Tiny exclave places over the world – for most of them I feel it is pretty useless for a country to “maintain” and pay for these places like Gibraltar, the Antilles, the Spanish exclaves in Africa and many more which would be worth mentioning.
A 2017 trip lead me to Gibraltar, where there is still a strong fight between Spain and the UK about the status of this little rock in very Southern Spain. The Rock and the apes, precisely Barbary Macaques, are likely the two things you have in mind when you think about Gibraltar. Maybe you know about the airport, whose runway (right behind the border to Spain) is crossing the main road. It is in fact a tiny, nice city with a lot of strange things going on there – just listing some of them here:
- You are still now allowed to fly from Spain to Gibraltar (which would be quite straight-forward, won’t it? 🙂 ). There are currently just flights from the UK… or from Morocco (Tangier) to reach this piece of land. This also means: if for any reason you cannot touch down to Gibraltar airport (which happens quite often due to wind), you not just have to divert to Malaga, but also take a bus from there, as the plane is not allowed to refuel and re-try.
- The currency is the Gibraltar Pound. In fact, it is a 1:1 to Pound Sterling, but the notes are neither accepted in the remaining UK nor Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish ones are accepted here – only Gibraltar Pound or English Pound! You may be very lucky to be able to convert Gibraltar Pound to English Pound at a very unfavourable rate. Euro and credit card are of course widely accepted.
- Quite a lot of people live in Spain, but work in Gibraltar, which is – due to its taxation and toll laws not just an alcohol-buying paradie, but also home of many financial institutions.
- The only two ways to visit the apes is either to take the steep walk – or to take a shared taxi ride (some 30 EUR). Funnily, the cab drivers know the apes very well and give them names and talk to them.
Overall, having a weekender in Gibraltar is not the worst option for a short trip. From most parts of Europe, this will mean flying in via London. If you are fine with less comfy options, go for a close-to-border hotel in Spain, though – hotel prices in Gibraltar are ridiculous (in fact, this has been the only place so far I took an airbnb…). Food (and drinking) is reasonable, though.
My favourites in Gibraltar have been:
- Yeah, it is touristic, but I loved the taxi tour up the rock, which also lead you to some additional sights
- Just strolling around the shopping area
- The harbour area is also very nice and has some very decent restaurants and pubs.