The southernmost spot of the peninsula that is Gibraltar
. It's the location of the current Sikorski monument as well as a restored historic coastal gun battery.
More background info:
See under Gibraltar
Note that this is not the southernmost spot of Europe on the Iberian peninsula – that's Punta de Tarifa in the province of Cadiz, Spain
, some 15 miles (25 km) further west.
Gibraltar's always played an important military role, due to its location at the entrance to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic
– and hence its southernmost point has been fortified since times immemorial.
Today, there's a restored British
coastal artillery bastion called Harding's Battery. The original one had been taken away in WWII
when it was replaced with anti-aircraft guns. But from 2010 the original 38-ton 12.5 inch cannon has been reinstated.
The lighthouse close by was built between 1838 and 1841 (automated since 1994). And Europa Point is also the location of Gibraltar
's only mosque, as well as the new University of Gibraltar.
What there is to see: The main tourist attraction visitors come to Europa Point for – other than that of standing at the peninsula's southernmost spot – is to see the restored Harding's Battery, a coastal artillery bastion, originally built in the mid-19th century. This was recently restored and reopened in 2011, with a big shiny historic cannon as the centre piece.
In the ammunition stores underground, there's also a small exhibition featuring some text panels and a few dummy artillery soldiers in period outfits as well as an audio station. It's more for military history buffs, but may be worth a look for general visitors too. The exhibition also has bits about natural history and flora and fauna.
But from a more specific dark-tourism perspective, the main thing to come to Europa Point for is the Sikorski memorial
. This commemorates the then Prime Minister of the Polish
government in exile during WWII
, General Władysław Sikorski, who died in a mysterious plane crash shortly after take-off from Gibraltar
in July 1943.
The current memorial is actually the third version, after an initial modest plaque installed in 1945 and an earlier memorial monument located at the airfield. The current design is Polish-made but incorporates the original propeller of the crashed B-24 Liberator plane that had already been part of the second memorial. Other than that there are a few plaques and a wall made from Polish sandstone. This memorial was inaugurated in 2013. Given the grave historic significance of the death of Sikorski (for Poles at least) this is quite a pilgrimage destination!
right at the southernmost point of Gibraltar
, ca. 2.5 miles (4 km) south of the Old Town centre.
Access and costs: A bit out of town, but easy enough to get to by car or taxi; free.
Details: To get to Europa Point from Gibraltar Town or other busier parts of Gibraltar, it's easiest to drive there, if you have a (hire) car, or else get a taxi. In theory the distance would be walkable too, but the lower parts of Europa Road wouldn't be fun to walk along, given the lack of a proper pavement. So driving it is. There's a large car park between the mosque and the playground a few steps north of Harding's Battery and the Sikorski memorial. Note that in strong winds the swell rolling in from the sea can cause waves to crash over the eastern battlements sending salt-water spray over the car park! It might be advisable to bring an umbrella and to hose down your car to clean away the salt afterwards.
Time required: not long, less than 20 minutes should easily do.
Combinations with other dark destinations:
see under Gibraltar
Combinations with non-dark destinations: the main thing is the view over the sea and, weather permitting, over to the coast of Morocco, Northern Africa. The lighthouse – a classic picture-book-perfect example of a red-and-white ringed tower is also quite pretty. And of course it's also worth turning round and marvelling at the soaring height of the rock rising from the rather flat land of Europa Point to the north.
- Europa Point 01 - big gun and big rock
- Europa Point 02 - Harding Battery
- Europa Point 03 - you can go inside
- Europa Point 04 - info and dummies
- Europa Point 05 - illuminated dummy
- Europa Point 06 - heavy artillery
- Europa Point 07 - pointing out to sea
- Europa Point 08 - restoration info
- Europa Point 09 - new Sikorsky memorial
- Europa Point 10 - quite recent
- Europa Point 11 - at the crossroads to Africa
- Europa Point 12 - mosque
- Europa Point 13 - the Rock from the south
- Europa Point 14 - soon to be home to Gib Uni
- Europa Point 15 - the lighthouse
- Europa Point 16 - being battered by storm waves
- Europa Point 17 - sending spray all over the headland
- Europa Point 18 - looking out to sea in less stormy weather