Getting There 
By air:
The national airline, Air Malta, operates an extensive flight schedule linking Malta with all major airports in Europe and the Middle East, lately also with New York, USA (via Ireland).

By sea:
Regular car ferry and catamaran services operate between Malta, Italian (including Sicily) and North African ports.

Entry requirements:

with a valid passport from Europe of from any Commonwealth country are entitled to stay up to three months in Malta without a visa. For longer stays, you will need a visa, and hence you should contact the Immigration Police Headquarters at Floriana, Tel: (+356) 224001 ext. 2125/2068.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is mandatory for travellers over nine months of age, arriving from infected areas.

! Restricted entry:
If you are caught with firearms, ammunition, drugs and counterfeit goods, you will not be allowed entry.

When to Visit

Malta is an all-year-round tourist attraction, providing more than one can imagine. There is no definite 'best time' to visit Malta. 

If you are looking for plenty of sunbathing and nightlong partying the peak of the summer months from July to September are just perfect. August is particularly hot reaching high temperatures of 42oC or 107oF and is the busiest time of the year for tourists. If you're not used to these hot temperatures and would rather prefer to enjoy a more relaxed holiday, the months of June and October will do.

If you would like to visit Malta for sightseeing, then you would have to come in the spring months of April and June. This time of year in Malta is particularly pleasant because the countryside is still green with trees and flowers in full bloom. These months are quite cooler, with temperatures ranging between 16oC (61oF) and 19oC (66oF). Another pleasurable and ideal month for sightseeing is October, when the summer sun is still quite strong but there is a cool breeze making it a more enjoyable time to see and explore the hidden treasures of Malta: pre-historic sites and temples - some of which are even older than the Pyramids of Egypt! - Baroque cathedrals, churches, old military fortifications, coastal batteries, coastal entrenchments, and much much more, in other words, 6000 years of history kept portrayed in the form of buildings!

In Malta, the winters are very mild, there is very rarely any mist or fog but it could be quite wet. The months from November to March are considered as the "rainy season", in fact they have the most rainfall, which is up to approx. 590mm annually. However beautiful sunny days with strong sunshine are quite often, while the lowest temperature will only be around 7oC with the average being around 13oC (55oF). In winter, fewer tourists visit Malta. At this time of year there are usually plenty of special offers to choose from. And why not, take this opportunity to take an unforgettable holiday and spend a long weekend or a few days in one of the several comfortable hotels and farmhouses by the sea on the Malta's sister island, Gozo. This enchanting quiet island is blessed with all year round beautiful scenes, surrounded by fantastic countryside.

Electricity & Water

The electrical supply in Malta is 220-240 volt, single phase, 50 cycles, using the standard 13 amp three-pinned British-style plugs. Some electrical outlets sell their goods with the round European two-prong plug, but adapters for both the European and British standard plug are stocked.

Tap water is safe for drinking, but bottled water is still recommended because of the possible quality and taste of tap water.

Time Zones
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 in October. The islands are six hours ahead of Eastern Seaboard Time (EST) in winter and seven ahead from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in September.

Business Hours

Nearly all the shops are generally open Monday to Saturday from 9.00am to 1.00pm and will re-open from 4.00pm - 7.00pm all year round. Some shops in the main tourist areas will stay open throughout the day, mostly in tourist areas like Bugibba.

Offices open from 8.30am - 5.00pm. During the summer months of July, August and September some businesses and government offices will only work from 7.30am - 1.30pm. However, due to the increased competition, this system is gradually fading away.

Most shops are closed on Sundays and public holidays except for bars and restaurants. Pharmacies open on Sundays by roster, which can be found in the local papers and also broadcasted on most of the Maltese radio stations.

Currency, Banks & Credit Cards

Malta has its own currency; the Maltese Lira (Lm). It is divided into 100 cents, making the equivalent value of Lm 1 to approx. US$2.5 / €2.4. There are restrictions on the amount of Maltese Liri when arriving/leaving Malta. The maximum amount of Maltese Liri that can be brought into the country is Lm 50 and taken out of the country is Lm25. Any other currencies must be declared upon arrival. The Bank Notes: Lm2, Lm5, Lm10, Lm20, Lm50. The Coins: 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c, Lm1.

Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, mostly MasterCard and Visa. ATM machines are very common especially in busy areas, and also by the banks themselves.

Different banks have different opening hours. As a rule, banks are open from 8.30am - 12.30pm Monday to Friday and up to 11.30am on Saturdays. However in busy and tourist areas like Bugibba, they usually have extended hours even up to 6.00pm. 

The main banks in Malta are Bank of Valletta, HSBC and APS Bank. These banks have branches in nearly all the villages in Malta and Gozo, and also in places like the Malta International Airport. 

Rates of Exchange

National and Public Holidays

New Year's Day

 January 1

St. Paul's Shipwreck in Malta  February 10
St. Joseph's Day  March 19
Freedom Day (National Holiday)  March 31
Good Friday  
Workers' Day  May 1
'Sette Giugno' (National Holiday)  June 7
Saints Peter and Paul ('Imnarja')  June 29
The Assumption*  August 15
Victory Day (National Holiday)  September 8
Independence Day (National Holiday)  September 21
Feast of the Immaculate Conception  December 8
Republic Day (National Holiday)  December 13
Christmas Day  December 25

Most of the companies/shops in Malta follow an Italian custom to make a shut-down for approx. two weeks after the feast of The Assumption on August 15.

Health Care & Vaccinations

Malta has a number of hospitals, clinics and pharmacies. Almost all doctors and dentists in both Malta and Gozo will speak English and Italian quite fluently. Medical care is of a high standard in Malta. Medical facilities, run along modern lines, are available through the regional health centres and two general hospitals. There are health clinics in several towns and villages with the main hospital being the St Luke's Hospital in Gwardamangia near the capital of Valletta, with the main maternal hospital, Karen Grech Hospital, being just nearby. There's another general hospital in Victoria, Gozo.

Nationals of Australia and the UK staying for less than six months and one month respectively, are entitled (through reciprocal health agreements) to a free medical and hospital care. Comprehensive health insurance policy for all travellers is, nevertheless, recommended.

However, visitors to Malta who are in need of regular medication are advised to bring their own supply or a prescription from their GP. Pharmacies in Malta open Monday to Saturday from 8.30am to 1.00pm and then from 4.00pm to 7.00pm. Some pharmacies also open on Sundays. These pharmacies are indicated on the local newspapers and also broadcasted on some of the Maltese radio stations.

When sunbathing, if you are not used to the strong sun, make sure to use a high SPF factor sun-cream or total sun block for the first few days then change to a lower factor when you have acclimatized.

The only real pests in Malta are the mosquitoes so bring plenty of insect repellent creams and sprays.

No inoculations are necessary for visitors from Europe, United States, Canada or Australia, but a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is mandatory for travellers over nine months of age arriving from infected areas.

Airport Information

The Malta International Airport is just a 15-minute drive away from Valletta. Air Malta is the national airline and it operates regular scheduled flights to many European and North African airports with connections to other European carriers. Charter flights are available only as part of a package holiday. Flights to Malta from London Heathrow will take just over 3 hours with up to 14 flights a week and from London Gatwick 13 flights a week. Air Malta also operates regular scheduled flights from Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.

The Bureau de Change at Malta's International Airport open 24 hours and there are several bars, cafés, souvenir shops, newsagents and duty-frees.

For more information visit the Malta International Airport website.

Shopping, Open-Air Markets, and Duty-Free

You can find nearly everything you need in Malta. The main shopping centres are in Valletta, the capital, and Sliema, however you can even find two or three mini-markets and/or supermarkets in one village. Malta is well known for its handcrafted lace - manufactured mainly on the island of Gozo - Malta's sister island, glass blowing and pottery, which all make special gifts or souvenirs to take home. You can see most of these souvenirs in the making at the Crafts Village in Ta' Qali.

There is one open-air market daily at Merchants Street, Valletta. In other towns and villages, there is also one open-air market, but once a week. On Sunday mornings, markets are also put up and held in most towns or villages, with the largest being held in Valletta.

On your way out of Malta, the Malta International Airport has a good duty- free section. Duty-free allowances for each adult are 200 cigarettes or the equivalent in cigars or tobacco, one bottle of spirits and one bottle of wine and a reasonable amount of perfumes or aftershaves. In the duty-free section, you can also find a variety of souvenirs, sportswear, and CDs and other music related things, among the others.

Animals & Pets
Malta is quite safe where animal diseases are concerned with a quarantine imposed on all animals imported into the country. If you require further information about animals or bringing pets into Malta please contact the Department of Agriculture in Valletta, Tel: (+356) 224941.

Telephone Services
Telephone services in Malta are administrated by Maltacom plc. The telephone service is very good in Malta. Telephone boxes are numerous and can be found in most squares and busy streets. Telephone cards have become more and more popular, and it is becoming less common to find boxes taking coins. Telephone cards can be bought from newsagents, stationers, hotels, bars and roadside kiosks. Telephone cards are issued with the following values: Lm 2, Lm 5 or Lm 10 . Overseas telephone rates are quite reasonable with cheaper rates after 6.00pm and 9.00pm. For directory enquiries dial 190, and 194 for international enquiries.

Postal Services
The postal service in Malta is very efficient. Maltapost offices are mainly open from 7.45am - 2.00pm Monday to Friday. Letterboxes, widely spread in every village in Malta and Gozo, are painted red. Stamps can be bought from Sub Post offices, local newsagents, souvenir shops and hotels.

Internet Cafes
There are approximately five Internet Cafes on the island at the moment and are situated in Valletta, Sliema, St. Julians and Mosta, and Paceville. Because Malta is such a small island, you don't have to travel far to find an Internet Cafe.

Getting Around

By car:
Traffic drives on the left. Local and international firms offer car hiring services. Road networks are quite good but lack maintenance.

Driving is on the left hand side of the road as in Britain. The Maltese drivers have a reputation of driving without too much regard to the rules, however, driving in Malta is relatively safe and in most cases it's easier to just go with the flow. Many roads aren't in a very good condition and some areas lack road markings or signs. Seat belts are compulsory in the front and are recommended in the rear. The speed limits are 40kph (23mph) in built-up/residential areas and 64kph on main roads.

Be careful where you park as there are plenty of 'Tow Zone' and 'Clamping Zone' areas. Be sure to check for any signs showing the above before parking.

Petrol is at a reasonable price with stations offering attendant services. Petrol stations spread across Malta and Gozo, and are open from 07.00 - 18.00 Monday to Saturday and closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Most petrol stations have unattended self-service available from 18.00 until midnight. The self-service meters only accept Lm 2 or Lm 5 notes; credit cards are not accepted.

By taxi:
There are white and radio controlled taxis. When going for a white, bargain hard.

By sea:
The Gozo Ferry is operated by The Gozo Channel Company. Ferries run regularly through the day and night in summer and stop running at around 2.00am in winter. Gozo is just 4 miles away and it takes around 25 minutes leaving from Cirkewwa to arrive at Gozo's main seaport, Imgarr.
Click here for more information.

A ferry service runs between the capital Valletta and Sliema on the opposite side of the harbour at half hourly intervals from 8.00am to 6.00pm. The service is fast and convenient as it only takes 5 minutes to cross. The ferry leaves from Marsamxett in Valletta and from "The Ferries" in Sliema.

There is a regular boat service to Comino from Malta and Gozo operated between mid-March and mid-November.

Canoes, rowing boats, sailing boats, pedal boats and speedboats are available for hire from a number of operators in the more popular seaside resorts. Larger vessels and yachts are also available for charter.

There is also a daily service which operates between Malta and Sicily by high-speed catamaran. This service takes approx. 90 minutes to reach Pozzallo in Sicily.  The short distance coupled with the cheap price makes it an ideal opportunity for day trips.

For more information visit the Virtu Ferries website (including Schedules)

By air:
A helicopter service operates between Malta and Gozo all year round.

Helicopter Services also operate between Malta and Gozo. There are up to eight flights daily operating from the Malta International Airport to the Xewkija Heliport in Gozo. The flight is only 10 to 15 minutes, making it the quickest and most convenient way to travel between the two islands. Helicopter services operate everyday of the week all year round with fewer flights during the winter months.

Sightseeing tours by helicopter are also available, an experience that is highly recommended.

For more information visit the Malta Air Charter website

Public Transport:
Malta's public transport system offers a cheap and efficient way of touring the Island. The main bus terminus is
situated just outside the City Gate in Valletta where buses operate to all parts of Malta, although there are also direct, point to point, services. In Gozo, the main bus terminus is in Victoria, the island's capital. The cost of a bus route ranges from 15 to 40 cents. The longest bus journey takes about 50 minutes; the average ride is between 20 and 30 minutes.

Although some old buses are being replaced, many old buses are still running. The Maltese bus is a locally built bus in metal plates wood etc over an elongated truck chassis. Buses in Malta are colored in yellow with an orange stripe whilst the ones in Gozo are gray with a red stripe.

Remember, the buses will stop running at around 10.00pm, and even earlier in Gozo, so be sure to make other arrangements for getting home. Bus timetables are at the front of the bus and tickets can be purchased either from the bus driver as you start the journey or from the main bus stations situated in Sliema, Valletta or Bugibba.
Click here for more information.


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