My finest pal is Gibraltarian and I’ve been going to go to her a few occasions a 12 months for about 15 years, first as a scholar staying in a hostel and extra lately in good resorts with my spouse. I like every part about it. What I see isn’t the stereotype of little England within the solar. Sure, there are sports activities bars and also you’re by no means greater than 10 toes away from a roast dinner on a Sunday. And OK, there’s an M&S on Fundamental Avenue, pink postboxes and policemen carrying bobby hats.However there’s additionally a really deep and various tradition, and little or no prejudice. In addition to an Anglican and a Catholic cathedral, and church buildings of all denominations, there are 4 synagogues, two mosques and a Hindu temple. The implausible Ibrahim al Ibrahim Mosque, by the lighthouse at Europa Level, seems to be straight throughout the Strait of Gibraltar to the Rif mountains in Morocco. And the individuals are genuinely welcoming to guests – there’s such a pleasant ambiance. Being in Gib is like having an enormous hug!Rachel Stockley (proper) along with her finest pal. {Photograph}: Rachel StockleyFoodI’m a chef, so the meals is an enormous draw. It’s such a melting pot of various cuisines. Sacarello’s is the Gib Starbucks. It’s a family-run espresso store within the former warehouse of an previous service provider’s home. Like many Gibraltarian companies, it was based by Nineteenth-century immigrants from northern Italy. The homeowners roast their very own espresso and do good lunches: recent salads, specials that change 3 times every week, and fish on Wednesdays.I’m going to Cafe Modelo, slightly Spanish cafe in Grand Casemates Sq. (one of many two major squares), for elevenses. It too does nice espresso, and I additionally suggest the amaretto on ice: the waiter brings a glass with enormous ice cubes and the bottle to your desk and free-pours – no stingy British measures!Amar’s Bakery is a Jewish bakery that has been doing nice bagels since 1820. The Kasbar is an natural, plant-based cafe the place you may get your self a wholesome shake. Additionally they have acoustic units with native musicians on Saturday nights.For tapas, it needs to be La Tapilla Sixtina, which serves cold and hot pintxos, actually good charcuterie, nice octopus, grilled iberico pork … The service is actually good, too – once I went for a second time, months later, the waiter remembered which wine I’d been consuming on my first go to.Arroz negro at The Dolphin. {Photograph}: Rachel StockleyThe Dolphin in Rosia Bay is implausible for seafood. All fish is domestically caught, and the calamari and prawns are superb. We go for the Sunday evening seafood paella or arroz negro, and watch the solar setting over Africa.At 4 Stagione you actually really feel such as you’re within the Mediterranean. It’s a country Italian the place you eat underneath the vine leaves within the courtyard. It’s near the Alameda Gardens, Gibraltar’s botanic gardens, which is gorgeous for a shady stroll.Ocean Village is without doubt one of the newer developments on Gibraltar, and is usually residence to chain eating places. Nevertheless, it additionally has an genuine Indian restaurant known as Little Bay. It’s my favorite – although I’ve received Manchester’s Curry Mile down the street at residence! It’s all the time busy, however which means you possibly can have a cocktail on the bar when you wait. The cocktail record is implausible, or you possibly can simply inform the employees what you want and so they’ll make you a bespoke drink.Style of Marrakech is on my record for my subsequent go to – buddies have advised me it’s the very best Moroccan restaurant, with nice tagines.For drinks, My Wines has common wine tastings and reside music on the roof terrace on Friday nights – it’s one other good sundown spot. And the close by Spirit of the Rock is the one gin distillery in Gibraltar, which does excursions and tastings.BeachesSandy Bay, on the Mediterranean facet of the Rock, the place the water is hotter. {Photograph}: Rachel StockleyWe typically begin the day on one seashore and transfer to a different, as a result of the Rock is so steep it casts its shadow over completely different areas all through the day. You possibly can trip the bus all day for about 70p, so it’s simple to seashore hop. On the Atlantic facet, El Quarry, or Camp Bay, has an out of doors pool in a former quarry, a rocky seashore and nice swimming, snorkelling and diving – there are 11 wrecks within the bay.On the Mediterranean facet, the place the water is noticeably hotter, my favorite is Sandy Bay. We had the seashore to ourselves in October, when it’s too chilly for the locals however appears like summer time to Brits. The exercise firm In2adventures is predicated right here – I’ve been paddleboarding with them, and so they additionally do hydrofoiling (driving a jet-propelled surfboard) and coasteering (a mix of ziplining, climbing, scrambling, leaping, abseiling and swimming).La Caleta, or Catalan Bay, is beautiful, and the homes are all completely different colors and constructed into the rocks, so trying again on the village from the seashore it seems to be like Balamory. The villagers are primarily descendants of Genoese fishermen who settled right here within the seventeenth and 18th centuries, and fishermen nonetheless set out from right here to get the day’s catch. There are a few little eating places serving recent fish and tapas.Japanese Seaside, Gibraltar’s largest, is correct subsequent to the airport runway so you possibly can see planes taking off as you sunbathe. There are a few seashore bars serving tinto de verano (much like sangria) for £2.Widespread, bottlenose and striped dolphins might be seen nearly day-after-day within the bay and the Strait. I went out on a pal’s boat and noticed a great deal of them, in addition to large tuna swimming alongside. Three corporations provide dolphin-spotting journeys.SightsMy favorite stroll is up the Fort Steps simply off Fundamental Avenue to the highest of the Rock. It’s exhausting, nevertheless it’s a terrific hangover treatment or Sunday stroll. The Higher Rock is a nature reserve, and likewise Gibraltar’s model of the Hollywood Hills. You too can take the cable automotive up – the restaurant on the high, Mons Calpe Suite, has floor-to-ceiling home windows giving panoramic views of the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Spain and Africa. Come down by way of the Mediterranean Steps, a part of the Gorham’s Cave Advanced, which is a world heritage web site.View from the Rock. {Photograph}: Rachel StockleyThere are some nice sights on the Higher Rock. St Michael’s Cave is completely unimaginable. It’s a community of limestone caves, and the most important – Cathedral Cave – is now a live performance venue with superb acoustics. The World Struggle II Tunnels are like an underground metropolis, full with a hospital – you could possibly spend the entire day there. The Nature Reserve Move (£13 adults, £8 youngsters, under-fives free) will get you into these and different sights, from the traditional Moorish Fort to the trendy Skywalk and Suspension Bridge.HotelsMy hostel days are over. Today, I splash out on the Sunborn, a five-star yacht lodge (doubles from about £200), however there are extra inexpensive choices, such because the Nineteen Thirties artwork deco Rock Lodge (doubles from £115).I’m going again to Gib in three weeks’ time. There may be all the time one thing to convey me again, whether or not it’s the nice meals, the heat of the folks or the solar – and it’s all the time sunny in Gibraltar! Rachel Stockley is the pinnacle chef at Baratxuri, Ramsbottom