19 Things You Should Know Before Going to Malta


Choosing Malta as a destination to visit is undoubtedly a wise choice: glorious weather for most of the year, idyllic scenery, beautiful beaches and wonderful cuisine.

What more could you want? However, there are a few things to know before visiting the island that can help make your stay go more smoothly: There are some things you should never do as a tourist in Malta.

Here are 19 things you need to know before going to Malta and some practical advice to help you along the way.

things to know about Malta
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1. Malta is very hot

In 2017 there were four heat waves during the summer months. With temperatures reaching 40 degrees, it's wise to drink plenty of water, bring a hat, and plenty of sun protection.

It may not be advisable to pay too much attention to the temperature signals on the island, since many are not very accurate and those that work show the temperature taken in the shade.

The beautiful Mediterranean breezes from the beach make the sun much more bearable, but remember that the same damage can be done.

Things you should know before going to Malta

Apply sun cream to be safe in the heat.

2. The Maltese also speak English

English is the second official language of Malta: a staggering 76% of the population speak English, an Italian 36% and a French 10%.

Although speaking Maltese would be greatly admired by the locals, it is quite difficult both to speak and to understand.

Being a semitic language it is not easy at all to combine his origins of Arabic, Spanish, Italian and Norman French.

Although it is nice to listen to, rest assured that conversing in English is the most normal thing.



3. Almost all Maltese people know each other

Malta has a population of 431,453 inhabitants by the end of 2021, across the island it tends to be the case that “it's not what you know, it's who you know”.

With a tight-knit community in each village, if you want advice (on anything) just ask one of the locals who, if they can't help, will know someone who can.

4. Drivers drive in the shade

It's a great way to clear up any queries quickly and efficiently, but on the downside, if you have a bad Maltese experience, be careful who you tell it to, as it's more than likely they'll tell the person in question. and often adorn it.

Perhaps this is a slight exaggeration and related to the Maltese heat, but the driving can be a bit erratic. Keep your wits at hand and be prepared so that nothing surprises you.

Waiting at the curb at a designated crossing does not automatically mean that cars will stop to let you cross. Roundabouts are a law unto themselves, and it can be a case of every man for himself.

Don't be offended if someone honks your horn at you; It can mean that you have made a mistake, that you are in the way, that you have to speed up, that you have to slow down, to let you know that it is there or simply a friendly greeting.

The list is endless.


5. Leave plenty of time for shopping

Whether you're queuing up to pay for a pint of milk or a series of purchases, be prepared to wait.

If the cashier decides to chat with the person they are serving, they will do so regardless of how long the line is.

There's no huffing and puffing to get them to go faster as the Maltese are extremely friendly, and you'll often find yourself chatting and holding the queue back when it's your turn. Very endearing, if you're not in a hurry.



6. Free hospital care for Brits

If you feel a bit unwell while in Malta, most pharmacies have their own doctors.

You can only make an appointment on the day and, in all cases, each consultation is paid at around 10 euros per visit, in addition to the prescriptions.

If you are British and need hospital treatment, if you show your passport at any time during your stay, care is free. This is due to the reciprocity agreement between Malta and Great Britain.

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7. Tap water is good and drinkable in Malta

Contrary to common belief, tap water is safe to drink in malta.

Although it tastes rather strange, it won't do you any harm.

Tap water goes through a desalination process, but is still quite salty, so bottled water is preferable for a refreshing cold drink, simply for the taste.

However, if you use tap water for cooking and hot drinks, you will save time and money over bottled water.



8. There are always a lot of works and construction in Malta

With more and more people choosing to live in Malta and tourism on the rise, the construction work seems never-ending.

With hotels adding extra floors, new apartments being built and old buildings being torn down, there is always construction going on somewhere.

Luckily, much of the construction tends to take place in the winter months when the weather is cooler and there are fewer visitors to the island, but if you witness any construction you may want to look away.

The "health and safety" factors may not be as stringent as in other European countries.

It's not too rare to see precariously constructed scaffolding supporting workers who don't wear hardhats or who hang over the edge to paint.

9. Stray cats are well cared for

Unfortunately, the number of stray cats in Malta is enormous. They hide in abandoned buildings, in the undergrowth, or wandering the quieter roads.

A small number of dedicated charities rescue everyone they can, but there just aren't resources for all of them.

Many of them are feral and don't know anything else, but they are still cared for by the locals.

You'll often see bowls of cat food and fresh water on the doorsteps or walls of properties, and even some cat beds that ensure strays are as happy as possible.


10. Traveling by bus is cheap in Malta

If traveling around the island by car is not for you, the bus is the alternative way to travel.

During the height of the summer months you may have to pass up a couple of full buses, but for 2 euros you can travel anywhere on the island.

Tickets are valid for two hours, so if you need to change buses or go somewhere else in that time, just pass the ticket through the driver.

On such a small island, it is not difficult to get anywhere; however, any formal queue for the buses usually disappears once the bus arrives.



11. Prepare for mosquitoes

As the warmer afternoons approach, the mosquitoes come out. Although Maltese mosquitoes do not carry any diseases, their bites can cause horrendous itching.

Get rid of or stay away from standing water they are attracted to, and cover yourself with repellent if you are prone to bites.

It is also common in Malta Asian tiger mosquito although they are larger and have stripes, they are silent in their movements and usually hunt their prey during the day.

Because prevention is better than cure, keep window screens closed and run a fan or air conditioner to create a gentle draft that pests can't fly against.

12. The Knights put Malta on the map

Malta is the navel of the Mediterranean, floating in the sea between Sicily and Libya.

An ancient temple-building civilization, later Phoenician, Roman, Arab, Norman and Aragonese occupations left some imprint on Maltese culture and left behind an impressive collection of UNESCO anointed sites.

Then, for a couple of centuries after 1530, the Order of the Knights of Saint John, originally Hospitallers recruited from the noble families of Europe who accompanied the pilgrims. During the Crusades, Malta ruled, drawing it culturally towards Europe and transforming it into a maritime power that gave the Ottomans a run for their money.

The noble Knights also literally furnished Malta with the best art and architecture in Europe. With the power of the Knights waning a couple of centuries later, Napoleon took the islands with little resistance.

After two turbulent years of anti-clerical French rule, Maltese Catholics appealed to Britain for help in driving out the French.

The British, sensing the opportunity, complied and stayed for 164 years until Malta became independent in 1964. Malta joined the European Union in 2004.

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13. Don't follow the white taxis, most of them will rip you off

The locals give them a wide berth, for good reason. White taxis at the airport are expensive, and the drivers are rude and lazy to turn on their meters.

It is smarter to use one of the taxi companies that book online. ecabs and John's they are truthful.

Buses are a cheap alternative and cover almost everywhere, and there is also a limited night service. (Malta also has one of the densest road networks in the world.)

14. Pastizzi is king

Maltese cuisine is Mediterranean in orientation, but the essential Maltese snack is the simple pastizz : a cake in lozenge-shaped, greasy and cholesterol-laden stuffed with ricotta or peas.

the pastizzeriji are everywhere, but the institution pastizzi it's the Crystal Palace Bar in Rabat, a hole-in-the-wall that's closed for just two hours a day during the week. 

A coffee and a couple of pastizzi they'll cost a couple of bucks (But keep in mind that "pastizz" is also a derogatory term and a euphemism for a woman's most intimate parts.)

pastizziit could be one of the reasons the Maltese rank high on obesity scales around the world; Maltese men are ranked 16th worldwide and Maltese women are the most overweight in Europe.

However, Pastizzi is not the only culprit. Maltese are among the most exercise-shy Europeans.


15. It is better not to talk about politics

The Maltese take their politics seriously, and both the Labor and Nationalist parties have large numbers of loyal supporters.

Turnout in the elections is very high, and there is a bar club at the party office in every town and village. Many Maltese follow their party as a club of soccer, through thick and thin.

There were some religious-political skirmishes in the 1960s and some violent incidents in the 1980s, but while these tensions have subsided, some bitter memories remain.

Come election time, some establishments forbid all conversation about politics, even posting signs prohibiting it.

16. Malta has a church for every day of the year

That's what they say, but the number is actually around 359. Still, it's a big number for such a small country (more than one per square kilometer).

Malta's language has its roots in its Arabic past, but the day-to-day culture has a strong Roman Catholic imprint. 

The Apostle Luke and Paul of Tarsus were shipwrecked off Malta in AD 60, and Paul is credited with introducing Christianity to the islands and making Malta one of the first outposts of the faith.

Catholicism remains a serious matter in Malta (abortions are illegal) and church attendance is down. among the highest in Europe

This enthusiasm is reflected both in the sheer number of churches and in their baroque ostentation, mostly financed by the parishioners themselves.

And they're not just any churches — St. John's Cathedral in Valletta is a marvel to behold, home to two Caravaggios, including his largest and only signed work, which is proudly displayed in the church's oratory.

Things you should know before going to Malta

17. In summer, you can not avoid the party

All Maltese towns and villages celebrate their patron saint in style with activities one week before the party, which culminates with a procession, music and fireworks.

The most impressive fireworks shows are in the south of the island, where the villages of Żurrieq, Mqabba, Qrendi, Għaxaq and Gudja compete fiercely.

Santa Marija in August brings fireworks fans from far and wide, because several fiestas take place simultaneously, naturally with fireworks commensurate with the occasion.

18. Each town has a band. sometimes two

A relic of the common British regimental marching bands during the heyday of the Empire in Malta, philharmonic band clubs were started in the 19th century by the parties of the village, and are an integral part of village life, with its bars serving as popular local gathering places.

They are generally a mix of volunteer and semi-professional musicians who wield woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments.

But band clubs do much more than play music: they host social events around town and are the lynchpin of the loud and proud parties that dominate Maltese summers.

A highlight of pika -fuel is the ritual of trash-talk-slash-singing between rival gang clubs. 

The most boisterous band marches take place in Ħamrun and Żabbar.

Things you should know before going to Malta

19. Malta's bathing waters are the cleanest in Europe.

This is due to EU co-financed wastewater treatment plants. But the most popular sandy beaches are near big hotels and can get quite crowded in summer;

Comino's famous Blue Lagoon is packed with hikers on weekends. Gozo has only one large sandy beach, but is blessed with a number of secluded rocky coves.

Għajn Barrani, also in Gozo, is a good candidate for a secluded beach getaway: a perfectly flat rock shelf with some huge boulders providing welcome shade.

There are no amenities, and it's a kilometer (just over half a mile) walk to get there, the last stretch on clay tracks. Fortunately, it is not signposted either.

Things you should know before going to Malta

We hope this post on Things you should know before going to Malta helps you on your trip.

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