As the Rock’s top natural beauty this cave is a must-see on the Gibraltar rock tours. At a height of 300 metres above sea level it is only accessible on foot or via private tours Gibraltar caters for in a very convenient fashion.
Receiving nearly a million visits a year, it is one of the jewels of our crown. It also has a local use, as the cave was converted into an auditorium in which to watch shows literally inside the Rock. Only last year Mark Steel filmed a show here and there are also numerous classical music and jazz events held in this remarkable setting.
Visiting the cave in one of our Tours of Gibraltar is following the steps of prehistory. In 1974 a Neolithic bowl was found and since then a picture of an Ibex drawn around 60,000 years ago showed the cave’s usage by the earliest human beings. The Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians passed through here too as the writings of Pomponius Mela and Homer show.
The idea of using the cave as a place of entertainment originated in Victorian times, where parties, concerts and duels were held inside it. It would be lit up a bit like it is now, as soldiers used the space for their own recreation on visits to the Rock. It led to exploration of the different passageways, with its usage by as a wartime hospital during air attacks.
Another range of caverns that stretches far below the Rock was discovered in 1942 when troops tried to create an alternative entrance to St Michael’s Cave. is another of the long list of things to do in. Those who want a bit more excitement can arrange guided tours in Gibraltar to see the Lower St Michael’s Cave. It showcases rare geological formations and an underground lake which visitors have to walk around or can even swim in during the visit.
Legend has it that St Michael’s cave is bottomless and that the famous Rock monkeys which hang around at its entrance arrived on the Rock through tunnels that cross the Straits. During Ancient Greek times, it was believed to be the Gates of Hades, giving avid explorers who never returned a possibility to enter the underworld. Nowadays it is a far less bleak prospect as the exits are clearly marked.