Malta is located in the center of the Mediterranean sea. Made up of three Islands, the mainland, Malta, sister Island, Gozo and tiny Comino, the Maltese Islands are located just 100km south of Sicily and about 300km north of the African Coast. The size of Malta is just 27km long and 14km wide and enjoys a long coastline made up mostly of flat rocky bays and coves and a few charming sandy beaches. Malta also has some excellent natural ports and harbours and three main Yacht Marinas.
Travelling around Malta is simple and no destination normally takes you longer than 30 minutes by car. Malta has recently acquired a new bus system and driving is, like the British, on the left.
Malta forms part of the European Schengen Area, therefore EU passport holders can freely travel here without any Visa requirements or border controls. Visa requirements for other countries follow the same Schengen Rules. More details can be found at http://www.mfa.gov.mt/Default.aspx?MDIS=530
The Maltese Islands are easy to travel to from most major European countries and cities. Flight times vary from 3 to 4 hours from the United Kingdom and Scandinavia, two to three hours from central European cities like Paris and Frankfurt and less than an hour from Rome. Direct flights can also be found from Dubai, Cyprus and Cairo among others. Major Air Carriers operating direct flights to Malta include Lufthansa, Air Malta, British Airways and the low cost airlines like Ryan Air, Vueling and Easy Jet. Transport from the airport to your home in Malta never takes longer than 30 minutes!
(links to airlines)Climate:
A major reason why many people choose to purchase a holiday property or main residence in Malta is the climate. Having been voted as the best climate in the world, Malta is mainly warm and sunny from March to November, with temperatures rising to 30 Celsius in the peak summer months of July and August. The sea temperature in summer also reaches around 26C and the weather, even in the evenings remains warm and dry. Malta also enjoys mild autumn and spring months with temperatures fluctuating between 18C and 25C. The winter months are short, between December and March. Don’t expect any frost or snow as there is none. Do expect some balmy sunny and pleasant days to break the greyness of winter however. Nothing beats a bright and sunny winter day when the countryside is a sharp and clean colour of green when the rest of Europe is covered in snow!The Locals:
The Maltese people are curious and peace loving people, with a strong sense of hospitality. The national language is Maltese, however English is also an official language and is widely spoken. The Maltese language sounds rather rough to the visitor. Do not be alarmed, what might seem to be a vociferous argument to the untrained ear is only a lively exchange of opinion and always ends with a friendly pint of the local inexpensive and excellent beer at the local Tavern!
The local food is equally based on fish and meat specialities, the fruit and vegetables taste wonderful and much of it is locally grown. Once in Malta, one has to try the local pastries, a delicacy to some, and knows as ‘pastizzi’.
The country enjoys political stability and is a full member of the European Union. The current population stands at around 400,000Cost and standard of living:
The cost of living in Malta is extremely reasonable with groceries, textiles and toiletries competitively priced and freely available. Most retailers stock both local and international products, and there are branches and franchises of international retailers in the major shopping areas.
The currency in Malta is the Euro. Banks have seasonal opening hours but can always be found open between 8.30am and 12.30pm.
Services and businesses such as hair salons, cafes, hotels and restaurants are also extremely reasonable and of a high standard compared with many other countries. Property related services such as house builders and renovators, carpenters, housekeepers, cleaners and gardeners are especially noted for their craftsmanship and work ethic.
There is a fantastic range of bars, cafes and restaurants all over Malta and Gozo. Eating out is both excellent value for money and very much a part of the social scene here. The main areas for night life and eating out are Sliema, Paceville, Bugibba and Valletta.
The transport links in Malta are good. A new and modern bus service was launched in July 2011. Ferry links to Gozo and Sicily are efficient and frequent, car hire services are amongst the best value in Europe and taxis are easily available. The roads are in fairly good condition and well sign posted. Religion:
The majority of Maltese people are practising Catholics, the village festivals or festas that take place around Malta and Gozo, especially in the summer months, are ample proof of this. The Maltese people are however very tolerant to other religions and places of worship of other religious denominations can be found here. In fact, freedom of worship is guaranteed by the constitution of Malta and some of the Religious denominations represented in Malta include Anglican, Church of Scotland, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Methodists and Muslims.
One can observe that the typical village in Malta or Gozo has a Church that dominates the square. In some of the larger villages one can even find 2 or more main churches with their typical village squares. Each church is dedicated to a patron saint and some rivalry or competitive spirit can be seen between the villagers as to which church and patron saint and hence festive celebration is the best.
Even in this modern age the church is still the heart and social soul of the village.History:
MALTA once known as the island of MELITA derives its name from 'honey' (MEL) for which the islands were once famous for. This small island has had a long history, often as a central point for trade routes between Europe and Africa.
Malta has been inhabited for over 7,000 years, has been occupied by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, the Knights of St John, the French and the British. The Islands finally gained independence in 1964. Despite this colourful history, the Maltese retained a strong sense of identity and culture, present in many of the customs still practised today.
For the past twenty years, Malta has been regarded as a popular holiday destination for Europeans, as well as an attractive place to retire or buy a second home. Malta's entry into the EU in 2004 enhanced its place as an international destination for tourists, as well as business.About Gozo:
Gozo, provides a more tranquil setting and a welcome change from the more bustling and heavier populated Malta. The local name is 'Ghawdex' (pronounced: Awdesh). Gozo’s mystic and charm is apparent the moment you arrive there. Greener, more rural and smaller than Malta, life on Gozo moves at a leisurely pace. The island is just 14.5 km long and 8km wide and is dotted with tiny charming villages, each with its own Baroque church. Just over 27,000 people live on the island. This
translates into a greener and more peaceful place to be.
The Island of Gozo can be reached by a regular ferry service as well as by sea plane, private or tourist boats.Hotel Accommodation:
Malta is well served by hundreds of hotels, self-catering accommodation and guest houses, as well as rental accommodation for short term lets. Choose from a luxury 5 star hotel to cosy and welcoming local guest houses. Malta Property Agents can recommend a place to stay while you are looking to buy a property in Malta.
(links to holiday accommodation)Car Rental:
Car rental is a cost effective way of getting around Malta. Local rates compare very favourably to other European destinations. A European driving licence is all you need to drive here. There are the usual international car rental companies at the airport or you can arrange locally with some of the less well known Maltese companies, where the rates are normally more favourable. Malta Property Agents can also sort out these arrangements. Please advise us in good time.
(links to car rentals)Taxis:
Taxis can be expensive in Malta, and although the White taxis, found on the streets, are metered, it is always best to negotiate the price before you get in. There are also various companies that operate the Black Taxis where you often get a better deal. Malta Property Agents are able to arrange transfers from the airport and provide details of the best value taxi services.
(links to taxi services)