The southern European island paradise of Malta boasts picturesque bays, turquoise blue water and beige-coloured fortifications. The diverse cultural influences are a large part of Malta's history. The colonial heritage, as well as British and Arab influences, play an important role in the Maltese mentality and cuisine. Imposing churches and ornate buildings in the narrow-cobbled streets immerse you in a world from the past. The coast is lined by dream bays that are ideal for snorkeling and sunbathing. Malta, “the jewel of the Mediterranean”, offers the perfect blend of cultural wealth and relaxing oases.
Facts & Figures
Official name: Repubblika ta'MAlta (Republic of Malta) Location: Island group in the Mediterranean Sea, consisting of Malta, Gozo and Comino, between Sicily and North Africa Area: 316 km² Capital city: Valletta Population: 433.300 Religious and Ethnic groups: 98% Roman Catholic, a very small number of Protestants, Muslims, Jews, and Orthodox / Maltese (strong Italian and Mediterranean influences), 6.4% share of foreigners Language: Maltese and English (official languages), several minority languages (such as Italian) Geography: East and north side are characterized by wide flat beaches and bays, the southwest is known for its steep coasts with rock formations. Highest point: Ta'Dmejrek (253m) Time zone: Central European Time (UTC + 01:00) Political and Economic: Parliamentary republic, GDP: EUR 9.9 billion (2016) Currency: Euro since 2018
Arrival and departure
Visa: Vaccinations: In general, a vaccination for hepatitis A is recommended, and hepatitis B for longer stays. On site: Traveling within the country with a rental or own car is easily possible on the better roads. Caution: left-hand traffic. There is a well-developed road and bus network. The bus station in Valletta serves the whole island. There are regular car ferries to Gozo (from Cirkewwa to Mgarr).
Climate and best time to travel
Malta has a subtropical and very dry Mediterranean climate. Therefore, you will experience a fresh and crisp sea breeze with only a few rain showers. In the summer, the sun shines an average of 12 hours per day and in winter at least 5 to 6 hours. Winter average temperature: 10°C/27°C (average minimum temperatures around 10°C/16°C in January) Summer average temperature: 20°C/34°C (Maximum temperatures around 35°C in July/August) Water temperature: 23°C in July For bathing guests, the best time to travel is in the summer months, since the water temperatures are about 22°C. The beach season extends from June to October and offers optimal conditions for sun lovers and relaxation seekers.
The most beautiful holiday regions
Valletta and surrounding areas - UNESCO world heritage, which holds many cultural treasures Northeast Malta - Luxury and vibrant Mediterranean flair in the town of Sliema Island of Gozo - Legendary oasis of tranquility and diving paradise
Public holidays and celebrations
New Year (January 1), Shipwreck of St. Paul (February 10), St. Joseph (March 19), Freedom Day (March 31), Good Friday (two days before Easter Sunday), Easter Sunday (April 16/1 April), Easter Monday (the first Sunday after the Passover moon), Labor Day (May 1), Sette Giugno (June 7), St. Peter and Paul (June 29), Assumption Day (August 15),Victory Day (September 8), Independence Day (September 21), Immaculate Conception (December 8), Republic Day (December 13), Christmas (December 25/26).
DOs and DON'Ts
DOs • Experience underwater safaris. The turquoise blue Mediterranean is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. Tip: Crystal and Blue Lagoon are true paradises. • Time travel. Between the old fortifications and stone temples you will walk through more than 5000 years of old ruins of the first Maltese. Make yourself at home in the ancient times. • Drive on the left-hand side of the road. Remaining from the British colonial rule, left-hand traffic poses a challenge to anyone who wants to experience the island in a rental car.
DON'TS • Don’t waste water. In Malta, there is generally a lack of drinking water, therefore you should be aware of water consumption. • Don’t wear inappropriate clothing in places of worship. Due to their strong religious beliefs, you should wear appropriate clothing when visiting churches. Your shoulders and legs should always be covered. • Don’t bathe nude. Nude bathing is officially banned in Malta. In a few tourist areas, topless bathing is tolerated, but it is better to wear appropriate swim clothing.
Can you drink the tap water? The Maltese tap water is not of drinking water quality. Due to the shortage of groundwater, it is desalinated and chlorinated seawater. It can still be used to cook and brush your teeth. Do I need an adaptor? In Malta, different sockets are used; an adapter is therefore needed. What about medical care? The Maltese health system operates generally well. There are several smaller clinics scattered across the island, with the main supply being provided at Mater Dei Hospital.
Top tips and discoveries
Mdina In the picturesque town of Mdina, you will feel transported back to the Middle Ages. The former capital of Malta is surrounded by fortress walls where car traffic is forbidden. This makes exploring the narrow streets and beige quarter a very relaxing experience for the pedestrian. The cityscape is characterized by baroque architecture, small churches and multiple palaces that enchant visitors. Particularly worth seeing is the Mdina Cathedral and the top of the city wall, where you can be sure to experience breathtaking views over the island. The Cathedral Museum and the main gate of the city as well as the Vilhena Palace.
Comino and the Blue Lagoon Comino is the smallest inhabited island of the Maltese archipelago and is home to the Blue Lagoon, which is almost like a Mediterranean Caribbean. The turquoise blue and crystal-clear water make the bay a paradise for divers. Tip: You can explore the Blue Lagoon of Sliema with a boat tour and spend the day sunbathing on the deck or swim between breathtaking cliffs. Saint Mary's Tower is also worth a visit, from there you have a beautiful view over Malta and the Blue Lagoon.
Marsaxlokk The charming fishing village on the south coast of Malta is one of the most popular excursion destinations. Brightly colored fishing boats, so-called Luzzus, located by the harbor give the place a special flair. On the waterfront, a large market is held on a regular basis where you can find typical Maltese specialties, such as honey or capers, and many souvenirs. A special attraction is the Parish Church of Our Lady of Pompei, Marsaxlokk. Also in Marsaxlokk, fish lovers will get their money's worth: in the harbor there are numerous fish restaurants where you can eat fine and fresh seafood.