When summing Gibraltar up, the affectionate term ‘Britain in the Sun’ could not be more appropriate. English is the official language, pound sterling the official currency, and Morrisons the local supermarket. Add to this all the other British high-street staples, the British culture and cuisine, the large, integrated expat community, and the fact that Gibraltar is only an hour ahead of GMT, and there’s only one obvious difference: 300 days of sunshine. Anyone looking to relocate to Gibraltar is provided with the very best of both worlds.
Geographically, Gibraltar is in a prime position. Not only for travelling from the UK, which by air takes under 3 hours, but also in its proximity to Spain just a short walk away; to Portugal a few hours by car; and to Morocco, a mere 14km across the Straits. Indeed, on a clear day, no fewer than three countries, two continents and two oceans can be viewed from vantage points across Gibraltar.
Little wonder then that Gibraltar, in such a strategic position, has been so fiercely fought for across the centuries. A history, known to date back as far as Neanderthal Man, has seen settlement, struggle, occupation and siege. From the Phoenicians to the Romans, and then the Moors, Spanish and British, the Rock has been taken, and taken back, numerous times, but it became officially British in 1713, when the Treaty of Utrecht formally ceded it to the Crown of Britain.
Gibraltar has remained at the heart of British history ever since it served as a naval base during the Napoleonic Wars. It was at Gibraltar’s Rosia Bay in 1805 that the body of Admiral Lord Nelson was brought ashore, famously preserved in a cask of brandy, following the Battle of Trafalgar.
Gibraltar is part of the European Union, but not part of the customs union; it has low tax rates and a judicial and education system based on English law. The territory is small, covering just 6.5km2, but relocation here offers a safe, Mediterranean lifestyle blended with British home comforts, as well as unique financial planning benefits, and a world of opportunities for you and your family on your doorstep.
When the popularity of the Rock really began to boom, additional land was reclaimed from the sea, resulting in more office and leisure facilities as well as luxury apartments, shopping centres, bars, restaurants, two leisure marinas and even a large casino, all typically overlooking the shimmering water of the Bay or Med. These more recent developments have encouraged increasing numbers of investors to move their money onto the Rock and buy property in a stable economy with an opulent lifestyle.
Leisure pursuits quite literally span the country. Gibraltar boasts two main beaches, one on the eastern side of the Rock where Catalan Bay, Sandy Bay and Eastern Beach offer soft sand and a sweeping view of the Straits, and one on the west where the rocky beaches of Little Bay and Camp Bay look out across the Bay of Gibraltar, and over to neighbouring Spain.
Gibraltar also provides a plethora of watersports. Scuba divers are spoiled for choice with around 30 local shipwrecks to explore, and dive companies based in Marina Bay are ready to take trips. Casting off from neighbouring berths are dolphin discovery boats which take you into Gibraltar Bay to see up to three different species of dolphin, and if you’d rather be at the helm than a passenger, there are a number of experienced sailing schools based in Gibraltar who can show you the ropes on a range of courses.
There is also the Rock to explore, and the ‘Mediterranean Steps’ make for an amazing and unique couple-of-hours' hike literally ‘over’ the South side of the Rock itself, starting at Jew’s Gate and ending at the highest gun emplacement, O’Hara’s Battery, providing incredible views across the Straits to Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.
Gibraltar offers several gym facilities including the Ocean Village Health Club and the Atlantic Suites Health Club & Spa. Kings Bastion gym offers a workout within the walls of one of Gibraltar’s once prime military sites, which is also the location of Gibraltar’s cinema complex, ice rink, and bowling alley. Gibraltar’s main shopping street hosts high-street chains from the UK, as well as a market, and independent shops selling goods and produce from Gibraltar, Morocco and Spain.
Evening entertainment in Gibraltar revolves around a great choice of restaurants and bars with an international flavour and friendly feel. Cuisines include British, Spanish, Italian, Asian, Argentinean and Brazilian.
With Gibraltar enjoying the climate it does, the outdoor lifestyle is very much in evidence.
Gibraltar operates 14 schools, and all have good reputations. All curriculums and exam structures are based on the National Curriculum for England, and all teachers are trained in UK universities and colleges. The schools are freely available to Gibraltar residents.
There are seven First Schools, four Middle Schools, one Girls Secondary School, one Boys Secondary School, and one Special Needs School. English is the language of instruction, with Spanish introduced as a study subject at Middle School.
The Gibraltar Government does provide some nursery places for pre-school age children, but outside of the government provision, there are several private playgroups and nurseries.
There is a private, convent school in Gibraltar which admits children from nursery to age 12, in preparation for the local comprehensive schools, or schools in the UK, and there is also a private, international school, with English instruction, in Sotogrande, just 20 minutes over the border in Spain.
Degrees are studied at universities in the UK, with government scholarships available to some students. Over 50% of school leavers pursue further education.
In recent years there has been a substantial increase in the number of residential projects, and in particular, the number of prestigious developments being constructed. Largely, this is being done with the High Net Worth Individuals in mind, in order to provide properties approved for Category 2 applications.
The buoyant Gibraltar property market has seen prices steadily rising, and estimates suggest they will continue to do so. As a guideline, Category 2 approved property will cost a purchaser from £200,000, or a tenant from £1,200 per month, but in the more exclusive developments such as the marina properties or new builds in the sought-after South District, purchase price is around the £1 million mark and above.
Property purchases attract a Stamp Duty charge, but there is no Capital Gains Tax regime and hence no Capital Gains Tax on sale. Neither is there any inheritance tax, gift tax or wealth tax.
It is also quite common for those who relocate to Gibraltar to take advantage of its location by buying a second property over the border in Spain, allowing them to enjoy the very best that both countries have to offer in an easily-accessible and affordable change of scene.
The Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) is a department of the Government of Gibraltar and provides health care to residents of Gibraltar. It delivers Primary, Secondary and Mental Health Care using a Healthcare model closely linked to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, and in addition, anyone needing emergency medical attention in Gibraltar is entitled to free NHS treatment on production of a UK passport.
The GHA’s three main sites are the Primary Care Centre, St.Bernard’s Hospital and the King George V Mental Hospital, and it handles approximately 37,000 A&E attendances, 40,000 outpatient episodes and 90,000 GP visits on an annual basis.
Due to the size of the local population, some services cannot be maintained by the GHA in Gibraltar on a permanent basis so specialist doctors, such as neurologists, are flown in a certain number of times per year, and some tertiary referrals are delivered in the NHS as well as in Spanish Hospitals due to the proximity. The child welfare and school medical services, which include immunisation and vaccination, the dental clinics and health visitors, are also housed in the Primary Care Centre.
In addition, there are a number of private healthcare clinics in Gibraltar, and both private English-speaking clinics and hospitals along the coast of Spain.
Gibraltar services daily flights to and from cities in the UK including Luton, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Birmingham. Flights to London take 2.5 hours.
The new Gibraltar terminal also has a purpose built Business Aviation area for those travelling in their own private air transport. This has its own private exit and entrance to the airfield.
Malaga airport is 1.5 hours’ drive east from the Gibraltar/Spain border, and services most countries. Jerez airport is a similar distance away driving west and is beginning to service most main countries.
Just over the border, the leisure options open up further with Spain offering both an Atlantic and Mediterranean coastline, world-famous resorts such as Marbella and Puerto Banus, traditional white villages to explore, the popular pastime of polo to watch or play, and golf courses for players of all abilities. Andalucia itself has around 90 golf courses and of these, 60 are located on the Costa del Sol – including the prestigious courses of San Roque and Valderama. Four of the local courses are ranked in Europe’s top 10.
One of the most unique destinations in the Mediterranean
Whether you are visiting us for a break or on business,
you’ll experience great Gibraltarian hospitality
along with our proud British traditions.