern side of the cliffs, where you can explore the caves and tunnels that have been used for various purposes through the multiple millennia. Saint Michael’s Cave is one of the more popular destinations for visitors to discover. Numerous legends surround this mythical place and today the stunning cave is used as a venue for classical music among other things. From Gibraltar’s city centre you can reach some of the caves either by car, foot or, more excitingly, by cable-car. Take the cable car to the viewing platform at the top of the rock, from where you can gaze down on the city and across the bay to Algeciras. Heading back down to the streets below, you’ll find most of the city’s shopping- and bar options located along — and immediately around — Main Street. Sample some of the local food, which is a tasty blend of Spanish, Moroccan and British cuisines, or stumble across a local pub, which might seem slightly out of place in the hot Mediterranean Sun, yet somehow fits perfectly in with the surrounding houses. Alternatively, visit Sacarello’s for a dinner set among beautiful pieces of art. Gibraltar is a small, but nonetheless charming destination full of history, quaint shops and restaurants, as well as lots of other curiosities draped around the dramatic cliff. Not to be forgotten, beware of the local macaques. These cheeky little monkeys may be very charming, but they are also very good at stealing things they find interesting.
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