Gibraltar (The Rock)
Gibraltar welcomes millions of tourists every year and whether they are arriving to sample the fine cuisine, its natural beauty or its sporting pursuits many of them will head to Main Street, the centre of Gibraltar&rsquos commercial district and 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&rsquos busy shopping centre. Gibraltar is a VAT free jurisdiction so 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 international high street brands and chains. These sit alongside handicraft and souvenir shops. Best buys 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&rsquoll 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&rsquos a great place to people watch and get into the local spirit. Casemates Square, positioned at the end of Main Street in the heart of Gibraltar&rsquos shopping district was once the site of public executions, it is now filled with fashionable outdoor restaurants, cafés and bars, and is the hub of nightlife in Gibraltar. The newly constructed King&rsquos Bastion Leisure Centre on Queensway offers a wide range of entertainment facilities for all the family. There are no shortages of places to go out in the evening in Gibraltar. Whether dining out for a meal or simply a drink there is an abundant choice of places to go. The larger hotels all offer resident cocktail bars, offering comfortable and sophisticated surroundings for a quiet drink and some offer music. For a more informal evening, choose from a selection of lively cosmopolitan wine bars or traditional pubs. Later you may choose to dance into the small hours at one of Gibraltar&rsquos nightclubs or enjoy a flutter at the Casino.