Gibraltar is an immensely affordable place to visit in a lot of ways, but it also retains that depressing Western Europe tendency to charge for as much as possible. Still, there are a whole host of things you can do in town without spending a penny, providing you don’t mind walking or doing a little bit of exploring. In fact, you might be surprised just how fare zero pence can take you.
Built in 1841, the Europa Point Lighthouse is in many way’s the very end of Europe. That all depends on your direction of view of course, but we enjoy sitting by this iconic cylindrical tower and believing that we have made it to the end of the famous continent. The lighthouse sits at the opening of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, making it a strategically vital piece of architecture, although the construction of a new football stadium nearby has put its future under threat. Visit the end of Europe while you can.
The largest of Gibraltar’s three marinas, Marina Bay is the place to go to gawp at ships, yachts and the rest, all while dreaming of a better (by which we mean wealthier) life. But for all our cynicism there is something truly calming about boats bobbing on open seas, and we’re guilty of whiling many an afternoon away here, dreaming or not. It is here that the Ocean Village Project was built, so you can now double up your listless gazing with an evening on the lash.
Also known as the King Fahad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Mosque (or the Mosque of the Custodian of the Two Mosques, but we’re sticking with the easier name), the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque is the southernmost in Europe and one of the largest found in a non-muslim country. It sits just in front of Europa Point at the far end of the Keighley Tunnel and was a gift from Saudi Arabia, opened in 1997 for the muslims of Gibraltar. The combination of elegant minaret and the imposing mass of the Rock make for one of our favourite visuals in Gibraltar.
All that remains of the imposing medieval Moorish Castle is its square tower, now with a Union Jack flying high from its centre. The scars of history are visible all around, as Gibraltar’s violent history scratches away at its seemingly docile present state. Gibraltar’s prison was once located here although it was moved back in 2010, allowing tourism to flourish where penance once did.
Gibraltar’s Botanical Gardens cover six hectares and are every bit as verdant as refreshing as you expect, possibly even more so. The Rock Hotel lies above the gardens and couldn’t be in a better position, looking down on this engaging collection of plants and trees, including a Dragon Tree that has been on the planet for well over 300 years at this point.