Gibraltar welcomes millions of tourists every year and, whether they come to sample the fine cuisine, its natural beauty or sporting pursuits, many of them will head to Main Street, Irish Town, Engineer Lane and other quirky side streets that form the centre of Gibraltar’s commercial district and is the scene of some of the best value shopping on the Mediterranean.
Gibraltar has a history of shopkeepers and traders that dates back to the 1800s when the Rock flourished as a trading port boosted by its strategic, geographic location. During this period the modern identity of the Gibraltarian people evolved through a mixed population of Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Jewish and Moorish communities. Gibraltar remains home to many descendant families who established their businesses during this period and their shops are still visible in Gibraltar’s busy shopping centre. Gibraltar is a VAT free jurisdiction, goods sold in Gibraltar offer the best value and the currency is the Gibraltar Pound, equivalent to Sterling, so there is no costly currency conversion for visitors from the United Kingdom.
Along with the more traditional shops, visitors to Main Street will recognise British and international high street brands and chains. These sit alongside handicraft and souvenir shops. Popular purchases include cosmetics and perfumery, jewellery, tobacco and spirits, designer glass frames, specialist linens and electronics. For souvenirs and a taste of local life, head to Casemates Square where you’ll find local artisan shops and the Gibraltar Crystal Factory, where you can watch the glass blowers at work. Inaugurated in 1929, the Gibraltar Public Market, just outside Casemates Square, is a traditional indoor market with a range of fish, fruit, vegetables and local delicacies. It’s a great place to people watch and get into the local spirit.