Gibraltar enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year and has mild winters and hot summers, typical of what you’d expect from a place with a sub-tropical Mediterranean climate. Meaning you’ll be saving on those heating bills in the winter and basking in the sun in the summer.
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory and despite being connected to Spain in geographical terms, it actually remains the responsibility of the UK Government when it comes to defence and foreign relations. What with the climate, its history and the language, it’s unsurprisingly a hugely popular destination for British ex-pats.
So what? So…British people expect to have the shops they like to go to! That includes Marks & Spencer, BHS, Mothercare, Monsoon and Morrison’s supermarket. Of course you don’t necessarily have to be British to enjoy quality shops and if the likes of Mango and Tommy Hilfiger are more your thing, Gibraltar has those too.
Then there’s the small matter of VAT. Or more precisely, the fact it doesn’t exist. So whether you’re buying a bottle of wine to enjoy on Saturday night or a pair of designer sunglasses, you’re buying them at a great price.
It’s the official language but it doesn’t end there. Employment laws are pretty much exactly the same as they are in the UK so if you’re relocating from the UK you’ll be very familiar with the sort of contracts relating to your job and they will of course be in English.
The same goes for Education where the English model is followed in almost all schools. The standard of schools in Gibraltar is very high meaning that if you have kids, they’ll be in good hands.
Living within Gibraltar is generally more expensive than Spain but that’s not to say it’s prohibitive. You can get shared accommodation (3 people within one apartment) within Gibraltar for around 600 Euros though it does admittedly cost significantly more if you’re planning on living alone. A one bedroom apartment will set you back around 900 Euros within Gibraltar but you can get the same accommodation for just over 500 in Spain. A 2-bedroom apartment in Gibraltar would be around 1000-1100 GBP but in Spain would set you back just 600-700.
And let’s face it, living in ‘Spain’ is just a short walk over a runway with a lovely sea view.
If you’re looking to buy, there are plenty of advantages awaiting you, including tax relief on mortgage interest and a first-time buyer’s allowance. Anyone buying their first property in Gibraltar is eligible to claim £11,500 (pounds) tax relief.
And if you do buy, you can expect to more than pay for your own summer holiday by renting out your property for a month or two as there will always be plenty of demand and you can charge pretty high prices.
Health and safety
Anyone with a British passport is entitled to free healthcare in Gibraltar, just like you’d have back in the UK, though you do need to pay for prescribed medication. For other EU nationals, access to healthcare varies depending on individual circumstances. In some cases you (or your employer) pay towards a medical scheme that will then get you access to medical care at no further cost. The standard of medical and dental care in Gibraltar is pretty good.
Crime rates are low. This is in part due to the fact that there is a large police force in relation to the size of the population. A further reason is that the force is an extended part of the British force so benefits not only from experience but also from expertise, with special detectives being brought in from the UK where necessary. Violent crime levels are very low, as are street crimes. Just about the worst thing you might come across is someone trying to convince you that you have to buy a ticket to cross the border between Gibraltar and Spain. You don’t. You’ve been warned!
Gibraltar Airport runs daily flights to and from the UK to Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester on Easyjet, Monarch and British Airways. From those airports you can get connecting flights to just about anywhere.
Jerez and Malaga airports are each 1.5 hours away. Jerez has flights to Madrid, Barcelona, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Berlin and Amsterdam and other European cities whilst Malaga has flights to plenty of destinations both within and outside Europe and no fewer than 16 different destinations within the UK.
But you don’t need to take a plane if you want to get away from The Rock. Spain may be undergoing plenty of economic problems but it boasts incredible scenery, beaches, food, culture, museums and so much else. Cross the border, enter Spain and explore one of the most diverse countries in the world.
You don’t have to leave The Rock in order to have fun. In addition to the shopping there are enough bars and pubs to choose from that you’ll quickly find one where you feel at home.
Away from watering holes there are the famous Barbary Macaques in Apes Den, the Botanic Gardens, the Gibraltar Museum, a cable car trip to the top of the Rock, the Moorish Castle, the Garrison Library and for something a bit different…the Gala Casino.
If you fancy burning some of the calories gained by eating out at any of the many good restaurants you shouldn’t have to look too hard to find a game of football, rugby or cricket.