When people talk about Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, it’s often first about the sunshine, the summer, the sea, the beaches, the holiday. But Gibraltar is a place that can be savoured at any time of the year.
The autumn in Gibraltar is mild. It is, in reality, an extension of the summer. The mornings and evenings are a bit fresher, and perhaps the days a little shorter, but the days are still warm. Warm enough, in fact, to still be able to take a dip at the pretty seaside ‘village’ of Catalan Bay. With its fishing boats, beach-side restaurants and gorgeously colourful houses at the edge of the original village, it is one of the prettiest settings for a morning dip and a light lunch afterwards. And at only a quick taxi drive from the cruise terminal or land border with Spain, even a day visitor can enjoy this setting before heading off to town for a meander around the shops.
Then again, the nip in the air of a November morning with the promise of sunshine and warmth to come, might be enough to motivate you to head off to the quieter expanse of Sandy Bay and head out to see on a stand up paddle adventure. That really is a novel way of experiencing Gibraltar’s rugged coastline!
Of course, the more conventional way to experience Gibraltar’s iconic landscape and the spectacular views from the Upper Rock is to take advantage of one of the many tours of the Rock. These can be as short as just a couple of hours, so even tourists on a day trip, with not as long to spare as visitors who perhaps have come to explore the world-famous Rock for several days, can enjoy some of Gibraltar’s natural and military history – St Michael’s Cave, the famous Barbary Apes, and the Siege Galleries, for example – and they can still manage to enjoy a few hours on the beach, or in town.
As winter approaches, Gibraltar’s shops fill with the glorious colours of russets and golds as the winter fashions fill our stores. Gibraltar’s Main Street, with its VAT-free offering, is a magnet for tourists. Day trippers enjoy a good browse through the variety of stores and indulge in lunch in many of the town centre bars, restaurants and café’s; perfect shelters from the sunshine or from the chill of the occasional autumnal breeze.
As I write, we are in the middle of Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. In a few weeks’ time, the big Christmas lights switch-on event will take place. Gibraltar fills with colour. Diwali is an important event for Gibraltar’s Hindu community, many of whom are traders in Main Street where their shops will be brightly decorated. There will be festivities among families, in their homes and also in the Temple. And the shops will run Diwali’s colours and lights into the brightness and lights of Christmas.
So will the restaurants – Gibraltarians live in a richly multicultural diverse community, and there is nothing they love more than enjoying a whole variety of delightful festivals together, often outdoors and usually in their favourite restaurants. There are no dull days in Gibraltar, even in autumn!