Gibraltar Pound - GIP
The territory of Gibraltar uses the Gibraltar pound as its currency. This is essentially the same as the British pound and the coins and notes look very similar to that issue as well. However there are specific ones that are released for use in Gibraltar.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
For the most part the Gibraltar pound coins and banknotes are the same in denomination as those in Britain. There are a couple of differences though. As you’d expect the pound is divided into 100 pennies or pence. The coins go through from the smallest, the 1p coin, to the 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p coins. There is also a number of coins in pounds, which are the £1, £2 and £5 coins.
There are five banknotes in use too, which are the £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100 notes.
From past to present – the history of the Gibraltar pound
Until the late 19th century, Gibraltar had a real mix of currencies going on. In theory it used the real but in reality this was made from a selection of coins taken from three different currencies! Eventually this was done away with and the Spanish peseta became the only currency in use.
The British pound was brought into official circulation in 1898. However even at this point it took many years for the peseta to finally be retired out of the general circulation of money on the island. Gibraltar brought in its own designs on the banknotes back in the Twenties, although it did not have its own coins for another 60 years.
How to get hold of the Gibraltar pound
The first thing you should know is that while you can get the Gibraltar pound once you arrive in Gibraltar, you can use the British pound here as well. It is accepted all over the place and is often given in change as well. You should note however that it is best to change your Gibraltar pounds back into British ones before you return home. You should be able to do this at a British bank but in practice it is rarely the case. If you do manage to get a bank to make the exchange for you, they’ll charge you for the privilege just as a bureau de change would.
To this end you are better off taking the British pound with you to Gibraltar, because you can start using it the moment you arrive. If you live elsewhere you should view the British pound as the ideal currency to change your own into, since you can use it quite happily while you are here.
Getting more cash when you are in Gibraltar is no problem either. Traveller’s cheques denominated ideally in British pounds are easy enough to change, and you can also use any of the cash machines you’ll find here. This has long been a popular destination for holidaymakers so it won’t come as a surprise to learn that credit cards are easily accepted at most places too. Really, you can’t ask for more than that.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Gibraltar pound
If you know what the value of the British pound is then you’ll know how much the Gibraltar pound is worth, since they are one and the same, i.e. at par with one another.
If you are travelling from any other part of the world you can find out how much your own currency will buy you by checking its value against the British pound. This is generally easier than trying to find the Gibraltar pound on a currency converter, especially since they are worth the same. The British pound may also be higher up in the list of currencies, since it is often looked up by people wanting to convert from or to this currency.
Since Gibraltar is a British overseas territory it is best to go directly to the UK government website for the latest information about the island. You can find this information at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/gibraltar.
Travelling safely with the Gibraltar pound
As far as cities, islands, towns and countries go, Gibraltar has to be one of the safest we have come across. Even petty crime doesn’t happen much here, which is definitely good news for those of us who visit the country on a regular basis. It makes sense to take some general precautions so as not to invite any problems but on the whole you shouldn’t have to worry too much. Instead you can sit back and enjoy everything it has to offer.
Where to spend your pounds in Gibraltar – and what to spend them on
Gibraltar is sometimes thought of as an island but this isn’t actually the case. It shares a land border with Spain, since it is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. The entire area of Gibraltar measures a mere 6.8 square kilometres, which is a little over 2.6 square miles. Needless to say this makes it rather easy to explore and make sure you don’t miss anything out while you are there.
Perhaps the most notable feature of Gibraltar is the Rock of Gibraltar. You really can’t miss it as it sits in the northernmost area of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve. This is a must-see in itself because it provides you with an opportunity to climb the rock and discover more about it. This makes a great walk but do make sure you are prepared with plenty of water to keep you going, especially if it’s hot. If you are not up for the walk (it does involve a climb of around 1,400 feet) you can always cheat and take the cable car instead! Either way, you’ll want your camera to record the great views that are available from the top.
Although the Rock is the most impressively-visual feature about Gibraltar, don’t be fooled into thinking it is solid. Beneath and inside the Rock itself is a series of tunnels called the Great Siege Tunnels. To give you some idea of the sheer scale of these tunnels, we can compare them to the total square mileage of the country itself. We already know this to be 2.6 square miles in size, so when you realise there are something along the lines of 34 MILES of tunnels, you can see how tightly packed they are inside the Rock. It will certainly make you look at it in a very different way from now on, won’t it?
The good news is you can explore some of the tunnels since they have been transformed into a tourist attraction. It’s quite something to realise the first ones were dug out over 200 years ago, and it took many of those 200 years to construct them all. While some have been used as storage areas for guns and munitions during sieges and wars, others are still used today for various purposes. The Great Siege Tunnels take you into the upper parts of the tunnel network, while you can also see the World War Two tunnels, since they were used at that time.
Back on top of the Rock you can also see the Apes’ Den, which is where many of Gibraltar’s famous Barbary apes live. There is a legend attached to these apes which has survived through time. It says that if the apes should ever leave Gibraltar, it will no longer be a British territory. They are still there, but one wonders whether the legend would come true if they left. You should be aware however that the monkeys are not caged or fenced off from humans, so don’t be too surprised if they approach you!
If you get the chance to rent a boat or take a trip on one for a day, or even for a few hours, it provides an excellent chance to explore the waters lapping up against Gibraltar. These waters are known for their dolphins and it is not uncommon to see them here.
As you may already have realised, Gibraltar has a long and fascinating history. However much you know (or don’t know) about it, the best bet is to pay a visit to the Gibraltar Museum. Another attraction in Gibraltar is actually right below the museum itself, where Moorish Baths are situated. These date from the 1300s so it makes for a rather apt place to situate a museum. You’ll discover how and why the Rock itself was created, and discover more about the most famous periods in Gibraltar’s history. The museum may look rather unassuming from outside but don’t be fooled – it has a lot to offer eager tourists wishing to learn more about the country.
Gibraltar is dominated by the Rock and quite rightly too. Once you know the secrets it has to share, both outside and inside, you will discover just some of the attractions you can enjoy here.
Of course there are several beaches to enjoy here too. Of the six available, four of them are the classic sandy types, so they make ideal destinations to go to for those people who have children, or who simply want to get the most of them.
Wherever you go and whatever you end up doing, you cannot fail to be impressed by Gibraltar.