Located on the very southern tip of Spain, Gibraltar is a tiny British Territory covering an area of less than 4 square miles (7 km). Locals fondly refer to their home as 'The Rock' in tribute to the soaring Rock of Gibraltar that dominates the space. Surrounded almost completely by water, Gibraltar is joined to Spain by a land border of just 0.75 miles (1.2 km) as a comparatively long coastline of 7.5 miles (12 km) winds around Gibraltar.

At first glance, Gibraltar may not stand out as an expat destination, but it has long held a reputation as an international banking centre, especially when it comes to offshore banking. While some expats are attracted by lucrative employment offers within the financial industry, others come here to spend their twilight years on the Mediterranean coast. It’s especially popular among British retirees.

Though it has a small population of just 33,000, Gibraltar's diminutive size means that it's far from spacious and accommodation is hard to find. Residents on the island are far outnumbered by tourists, which frequently exceed 10 million a year. It follows that tourism is a thriving industry, with plenty of opportunities for seasonal workers or those looking to start a business.

Gibraltar is a British colony with a local government. They are entirely self governing aside from matters of defence and international fairs, which are handled by Britain. Despite this, Gibraltar's culture is largely influenced by its Spanish neighbours rather than its British rulers. Those unused to the relaxed, languid lifestyle typical of Spain may take a while to adjust to life in Gibraltar.

Still, with around 300 sunshine days a year, the lifestyle on The Rock is generally excellent. Even expats moving here for career-related reasons are sure to find some time to kick back, relax and enjoy their beautiful surroundings.


Fast facts

Population: 33,000

Neighbouring countries: Spain is to the north and is the only land border of Gibraltar, Morocco lies across the Strait of Gibraltar to the south, and the Mediterranean lies to the east.

Geography: Gibraltar is a small territory on a peninsula at the southern tip of Spain. The peak of the Rock of Gibraltar is its highest point and the rest of the territory is sea-level lowlands. 

Political system: Devolved representative democratic parliamentary dependency under a constitutional monarchy

Main languages: English and Spanish

Major religions: Roman Catholicism

Money: The Gibraltar Pound (GIP) is divided into 100 pennies and is pegged to the British Pound. To open a bank account, expats will usually have to present a valid passport and proof of address.

Tipping: A service charge is generally included in restaurant bills and a 10 percent tip for good service is standard.

Time: GMT+1

Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. Plugs most commonly in use are the round two-pin type or the rectangular three-pin plug typical of Europe and the UK respectively.

Internet domain: .gi

International dialling code: +350

Emergency contacts: 190 (medical and fire) and 199 (police)

Transport and driving: Thanks to Gibraltar's small size, it's quite easy to get around on foot. Others prefer to drive cars or motorcycles. For public transport, there is a well-established bus network, which makes it easy to get around, and there are taxis available as well.

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