About Malta

MALTA lies virtually in the centre of the Mediterranean sea.  96 KM away from Sicily and 290Km away from North Africa.  The republic of Malta consists of four Islands – Malta Gozo – Comino which are inhabited whilst Filfla is not.  (Filfla is protected by law as a natural reserve).   These four Islands cover a total area of 316 square km and the total population of the Islands was estimated to be around 403,000 until some time ago.  Malta has neither mountains nor rivers. The Island is characterised by a series of low hills with terraced fields on the slopes.  Malta’s coastline has many harbours, bays, creeks and sandy beaches.

Valletta Malta’s Capital city, was built by Jean de Valette, French Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St John after the Great Siege of 1565.  The capital has a wide variety of historic events and this also reflects some of the Islands rich heritage of archaeology, history, architecture, art and culture.  A walk around the straight and narrow streets of Valletta the visitor would encounter a variety of Chapels, Cathedrals, Museums, galleries, public gardens, Palaces and massive fortifications.  These are all evidence of Malta’s rich history and heritage Valletta is considered as our splendid capital and has been listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Malta became Independent in 1964 and a decade later Malta became a Republic.  On the 1st of May 2004 Malta joined the European Union.

Malta has few natural resources with no traces of mineral or metal deposits and hence has remained unspoilt by heavy industry.  The only resources found in abundance are Maltese limestone which has been used by local craftsman through the ages.  Their great skill can be seen in some of the magnificent architecture which decorates the Islands.

GOZO known as Malta’s sister Island has a character of its own.  Gozo is an Island rich  in legend with many historic monuments.  The Island has its own Capital city Victoria, popularly known as Rabat.  The Island is more relaxed, calmer and quieter then Malta and the countryside is greener, cleaner and picturesque with flat-topped hills which characterise the landscape whilst the coast has rugged cliffs, with steep valleys and beautiful bays.  The pace of life on this small Island is very laid back and the people make you feel at home.  Gozo is the ideal place to take a break from today’s hectic world and everyday life.  Gozo is only 14.5 km long and 7.2 km at its widest point, with a perimeter of 43 km long.

COMINO considered as a little paradise is situated between Malta and Gozo and is the smallest inhabited Island in Malta.  There are two Hotels and no cars or any other noisy activity to disturb the peace of this Island.  The Island has a numerous sandy and rocky beaches and bays with clear crystal waters.  Boat trips are operated daily from Malta to Comino during the summer months.

THE CLIMATE

Malta’s climate is typically Mediterranean with mild winters and some cold sometimes.  There are no fogs, snow or frost on these Islands and during the summer months the weather is usually hot, sunny and very dry.  During the evening the weather tends to become a little bit cool by the sea.  The hottest period is considered to be from July to Mid September.  The total annual rainfall is about 50 cm (20 ins) and the average winter temperature is 12C. (54F).

THE PEOPLE

The Maltese people are very famous for their warm Hospitability infect they are proud but gentle race as being very friendly and most hospitable in the world.  That is one special Characteristic that defines the Maltese people.  And this is why visitors feel so relaxed and welcome in Malta.  The Maltese are amongst the oldest Christians in the world.  The influence of Christianity dates back to 60 AD when St Paul spent three months on the Islands preaching and converting.  The account of his shipwreck and his stay in Malta is well documented in the Bible.  The majority of Maltese are Catholic but there are also small Anglican, Church of Scotland, Greek, and Orthodox, Jewish and Methodist communities.  The Islands Churches (365 in all) are a proof of the love and reverence of the Maltese people.  The Churches all over the Island are lavishly decorated, embellished with beautiful stone work, silver ornaments and old paintings.

HISTORY

Malta has often been referred to as the Island of sunshine and history and with reason.  Recorded history dates back to around 800 BC. However unique ruins of megalithic civilisation show that the Islands were inhabited as far as 5000BC. In fact, historians generally state that the Maltese Islands were an important site for religious pilgrimages in ancient times.  An evidence to this is Hagar Qim one of the unique among the Maltese temples.  These magnificent remains of which there is no parallel elsewhere in the world, show the highly developed  society with exceptional skills who lived on these Islands.  The Islands strategic position right between European and Eastern  cultures has attracted strong seafaring nations, linking them together as the conquerors of these Maltese Islands. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantine’s, Arabs, Norman’s, Angivin’s, Aragonese, Castillians and the well known Order of St John, the French and finally the British all contributed to Malta’s chequered history.  During World War II the Maltese people showed courage in standing up to the might of the combined forces of Germany and Italy, that King George VI awarded the George Cross, the highest distinction, to the whole nation in appreciation of their fortitude and bravery in facing the enemy.  This feeling persisted for a long time urging the Maltese to strive  for independence within the commonwealth.  This was granted on September 21st , 1964 and on December 13th, 1974 Malta was proclaimed a Republic.  On May 1st 2004 Malta joined the European Union and on the 1st January 2008 Malta joined the Euro Zone.

CURRENCY

Malta joined the Euro zone on 1st May 2008.  Cash, travellers and Euro cheques can be exchanged at banks, foreign exchange, most hotels and restaurants.

TIME

Malta is on Central European time (CET) that is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in winter and two hours from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday of October.

LANGUAGE

The Island’s official Language is Maltese.  Maltese is a Semitic language similar to Levantine Arabic and written in the Roman script with many words of French, English and Italian origin.  English is nearly spoken by everyone and Italian and German is also widely spoken.

COST OF LIVING

As compared to other European countries, Malta is considered to have the lowest cost of living.  All everyday stuff like food and other stuff like clothing and furniture are reasonably priced.

SCHOOLS

Education in our schools is of very high standard compared to other European countries.  Malta has a free-state school system.  There are also many private and church schools were lessons are taught in English.  The curriculum is very closely aligned to the British system with students sitting for their O’Levels and A’Levels.

SPORTS CLUBS AND FACILITIES

The Island of Malta has plenty of clubs associated with water sports.  There are many scuba diving and sailing schools, motor sports, rugby, golf and the Island also offers various yacht marinas, boat repair yards, yacht chandlers, yacht service and brokers.  For further information contact our office.

HEALTH AND MEDICAL CARE

Travellers do not normally require certificates of vaccination or inoculations to enter the Maltese Islands.  Medical services are very good, equipped with modern facilities.  Private medical care is also available and apart from general practitioner services there are a number of small private hospitals and clinics.  Private medical insurance companies operating in the UK also operate in Malta.  Private medical care is provided at a charge as is the case in respect of non-Maltese citizens treated in Government hospitals.  Nationals of the EU countries residing in Malta are entitled to free Public health care in accordance with entitlements, as determined from time to time by the Ministry of Health.  This has to be confirmed with and certified by the Entitlement Unit with the Minister of Health.  All applicants must be in possession of the E-form meaning that they are entitled to Healthcare and the social security registration in their country of origin.

Temporary visitors (less than 1 year stay) from EU countries and EEA State members have access to Health care from public funded health clinics upon presentation of the E –card (European Health Insurance card).

DRIVING

Driving is on the left.  There is a speed limit of 40mph (65km) on a bypass and  30 mph (50km) in urban areas.  All International driving licences are recognised.  Third party insurance is advisable.

FLYING TIMES/ENQIRIES

Malta   –   London  – 3.10hrs
Malta   –   Rome  – 1.15hrs
Malta   –   Paris  – 2.35hrs
Malta   –   Frankfurt  – 2.35hrs
Malta   –   Amsterdam  – 3.05hrs
Malta   –   Cairo  – 2.35hrs
Malta   –   Sicily  – 30mins.

TOURISM

Tourism in Malta is considered to be one of the main pillars in our economy.  With as many as approximately 1,300, 000 tourists visiting the Islands every year Malta is becoming popular with many EU AND Non EU nationals year after year.. Arrivals are mainly from Britain, followed by Germany, Italy, France, Spain and other European countries.