When you are relocating to a new country, it is always good to do some homework by checking if the amenities and lifestyle suits your needs and way of living. It could be a big contrast if you come from a northern or central European country and it depends how well you adapt to different cultures.
Ultimately no place is perfect and it all comes down to you as a person. If you are looking for a sunny Mediterranean lifestyle, there should be no question about Malta being a great destination to settle in. Let’s look at the 9 reasons why you should relocate to Malta.
The Climate In Malta
One of the main reasons tourists visit Malta and expats deciding to move to Malta, is the climate. The Island enjoys nearly all year-round sunny weather and you will be able to enjoy over 3,000 hours of sunshine (that’s about 300 days considering nighttime).
The average temperature throughout the year is 18 – 19 degrees Celsius but during the summer time you can enjoy up to 40 degrees Celsius. June is generally the hottest month of the year. The coldest month of the year is January. For those that enjoy cold weather, you can dress up for an average of 13 degrees – don’t be fooled, the humidity does make it cold.
The sea temperature is the highest average in Europe. It’s chilly during winter from January to April but heats up during the summer months reaching its peak of 26 degrees Celsius in August!
There are very few rainy days to expect. During the winter months however, and specially the transitions months from summer to winter, you will have plenty of lightning displays to enjoy. Usually during the night and early mornings, you can expect a massive downpour of rain and heavy thunderstorms.
Since Malta is a small island, you can expect some (or quite a lot of) humidity. The ocean breeze and hot sun is the perfect combination for that well-known Mediterranean feel. It can be noticed especially when the doors of the airplane are opened, and the hot and sticky air fills the cabin. The winds that blow across Malta are known as Sirocco. They are originally dry and hot, originating from the Sahara Desert, and transforms the Island’s climate to what it’s known for.
Cost Of Living In Malta
Malta has experienced some price level increases over recent years. Despite this, Malta is still considered to be relatively cheaper to live in than many other European countries. If compared to major cities like London and Paris you will notice price levels are lower but need to keep in mind the average salary is also lower.
Due to many expats moving to Malta, which is also significantly contributed by the iGaming industry on the island, the rental market has exploded recent years. There are plenty of rental properties available, but you need to be aware of the price levels of certain areas.
Most rental properties are available in the Sliema and St. Julians area. This is where most of the offices are situated as well, but rental properties here are significantly more expensive than other areas of the country. If you love the busy city life with plenty of bars, shopping and restaurants, the recommendation for you is the central area in Malta. It will however set you back between 700 and 1,000 euro per month in rent depending on your needs.
If you have a car or any other means of transport the best value for money will be the south or north. Even just outside the central area there is a noticeable difference in rental prices. Here you can live comfortably on 500 euro per month (depending on the size). There are plenty of rentals available in cozy small towns or a more quiet country side.
Cost of Food and Clothing
Like most things, the cost of living really depends on your shopping habits. We all know its easier to spend than earn money. Expats could normally spend around 300 euro on food per month to cover your basic needs. Local products are often cheaper than imported products. This is due to the transportation costs since Malta is an island.
Bigger supermarkets are often cheaper than the smaller local grocery stores and fresh local produce is often very cheap. You can find roadside markets in most locations which harvest their own fruit and vegetables in the early mornings and sell it from small stalls or vans during the day.
The price levels of clothing are very much on par with the rest of Europe. You can find most of the clothing brands you are used to. Specially in Sliema and St. Julians there are plenty and easy to find fashion stores with your favorite brands. In the towns outside the central area you will also find many smaller stores selling non-branded clothing, where you can pick up an outfit for a very competitive price.
Cost Of Healthcare and Education
The World Health Organization has recognized Malta as having one of the best health care services in the world. Part of the taxes you pay when working in Malta are called National Insurance contributions. This is a mandatory payment which will essentially give you free health care services. Malta also has many private practitioners at pharmacies with very reasonable prices. A checkup or prescription will cost around 15 euros. Dentist checkups are also done for free at the Mater Dei hospital but any fillings for example is not covered and must be done privately. There are also private hospitals which are usually covered when having a private health insurance. Although public healthcare is good, you can expect a better and faster service when being treating at a private hospital.
Malta has free public schooling for everyone. The system is split between kinder garden, primary school, secondary school and high school. Private schools are very popular but also expensive. These are considered better schools but will cost you from 5,000 euro for a tuition year. Another thing to keep in mind is that most public schools are taught in Maltese, thus if you or your children do not speak Maltese, the better option is probably private schools as these classes are mostly done in English.
Languages Spoken in Malta
One of the reasons why Malta is a great place to relocate to is because there are 2 official languages. Both Maltese and English are taught, and you will rarely find someone who only speaks Maltese. This means that for many Europeans there is no language barrier and no new languages to learn in order to live and work in Malta. Just keep in mind that local companies offering jobs requiring to interact with customers often prefer if you speak Maltese. On the other hand, there are many international companies on the island who are looking for native speakers for various languages. Expats moving to Malta have a big advantage when speaking several languages and these jobs are often paid better.
The Maltese Language is a decedent of Siculo-Arabic which was developed in Sicily around the ninth century. Today much of it is still present in the Maltese language but also contains a lot of Italian and Sicilian together with English words. It’s a unique language still being used by the local population despite English having a strong presence.
The Maltese People
The Island and its people have long seen ‘foreigners’ relocating to Malta and visiting the Island. Therefore, the people are used to seeing visitors from other countries. You will also see that most of the native population is very kind, open and inviting. It often won’t take long until you are invited for dinner so be prepared to eat a lot!
The Maltese Culture
The Maltese people are a big part of its culture. Although being a catholic country and having the highest density of churches in Europe, you don’t feel religion being a big part of everyday life. The culture does consist of many traditions such as ‘festas’ (feasts) which have a religious history but can often be seen as more of reason to enjoy and celebrate the traditions in the streets together. With its many foreigners’ living in the country, different religions and beliefs are generally well excepted.
Crime And Safety
Malta is considered to be very safe. The country is neutral and has never been involved in any conflicts. It is a tourist hotspot and like elsewhere, where there is a big crowd, you will find some pick pocketing. Just make sure you look out when crossing the road and take care of your belongings when you are out. Malta is a safe place to be in.
Infrastructure And Traffic
Malta is a small country and if you come from other big European countries it might seem like one big city to you. There are also many cars on the road so considering this and the size, the country comes a bit to a standstill at times. Specially during morning and afternoon rush hours. It is therefore recommended to use a motorbike as it is both faster to get around and easier to find parking.
Although many complain about the infrastructure, it has improved a lot. Frequent power cuts and traffic at standstill are now being experienced less and less. A brand-new power station and a commitment to resurface and build new roads to accommodate the increasing traffic are being addressed. Today power cuts are rare, road projects are being worked on and many projects to improve the traffic situation have already been completed.
Written by a 28-year-old Dutch & Norwegian expat, living in Malta for the past 8 years.