07 Aug 13

What makes Gibraltar a must-visit shopping destination?

With all of the other advantages that a Gibraltar holiday has, from the chance to visit enchanting historical attractions like the Moorish Castle to simply catching some rays on the beach, it’s easy to forget that the territory is also a major shopping destination.

With all of the other advantages that a Gibraltar holiday has, from the chance to visit enchanting historical attractions like the Moorish Castle to simply catching some rays on the beach, it’s easy to forget that the territory is also a major shopping destination. Those using the Visit Gibraltar (http://www.visitgibraltar.gi) website to learn more about this aspect of the territory may be especially enticed by the prospect of VAT-free shopping, and the products and stores aren’t bad here either!

For one thing, if you’re a Briton, Gibraltar shopping will feel oddly homely in many ways, thanks in part to the currency being the Gibraltar Pound, a Sterling equivalent that makes expensive currency conversion unnecessary. But a touch of déjà vu could also be attributed to the presence of familiar big brand names like BHS, Next and Marks & Spencer. These stores co-exist nicely with independent handicraft and souvenir shops, alongside more traditional retailers.

The commercial epicentre of Gibraltar is Main Street, and you’ll struggle to find better value shopping anywhere on the Mediterranean. Main Street is pedestrianized and runs the entire length of the town, and don’t forget that there are many adjoining lanes to explore, in which ‘old world’ and quaint shops thrive, providing the perfect antidote to those modern hypermarkets. All in all, it’s the ideal place to shop for cosmetics, jewellery, electronics, tobacco, spirits and so much more.

At the beginning of Main Street is Casemates Square, which is a gorgeous social square sporting various attractive bars, restaurants and shops around its perimeter. This is a great place to find artisan shops on your holidays in Gibraltar, with it also being home to the Gibraltar Crystal Factory, where skilled glass blowers can be observed at work.

You only need to head just outside Casemates Square to sample the delights of the Gibraltar Public Market, a traditional indoor market that was inaugurated in 1929. It’s a hub of local life and a fine place to people watch, or you could take your pick from the range of local delicacies, fish, fruit and vegetables on offer.

A much more recent destination for keen Gibraltar shoppers to investigate is Ocean Village, where you’ll find such intriguing stores as Signature Exclusive Menswear, Espirit and Aphrodite Beauty in an impressive luxury yacht-lined marina setting.

For all of the excitement over the most recent developments, however, shopping in Gibraltar is in many ways as steeped in history as the rest of the territory. Gibraltar’s history of shopkeepers and traders dates back to the 19th century when the Rock was a prominent trading port, and modern Gibraltar’s shopping centre retains the businesses of many descendant families from a highly cosmopolitan mix, encompassing Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and other communities.

Really, once you’ve obtained your Gibraltar visa, is there anywhere better than the territory’s shopping areas to get acquainted with when you first arrive? We certainly don’t think so, here at Visit Gibraltar (http://www.visitgibraltar.gi)!