Yes Gibraltar is full of traders who are out to make a quick buck by hiking up prices, especially in electronics... but I have to say, we were blown over by the service of one jewellers in particular...
I post this on the tourist trap to shed light on what I felt was probably one of the best shopping experiences I've had so in case ppl are put off with shopping in Gib, they should visit this one store.
My wife was after a Gucci watch that she had seen in Ernest Jones in the UK priced at £749. Prestige Jewellers about half way up the main street had the same watch marked on their ticket at £625.
The manager (Archie? Ashok?) was extremely pleasant and honest to the button. He proved to us his prices were cheaper than the UK by showing them to us on the net. His mannerisms and service were incredibly polished. Yes we bartered a bit but you do have to in Gibraltar.
I ended up buying a lovely ring for Janet as well some Swarovski (also much cheaper in Gib) and the watch. To our incredible surprise, under the managers' guarantee, our ring was valued home for 3x what we had paid for it.
Will definitely be shopping there on our next cruise!
you can ONLY take one packet (i.e 200) cigarettes out of Gibraltar per person. You CANNOT take both cigarettes AND rolling tobacco.
Unique Suggestions: If you have got a friend who doesn´t smoke - get them to carry 200 of your cigarettes :-D
If you are staying in La Linea or other nearby Spanish town - take a carton across each day that you visit Gibralatar
Fun Alternatives: If you are buying other duty free goods - i.e. Laptops and cameras etc.
TAKE THEM OUT OF THE BOX before you cross the border with Spain.
There is no VAT charged in Gibraltar on any goods you buy, but you can hardly notice this when looking at prices! Tobacco and Spirits are cheap, but when you start to look at Jewellery, Watches, Elecrical Items, you won't notice any difference, in fact they are probably cheaper in the UK.
I recently wanted to buy a Watch for my Husbands 50th Birthday, I went to one well-known Jeweller in Gibraltar as I had spotted just the one I wanted, of course there was no price on it so I had to ask, it was £501.00, so I told him that was a little bit too much, he then started tapping into his calculator and came up with a price £81.00 less! .......to me that seems like the price was over-inflated on purpose just so that he could then deflate the price to make it seem as though I was getting bargain.
When I got home, I checked on the internet for the price of this watch in the UK...guess what? it was the same as the discounted price he had given me, so that wasn't a bargain at all, and as Gibraltar is VAT Free, it should have been 17.5% less than the discounted price anyway!
Another scandal is the prices they charge for Mobile Phones, one in particular on sale in the Argos catalogue priced at £69.99 was on sale in Gibraltar for £169.00!!! (that was a Pay as you go, not a contract phone)
So, if you go to Gibraltar expecting to get a bargain and if what your buying isn't Tobacco or Spirits, you will probably discover that you are not getting a bargain at all.
Unique Suggestions: Take leaflets or print-outs of what items cost in the UK and compare the prices
Be careful when buying electrical goods/cameras etc. We noticed that in a lot of the shop windows prices are not always advertised. We enquiried about a particular camera, knowing exactly how much it was in the UK. Instead of the man just telling us the price, he got out his calculator, tapped away at it then came up with some ludicrous price much more expensive than we could pay in the UK. So dont be fooled. It makes me think that there are prices for the Gibraltarians and prices for the rest of us. Do a bit of bartering if you really want to buy something. Also find out the UK price before hand.
Gibraltar is a duty free port full stop. However some of the shop assistant will tell you otherwise and try and tell you that goods have been duty paid this is rubbish they will say anything to make a sale. Also if someone tries to give u a really good deal and tells u it is 20% cheaper as you wont have to pay the duty like in other shops they are conning u because you dont pay duty in a duty free port. The amount of shops who tried to con the people on our ship with these sales tactics was unbelievable. Infact a couple who we were talking to almost got caught out with these tactics until i pointed out to them that they were being conned.
Unique Suggestions: Dont take the sales mans word for anything or you could find yourself in trouble when you go home by all means take back what u want as most people do take more back than allowed just be aware of what u are doing and that if caught you may be fined or have the stuff confiscated or whatever
TAX FREE SHOPPING
Most of the people coming to Gibraltar do it for the shopping. Many items can be bought here at reduced prices, as they pay no taxes: tobacco, alcohol, parfums, electronic devices...
I don't use to look for that items, but for english stuff, as books, special foods, teas...
Pretty much the whole place! Seems to be designed to part the tourist froom his cash, which incidentally, is £UK. There are many overpriced pubs and shops, though spirits and cigarettes are incredibly cheap. Of course customs allowances are minimal as Gib does not form part of the EU.
Tax Free Shopping!
Don't kid yourself ! ! ! The prices may be tax free, but the merchants (mainly Indian from our observation) have hiked their prices to astronomical heights. I understand you can bargain them down by about 25% if you work really hard at it.
The booze was cheaper in the Algarve (where we were staying at the time).