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Visitors to Gibraltar will be struck by the vibrancy and color of local life. Stand on top of the Rock of Gibraltar and you feel as if you were on top of the world. Europe is at your feet. Africa fills one horizon, while the gates to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic are on either side. The Rock’s lush green vegetation is set against the cobalt blue of the Bay of Gibraltar and the pastel shades of the colonial and medieval architecture of the town center. A large area of the Upper Rock has been designated as a nature reserve and famous public park, the Alameda Gardens, has recently introduced a new wildlife park to their grounds.
As the Strait of Gibraltar is the narrowest crossing point for birds migrating to and from Europe and Africa, the Rock offers unrivalled bird watching opportunities. 315 species of birds have been recorded, many of which are migratory. Gibraltar, at the head of the Strait, is a prominent headland, which accumulates migrants during the passage periods. The vegetation on the Rock, unique in southern Iberia, provides a temporary home for many species of migratory birds that stop to rest and feed before continuing migration for their crossing over the desert and sea. In spring they return to replenish before continuing their journeys to Western Europe, journeys that may take them as far as Greenland or Russia.
Explore Gibraltar’s spectacular underwater world with more than 30 wrecks, reefs and pinnacles to choose from. Gibraltar offers excellent sport for beginners, experienced open water and wreck divers. There are three established diving schools that offer diving opportunities. All provide equipment, so all you need is a swimsuit and a towel to participate. However, if you prefer to use your own diving equipment, there is no restriction for bringing it into Gibraltar. With a warm climate, a sheltered bay and open seas, Gibraltar is a good catch for anglers due to the unique positioning of the Rock with the Atlantic merging into the Mediterranean via the Strait. Its deep sea fishing provides a thrill difficult to match and well-equipped boats offer an opportunity for big game catches such as Bluefin tuna, with some fish reaching 300kg on the scales. It is difficult to imagine a better place to learn to sail than Gibraltar. The climate is warm, the Bay is sheltered but open sea, and indeed ocean, is close by.
The sailing centers offer a full range of courses, from Competent Crew to the most advanced RYA qualifications. For such a small destination, visitors are pleasantly surprised to hear that Gibraltar has six beaches around its shoreline. Four of these, Sandy Bay, Eastern Beach, the picturesque village of Catalan Bay, and Western Beach, are sandy. Throughout the year a delightful sub-tropical climate of pleasant winters, exquisite springs and shining summers make the beaches and nearby waterfront restaurants a popular attraction. A local street map will highlight where the beaches are situated.
Local specialist dishes include Calentita, a local delicacy made from chickpea flour; Pinchitos, kebabs made of spiced lamb or chicken cooked over hot coals; Torta de Acelgas, a spinach tart; and Pan Dulce, a specialist bread traditionally eaten at Christmas. Gibraltar’s true flavour comes together once a year at the ‘Calentita’ food festival which takes place each spring in Casemates Square. The festival is a display of the destination’s diversity and local customs. As well as local dishes, stalls include a range of Indian foods, German sausages, Sicilian, Nepalese, Sri Lankan and Moroccan cuisine.
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