Thinking about moving to a warm, welcoming tax haven in the Med? You can’t really go wrong with Malta. Like any discerning globetrotter, however, facts count. So here’s a fast and factual overview of the island nation designed to help you ask yourself that big question … why Malta?
Malta in a nutshell
Bewitching beaches, incredible Mediterranean climate, natural and historic sites, trendy eateries and chic bars dotted along the old Valletta waterfront, have combined to make Malta the little
country that’s big on holiday attractions. Home to 5,500-year-old solar temples and over 300 days of sunshine, the Maltese Islands have it all: culture, history and an unbeatable, life-loving Mediterranean lifestyle.
Walk in the footsteps of ancient hunter-gatherers at Ġgantija; marvel at millennia-old Phoenician salt pans; tour ancient Roman forts and baths; explore the silent streets of the former Arab hilltop capital of Mdina; wander the twisting streets of the old Ċittadella in Gozo, once conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte; or paint the town red in Malta’s clubland district of Paceville.
A must-visit is Valletta, the European Capital of Culture for 2018. This golden capital city is where a small force of knights beat off hordes of Turkish invaders during the last battle of the Holy Wars—and it’s where you can discover a wealth of history, from cathedrals and palazzos to war rooms and massive honey-coloured stone fortresses, besides museums, restaurants and shopping opportunities galore.
There’s no place like Malta, and you can find out more in our blog. But here’s some eye-catching fast facts about the country made for quick Google searches.
Some stand-out facts about Malta include:
- Warm, friendly and respectful Mediterranean cultural values
- Attractive location for some of the world’s top companies
- Impeccable health care system voted the best in the EU in 2020
- Low crime levels make Malta one of the world’s safest places to live
- Fantastic country in which to retire with favourable tax rates and retirement benefits
- High calibre English-speaking state, international schools, and university
- 300+ days of sunshine, perfect Mediterranean climate
- Favourite location for Hollywood: Game of Thrones, Troy, By The Sea
- Megalithic, Phoenician, Roman and Arabic national heritage sites
- Valletta – historic treasure trove & 2018 European Capital of Culture
- Vast variety of military history, from Ottoman Siege to World War Two
- Delicious Italian-inspired cuisine
- English-speaking country using the Euro currency
- Abundance of fascinating town festivals
- 2-3 hours from most European cities
Geography/Getting Your Bearings
The Republic of Malta is in the heart of the Mediterranean. Ninety-three kilometres south of Sicily and 288km north of Africa, Malta is a compact 320 km2, making it one of the smallest states in the world…with arguably the biggest heart, as the Ottoman siege and WW2 attest. More about that in the history section. There are three main islands. These include the business and political hub Malta, and its beautiful sister island Gozo. Comino, home to the Blue Lagoon, is mostly uninhabited.
What’s the weather like?
With over 300 days of sunshine a year, Malta is a sun-worshipper’s paradise, with long, hot summers and mild winters. Malta has an average sea temperature of 22oC, with many people swimming up until Christmas. Some tough Nordic visitors swim all year round! At the yearly UK Dive Show held in 2019 at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, UK, Malta was voted the second-best diving destination in the world. Its crystal-clear sea is perfect for scuba diving.
Does it have an interesting history?
Malta’s strategic location in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea has placed the Maltese Archipelago right at heart of some of world’s most pivotal historical events. These include the wars between Greece and Troy, Rome, Phoenicia and Carthage, and Christians and Moslems. The islands also experienced first-hand the rise and fall of Napoleon and of the British Empire. It also endured the relentless attrition of modern warfare as Allied forces battled the might of the Axis during World War Two.
What are the people like?
Malta’s population is approximately 493,000. Maltese make up 95% of the population and are mostly Catholic. They descend from ancient Phoenicians, with a lot of Sicilian and Greek influences. The Maltese language and culture is enriched by its former rulers, which included Romans, Moors, Normans, the Knights of Saint John, French and British. There is also a large British community (1.6%) in Malta. Overall, people are warm, welcoming and respectful.
Will I have language issues?
Malta’s national language, Malti, derives from the Sicilian-Arabic dialect of Southern Italy. It’s the only Semitic language in the EU that has an official status. English, however, is the other official language of Malta. It is the language of commerce and some 88% of Maltese speak it fluently. Italian is also popular, with 66% of islanders conversant. Seventeen percent of the population speak French, 66% Italian, and 88% English. English is also the language legal documents are always written in.
What’s the driving like?
Maltese can be passionate drivers, like their Sicilian and Italian neighbours. As per the British system, however, Malta drives on the left-hand side of the road. EU citizens can use their current licenses or apply for a Maltese license after living in Malta for six months. When moving to Malta you can import one car per person relocating without paying registration tax, provided you’ve owned it for two years or more