The Rock of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar is a place rich in history especially in the traces of human existence dating as far back as the age of the Neanderthal man. There has been a longstanding battle between Spain and the UK for sovereignty of the place, and a unanimous vote by the people of Gibraltar to remain under British rule rendered it still to be a British territory up to this day. Nonetheless, Gibraltar’s unique culture is a combination of all the influences that have landed in the region, Spanish and British notwithstanding, and its landmarks are worth seeing if you’re going on a trip to this place.

1.) Dolphin and whale watching

A cove down Gibraltar has an amazing display of dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. A trip down this bay is worth making just to witness the beauty of these sea creatures playing and showing off their splendor for all to see. Here, you will truly appreciate these marine creatures in their natural habitat.

2.) Cable ride

For a spectacular view from the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, you can take a cable car ride. During the ride, you will also get to see the majestic spread of Spain up north and Africa down south. This is truly a sight to behold!

3.) Water sports

You can go jet skiing and para gliding to enjoy the beautiful waters down in the Catalan or Sandy bays and other beaches. Be one with the underground flora and fauna by diving into the waters, too, if you love exploring under the sea. This will definitely give you a thrill as you dive deep down into the waters of Gibraltar.

4.) Migrating birds

On certain seasons, migratory birds flock the Rock of Gibraltar to escape the wintry months of their homes. Thousands of different birds come here, and the sight is truly amazing. It is one of those experiences that have you in awe at the wonders of nature.

5.) Monkeys without tails

This is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Gibraltar. The macaques, otherwise known as the tailless monkeys are said to be the only species of wild primates that can be found in the whole of Europe. There is also a wonderful legend covering the existence of these macaques in Gibraltar, one which believes that it will cease to be a British territory once these monkeys have also ceased to exist.

6.) Museum

Here, you will find the earliest evidences of human existence in Gibraltar. The museum houses a skull of the Neanderthal man said to have first inhabited the place. You will also learn all about the historical battle between the British and Spanish troops for the right to own the Rock of Gibraltar.

7.) Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden is said to have been around since the early 1800s. Gibraltar’s gardens are a collection of native and foreign plants and flowers. You will also see here bust sculptures that depict the era of when the garden was first opened.

8.) Shopping

Don’t miss out on shopping here. In fact, you can go on a shopping spree guilt-free because most goods and commodities here are sold at lower prices. This is primarily due to lower taxes on these goods as well as the freedom from other government taxes.

9.) Shrines and mosques

Gibraltar has been under many influences including religion. This country has a rich mixture of these religious influences in their history. Here, you will see mosques converted into the Shrine of Gibraltar’s Patroness, Our Lady of Europe, among other things.

10.) Changing of the Guards

Typically British, this ceremony, which takes place a couple of times within the day, is something to watch out for. You will witness the discipline and perhaps a little stoicism in the behavior of the Guards that are quite entertaining and awe-inspiring at the same time. You can see this in the place where Gibraltar’s Governor resides.

P&O Cruises, Cunard Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruises offer regular cruises to Andalusia and Gibralter from southampton, for more information see www.cruisesfromsouthampton.uk

Easy Jet flies from London Gatwick to Gibraltar and british airways flies from London Heathrow to gibraltar, flight time is around 3 hours see www.skyscanner.net for more information. Direct flights aso operate from Manchester.

For something a bit different why not stay aboard a super yacht.The Sunborn Gibraltar is a luxurious five-star yacht moored in an idyllic marina on the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula. This 142-metre long floating hotel consists of 189 lavishly decorated rooms, a grand casino, charming bars, cocktail lounges, and a restaurant.

Andalucia

Comprising the southern coast of Spain, the region of Andalusia is a mixing of opposites that come together to create a beautiful and unique area to explore. From sapphire coastal waters to sun baked deserts and from ancient cities to formidable Sierra Nevada Mountains, this area of southern Spain has it all. The west borders Portugal and the southern most tip nearly touch the continent of Africa giving the region a unique culture and history that have been unfolding for centuries. It is a melting pot of religions, cultures, and language and is a truly awesome place to explore. It is divided into 8 provinces and weather here can quite hot in the summer but chilly in the mountainous areas in the winter. So if you find yourself in the southern region of Andalusia, here are some of the best places to see along the way.

Seville

As the regions capital city, Seville embodies the heart and soul of the Andalusian way of life. Here is blend of cultures have come together in a brilliant way of life with Flamenco dancers, food, wine, and romance permeating the city. Seville has ancient architecture and history to satisfy and European traveler.

First stop is the impressive Seville Cathedral and La Giralda that incorporates both medieval gothic style and Moorish influence into a stunning building that dates back to 13th century. Once the city’s mosque, it was converted to a Christian Cathedral though the original La Giralda tower still stands next to it. This cathedral is largest in the world and dominates the city and has become its iconic symbol and an essential tourist stop on any trip to Seville.

Next stop is the Alcazar Palace with some of the most grand and stunning architecture, both inside and out, seen anywhere in the world. The heavenly design dates back to the dark ages but most certainly brought a light to the people of the city. Though open to the public, it still belongs to the royal Spanish family and often serves as the host of lavish celebrations and weddings.

Other areas well worth a visit is the Plaza de Espana, once the home of the 1929 World Fair, it is surrounded by elaborate buildings and a picturesque park that is perfect for children needing a little play time. The Museum Bella Artes and the Archeological Museum are also worth while to explore Seville art collection and historic relics.

Almeria

This picturesque coastal region is a warm sunny and much more off the beaten track place to explore but a stop here will surely have you scratching your head as to why more people don’t come here. It is deeply charming and steeped in history. Once a fortified stronghold, the city at the foothills of the mountains clings to cliffs overlooking the sea. You will enjoy winding, stone streets and picturesque cafes with mouth watering food. With less tourist traffic, the hotels here are friendly and catering to guests.

The best attraction here is the ancient Moorish castle, Alcazaba of Almeria. At the city’s height, it was a strategic and powerful stronghold of the Muslim rulers. In the centuries since, it has seen wars, rulers, and religious changing of hands many times all creating a rich history. You can explore much of this history in the city’s several museums. The massive cathedral, built in 17th century, also dominates the landscape of the city.

Cordoba

Not far from Seville is the smaller city of Cordoba, though at its height has been a Roman capital and Muslim religious center. The nearby rolling hills are filled with tiny, medieval villages and vineyards that produce some of the best wines in the world. Here the narrow, winding streets offer scenic, quiet places to enjoy an afternoon lunch or sunset dinner. City life has always centered on the plazas with their hotels, shops, and restaurants and is a perfect place to mingle with locals and spend an afternoon.

Historical sites abound in the Cordoba. The most notable is the Mezquita, originally built in the 10th century as a mosque that was later converted into a cathedral and is famous for its forest of columns. You can tour the ancient city wall that once protected it from invaders and the medieval clock tower. The Almodovar Castle, built in the year 720, has been a fortress, royal home and architectural beauty giving visitors spectacular views of the surrounding city and countryside. The 10th century Seville Gate and Roman Bridge are also ancient historical sites that showcase the rich heritage of the city. There are several medieval cathedrals and churches dotted throughout the city as well.

Costa del Sol

This coastal region of Costa del Sol and the Malaga province encompasses 9 regions and over one hundred villages that line the blue waters. It has picturesque white washed villages that overlook the oceans below making it one of the most romantic areas especially for a honeymoon. Food, wine, sun, and beaches reign supreme and is a great place to visit nearly any time of year. Resort towns, water sports and coastal life make it a popular destination for families from around the world and might be the perfect spot to conclude your Andalusia vacation with a little fun in the sun.

Busy Costa del Sol airport sits about 20 minutes from Málaga, and it’s accessible via taxi or public transport. The brand-new Málaga Cruise Terminal is just a 10-to-15-minute walk from most city center attractions.

The Eastern dock (Pier 1) is used by the cruise ships. The walk to the
city centeraround Plazade la Constitucion and Calle Puerta de Mar is 15 minutes,about 2km. The Port Authority of Malaga offers a shuttle bus from thecruise terminal to Plaza de la Marina in the center of the city. Buses
run every 15-20 minutes and costs about € 5 per person

The most popular cruise lines offer departure cruises from southampton including, P&O, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Fred Olsen Cruises

A new 900-square-metre terminal (Pier 2) is set over two
floors and can accommodate smaller cruise ships of up to 200 meters in
length. It also has a specially designed mobile passenger loading bridge
which connects to the cruise liner from the pier. This terminal is
right in town, located at a pretty boulevard.