Destinations 

Gibraltar

Gibraltar- the monkeysGibraltar: the monkeys, the military base and? Morrisons!

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If you, like many other British expats, are missing a few of those home comforts which simply can?t be replaced in Spain, then make your way down to the Rock, otherwise known as Gibraltar. Nowhere in Southern Europe boasts such an uncanny resemblance to good Ol? Blighty and on visiting this unique yet strangely familiar part of the world; you?ll almost certainly feel an air of nostalgia about the place.

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Gibraltar is positioned close to the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula and more impressively, Europe. It overlooks the straight of Gibraltar and on a clear day, you can catch breathtaking views of Morocco?s Atlas Mountains, located just 8 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. It?s famous for its spectacular ?rock? ? a rugged 1,396?ft high chunk of limestone, which pierces the sky and provides a dramatic backdrop for the thriving city below it. The rock is home to free-roaming colonies of Barbary Apes, that are a huge hit with tourists.

No visit to Gibraltar is complete without a tour up the rock. You can get up there by minibus, which will also allow you to get up close to the apes (don?t forget your camera), whilst weaving you in and out of its many tunnels and cave passages.

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Gibraltar?s strong links to the UK date all the way back to 1713, when it was handed over to Great Britain by Spain, under the Treaty of Utrecht. Since then, not only has it remained under British sovereignty but it has witnessed some major military operations, particularly during the Second World War and the Falklands War.

To this day, Gibraltar provides a base for the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, whose squadron is responsible for the security of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters so, it?s not uncommon to see the odd soldier?s uniform hanging out to dry in residential areas.? And if you?re really intrigued by Gibraltar?s wartime history, why not visit The Military History Centre, which houses a wide selection of weaponry once used by the British Army, as well as an abundance of other artefacts and militaria.

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Although nestled between two of Spain?s most popular stretches of coast ? the sun-drenched Costa del Sol and the beautiful Costa de la Luz, Gibraltar remains autonomous and therefore strict border controls only allow travel into its territory (and back into Spain) if you?re carrying a valid passport.

Having total independence from its Spanish neighbours also means that Gibraltar?s retail outlets and services are mostly British ? and best of all, VAT free!
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So, you won?t be surprised to find an array of well-known high street names such as Marks & Spencer, BHS and Dorothy Perkins.? However, one of the main reasons British expatriates, particularly those living on the nearby Costa del Sol, make regular trips to Gibraltar, is to take advantage of the local Morrisons supermarket, this is heaven for anyone seeking ?proper? bacon, Yorkshire Tea or Bisto gravy for their Sunday roast! In fact, whatever it is you miss about your old supermarket ?back home?, you?re more than likely to find it here at Morrisons.

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But it?s not just the shops that?ll take you back ?? stroll down any of the city?s main streets and you?ll notice that everything from the road signs and traffic lights to the pavements and double-decker buses are so typical of the UK that if it wasn?t for the weather, you?d be mistaken for thinking you were back there!

Gibraltar?s climate benefits from mild winters which rarely drop lower than 11?C, and warm summers, which usually reach around 27?C - probably the biggest difference between Gibraltar and the often wet and windy shores of the United Kingdom.

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As a British overseas territory, it?s no surprise that the official language spoken in Gibraltar is English - used just about everywhere. However, due to its proximity to Spain, Spanish is spoken as well, meaning most locals are bilingual, though sometimes a combination of the two can be spoken at the same time ? a slightly strange yet popular way of communicating for many Gibraltarians!

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More and more British citizens are choosing Gibraltar as their summer holiday destination, thanks to its Mediterranean temperatures, non-existent language barriers and guaranteed great British grub.

Over the past few months, Gibraltar has seen an increase in the number of cheap flights from the UK directly to Gibraltar Airport from airlines such as British Airways, Monarch and Easy Jet.

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So, if you live on the Costa del Sol and fancy a break from ?tapas? and ?tinto? for a day, why not venture down to Gibraltar and indulge in a proper cuppa, fish and chips and a visit to Morrisons!

Just don?t forget to take your passport

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