GoNOMAD Destination Mini Guide: The Rock of Gibraltar — Page Two
During the Second World War, about thirty miles of tunnels were excavated through the Rock, a feat of modern engineering which created a city within a city. Tours of the WWII Tunnels of approximately two hours in duration and conducted by a military guide can be arranged for groups of between 6-15 people.
The tour is a fantastic opportunity to get a feel of what life would have been like for soldiers in Gibraltar during the war. Visitors are advised to wear comfortable shoes and to bring a torch if possible.
Visitors to the Rock should not miss the opportunity to take a Dolphin Tour in the Bay of Gibraltar. The abundance means it is not uncommon to see whole families of these friendly and inquisitive creatures which will often approach and bow-ride in the waves created by boats.
The boat tours themselves are worth their fee as they offer the chance to enjoy unique views of the Rock and Gibraltar’s coastline from the sea.
Discovered during World War II, Lower St. Michael’s Cave is a network of caves deep in the centre of the Rock. An organised trip down into the caves is highly recommended for visitors to Gibraltar, although it must be said that the trip is not for the faint of heart.
Although accompanied by a trained guide, the tour involves a fair amount of rope climbing, often with very few footholds and you should expect the occasional grazed knee or elbow on your way to the spectacular underground lake which marks the end of the tour.
The town of La Línea (or La Línea de la Concepción to give it its full title) is the first stop as you cross the land frontier from Gibraltar into Spain. The town’s history began not long after 1704 when Gibraltar was taken from the Spanish and a permanent garrison town was established in the area.
Over the years it has increased in size from a small insignificant hamlet to its current size. La Línea has a thriving multi-national community with a vibrant night-life and a large number of high-end restaurants and tapas bars.
The centre of La Linea has many interesting attractions including a bull ring and a museum of bullfighting on Calle Mateo Inurria as well as several interesting churches.
Given the size of its seafront, there are many excellent sandy beaches, particularly along its eastern coastline with the Mediterranean Sea, generally referred to as Playa de Levante. The beach extends up to the fishing village of La Atunara which is itself famous for its many bars and restaurants specialising in fresh seafood dishes.
Restaurants and tapas bars specializing in Andalucian cuisine tend to be concentrated within La Linea’s city centre which is based around Calle Real and Plaza Cruz Herrara.
Emile Youth Hostel – Located just a few steps from Casemates Square, this hostel offers basic accommodation either on a private room or dormitory-style basis for about £10-15 a night. It is the perfect choice for backpackers or young travellers although it is unlikely that anyone will be turned away if there are spare rooms available.
The Bristol Hotel – Set in the heart of town, opposite the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity this hotel offers the relaxing luxury of a swimming pool within a convenient city centre location. The hotel’s bleach-white façade and interior is a throw back to Gibraltar’s colonial past and its reasonably priced snack bar also claims to offer the cheapest drinks in town.
The Bristol Hotel
8/10 Cathedral Square
Tel: +350 200 76800
Fax: +350 200 77613
The Rock Hotel – Built by the Marquis of Bute this hotel is the epitome of British colonial charm. With a guestbook that reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of film stars and politicians through the decades, it is undoubtedly the choice for the up-market traveller. The hotel also boasts an excellent pool area on the edge of the Alameda Botanical gardens and is located only a 5 min walk from the southern end of Main Street.
The Rock Hotel
3 Europa Road
Tel. +350 200 73000
Fax +350 200 73513
The melting-pot of cultures and backgrounds which is Gibraltar has led to unsurprisingly diverse culinary practices. There are a wide and varied range of cafés and restaurants to suit all budgets and literally all tastes are catered. In addition to typical a la carte dining, it is also common for people to order raciones (portions) of food which are placed in at the centre of the table for everyone to share.
Morocco Restaurant – As authentic a Moroccan restaurant you will find north of the Strait of Gibraltar. Its tiny interior means it is best to visit during the warmer months when al fresco dining is a more reasonable option. Whilst hygiene levels are far from impeccable the beef and chicken pinchitos are arguably the best on the Rock.
46 Turnbulls Lane
Tel: +350 200 70859
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Tristan Cano was a freelance travel writer and journalist who lived and worked in his beloved Gibraltar on the southernmost tip of Europe. He wrote extensively in the Gibraltarian and international press about Gibraltar’s history and was the author of Historic Walking Guides: Gibraltar. Sadly, he passed away in 2013 from a brain tumor.