15 Facts You Need To Know About Malta Before You Arrive
Planning a trip to Malta? Already here?
Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about the Maltese Islands that will make your holiday easier.
With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.
This is your mini guide to Malta!
1) The islands
Malta is the largest island and the cultural, commercial and administrative centre.
Gozo is the second largest island and is more rural, characterised by fishing, tourism, crafts and agriculture.
Comino, the smallest of the trio, has one hotel and is largely uninhabited.
2) 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. In theory, if there was no traffic it shouldn’t take you more than 40 minutes to drive from one end of Malta to the other.
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
Looking for accommodation in Malta? Check out the top gay-friendly hotels and B&Bs.
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.
5) Is Malta Gay-friendly?
Malta has introduced equal marriage, a liberal new gender recognition law, a ban on gay ‘cure’ therapy and pioneering protections for intersex people. In 2019, Malta earned first place in the International Lesbian-Gay Association’s ‘Rainbow Europe’s league for LGBT rights by granting 91% of total rights. Read more about gay-friendly Malta here.
Tap water is safe to drink throughout the Maltese Islands. Local and imported bottled mineral water is available from shops, supermarkets, restaurants and bars.
7) Currency and Banks
The Maltese currency is the euro.
Banks in 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. We recommend you to choose the well-known local banks` ATMs like Bank of Valletta (BOV), HSBC, APS, Banif (BNF) and stay away from the unbranded ATMs as they charge very high transaction fees.
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. It is worth paying attention to the relevant road signs.
Electricity is 220-240 volts and the frequency of the supply is 50 hertz.
The sockets and plugs are the three rectangular pin plugs, just like the UK. Converters and adapters are easy to find.
The official languages of Malta are English and Maltese.
We have put together a list of the Top 10 Things To Do in Malta, have a look at them and start planning your holiday now.
11) Time Zone
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
12) Public Holidays
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
13) Is Malta safe?
The short answer is yes. Malta is much safer than many other holiday destinations 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.
14) Useful Numbers
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
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
15) Tourist information
There are tourist information offices across the Maltese Islands, run by the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA).
Tourist information offices are located in Valletta, Cruise Terminal of the Valletta Waterfront, Malta International Airport, Mellieħa, Mdina and in Victoria, Gozo.