Travel guide for Malta
Depending on where you come from, a trip to Malta can feel like traveling back in time. Due to its diverse history, the Maltese archipelago showcases influences from various periods in time. Many small towns and cities maintained their original charm. On top of that they are also surrounded by a picturesque scenery.
Gain new experiences at the wonderful beaches and breathtaking landscapes. You should definitely visit Malta's "Blue Grotto", which is famous for its turquoise waters. You can also experience summer-like temperatures all the way up to September.
When you visit Malta for the first time its not uncommon to feel as though you have been there before. This may sound mysterious, but there is a reason for why your surroundings might feel eerily familiar. Malta is the set of countless modern movies that many of us have seen and there is a high chance that you will recognize many locations due to their appearance in world famous features, movies and series. The well known fantasy series "Game of Thrones" is just one of many.
Malta is currently home to three UNESCO world heritage sites. The old town center of Valletta is one of these sites. The European Union has also nominated Valletta to be the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2018!
The Maltese republic consists of multiple islands. Malta is the longest one of these islands, with a lenght of 27 kilometers. The island state is made up of the three inhabited islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino as well as the unihabited islands of Cominotto, Filfla, St. Paul's Island and Fungus Rock. The capital city of Malta, Valletta, is located on the island of Malta. Malta officially counts as one of the world's microstates as it covers an area of 316 square kilometers in total.
Malta is a part of the Middle European time zone 'MET'.
Climate and travel seasons
The average yearly temperature in Malta is around 18.7 degrees Celsius. This is because temperatures are evenly distributed across the entire year. Summer can however become very hot and temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius are to be expected throughout the summer period. Sun worshipers will love this time of year and water sports are of course also in season! You will therefore want to pack light clothing and swimwear! Temperatures rarely sink in the evenings either, but it is recommendable to take a light jacket or jumper with you. There can however be short and heavy rain showers in any season as it is located right next to the Mediterranean sea. More noticeable temperature changes can occur during Spring and Fall, but it will always stay relatively warm as long as the sun is shining. At the break of dawn the breeze from the ocean can lower the temperatures quite noticeably. If you enjoy swimming in the ocean, you will usually still be able to do so up until the end of November, because it will still be warm and sunny enough at the Mediterranean sea.
Climate chart in degrees Celsius (Valletta)
Hours of sunlight per day
Requirements for entering Malta
European citizens do not need a VISA in order to enter Malta as the county is part of the EU. Non-EU-citizens need to apply for a VISA at their local Maltese embassy. Please also visit the Maltese embassy to discuss any requirements you might need to fulfill if you are planning on staying in Malta for longer than 90 days.
Make sure to take your passport or personal ID with you when you visit the embassy and when you begin your travels. Please note that your ID and Passport must be valid for until at least half a year onward from the date of your return from Malta. Minors under the age of 16 need to have a children's ID that contains an up to date picture of them or alternatively have an entry of their own within their parents' passport. Travel and safety information can be found on the appropriate ministry of foreign affairs or federal foreign office.
Malta has been a member of the Schengen Agreement since 2007, which is why border controls are inactive at Malta's international airport. This is why travelers who have a Schengen VISA do not need another Maltese VISA in order to be allowed into the country.
The currency 'Maltese Lira' was replaced by the Euro in 2008. Just like in other EU countries, the Maltese Euro depicts typical Maltese images on the backside of the coins and notes. One example is the altar of the megalithic temple, which can be seen on the back of the copper colored cent coins. The golden cent coins portray the Maltese coat of arms. The backs of the the 1 and 2 Euro coins show the Saint George's Cross on them.
No specific shots or vaccines are required before entering the country* (*check the website of the Maltese health ministry for information regarding COVID-19 regulations). In case you need to get a hospital's or a doctors' treatment whilst in Malta, you may want to consider getting a travel health insurance that covers you for the entire duration of your journey and is also applicable abroad. You can apply for this with your health insurance company. Alternatively you can also apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
The tap water in Malta is not suitable for drinking. Due to the fact that there is little to no groundwater in Malta, water that does exist is usually desalted and could also be partially chlorinated water from the ocean. Tap water is however safe to use for brushing one's teeth and cooking.
It is not uncommon for people to experience circulatory issues due to the fact that their body is not used to the high temperatures. We recommend to always keep hydrated and bring water with you wherever you go. And of course don't forget your sunscreen! Should you spend long periods of time outdoors it is highly advisable to wear a hat or another form of sun protection on your head.
Please also make note of the medical care advice contained on the website of the ministry of foreign affairs.
So that you are perfectly prepared, we have compiled a luggage checklist for you.
88.6 percent of the Maltese population is Roman Catholic, so the vast majority is Christian. The Christian influence cannot be overlooked on the island: the more than 365 churches are simply impossible not to notice! The Catholic Church is part of the Diocese of Malta and Gozo. The remaining percentage of the population consists of Protestants (some of which are members of the Baptist Church), Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, one of the members of the social democratic party "Partit Laburista", has been Malta's President since April 2014. The republic's House of Representatives is formed by 65 members of congress. The Maltese government is elected for a legislative period of 5 years. In May 2004, the island state joined the European Union, of which it has since become the smallest member state.
Local language and communication
The Maltese language reflects the republic's exciting and complex history.
The primary official language of the island state is Maltese. Maltese is one of the Semitic languages, which originated from medieval Arabic and developed into the language we know today. Even though the Maltese language was originally created with heavy influences from the Arabic language, it has also incorporated elements of the Italian, French and English languages over time. The secondary languages of Malta are now English and Italian. However, the use of Italian is declining. Until 1934, it was considered the court language of Malta and the preferred language of education and writing. Almost all citizens of Malta are fluent in English due to British colonization period in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The easiest way to travel in Malta is by bus. There are bus connections all across the island and even though the buses are quite old, the connections are cheap to take. You can download the official Tallinja Smartphone App and get real-time information about the bus service. There are two bus stops near our Sprachcaffe school in St. Julian's. You can find an information stand that displays all details about the bus routes and connections at the bus station of City Gate in Valletta or at Saint Paul's Bay at the Terminus. For more information about the bus service, to buy a bus pass, or to plan your journey, visit the Malta Public Transport website.
There are regular ferries between Malta and the peninsula of Gozo. For about four euros, you can cross from the main island of Malta to Gozo. In addition to the two large ferries, captains of smaller boats also offer their services.
There are three different types of taxis in Malta: white , black and red ones. The white cabs will take you off the street if you stand on the side of the road and pay attention. The black ones you have to order in advance. The red cabs are vans for eight people and usually run at night.
There is probably no other country that has seen as many different cultures come and go as Malta has. The first people reached the island around 5200 BC. Since then nearly all powers of the Mediterranean have tried to gain ownership of the island. Many different battles were fought to control the island, the last of which occurred during the Second World War, in which Malta was the base of the allied powers. It was therefore targeted by Germany and Italy during the war.
Maltese culture was influenced very early by the great Mediterranean empires, such as the Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs, to which the archipelago belonged in antiquity and the Middle Ages. The inhabitants of the islands were also influenced by the Roman Catholic beliefs and superstitions that originate in the south of Italy. Their language is however more strongly linked to Arabic. Malta only created its first independent government in 1530, which was led by the Sovereign Order of Malta. However, this changed in 1814 when Malta became a British colony.
The time under the British empire shaped the island so deeply that even today English is the island's official language The typical British red telephone booths can also be found in Malta. The Maltese flag was also influenced by the British: during World War II, Malta acted as an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" for the British. For their dedication and support, the British King awarded the Maltese people the George Cross, which is still depicted on the Maltese state flag today. Malta finally gained independence on September 21, 1964.
Party & Clubbing
Although the Maltese islands are known for their sunny skies, azure waters and dramatic history, there's also some really great nightlife to be enjoyed. Malta is known for its nightlife and party scene, and with a huge range of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and wine bars, you're never too far from a good time. There is also a vibrant arts and music scene with many festivals to attend during the summer season, as well as during the the quieter winter months.
Where can I find the best nightlife in Malta?
- Paceville (St. Julian's) - center of nightlife not far from the Sprachcaffe campus
- Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul's Bay - a bit quieter, mainly bars/pubs and a few clubs
- Outskirts of Rabat - Gianpula complex and Numero Uno (popular open-air clubs during the summer months)
- Valletta and Sliema - mainly bars/pubs and wine bars
- Birgu and Mdina - wine bars
Carnival: (February) The Maltese carnival takes place in February and is a sight to behold. It has been one of Malta's traditions for more than 450 years and is one of the island's biggest festivals. The week of the island's Carnival is traditionally held on the last week of February.
International Fireworks Festival:(April-May) There are plenty of fireworks and even a local competition with international pyrotechnicians. Their performances are spectacular and you will not want to miss them.
Malta Jazz Festival: (July) World famous Jazz musicians have been gathering at this amazing festival venue on the third weekend of July for more than 25 years. Every person who lives and loves Jazz simply needs to pay this festival a visit!
International Arts Festival:(July - August) This local and regional artist festival takes place in the summer, which means that most performances and activities will take place outside. The weather is very likely to be great and the sights are bound to be even better.
Glitch Festival: (August) Fans of electronic music cannot miss the Glitch Festival! From rooftop pool parties to secret cave raves, Glitch is one of the biggest festivals on the island. Famous artists like Maceo Plex, Ben Klock, Jon Hopkins, Dax J, Carl Craig have performed here. The festival ends with a huge boat party that you simply cannot miss!
Since the majority of the population is Catholic, the Christian holidays (New Year, Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost, Labor Day, Christmas, etc.) are the most popular on the island. However, a few individual national holidays are also celebrated.
- February 10: Shipwreck of Saint Paul (In-Nawfraġju ta' San Pawl). According to legend, during his journey to Rome, the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked off Malta and wintered on the island, which is how Christianity came to Malta.
- March 31: Day of Freedom (Jum il-Ħelsien)
- June 7: National Day of Malta (Sette Giugno)
- September 8: Victory Day (Il-Vittorja)
- September 21: Maltese independence from the Britis (L-Indipendenza).
- December 13: Republic Day (Jum ir-Repubblika)
Maltese cuisine has been influenced by many cultures and combines Italian, Turkish and North African influences in its delicious dishes. The traditional ingredients of Maltese cuisine are mainly fish, capers and vegetables. "Ġbejna", a small cheese made from goat's milk, is one of the island's specialties. Golden mackerel ("lampuki") is Malta's national fish and a delicacy not to be missed. Rabbit is a specialty on the island and is served almost everywhere.
You should definitely try the Maltese national drink "Kinnie", a bitter yet very popular drink. A well-known beer brand in Malta is Cisk, which brews beer according to the English model.
Common tourist mistakes
Like in any larger city or town you should always take good care of your bags and belongings, especially when visiting Valletta and Silema. Pick pocketers can of course be found in any location, no matter how big or small, therefore it is advisable to watch your things at all times and to not wear backpacks or handbags that you can not keep an eye on.
You will probably always need your sunscreen, especially if you are not used to being exposed to hot temperatures and strong sun. Note that the sun is not the only threat to your skin when being outside for longer periods of time. Mosquitos are also very commonly found in Malta, which means that you will want to bring mosquito repellent with you as well.
Tips and tricks
In Malta the quality of life is very important. This is why it is a widely spread custom to close all shops around noon in order to allow for people to have one siesta per day. A little tip from your travel guide: in tourist areas, many stores are open throughout the day.
It is also worth remembering that Maltese people like celebrating very frequently. A majority of the festivals are religion-based since the majority of the island's inhabitants is Catholic. All traditional festivals are dedicated to saints and are usually celebrated with parades and loud music. The mood is relaxed and there is a very social atmosphere. Maltese also like to go out with friends and relatives to restaurants or bars. They are very open-minded, so it is easy to make new friends.
Saint Julian's is often perceived as the heart of Malta. It is the ideal place to go out to meet people from all around the world. Not far from our campus is the Paceville district. Here restaurants and bars are lined up close to each other. Whether a glass of wine or a bucket of caipirinha - there is something for everyone.
How are you?
Good, thank you
How about you?
See you later
Narak iktar tard
I am lost
Can I help you?
Can you help me?
Where is the toilette/ the pharmacy?
Fejn hi il-kamra tal-banju / l-ispiżerija ?
Do you speak (English)?
Taf titkellem (bl-Ingliż)?
My name is…
Sightseeing highlights in Malta
We have selected a video for your travel guide, so that you can get a better visual impression of the beautiful Mediterranean island. This video contains the perfect summary of the most important sightseeing highlights that you will not want to miss during your trip to Malta!