To make your move easier and smoother, here is what you need to know about the Maltese Islands.
Choosing Malta as a holiday destination or to relocate is a wise choice. The fantastic weather for most of the year, the beaches the island is surrounded with, fantastic cuisine and all the heritage, architecture and history is what makes the perfect combination to make Malta a top choice.
The Maltese archipelago lies at the center of the Mediterranean, 93km from south of Sicily and 288km from the north of Africa. The archipelago consists of 3 islands. Malta, Gozo and Comino. A total population of 432,832 making it 0.01% of the total world population.
Malta is the largest island out of the three. Gozo is the second largest island, which is more rural and it is characterized by fishing, tourism, crafts and agriculture, whilst Comino is the smallest island, which has only one hotel and it is mainly uninhabited.
Malta is all about history
- Ancient Malta
- The Middle Ages
- The great Siege of Malta
- The Knights of St. John
- The British in Malta
- Malta in the 21st Century
During the last Ice age, Malta was a high mountain joined to Italy. About 10,000 years ago, when the Ice age ended, there was a high sea rise and the islands were formed. The earliest farmers that arrived to Malta were from Sicily. During the stone age days, circa 3,600 BC to about 2,500 BC the farmers, built temples and hypogeums.
During the Pheonician period, 800BC, the Maltese Islands experienced civilization. They were great sailors and traders and the Phoenicians gave the island the name ‘MALTA’. The Carthaginians then ruled Malta for 250years until the Romans conquered the island. Under the romans Malta flourished mainly for honey and sailcloth. The majority of the Maltese became Christians after the shipwreck of St.Paul.
870AD, Malta was conquered by the Arabs. They also left their influence for circa 250years.
During the Middle Ages, the Arabs were ruled out by the Normans and Count Roger made Malta part of the Sicilian kingdom. Malta was also part of the Spanish Kingdom under the ruling of Castile and Aragon.
In 1530 the Spanish king handed over Malta to the Knights of St.John. The knights of St.John were recognized by the pope for helping sick pilgrims and they fought crusades against Muslims.
During the bloody Siege of Malta, the Turks tried to capture the island and its people and the Knights of St.John fought a fiercely battle until the Turks abandoned Malta. After the attack La Vallette built new fortifications and a hospital.
In 1802, the British ruled Malta and the island was recognized as a British Colony. The Maltese were given a limited role in government until 1887, the Maltese had the majority representatives elected.
After world war II, the Maltese kept pressing for independence from the British Colony. Malta gained independence on the 21st September, 1964. The queen was still head of state until Malta became republic in 1974.
In 2004 Malta formed part of the European Union and in 2008 it also joined the Euro.
Malta attracts tourists from all over the world due to our warm climate, night life, historic sites and sport facilities. The country offers wellness and spa facilities, boutique, luxury and club resorts.
How big is Malta?
Malta is one of the world’s smallest countries. In fact, it is the smallest member of the European Union.
However, it is the eighth most densely populated country in the world. Lots of people like living here!
Malta is 27km long and 14.5km wide, with 196.8km of coastline around Malta and 56km of coastline around Gozo. The islands cover a total of 316 km².
Unless one is commuting during rush hours, it should not take you more than 45 minutes to drive from North to South or vice versa.
What is the typical weather in Malta?
The weather in Malta and Gozo is typical of the Mediterranean and strongly influenced by the sea.
The Maltese Islands have a sunny climate with a daily average of 12 hours of sunshine in summer and 5-6 hours in mid-winter>
In July and August you will only need very light, cool clothes while winter may require a bit more warmth and a windproof jacket.
- Malta is one of the warmest countries in Europe
- Average annual temperature: 23 °C during the day and 16 °C at night
- Average annual sea temperature: 20 °C
- Average hours of sunshine per year: 3,000+
- Coldest month: January, with average temperatures of 15 °C
- Warmest month: August, with average temperatures of 31 °C
However, this year Malta has experienced a cold year with strong hail and winds and temperature as low as 3°C.
What is the Religion practiced in Malta?
The majority of the Maltese are catholic. There are around 365 churches on the Maltese Islands – one for every day of the year! Many were built in the 17th century, making them sights to behold even for non-believers.
With their bell towers and domes, the churches are an integral part of the Maltese skyline.
Malta is a Catholic country and when visiting various churches dress code has to be appropriate with no shorts or sleeveless tops.
Currency and Banks
The Maltese currency is the euro.
Banks in Malta & Gozo are normally open until early afternoon from Monday to Friday, and until midday on Saturday.
Summer and winter opening hours may differ. There are a number of ATM machines from which you can withdraw money at any time.
In Malta and Gozo, driving is on the left.
The speed limit varies between 35km/h and 80km/h depending on whether you are in a built-up area or open countryside.
The official languages of Malta are English and Maltese.
Our time zone is very similar to all European countries, the clock is changed forward on the last Sunday of March and back on the last Sunday of October.
Timezone of Malta: GMT +01:00 Central European
Malta and Gozo have 14 annual Public Holidays. Apart from Good Friday whose date varies from year to year, every other public holiday is celebrated on the same date each year. The following is the list of the Public Holidays:
- 1st January – New Year’s Day
- 10th February – Feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck
- 19th March – Feast of St Joseph
- 31st March – Freedom Day
- 1st May – Labour Day
- 7th June – Sette Giugno
- 29th June – Feast of St Peter and St Paul
- 15th August – Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady
- 8th September – Feast of Our Lady of Victories
- 21st September – Independence Day
- 8th December – Feast of the Immaculate Conception
- 13th December – Republic Day
- 25th December – Christmas Day
The following is a list of useful telephone numbers for visitors to Malta and Gozo:
Directory Enquiries: 1182
Emergency Rescue by Helicopter: 21244371
Emergency Rescue by Patrol Boat: 21238797
Fire Brigade: 112
Government Information Service: 153
Gozo Ferry: 21556114
Hospital – Gozo: 21561600
Hospital – Malta: 25450000
Lost Property: 21224781
Overseas Operator: 1152
Passport Office – Gozo: 21560770
Passport Office – Malta: 21222286
Direct Dialling Code for Malta: 356
Is Malta safe place to be?
The answer is ‘yes’. Malta is much safer than many other countries in Europe.
Crime rates in Malta are relatively low. Overall crime rates are well below the EU average.
Walking outside at night is perfectly safe almost everywhere in Malta.
Pickpocketing tends to be more common in tourist hotspots. Just be vigilant and look after your belongings.
Any food lover should definitely make Malta a top priority ? different typical Maltese dishes and unique flavors makes lunch time and dinner always a big crave.
Moreover, the Maltese in general are multilingual, mainly with the English and Italian languages.
Finally, you are never too far from the sea and to travel from one village to the other will not take you hours. The Maltese are renowned for their warm hospitality and festas which take place mainly in summer.