Natural Attraction in Gibraltar

St. Michael's Cave

Discover St. Michael's Cave in Gibraltar, a remarkable limestone grotto with historic WWII tunnels and unique event hosting in its natural auditorium.

St. Michael's Cave, a striking natural grotto located within the Rock of Gibraltar, is a spectacle of stalactites and stalagmites illuminated by colorful lighting. Known for its large auditorium-like chamber, it's a popular venue for concerts and cultural events. The cave is also home to rich history, lore, and natural acoustics that enhance any performance held within its depths.

Geological Features

St. Michael's Cave is a site of stunning geological formations. The cave itself is part of a network of limestone caverns, with its interior walls adorned by countless stalactites and stalagmites formed by the slow drip of mineral-rich water over thousands of years. The Upper Gallery contains older, prehistoric passages, while the Lower St. Michael's Cave, discovered more recently, offers a more adventurous route for keen explorers, with some areas still largely unexplored due to their inaccessibility.

History and Mythology

The grotto has fascinated visitors for centuries with tales of lore, such as the legend that the cave forms part of a subterranean passage over 15 miles long that passes under the Strait of Gibraltar and links Europe to Africa. Historically, it has been of strategic importance too. During World War II, St. Michael's Cave was prepared as an emergency hospital, although it was never used for this purpose. Instead, its labyrinthine tunnels served as an assembly area for troops, and remnants from this period can still be seen during a visit.

The Cathedral Cave: A Venue for Events

Within St. Michael's Cave is the Cathedral Cave, an impressive chamber that serves as a unique venue for various cultural events including concerts, ballet performances and theatre productions. The cave's naturally formed auditorium and its acoustics, paired with modern lighting, create an unforgettable atmospheric experience for both performers and audiences.

Light and Sound Show

For those visiting outside of event times, the cave offers a regular light and sound show that highlights the natural beauty of the rock formations with a dynamic display of multicolored lights set to music. This makes the cave accessible to all visitors, ensuring an engaging experience even when it is not being used for a live performance.

Guided Tours

Visitors can join guided tours which provide fascinating insights into the geological, historical, and biological aspects of the cave. Guides share stories of its discovery, geology, and use throughout history, making a trip both educational and entertaining.

Flora and Fauna

Outside the cave entrance, the surrounding Gibraltar Nature Reserve is home to diverse vegetation and wildlife. The unique microclimate supports a variety of plant species, while Barbary macaques – Europe’s only population of free-living monkeys – are often sighted nearby. Observing these animals in their natural habitat provides an enjoyable nature experience close to the cave.

Visitor Facilities and Accessibility

St. Michael's Cave offers good visitor facilities including parking, restrooms, and a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs of your visit. The main areas of the cave are accessible to those with mobility issues, ensuring that a wide range of visitors can enjoy the splendor of this natural attraction.

Nearby Attractions

While visiting St. Michael's Cave, take the opportunity to explore other attractions within the Gibraltar Nature Reserve. These include the Apes’ Den, where you can observe Barbary macaques up close; the Great Siege Tunnels with their rich military heritage; and the Skywalk offering panoramic views over the strait. Each site offers a unique perspective on Gibraltar's natural and historical landscape.

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