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 positions within the financial industry, others come here to spend their twilight years on the Mediterranean coast. It’s especially popular among British retirees.

Gibraltar may be located on the very southern tip of Spain, but it’s actually part of Britain. The tiny British Overseas Territory on the Iberian Peninsula has a population of just over 33,000. Based on this figure, one might expect Gibraltar to be spacious. However, residents on the island are far outnumbered by tourists, which frequently exceed 10 million a year. 

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 slow, languid lifestyle of the Spanish may take a while to adjust to life in Gibraltar.

With around 300 sunshine days a year, the lifestyle on "The Rock", as Gibraltar is affectionately known, 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

Capital city: Gibraltar

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: Unitary 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 with 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: 230 , 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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