£135 per night
Expected price for:18 Aug - 19 Aug
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Home to the famous Barbary apes, and with its red phone boxes and bobbies on the beat, the British overseas territory of Gibraltar has a unique culture and history. Joining the south-western tip of Spain and rising over 400 metres from the sea, the Rock of Gibraltar is an impressive sight. Gibraltar, which enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, was where John Lennon and Yoko Ono famously chose to get married while, like his 007 character, Sean Connery also did it twice.
With Gibraltar being less than seven-square kilometres in size, all of the hotels in Gibraltar are not far from the many sights and sounds the small territory has to offer. Walking to the top of the Rock by the Mediterranean Steps provides a great way to work off the tasty local churros and tapas, but if you are feeling less energetic, or do not have much of a head for heights, you can always take the cable car to the top. The cable car is conveniently located close to the famous Rock Hotel. From the top of the Rock you will have stunning views of Gibraltar, along with the nearby coast of Spain, and you will also see across the Bay of Gibraltar to the Rif Mountains of Morocco. Next to the cable car station is the entrance to the Alameda Gardens, a botanic garden which includes a small wildlife park which aims to conserve local species.
Gibraltar is of course famous for its wild, roaming apes. No-one truly knows how the tailless macaques came to live on Gibraltar’s upper Rock, but after Britain took control of Gibraltar in 1704 there came a belief that the British would remain in Gibraltar as long as the apes did. During World War II, so important were the apes to morale that Winston Churchill decided that the numbers should be increased. They are very cheeky, quick and adventurous, so perhaps much of their success is due to the amount of sweets and treats they pinch from unsuspecting tourists who visit Gibraltar. As well as the apes, also in the area of the Upper Rock, you will find the Nature Reserve which is home to local wildlife, rare plant species, and the beautiful St Michaels Cave, a group of natural limestone caves with stalagmites and stalactites. No less interesting are the man made Great Siege tunnels, dug out by the occupying British forces in the late eighteenth century.
The Bay of Gibraltar is also home to three species of dolphin: the common, striped, and bottlenose. Because these friendly dolphins like to come and play alongside the boats in the bay, if you visit Gibraltar you will have a great chance of spotting them on one of the dolphin boat trips leaving from Marina Bay, which have an almost 100% success rate. As well as the dolphins, you may get a chance to see some visiting whales. Marina Bay and the neighbouring Ocean Village, where the luxurious yachts come to moor, are popular with locals and visitors to Gibraltar alike. There are trendy bars and cafes, stylish restaurants and two casinos for those who are feeling lucky. A short stroll from Ocean Village is Casemates Square, once an army barracks and munitions storage area, but now full of cafes, bars and shops. Stop by on a Saturday to see the costumed re-enactment of the Ceremony of the Keys, which commemorates when the gates of Casemates Square were locked daily to secure Gibraltar from invasion.
There cannot be many places in the world where pedestrians and traffic need to stop to allow planes to arrive and depart, but that is exactly what happens in Gibraltar as the only road in and out of the territory runs right across the middle of the Gibraltar Airport runway. If you want to be close to the airport, the nearest hotels are just across the border in La Linea, Spain. While Gibraltar enjoys approximately 300 days of sunshine a year, when the wind blows in from the east an unusual cloud forms at the top of the rock. This ‘levanter’, a grey, smoke-like cloud, hangs above the town centre which can make it dank and humid even when the rest of Gibraltar is bathed in glorious sunshine. Many of Gibraltar’s hotels are in the town centre, so if you want uninterrupted sun you may want to choose one which is not.
Gibraltar really knows how to throw a party on National Day, held on the 10th of September each year. It’s a really inclusive event, where all who want to join in are very welcome, so book your hotel, get dressed in the Gibraltar national colours of red and white, and enjoy the free entertainment. Gibraltar’s annual music festival, held over a weekend early in September, has a line-up of local and international music artists. This has become a very popular event so hotels in Gibraltar and nearby Spain do get booked up in well in advance. Gibraltar hosts plenty of other events throughout the year, including a literary festival, wine festival, chess and darts competitions. The week long Gibraltar Fair, held in August each year, has fairground rides, games and food and drink stalls as well as free entertainment. The fair starts on an evening, really getting going when the sun goes down, and goes on until late.
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