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Gibraltar Expat Guide

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory (BOT) and headland, on Spain’s south coast. It’s overlooked by a 426m-high limestone ridge called the Rock of Gibraltar one of its most popular tourist spots. The BOT is best known for its red pillar boxes, fish and chips, creaky 1970s seaside hotels and Barbary macaques.

It has an area of 6.8 km² and a population of just 33,718 but despite its small size, Gibraltar is one of the world’s wealthiest places and expats there will find themselves enjoying a high quality of life. There are no VAT taxes, the corporation tax is small and personal income tax is minute.

Climate

Being located on Spain’s south coast, Gibraltar has a particularly Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and warm, sunny summers. However, it does have its own peculiar microclimate, meaning it can get wet and windy but is protected both from the freezing cold and from the intense heat because of its location and the presence of the Rock.

Gibraltar

JanFebMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAug SepOctNov Dec
Max Temp °C161617192124272725221916
Rainfall mm1109878623415231663123125

Culture

Gibraltar is a strongly traditional society with an attractive blend of British and Mediterranean customs.

Even though it’s surrounded by sunny Spain, Gibraltar’s permanent residents seem to identify more closely with Great Britain. The streets are swamped with British chains, pub food is served in restaurants and British soldiers patrol the territory.

You will still be able to feel the Spanish influences as the local Llanito dialect is a combination of English and Spanish. It’s also evident in the laid-back lifestyle but don’t get too excited, Gibraltar unfortunately doesn’t take part in siestas.

The territory’s distinct culture is most apparent on the 10th September when they celebrate National Day. Gibraltarians dress in the white and red colours of their flag, marching through the streets and releasing 30,000 red and white balloons.

Language

Fortunately, the official language in Gibraltar is English, however most locals are bilingual and also speak Spanish.

Gibraltar also has its own local language called Llanito, which is mostly based on Andalusian Spanish but is combined with a variety of English words as well other Mediterranean languages.

Transport

Gibraltar is only petite, which means nothing is too far away. That being said, because the territory is so compact they don’t see the need for an extensive transport system meaning public transport is limited.

There are five bus routes in Gibraltar (routes 2, 3, 4, 9, and 10) and buses run to most areas of the territory apart from the Upper Rock.

The Gibraltar Bus Company runs four of these routes:

  • Route 2: From Referendum House Terminus to Willis’s Road Terminus.
  • Route 3: From Air Terminal Terminus to Europa Point Terminus.
  • Route 4: From Rosia Terminus to Both Worlds Terminus.
  • Route 9: From Air Terminal Terminus to Market Place Terminus.

The Calypso Bus Company runs route 10.

Taxi’s are readily available from a variety of taxi ranks around the Rock. Many taxi drivers offer tailor made tours of the territory.

If you want to go and experience the spectacular lookout point at the top of The Rock then getting the cable car is recommended. It costs £8 euros round trip for adults and £4.50 for children over seven. Children that are six and under can travel free. There will be an extra charge of £8 should you wish to enter the attractions on the Upper Rock.

One of the best ways to get around though is by bike and there are numerous bike hire places so if you’re only planning on being in Gibraltar a short time you can hire a bike for your trip duration.

Healthcare

Gibraltar is lucky enough to have its own healthcare authority which includes a community hospital, referral hospital and mental health unit along with other healthcare facilities.

The standard of healthcare in Gibraltar is excellent and the majority of healthcare professionals have trained and qualified in the UK. All medical facilities are equipped with modern facilities and equipment, so most conditions can be treated without the need to seek help elsewhere. Both residents and expats will enjoy high-quality care and attention when it comes to healthcare.

Anyone residing in Gibraltar is entitled to access to its healthcare system and if you’re working in Gibraltar you will automatically pay social security contributions meaning you’ll be entitled to free healthcare.

Alternatively, you can get International Healthcare Insurance for expat cover with no restrictions and comprehensive cover.

Money

The Gibraltar Pound is the official currency of Gibraltar and luckily for all UK residents moving to the territory it is pegged to and exchangeable with the British pound sterling at par value.

Schooling

The education system in Gibraltar is almost identical the education structure in England.

  • Pre-school education
  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • College
  • Higher education

Primary and secondary education is free, full-time and compulsory for all residents from 4-16 years of age. All curricula is based on the national curriculum for England but with specific differences in respect of Spanish and other subjects.

During secondary school students have to complete the mandatory subjects up until the end of year nine when they can then opt for subjects that they are interested in.

The college education in Gibraltar is primarily focused on intermediate and advanced courses in information technology, business, finance studies and built environment studies.

Once students have completed college they can then advance to higher education if they wish to which are undertaken at UK universities.

Food & Drink

Gibraltarian cuisine is influenced by its two main inhabitants, the Spanish and the British but Malta, Genoa and Portugal have also had an impact on the food and drink in Gibraltar. Due to this, the territory has an eclectic mix of Mediterranean and British cuisine.

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