Gibraltar – A slice of Britain

Gibraltar – A slice of Britain

Red phone boxes, Signs in english, Fish-and-chips, Indian restaurants and Union Jack flags, Gibraltar is a piece of Britain sliced off and towed south of Spain and a unique place for the curious traveler.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

Good to know

The

Best time to go

There isn’t

Things to see

1/ THE MOORISH CASTLE

There isn’t much to see or do here; it is just the ruins of a medieval fortification in comprising various buildings, gates, and fortified walls, with the dominant features being the Tower of Homage and the Gate House.You can just walk around and then once at the top you get good views of the main town and across the sea. Price is included in the nature reserve ticket but it’s not worth paying just to see this. Although sometimes compared to the nearby alcazars in Spain, the Moorish Castle in Gibraltar was constructed by the Moroccan Marinid dynasty, making it unique in the Iberian Peninsula.

2/ THE UPPER ROCK

A military installation and nature reserve the famous for its Barbary Macaques. The best way to climb the rock is taking the Mediterranian Steps – for those not afraid of walking (and with a head for heights). The walk starts at Jew’s Gate bird observatory (at the end of Engineer Road) and winds its way up the east side of the rock to the top. The views are fantastic. If you don’t fancy the uphill struggle, you can always get the cable car up and then come down this way.

> Gibraltar is less than 7 square kilometres, so most of it can be seen on foot. Bear in mind, though, that some of the roads (especially up to the Upper Rock) are very steep. Taxis will take the strain out of the climbs, and all the taxi drivers seem to know all the Barbary macaques by name. Cable cars run from 09.30 until 19.45 to the Upper Rock, but the last car up the hill might leave as early as 19.00. A “cable car and nature reserve” ticket costs £20.50 return, this includes entrance to the cave, the Great Siege Tunnels, the City Under Siege exhibition, the Moorish Castle and the Apes’ Den. A return cable car ticket without any additional entrance tickets costs £10.50 and comes with three hours of free Wi-Fi usage at the top. The best option, however is to buy a one way version of this ticket (£18.50) and walk down the Rock, seeing the sights, monkeys and views on the way- although sensible shoes, a hat and plenty of water are required.

3/ ST MICHAEL’S CAVE

An impressive natural grotto used by the neolithic inhabitants of the Rock. The Cathedral Cave was long thought to be buttless, making it the subject of one of Gibraltar’s most famous legends. It was believed that the cave is one end of a subterranean Ley tunnel over 24 km long which passes under the Strait of Gibraltar. Legend has it that the Barbary macaques entered the Rock from Morocco this way. As the Rock of Gibraltar was thought to be one of the legendary Pillars of Hercules, the Ancient Greeks also believed the cave be the Gates of Hades, an entrance to the underworld.

4/ THE GREAT SIEGE TUNNELS

A system of tunnels dug during the Great Siege which acted as a defence system. Tours MUST be booked in advance by contacting ur&beaches@gibraltar.gov.gi / +350 200 45000 / +350 200 76879

5/ EUROPA POINT

The Point From which the coast of Africa can be seen. The area is flat and occupied by such features as a playing field and a few buildings. On a clear day, views of Morocco can be seen across the Strait of Gibraltar including Sebta and the Rif Mountains ; as well as the Bay of Gibraltar and the Spanish towns along its shores. It is accessed from the old town by Europa Road. There are five notable buildings:

1- Harding’s Battery, 2- the Nun’s Well, 3- the Europa Point Lighthouse (built by Governor Sir Alexander Woodford between 1838 and 1841),

4-the Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque : The most southerly mosque in the European continent, blending the classic Islamic designs with all modern, high tech utilities. The ceiling has nine solid brass chandeliers, which were made built in Egypt. Eight surround the hall and a huge one, weighing two tons, hangs below the dome in the middle of the hall. Marble tiles have been used in all the external cladding and also cover the columns supporting the main prayer. The minaret measures 71 metres in height from the ground floor to the top, crowned by a six metre high brass crescent.

5- the Roman Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Europe. At the beginning of the 14th century, there was first a small mosque erected in Europa Point, before beeing turned into a Christian Shrine during the first Spanish period (1309–1333). On 20 August 1462, the Spaniards recaptured Gibraltar from the Moroccans and converted again the little mosque into a Christian shrine in honour of Our Lady as Patroness of Europe.

>There is a (number 2) bus service that runs from the frontier, through the town and on to Europa Point.

6/ DOWNTOWN WEST GIBRALTAR

Stop the Casemates Square (if entering by land, this is immediately after passing through Landport tunnel), there are many shops where you can get a city map . From there, continue to the pedestrian streets of Irish Town, and Main Street, the commercial heart of the city (tobacco factories, coffee roasting works, shipping offices, indian restaurants, fish and chips..etc).Opposite the old meat market, a 1759 synagogue can be visited for free;

Visit the National Art Galery(free entrance), at John Mackintosh Square, dedicated to the artistic life and works of Mario Finlayson, now considered the doyen of Gibraltar’s fine arts as well as Gustavo Bacarisas, Jacobo Azagury, Leni Mifsud, and Rudesindo Mannia, the most renowned and prolific local artists.

The St Mary the Crowned church, stands in the middle of Main street on the site of the chief mosque. Afther the Spanish conquest, the original building was decreed to be stripped of its Islamic past after. Later, under the rule of the Catholic Monarchs, the old building was demolished and a new church was erected, in Gothic style. The cathedral’s small courtyard is the remnant of the larger Moorish court of the mosque. and some parts of the early structure can still be seen.

On Engineer Lane, the Great Synagogue, has the distinction of being one of the oldest on the Iberian Peninsula, dating back to 1724 and situated 50m a Hindu Temple, serving Gibraltar’s Hindu population of approximately 600.

In Line Wall Road, guided tours can be arranged to visit the beautiful Flemish Synagogue situated infront of The Gibraltar Museum. The Museum houses an extensive and fascinating array of cultural and natural history collections, prints, paintings and drawings, and objects. It’s also the showcase for the rich diversity of Gibraltar’s cultural heritage from its first known inhabitants, the Neanderthal people, to Phoenician and Carthaginian traders, the 700 years of Moorish rule, the Spanish and British occupations. It has informative displays on the geology, caves and landscape of Gibraltar which have influenced settlement, and on the wide-ranging, sometimes unique natural species. Parts of the building date back to the 14th century, when an impressive set of baths was constructed in what is thought to have been the palace of the Moorish Governor of Gibraltar. These Moorish baths, contemporary with the castle, are some of the finest remains of the period in the Iberian Peninsula. They have been fully excavated and restored, and are incorporated into the Museum.

St Andrew’s Church and its distinctive tower looking down from the south end of Governor’s Parade. Surrounding the chancel area is a striking set of stained glass windows dating back to 1953. Back on Main street, you can admire the notable Moorish revival architecture of the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, particularly its horseshoe arches; and beneath the colours of several British regiments at King’s Chapel, where the remains of the wife of the Spanish governor in 1648, are laying together with the remains of British governors O’Hara and Campbell; 

After a quick visit to the Trafalgar cemetery, you’ll read Gibralta’s Botanic Gardens, spanning around 6 hectares. A fountain was built there, in recognition of the people of Morocco who helped people of Gibraltar during the siege of 1969.

7/ THE BEACHES

You will pleasantly be surprised to hear that Gibraltar has 6 beaches around its shoreline. Four of these, Sandy Bay, Eastern Beach, Catalan Bay, and Western Beach, are sandy. Camp Bay and Little Bay are rocky lidos.

8. OCEAN VILLAGE

The village features residential apartments, a 323-berth marina, office complex, eateries, bars, boutiques and a casino. The marina is paved in a Portuguese pavement style. The Sunborn, a five star super yacht hotel, is offering a spa, conferencing facilities, restaurants and bars. A casino later opened on the premises in 2015. At Leisure island, Casino Admiral, is the first European facility to house a casino, bingo club and sports betting zone under one roof. The venue has 5 bars, including the ARENA Sports Bar, The Vodka Ice Bar and the VIP lounge club.

Things to do

1/ DOLPHIN SAFARI

A dolphin-watching trip is the most enjoyable way of seeing these fascinating mammals up close and there are two companies to choose from. On a few occasions one may see whales, although these are far less common.

2/ BIRDWATCHING

Many companies are dedicated to teaching the art of bird & nature photography as well as digiscoping, which involves taking high quality nature photos using DSLR’s, compact cameras & Smartphones via telescopes & binoculars. They also arrange nature walks in the area and strives in every way to promote Gibraltar. Various prices available.

Get in

There are immigration and customs controls when entering and leaving Gibraltar. A visa-free stay is granted to nationals holding ordinary passports of Click here to Read More

By Plane:

Gibraltar Airport (IATA: GIB) has daily scheduled flights to and from London-Heathrow (LHR, British Airways), Gatwick (LGW) (EasyJet & Monarch Airlines), London-Luton (LTN) (Monarch Airlines), Birmingham (BHX) (Monarch Airlines) and Manchester (Monarch Airlines) in the UK. Royal Air Maroc have services to Marrakech (RAK), Casablanca (CMN) and Tangier (TNG) in Morocco.Click here to Read More

Food

If you like to sit outside and watch the world go by, head for Casemates Square where a number of pubs & restaurants serve fairly similar meals. Irish Town, the road which runs parallel to Main Street has a number of bars, like Curry and Sushi which has good Indian food and friendly staff. There is also Corks which serves more substantial lunches. If you fancy dining waterside the marinas are worth a visit. There are a couple of Kosher restaurants, bakeries and minimarkets in Gibraltar. Just ask around and someone will point you in the right direction.

Money

The official currency of Gibraltar is the Gibraltar pound (GIP), which is pegged to the British pound sterling at a 1:1 exchange rate. While the British pound sterling is legal tender in Gibraltar, and is accepted by all banks, government offices, and businesses, the Gibraltar pound is not legal tender in the UK. Most shops in Gibraltar will accept Euros. Bear in mind that shops will generally give you a more expensive rate of exchange than the numerous exchange offices and generally won’t accept small change. Government offices, post offices and some payphones do not accept foreign currency, and will require you to pay in pounds.

 

 


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