Spend your winter in Gibraltar: Is Gibraltar a good snowbird location?

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The small British settlement of Gibraltar is a mystical place to be. The town resides on the west side of the 'Rock of Gibraltar' and features an extraordinary collection of deep history and culture. Casually resting on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar has called upon many travel enthusiasts who look forward to a unique and memorable experience. It is preferred by many snowbirds for its friendly climate, compact size, and amusing placement as even though the town is bordered by Spain, it is British to the core. The town is perfect for a fascinating little winter escape.

Spend your winter in Gibraltar - Is Gibraltar a good snowbird location 1
Bengt NymanCC BY 2.0

Why should people visit during the winter?

This subtropical haven is a great place to live for snowbirds who are searching for a nice, cool location to spend their winters. As a compact British Colony, Gibraltar has an astonishing history and culture which attracts many visitors. It is comparatively quieter in this season but the lively atmosphere never dies. You can easily move about and explore the beautiful town and its surroundings without a worry. Gibraltar demands to be explored and if you get to visit this gem, you'll know exactly why.

Climate

Gibraltar has a mild winter climate, with sunny days and an ample amount of rainy days, but sometimes the weather can be quite unpredictable. The average temperature stays around 10°C - 18°C (50°F - 64°F) during the winter. It is quite comfortable in general but the nights can be cool, so appropriate clothing and heating in your accommodation is advised.

For more climate information visit Meteoblue

Things to see in Gibraltar

Gibraltar is full of surprises. It has many interesting sights for you to see and explore. Some of the most famous attractions in the area include:

  • St. Michael's Cave: A large network of limestone caves located on the Rock with enormous stalactites and stalagmites. Known to the Romans and Greeks in ancient times, this mystical sight has many legends associated with it and is considered to be a top priority for Gibraltar visitors.
  • The Moorish Castle: This historic landmark dates back to the 8th century and looks down on the old town of Gibraltar. Although parts of the castle got destroyed over time, it still stands tall. The Castle is a significant part of the town till today as it depicts the bravery of the leaders of the ancient times through the battle scars inflicted during the numerous sieges.
  • Gibraltar Museum: Highlights the different cultural and historic aspects of Gibraltar. Established back in 1930, this museum features an outstanding collection of different exhibits including Roman anchors and geological origins from the Jurassic Period.
  • Apes of Gibraltar: The town is quite famous for its Barbary macaques which is a rare Moroccan breed of monkeys without tails. You can visit the Gibraltar Natural Reserve which is the best place to spot them. Try keeping a safe distance though because these monkeys can bite too.
  • The Great Siege Tunnels: These tunnels were initially carved by the British military when they were trying to protect The Rock from the Spanish forces. Even till today, these tunnels are considered an engineering marvel. There are guided tours that take you through the tunnels and enlighten you with its interesting history in detail.
  • The Alameda: Gibraltar Botanic Gardens: The beautiful botanical gardens are perfect for a day out to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the charming town. Spend your afternoons walking through the decorated lawns and admire the beauty of the luxuriant subtropical vegetation.

Things to see not far from the Gibraltar

There are many places and towns in the surrounding areas that one can visit. Some of these include:

  • La Linia: It is located at a distance of 5.2 km (3 Miles) from Gibraltar. The nearest Spanish town to Gibraltar with many interesting sights to visit like the Playa de la Atunara and Alcaidesa. A great place for a day trip.
  • Parque Del Centenario: It is located in Algeciras at a distance of 28.2 km (18 Miles) from Gibraltar. It is a beautiful park decorated all around with beautiful florals and is a great place to sit by and relax. The park is home to amazing wildlife and you can easily catch an iguana, sloth or monkeys roaming around the premises as well.
  • Castle of Tarifa: It is located at a distance of 45.4 km (28 Miles) from Gibraltar. This historic Moorish castle was built in 960 and later played a significant role in Spanish history. A great sight for visitors who are eager to learn about the older times. You can see the coast of Morocco from the towers.
  • Marbella: It is located at a distance of 78.3 km (49 Miles) from Gibraltar. A lovely town located at the Costa del Sol which lies in the foothills of Sierra Blanca. The beautiful sandy beaches, rich history, and a wonderful climate will make you fall in love with the town's charisma.
Spend your winter in Gibraltar - Is Gibraltar a good snowbird location 10
Clare WilkinsonCC BY 2.0

Activities in Gibraltar in the winter

You can spend a wonderful time at Gibraltar as the place is a delight for visitors and features many activities to participate in. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Dolphin Watching: Join in on one of the Dolphin Watching Excursions at Gibraltar for a fascinating experience with the marine wildlife. About 200 dolphins swim in the Strait of Gibraltar.
  • Exploring prehistoric caves: The stunning caves of St. Michael is meant to be a top priority for visitors as it's an extremely rare sight to see. The cave is full of enormous stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Visit the museums: Gibraltar's museums take you on an incredible journey where you learn about different cultures and intriguing history of the area.
  • Golf: There is no golf course in Gibraltar, but you can find several not far away.
  • Shopping: Gibraltar is a shopping paradise as the options available here are endless. VAT-free shopping makes it a lot more fun and helps you find the best value deals.
  • Bird Watching: The Rock is said to have around 315 different species of birds, most of which are migrating. You can catch a glimpse of some of the most unique species of birds here at Gibraltar.
  • Gibraltarian Cuisine: You can find multiple bars and bistros throughout the town with plenty of small eateries spread out in every corner. Gibraltarian cuisine is influenced by many different foreign cultures and tastes which make it very amusing.
  • Visit nearby towns: Plan a nice, casual day trip to the nearby cities to explore the area.

Shopping + Restaurants. Are they open in the winter?

As Gibraltar is a popular tourist destination, it presents you with endless options to choose from when it comes to shopping. You can visit Main Street and its surrounding areas for the best shopping experience as there is a huge variety of goods available including clothes, jewelry, and Gibraltar Crystals which are considered as a great souvenir to take back home with you. Gibraltar offers VAT-free shopping which helps you find the best value deals. You can also find international chains here like Marks & Spencer and Mothercare.

The Gibraltarian cuisine is greatly influenced by many different foreign cultures and tastes which make it very amusing. It is a unique mix of British, Maltese, Italian, and Spanish cuisines. You can find multiple bars and bistros throughout the town with plenty of small eateries spread out in every corner. If you're a visitor in town, you must try their specialties which include Spinach tortillas, Calentita Bread, and Rosto Pasta.  

Spend your winter in Gibraltar - Is Gibraltar a good snowbird location 11
UhooepCC BY-SA 4.0

Transport

Gibraltar has its airport which is the Gibraltar Airport, located at a distance of 2.1 km (1.3 Miles) from the main area. It is a great option for visitors traveling In from the UK. You can easily walk to the town, across the runway, or simply take the bus to reach your destination. Another option to get to Gibraltar is through the Malaga Airport which is approximately 120 km (75 Miles) away from Spain.

People like to move around Gibraltar on foot and it is a compact little British colony. However, public transport is adequate to cater to the public's needs. There are a total of 8 different bus routes in the town and the two major companies operating in the area are the Gibraltar Bus Company Limited (www.gibraltarbuscompany.gi/) and Calypso Transport Limited (www.citibus.gi/). These buses are the best affordable options as they are safe, comfortable, and easily accessible. You can check for schedules on their websites.

Health

The medical community in the town is a part of the European Health Insurance Scheme and therefore, has all the modern health facilities required by a high standard hospital including primary, secondary, and mental health services. At the Saint Bernard's Hospital, you will find a well-trained medical staff and professional doctors at your service. Emergency care units are present at all times and the hospitals are well equipped to cater to anyone who walks in with a problem. Find more information on Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) (www.gha.gi/) in case you need to contact a doctor or dentist.

Accommodation

If you are a visitor in Gibraltar, you can easily find a decent place to stay in the town during winters for per month. Some of the most commonly used organizations for finding a nice second home are mentioned below:

Winter Camping

Camping Sureuropa: Located at a distance of 8.3 km (5 Miles) from the town, this camping site is ideal for a nice, relaxing camping trip nearby. There are family rooms available along with RV Parking spots. You are presented with multiple amenities present at affordable prices. It is one of the most preferred camping sites for visitors. You can find more details on their website.  www.campingsureuropa.es/

RV/Campers/Motorhome

If you are traveling with a Motorhome, Camping Sureuropa and Gibraltar Range National Park are best suited for you as they have decent locations to offer at affordable prices.

Packing List

  • Weather: The winter weather in Gibraltar will normally be warm during the day and can be cold during the night. You have to pack accordingly.
  • Warm clothing: Even when you go to a warm location like Gibraltar you should not forget to take some things with you for your trip back home. When you return you are adapted to the warmer weather and need something to protect you from your hometown temperatures.

  • Consider the Weather: Always look at the type of weather in Gibraltar. Things like humidity, wind, and rain do not show up in the temperature graph but can have a great impact on your wardrobe. There are several sites with long term forecasts and climate information. Is there often a short afternoon downpour like in the tropics, you maybe need to take a strong umbrella and shoos that can cope with the rain. If there is often a lot of wind you might need a more wind-resistant coat.

  • Check the local Shopping options: Try to find information about the local shopping options near your location in Gibraltar. Are there stores where you can buy all your daily supplies, or are some things difficult to get? For some more remote locations, the options can be limited. If a certain item is really important for you might need to take it with you.

  • Look at the Local Culture: The local culture in Gibraltar can impact your wardrobe. If most activities are in more upscale locations you might take some more appropriate clothes with you. Or travelling if you travel to certain countries women need to cover themselves in certain areas.

  • Amenities: Know what’s Included in your house or apartment. Is there a coffee maker, a toaster, a washer and dryer, an iron, what is in the kitchen, what kind of towels are there? Things that are there means you do not have to take them with you. A furnished apartment or house can mean something from a few pieces of furniture to a well-stocked place with all the things you have at home. But most of the time your rental will not be stocked.

  • Mix and match: Wear layers so you can use your wardrobe more efficiently. And do not worry about wearing something more often, probably only you will notice this.

  • Important for you: If there is something that is really important for you that you want to have present in your house or apartment, take it with you. This can be something like a special knife for the kitchen, or a small mirror that you use in the morning. You can also purchase it locally if it is not that expensive.

  • Pet supplies: If you take your pet with you don’t forget to take supplies for a few days with you. And enough medication, vitamins, or other supplies if you can not purchase them in Gibraltar locally.

  • Food: Don’t take a lot of food with you. Only when there is something you really can not live without you, and it is not too heavy you could consider taking it with you.

  • Towels: Not all locations include bigger towels for the swimming pool or a visit to the beach. If you have to take them and don’t have a lot of room you can buy some big thin towels.

  • Office supplies: Normally you will not find any office supplies in your house or apartment. If you think you will use them you could pack some supplies like a scissor, notepaper, envelopes, some pens, and more depending on your needs.

  • Limit yourself: Don’t take too many shoes and jackets, you will not need them that often.

  • Best-fitting: Bring your favorite and best-fitting items that can multi-function

  • Washer: Do you have a washer and dryer onsite, you don’t need to pack a lot of clothes

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