Gibraltar is located in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Even though many think that it is a part of Spain, they are wrong. The territory is bordered to the north by Spain but it is not considered an actual part of the country. Thousands of tourists visit Gibraltar every year to discover its beautiful landscapes and unique way of life. The mix of Spanish and British culture is a distinct characteristic of the region. As the weather is usually nice throughout the year, you can choose any season you prefer to visit. Because the area is unique and very different from other places you may have visited before, you need to consider some things before going. There are 4 main things you need to know before you visit Gibraltar, which you will discover in this article.
1. You will need your identification papers to enter the region. – first thing you need to know before you visit Gibraltar.
Before you enter the region of Gibraltar you will need to go through passport control. This is an important thing to know before you visit Gibraltar because you cannot enter without your papers. There are specific offices just before the airport that are operating under British control. Why is this happening? This kind of check is unique for this region, as it is a British Overseas Territory. The region was occupied by Anglo-Dutch forces during the war of the Spanish Succession. It remained under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom ever since.
Today Gibraltar is one of the 14 British Overseas Territories in the whole world. Some of them include Bermuda and the Falkland Islands. Before you enter the region you must do what you would do if you were going the UK. Have your passport or your identification papers with you and expect some kind of check before you enter or you leave.
2. Everything is very different inside the region itself. – another thing you need to know before you visit Gibraltar.
As mentioned before, Gibraltar is a British overseas territory and not a part of Spain. From the moment you step inside the region, you see the difference everywhere. It is like you are not in Spain anymore. Everyone around you speaks English and not Spanish. The official language is English while the official currency is now the pound. Lots of British people visit or just move to Gibraltar as the place is very familiar to them from the start. Even during the pandemic, the restrictions that apply in Gibraltar are the same that apply in the UK and not Spain.
Around the region you will notice some subtle things that make it even more British. One of them is the appearance of the red telephone boxes in various places of the rock. If you walk around a bit you will notice that the British way of life is everywhere around you. Branches of UK high street shops can be seen in every street. Also, small traditional cafes and restaurants that offer English breakfast or fish and chips are everywhere.
3. Beware of the monkeys
What you may have not expected to see in Gibraltar are monkeys. But Gibraltar has the only wild monkey population in the whole of Europe. A group of mischievous macaques are permanent residents of the region. They live mainly on the top of the Gibraltar rock in the Apes’ Den. That doesn’t restrict them from moving all around the rock though and communicating with the tourists. They never get down to the city of course, as there are employees who take care of the on the rock.
While they look very cute and friendly, visitors are advised to approach them carefully. They may feel threatened and attack you, even though this doesn’t often happen. They are signs all over the rocks that inform the visitors about them. Your attitude towards them is very important as they can be friendly and nice or more aggressive. Also, beware of the stuff you carry with you. The monkeys tend to be very interested in bags, especially if they contain food. The moment they realize they can find food in your bag, they can easily grab it without you noticing. So, have your things close to you and avoid carrying any food.
4. The taxes are very low.
When you first enter Gibraltar you will notice that the currency changes. The official currency is now the pound and not the euro. This might be confusing as their difference is not great at the moment but it can affect the prices significantly. Nevertheless, after you get used to this specific change you will notice that some products are quite cheaper in Gibraltar. This happens because of the very low taxes.
The taxes are especially low on products like alcohol and cigarettes. This is why you will see a lot of people carrying these specific products while they are leaving. In depends of course in the product you want to buy and in the shop you’ll buy it from. It would be clever to walk around a bit and compare the prices between shops. This is the way to make the best purchases and spend less money than you usually would. To compare prices, a pack of cigarettes would cost around £10, but in Gibraltar, it is around £3. A large bottle of alcohol can cost £25 but in Gibraltar it is £10.