Welcome to our beautiful sunny island! I promise you, you will love it here. But there are some things you need to keep in mind! Click here for the best tips, from a local, to help make your life in Malta a bit easier
Hello & welcome back to my blog!
Let me guess. So you’re planning on moving to Malta? Good choice!
Malta is an excellent place to live in and I decided to give you some top tips from a local who was born here and has been living here for 23 years.
1. English Is Widely Spoken:
We do have our national language and that is Maltese. The language is a rather hard to learn but don’t fret! English is our second national language and it is spoken everywhere so you’d have no trouble with that!
Bus stops, billboards, restaurant menus, government websites etc are all in English. Even if you walk into a grocery store or any other shop, you will find someone there who speaks English. A lot of employers stress the importance of English and it is usually a requirement to be fluent in it for a job!
2. Landlords Are Shady & Rents Are Expensive:
I’m not trying to throw my country under the bus but this is the honest truth.
Rents here are expensive so prepare yourself for that! Sliema, St Julian’s, Msida and Gzira are the worst. If you have 900+ for a studio then you’re good to go. But if that’s not in your budget, then I suggest looking somewhere close to the South. Furthermore, I also highly recommend looking into rental laws! Chances are they’re going to be different than the laws of where you’re from
If you’re not careful, you will find some shady landlords. I always recommend using an agency! Some of the best ones on the island are:
3. You’ll Find Every Type Of Cuisine:
Malta is a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities. As a result, you’ll find any type of cuisine! We have Mexican, Cuban, Italian, Spanish, American, Thai, Indian .. you name it! Even though we’re a small country, there’s flavour around every corner.
Which brings me to my fourth point:
4. Don’t Skip Out On Maltese Cuisine:
Maltese food is some of the best food I’ve ever had (not being bias!). Our cuisine is very similar to Italian and Sicilian foods but we do have our own twists. For example, a national favourite is pastizzi. I LOVE pastizzi but they won’t love your waistline so be careful!
Pastizzi is pastry cooked in lard filled with ricotta or mushy peas. These days, there a number of fillings you can try such as chicken and even nutella. But in my opinion, traditional is always the best.
You will find pastizzerias dotted all over the island. Some of the most mainstream ones are Sphinx, Jeff’s Pastizzeria and Maxims. All of them are equally delicious!
Another favourite of mine is ftira biz-zejt. The best way to eat this is by the beach!
5. 300+ Days Of Sunshine:
If you love Summer and hot weather and hate cold weather and Winter, then you’re in luck because Malta is blessed with lots of sunshine all year round!
Even during Winter time we have loads of sunshine. Needless to say, the weather is hot and warm all year round. The only time we experience extreme cold weather (and by extreme I mean weather that we find really cold) is from January – February. That’s it.
So for all Summer lovers thinking of moving from your home country, Malta is the perfect destination!
6. Pretty Beaches:
Another thing we are blessed with is clear waters and pretty beaches. Malta is dotted with stunning bays all over the island, as well as in Gozo and Comino.
One of my absolute favourites that me and my family go to every weekend is Kalanka Bay (pictured below). You probably already heard of St Peter’s Pool. Well Kalanka is a quiet version of that it is not far from it! All you got to do is just keep driving for a minute or so and you’re there. And yes, you do need a car to go to them. Buses don’t go up there.
Some of the most popular ones are Golden Bay, Pretty Bay, all the beaches in Gozo and Paradise Bay
7. Malta Is Full Of History:
Our islands are rich in history and archeology. One of the most popular sights are the Megalithic Temples. These date back to pre-historic times and show life in Malta during that time. We also have war museums and Valletta, our capital, is another excellent example of Maltese history.
Valletta dates back to the 1500s and it was named after the Grandmaster Of The Knights Of St John, La Vallette. You’ll notice that the roads are grid like. They were built like that by the Knights so in case of an attack, moving around the city is easier.
Mdina is also full of history. It was our old capital city way back and it is known as the Silent City because only residents are allowed to drive in it with a car!
8. There’s Construction Everywhere:
Unfortunately, there’s construction everywhere with apartments being built all the time but with the rent being so expensive, they remain empty. That is something I despise about Malta. Expect to find cranes and trucks!
9. Cheap Flights:
Malta’s airport is a central European airport offering flights to thousands of European destinations.
Ryanair makes it possible to travel anywhere even as cheap as $9/€9! Millions of tourists visit every year and many of us go to other European countries from our airport!
Me having a grand time in Burg Eltz castle in Germany
10. It Is Very Easy To Move Here:
Obtaining the legal documents needed to move to Malta is very easy and doesn’t require that many steps compared to other countries. I’ll be delving into all of that in a different post giving you all the details and links you might need.
11. Traveling Time Is Less:
To commute from one place to another doesn’t take long IF there isn’t traffic which is quite rare. Malta is overpopulated and there are a lot cars. But in off peak hours, you don’t have to drive for hours on a highway to get to your destination!
12. Good Paying Jobs:
Malta has a high number of good paying jobs, the majority of them being in iGaming. If you know English and another language, like your mother tongue, then you can easily apply for a job! Some of the best job listing sites are:
13. Perfect For Retirement:
If you are looking to retire, Malta is lovely for that. Rabat for example is an excellent place to retire in or up north in Mellieha or Bahrija. They are quiet places in the rural part of Malta and there are some pretty nice properties to look at and buy or rent.
Some also move to Gozo, which is our sister island!
Gozo, compared to Malta, is much more quiet, much more rural and drivers know how to drive more than we do!
14. You’ll See Churches Everywhere:
Malta is a highly religious country and towns have more than one church. So getting used to the idea of seeing multiple churches wherever you go is a must! Every Sunday, each church holds a number of sermons and what me and my family used to do is after church, we’d go by fresh Maltese bread (drool!) and go back home and have Sunday lunch together.
Sunday still is my favourite day of the week!
15. Fireworks Every Weekend from June – September:
Starting from June, each parish holds what’s called a Festa.
A festa is when a church celebrates it’s patron and the people of that particular parish celebrate as well. Each festa lasts a week and the weekend is pretty much when everything happens. But during the week, fireworks happen every day and you’ll hear them even from around 8am.
You’ll also find food trucks during the weekend, more fireworks, kids running around and the statue of the patron being held on men’s shoulders and walked around the town or village.
16. We Have A Lot Of Public Holidays:
For anyone in school or at work, public holidays are GREAT!
Some of the holidays include Easter which involves going to church and eating all day, St Paul’s Feast will falls on Feb 10th and l-Imnarja which falls on the 28th of June.
Offices, some shops and schools are shut down and if it’s Summer, every one is at the beach or during Winter, depending on the weather, we go to Ta’ Qali for a family picnic!
17. Some Say Life In Malta Is Slow:
I don’t see it that way because I’m always out and about but foreigners all say that life here is more slow and more traditional.
Maltese tend to be more traditional however, the younger generation is also very opening minded. I guess it is up to you to decide this one!
18. Some Shops Still Close From 1-4pm:
You still find the odd, small shops such as stationary shops or small grocery stores that close from 1-4pm. This is not that common anymore but you might still find them! Big grocery stores and shopping malls etc stay open, sometimes even during public holidays!
19. There’s Shrines Pretty Much On Every Corner:
Remember earlier when I said Malta is really religious?
Almost on every street we have these little shrines which are holes in a corner of a wall with a statue of the Virgin Mary. That is the most popular one! I’m not sure why they are there but you’ll see a ton of them in Valletta for example and even in big towns like St Julians, Sliema, Qrendi and so on!
20. The Maltese Are Nice People:
Except for the idiots, in general, Maltese people are nice. They will help you if you stop them about something and even when you’re in distress, they will stop and help you! I am talking from a personal experience.
21. Public Transport Is A No No:
Public transport here sucks. I highly recommend getting yourself a car, even if it’s a rental. Doesn’t have to be as soon as you move here but at some point you will need it. I spent 20 years using it before getting my license (yeah .. took me a while to pluck up the courage and get it) and now that I drive, going around Malta to do errands, go to work etc is so much easier! And most importantly, takes me WAY less time.
And lastly ..
Don’t be afraid to dive head first into our culture. Chances are we do things way different than what you’re used to but don’t let that stop you. Chances are you do those things better than us such as public transport but don’t let that stop you from enjoying what our tiny island has to offer!
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