About Malta

 

Geography

Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a country in the far South of Europe. It lies at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, 80km south of Sicily. The country covers just over 316km2, with a population of roughly 450,000, making it one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta, Valletta, is the smallest national capital in the EU.

The archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. Malta is the largest island and the cultural, commercial and administrative centre. Gozo is more rural and tranquil, characterised by fishing, tourism, crafts and agriculture. Comino, the smallest of the trio, has one hotel and is largely uninhabited. If you’re travelling to Gozo or Comino, head to Cirkewwa in Malta to catch a boat or ferry.

 

History

The history of Malta is a long and colourful one dating back to the dawn of civilisation.

The Maltese Islands went through a golden Neolithic period, the remains of which are the mysterious temples dedicated to the goddess of fertility. Later on, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Byzantines, all left their traces on the Islands.

In 60 A.D. St. Paul was shipwrecked on the island while on his way to Rome and brought Christianity to Malta. The Arabs conquered the islands in 870 A.D. and left an important mark on the language of the Maltese. Until 1530 Malta was an extension of Sicily: The Normans, the Aragonese and other conquerors who ruled over Sicily also governed the Maltese Islands. It was Charles V who bequeathed Malta to the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem who ruled over Malta from 1530 to 1798. The Knights took Malta through a new golden age, making it a key player in the cultural scene of 17th and 18th century Europe. The artistic and cultural lives of the Maltese Islands were injected with the presence of artists such as Caravaggio, Mattia Preti and Favray who were commissioned by the Knights to embellish churches, palaces and auberges.

In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte took over Malta from the Knights on his way to Egypt. The French presence on the islands was short-lived, as the English, who were requested by the Maltese to help them against the French, blockaded the islands in 1800.

British rule in Malta lasted until 1964 when Malta became independent. The Maltese adapted the British system of administration, education and legislation.

Modern Malta became a Republic in 1974 and joined the European Union in May 2004.

 

Tourist Information

 

Languages

The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English.

Maltese, a language of Semitic origin written in the Latin script, is the national language of Malta. Over the centuries, it has incorporated many words derived from English, Italian and French.

Italian is also widely spoken.

Due to the Mediterranean lifestyle and climate in Malta, it is common that smaller shops close between 13:00 and 16:00 during weekdays, while they do not open at all on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.

 

Electricity

Electricity plugs need to have three pins in Malta just as in the UK; adaptors can be bought in several stores to suit most international plugs. The electricity runs on 240V.

 

Driving

In Malta and Gozo, driving is on the left. There are speed limits of 80 km/h on the open road and 50 km/h in built-up areas, unless otherwise indicated on relevant road signs.

If you intend to rent a car or drive in Malta, it is advisable to take out comprehensive insurance. National or international driving licences are accepted.

 

Public Transport

Useful Apps and websites:

 

Weather

Malta’s climate is typical of the Mediterranean and is strongly influenced by the sea. The Maltese Islands have a pleasantly sunny climate with a daily average of around 12 hours sunshine in summer going down to 5 to 6 hours in mid-winter.

Summers are hot, dry and very sunny. Daytime temperatures in summer are often mitigated by cooling sea breezes.

Spring and autumn are cooler, except when the occasional Scirocco wind from Africa brings unseasonally high temperatures and humidity.

Winters are mild, with the occasional short cold spells brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe.

Annual rainfall is low, averaging 568mm a year. Bathing in the sea is quite possible well into the ‘winter’ months, and the peak beach season can last until mid- to late October.

 

Things To Do

In Malta you’ll explore 7000 years of history yet live passionately in the present. You’ll span the millennia with an astonishing array of things to discover. And wherever you go, the Islands’ scenery and architecture provide a spectacular backdrop. The colours are striking, honey-coloured stone against the deepest of Mediterranean blues.

The Maltese Islands have been described as one big open-air museum. What makes them unique is that so much of their past is visible today. Delve into the Islands’ mysterious prehistory, retrace the footsteps of St. Paul or see where the Knights of St John defended Christendom.

Malta is holidaying as the mood takes you. And with near year-round sun, you can indulge in outdoor living at its best.

In just 48 hours and a kilometre or two, you can try a new sport, laze on an island cruise and tour the most important historic sites, and still have time to join in the nightlife. That’s the real advantage of a stay here.

The Islands offer plenty of specialist holidays for those seeking to learn a new skill, discover history or get fit. If you’re interested in sports, we cater as much for the seasoned enthusiast as the casual first-timer. Malta has wellness and spa facilities at the luxury hotels and club resorts.  Sea and land lend themselves to activities from rock-climbing to gentle rambling.

For a tempo and scene change from Malta itself, hop to the sister islands of Gozo and Comino. Here, you’ll holiday within a holiday and at the most relaxed of Mediterranean paces.

 

Travel Information

Malta International Airport

The Malta International Airport is the only airport in Malta and it serves the whole of the Maltese Islands. It is located in the town of Luqa. The airport serves as the main hub for Air Malta and Medavia, besides being a base for Ryanair. The airport is operated by Malta International Airport plc.

Click here for more information about the Malta International Airport

Schengen

On your arrival in Malta you may be subject to passport control depending on whether you are flying in from a Schengen country or not.

Schengen is an agreement among European states that ensures free movement for passengers from countries associated with this judicial area. In practice, this means that people flying between Schengen countries can travel without presenting their passports. Passport control still applies to arrivals in Malta from non-Schengen states or those travelling between non-Schengen areas.

Although personal checks are not carried out at Schengen internal border crossings, it is still necessary for European Union citizens (including Estonians) to carry a passport or identity card (ID-card). Authorities (police, immigration officials, etc.) in Schengen states, such as Malta, do have the right to check identifying documents if necessary.

La Valette Club

Arrivals Lounge

After disembarkation, make the wait for your luggage seem shorter by treating yourself to the added comfort of the Arrivals lounge located in the baggage reclaim area. Guests can help themselves to light refreshments and connect to the Wi-Fi, while keeping an eye on the flight information monitor.

While the La Valette team and the welcoming surroundings will surely make you feel at home, you are reminded that the maximum stay in the lounge is of three hours.

Departures Lounge

The welcoming interior of the La Valette lounge invites you to step in and leave the airport hum behind. Bathed in natural light by day and soothing lighting by night, the newly revamped lounge provides a space, within the Departures area, where travellers can sink in the lap of luxury and comfort before proceeding with their journey.

Located on Level 3 of the terminal, the lounge features a glass wall allowing uninterrupted views of the airfield, as well as a terrace which let travellers soak up the sun one last time before taking off.

Lounge guests can help themselves to an array of complimentary snacks and beverages, including a selection of alcoholic drinks. Guests can use this time to skim through the daily local and foreign papers or catch up on last-minute emails and browsing by connecting to the free Wi-Fi. For members who would be travelling without their laptops, the lounge is also equipped with computers.

While the La Valette team and the welcoming surroundings will surely make you feel at home, you are reminded that the maximum stay in the lounge is of three hours.

Click here for more information about La Valetta Club.

 

Visa Information

A visa is an authorisation or decision, in the form of a sticker, issued and affixed to a passport by a diplomatic mission or consular post to a third-country national.

It authorises the bearer to stay or travel through Malta during a limited and specified period. The possession of a visa does not give the third country national the automatic right of entry, as bearers must prove that they will meet the conditions of entry.

There are three types of Maltese visa:

Airport Transit Visa; Holder can cross the international transit zone of Malta’s International Airport.

Short-stay “C” Visa (Schengen); Allows the holder to transit through or remain in the territory of Malta and all other Schengen Member States for a maximum period of three months (90 days) within a period of six months (180 days) from the entry date into the Schengen area.

Number of Entities; The validity period of a Schengen (short-term) visa is determined in accordance with the length of travel, for a maximum of 5 years.

National Long-stay “D” Visa; These visas allow the holder to stay in the territory of Malta for periods longer than three months (90 days).

See here for more information.