Malta is known for its breathtaking natural landscapes and charming medieval architecture. The island country's best feature, though, is its warm and rich quality of life that attracts expats the world over. Be that as it may, just like any destination, living in Malta comes with advantages and downsides.
Below is a list of pros and cons of moving to Malta.
Lifestyle in Malta
+ PRO: Awe-inspiring natural scenery
The Mediterranean islands are famed for their spectacular coastlines, stunning beaches and rugged landscapes. The island country is also a renowned film set thanks to its diverse and vibrant scenery. Malta is a scuba diving, snorkelling and canoeing haven, and expats can look forward to an exciting outdoor lifestyle.
+ PRO: Rich culture and history
Once occupied by powerful nations, Malta has a unique and vibrant culture. History and culture buffs will love the country, as it is home to some of the oldest temples in the world and beautiful Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Expats will always have something new to discover and explore.
Working in Malta
+ PRO: Stable job market
Malta is strategically located between the Middle East, Africa and Europe, making the island country an attractive choice for foreign investors. This has created a robust job market with plenty of employment opportunities in the online gaming, film production, manufacturing and logistics industries.
- CON: Difficult for non-EU citizens to obtain a work permit
While it is fairly easy for EU citizens to live and work in Malta, non-EU citizens may experience some challenges acquiring a work permit. The requirements for securing a work permit for nationals from outside Europe include possessing scarce skills and landing a role in an industry experiencing labour shortages.
Accommodation in Malta
+ PRO: Most accommodation is furnished or semi-furnished
Accommodation in Malta comes in many forms, including apartments, maisonettes, villas and townhouses. The commonality between them is that rentals come furnished, significantly reducing moving costs.
- CON: Housing standards are varied
While the older Maltese townhouses and houses of character may be charming and architectural, their interiors can be outdated and might require some maintenance.
Getting around in Malta
+ PRO: Extensive and reliable public transport
Owing to its small size, Malta boasts an efficient and extensive bus network on the larger islands of Valletta and Gozo. Taxis and ride-hailing services are also abundant and reliable.
- CON: Aggressive driving
The Maltese have a reputation for being erratic drivers, making driving in the country a brave yet dangerous choice for expats. Those who intend to get behind the wheel are encouraged to drive defensively.
Cost of living in Malta
+ PRO: Relatively affordable housing
Compared to other European countries, Malta has affordable housing options. Expats will get more bang for their buck in the island nation, especially outside the city centres, where prices tend to be lower. This is changing, however, as Malta’s expat population grows and drives up the demand for housing.
+ PRO: Local produce and restaurants are fairly cheap
Expats’ cost of living in Malta will largely depend on their preferences. Fresh local produce is available from roadside markets at a low cost. Expats can also enjoy delicious Mediterranean cuisine at moderate prices in local restaurants.
+ PRO: Reasonable healthcare costs
Malta is one of Europe’s top healthcare destinations and offers excellent facilities and highly skilled practitioners. Healthcare services in the country are well-priced with short waiting times.
- CON: International and independent schools are expensive
While Malta offers free education for all children between six and 16, most state schools teach in Maltese. This may be a barrier for older expat children, leaving costly independent or international schools as the only option.
Climate in Malta
+ PRO: Great weather year-round
As a subtropical Mediterranean oasis, Malta enjoys hot summers and mild winters, meaning the weather is warm throughout the year.
Culture shock in Malta
+ PRO: Strong family values
Malta has a small-town community feel with a culture centred around the importance of family. This environment can make settling in an easier task.
- CON: Basic knowledge of Maltese is key for building relationships
Expats will certainly enjoy a full life in Malta without learning to speak Maltese. That said, expats who value integrating into their new community should learn some Maltese. Learning even basic phrases can help bridge the cultural barrier.
►Read Culture Shock in Malta for more on what to expect in the island country
"I enjoy being on the seaside, the rocky wild landscapes, hidden nature spots and the mild climate. People are friendly, and they're used to living with lots of foreigners. The island is small enough to have everything easily accessible yet large enough not to feel claustrophobic. There's space to move around and new things to discover, even after living here for the third time and nearly six years in all."
Read all about Hungarian expat Marianna's expat experiences in Malta.
Are you an expat living in Malta?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Malta. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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