Bordered to the north by Spain and coined ‘Britain in the sun’ by those who both voted Brexit but would like to live there forever, Gibraltar is one beautiful place to visit. For such a small area, the rock nation certainly has a lot going on, from unique opportunities for wildlife spotting to the hustle, bustle and frivolity of world renowned festivals. While it’s future is uncertain with Brexit on the horizon, what is assured is the enduring appeal of this amazing little corner of the Iberian peninsula. With that in mind, and with the help of Ta-Dah TV, here are 5 IDEAL things to do in Gibraltar.
DOLPHIN & WHALE WATCHING
Out of all of the attractions on the Rock, dolphin and whale watching is perhaps the most popular. Gibraltar has become famous all over the world for its ever-present population of wild and free roaming dolphins, as well as seasonal whales; now that’s a one-two punch and a half.
There are four prevalent types of dolphin who live here, primarily the common, bottle-nose and striped dolphin, as well as pilot whales. It’s also eminently possible to see orcas, and fin and sperm whales, to name but a few, as these amazing creatures come to the Bay and the Strait of Gibraltar for food and to breed. Taking a guided boat trip aimed at dolphin and whale watching from Gibraltar will not only give you guarantee of seeing these amazing creatures up close and personal in their natural habitat, but also provide you with outstanding views of the Rock of Gibraltar, the Spanish coastline and North Africa. Reason enough to visit, we think.
FROLIC WITH MONKEYS AT APES DEN
Located on Gibraltar Rock, the best way to get up to Apes Den is by cable car. At the top, you’ll encounter a variety of monkeys ready for a little fun and frolics.
The monkeys at Apes Den are well known for their curiosity and for being very engaging (aren’t they always, hey?). The troop living here is called the Queen’s Gate group and are warm and hospitable, permitting people to get very close to them, even climbing onto the happy tourists from time to time. It is, of course, advisory to be cautious when this happens, as they are still wild animals and can bite or cause hurt if they are frightened or provoked. The cheeky monkeys will take almost every opportunity to steal food from your bags, or even snatch it right out of your hands. Deploy common sense, and you’ll have a blast, we think.
What’s more, if you’re hoping to explore St Michael’s Cave (more of that later) then it’s merely a short walk from Apes Den.
GIBRALTAR CALLING MUSIC FESTIVAL
The Gibraltar Music Festival is another massive highlight of the rock (appropriately titled, here) nation. Happening in September, if you’re into pop, rock, dance and EDM (main stage), as well as disco, funk and even ska (classics stage), then this one is for you. And if you can’t find anything you like within those genres, then perhaps music isn’t for you, full stop.
The festival is only a few years young, but regularly attracts music lovers from the Mediterranean Costa del Sol and the Costa de la Luz on the Atlantic coast, all the way up to Seville in Spain. When MTV came on board, the 2-day festival changed name slightly, now known as the MTV Gibraltar Calling, but this only helped attract bigger names. These guys really know how to throw a late summer festival, getting huge bands and acts to perform (2019 saw Liam Gallagher and Take That, while two years ago, Stormzy headlined) with festival goers eager to catch the last rays of soundtracked European summer sun.
SAINT MICHAEL’S CAVE
Saint Michael’s Cave is a network of limestone caves found deep down in the Rock of Gibraltar. Located on what is called the Upper Rock, the cave sits at a height of over 300 metres above sea level. The main cave has been converted into an incredible auditorium, offering a completely unique acoustic experience, and plays host to to concerts and events on a regular basis.
As well as the main cave, there is Lower Michael’s Cave. Only discovered during World War Two whilst Royal Engineers were blasting out a new entrance to the lower chambers of the cave, it’s a unique place indeed as it’s home to many of speleological formations. Stalagmites, stalactites, rim stone, helictites, columns, coral rocks, flowstone, straws and curtains are merely a few of the outstanding cave formations.
Located at the opening of one of the world’s most intriguing natural crossroads, here you’ll find a whole host of diverse marine life. Boasting beautiful reefs and more than 35 wrecks, the coastline of Gibraltar has become a diver’s paradise, with rays, octopus, moray eels, cuttlefish, schools of boxfish, pipefish, sunfish, bass, mullets, damselfish and anthias all present and correct. Various diving schools allow you to get stuck in and amongst it, giving you on site lessons and offering equipment rental. All you need to bring is a sense of wonder.