Travel guide to Malta

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The Maltese Archipelago is one of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean. With beautiful landscapes, sunny weather and an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius, the rocky islands offer a wide range of experience. This includes a very rich cultural heritage, dating back more than 6000 years.

Facts

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Local name
Repubblika ta Malta
Capital
Valletta
Size
320 square km
Principal Languages
Maltese and English
Principal Religion
Catholicism
Inhabitants
381.603 (1999)
Government
Republic
Geography
There are six Maltese islands, situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, 93 Km south of Sicily and 500 Km north of Libya. Malta is the biggest of the six islands. Bays and harbours along its coastline dominate it. Gozo, the second largest island, is situated northwest of Malta, and is more hilly and fertile than Malta.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

If you visit Malta from February to June you will avoid the very hot summer. The rainy season is between October and February. The peak season is from July to September, when tourists account for twice as many people than the inhabitants themselves.

Literature

Lonely Planet Malta Essential Malta and Gozo

Local conditions

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Currency

Euro

Net cafes

There are not many Internet cafés on Malta. But considering the size of the island, it should not be hard finding the few! Most are in Valletta, Sliema, St. Julians and Mosta.

In case of emergency

On Malta you can call the following numbers in case of emergency: Police (191) Ambulance (199) Fire fighters (196)

Tipping

It is expected that you give 10% in restaurants and to taxi drivers. Some should also be given to maids, doormen and hairdressers.

Timezone

When it is 12.00 in England, it is 13.00 on Malta.

Weight and Measures

Distance: yard/mile Weight: pound/stone Volume: pint/gallon

Photography

It is not permitted to take pictures in some churches and in some museums. If you wish to take a picture of a native person, you should ask for permission.

Drinking water

The water from the tap can be used, although it is recommended that you drink bottled water.

Electricity

The following voltage is used on Malta: 220 V, 50 Hz

Behaviour

You should not wear a bathing suit anywhere but on the beach. Many churches and sights demand that you cover arms, legs and shoulders

Business Hours

Shops are open from 9 AM to 9 PM (Monday to Friday). In the weekends they also open at 9 AM, but close earlier. Banks are open from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM (Monday to Friday) and from 8:30 AM to 12 PM on Saturdays. Most banks are also open in the afternoons once per week; usually on Fridays. Offices are open from 9 AM to 7 PM (Monday to Friday).

Food and drink

On Malta there are a wide selection of restaurants and cafés. In the more than 680 restaurants you can get everything from junk food to exquisite delights. The local dishes are Fenek (rabbit-flesh in wine) and Brungiel (aubergines with tomato- and flesh stuffing). The local beer, Farsons, is an excellent alternative to the many foreign brands of beer available.

Disabled travellers

Generally, Malta does not have many facilities for the disabled, although many hotels have started taking it into account. A list of the hotels with good facilities for the disabled can be retrieved at: National Commission for the Handicapped St. Joseph's High Road Santa Venera

Holidays

New Years Day, January 1st Paulus' shipwreck, February 10th St. Joseph's Day, March 19th Maltas Freedom Day, March 31st Worker's Day, May 1st Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, June 29th Mary's Ascension Day, August 15th Feast of our Lady of the Victories, September 8th Independence Day, September 21st Mary's Conception, December 8th Christmas Day, December 25th Variable Holidays Long Friday, April Memorial Day for the rebellion in 1919, June Day of the Republic, December

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

There are currently no official camping grounds on Malta, although the government has prepared many sites on the island for this purpose. In practical terms, it is not permitted to camp on Malta, and you should specially stay away from places where you might bother someone. Therefore, it is recommended that you camp outside the cities or on the Northern parts of Malta.

Hotels

Malta has hotels in all price ranges and of different quality. The state's tourist office has rated all hotels.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

If you make use of Maltese guesthouses you will experience a friendly and warm atmosphere. Most of the guesthouses in either Gozo or Malta are well situated, with easy access to banks, buses, shops and nightlife.

Hostels

There are five excellent hostels in Malta. One of these is on Gozo.

Other Accommodation

Other Apartments There are many furnished flats for rent all over the country. Many of these offer great views, terraces and swimming pools. Farmhouses If you plan to stay in Malta for a long time it is recommended that you try the so-called farmhouses - offering luxurious and relaxed conditions. Many of these have swimming pools and barbecues. Compared to other destinations in the Mediterranean the price of Maltese 'farmhouses' is reasonable.

Local transport

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Planes

Malta International Airport is situated in Luga, 5 Km from Valletta, although Malta is so small that planes don't fly domestic routes. As an alternative, you may take a helicopter from Malta to Gozo, getting a fantastic ride.

Bus

The old buses are the most common means of transport on Malta.

Trains

There are no trains in Malta.

Taxi

Taxis are cheap in Malta. There are white and black cabs. The white ones can be hired on the street, although the driver's seldom use taxi-meters. It is therefore recommended that you agree on a price before the ride starts. The black cars are not allowed to stop on the street, so you should phone for one. Wembley's 24-hours taxiservice: 332074/345454.

Car rental

It is rather cheap to rent a car on Malta. Most international car rental firms have offices in Malta, although the local firms are up to 15 percent cheaper.

Boat or Ferry

There are many boats sailing between Malta, Gozo and other destinations in Malta. It is also possible to hire taxi-boats in Valletta.

Other Transport

The Maltese invented the so-called 'karrozins' in 1856. They are elegant horse carts with room for four passengers. Today they are mostly used for tourists and weddings, and they are both a good and a fun way of discovering Malta - although they are more expensive than other means of transport.

Special conditions

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In many places in Malta public displays of affection are not permitted. This is particularly the case in churches and museums. When you are walking on the street you should keep an eye on the traffic - there is no concept of criminal drunk driving in Malta!

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