The Republic of Malta is a Southern European island country comprising an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km south of Italy, 284 km east of Tunisia, and 333 km north of Libya. The country covers just over 316 km2 with a population of just under 450,000 (despite an extensive emigration program since the Second World War), making it one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta, which at 0.8 km2, is the smallest national capital in the European Union. Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English.
Malta is a popular tourist destination with its warm climate, numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, Valletta and seven Megalithic Temples, which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.
The climate is a Mediterranean one. Winters in Malta are short, mild and windy, and even though with infrequent rain, the air is quite humid. Summers are long, hot, dry and very sunny.
The currency in Malta is the Euro.
- Using Money in Malta
There are several banks, bureaux de change and automated foreign exchange machines from where you can exchange your money. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diner’s Club cards are accepted at every establishment that accepts payment by credit card. If any of the following logos appear on your card: Visa/Electron/Plus and Mastercard/Cirrus/Solo/Maestro, you will be able to withdraw money from the several ATMs around the island. It is important to check whether your home bank has authorised your card for international use if you plan on using a debit card.
Maltese and English are the official languages of Malta as stipulated in the Constitution. As an EU member state, Maltese is also one of the 24 official languages of the European Union. Its influence goes beyond the archipelago and High-Level Meetings in Brussels as migrants have set up communities in Australia, the UK, the US and Canada, amongst others. Over the years, Maltese has become the dominant language for everyday use while English is the preferred language for work and administrative purposes.
The small size of the Maltese Islands makes getting around easy and hassle-free. The public bus service on Malta and Gozo is a good way to get around as buses serve the major tourist areas, go practically everywhere and are inexpensive and efficient. You can downlaod a Route Map from here.
Malta Public Transport is the company set up in 2014 to operate the bus services in Malta and Gozo. Bus services on the Maltese islands generally operate daily between 5:30 and 23:00hrs.
There are a total of 80 different routes that link the different localities in Malta to either major hubs such as Valletta, Mater Dei Hospital and the Airport or to other destinations. Meanwhile 15 different routes operate in Gozo primarily from the central hub of Victoria Bus Station to various localities on the island. Generally, one or two digit routes (Eg. 1, 2, 3, ... 12... 34... 94) denote mainline routes that operate to and from Valletta from various localities.
Express routes are designated with an "X". These routes have limited stops and operate to and from the Airport from different localities.
Three digit routes link different localities together. In most cases these routes do not serve Valletta, but might serve other interchanges such as University and Mater Dei Hospital.
Time table information for the different routes can be viewed by clicking here.
Buses in use on the service are of the low floor type making these vehicle fully accessible to persons with mobility impairments. Each bus has specifically designated seating for persons with mobility impairments, pregnant women, the elderly and persons carrying young children. Besides being accessible, buses are fully air conditioned, are equipped with audio announcements and electronic information panels highlighting the next bus stop.
For the latest information, announcements and updates, go to http://www.publictransport.com.mt
In order to make an outgoing international call to Malta, the country code is +356.
Police +356 2122 1111/4001/4007
Mater Dei Hospital +356 2545 0000
Passport Office: Malta +356 2122 2286
The Maltese Islands have three sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These are Valletta, the Megalithic Temples and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum.
In all, seven megalithic temples are found on the islands of Malta and Gozo, each the result of an individual development. The two temples of Ġgantija found in Gozo are notable for their gigantic Bronze Age structures. The Ġgantija Temples are the oldest, free-standing monuments in the world, surpassing even the famous Egyptian pyramids of Giza.
The temples of Ħaġar Qim, Imnajdra and Tarxien are unique architectural masterpieces, when considering the limited resources available to their builders. The temples represent a unique architectural tradition that flourished on the Maltese Islands between 3600 and 2500 B.C.
The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is a rock-cut underground complex that was used both as a sanctuary as well as a burial site by the temple builders. The monument is regarded as the epitome of prehistoric monuments.
The capital city of Malta, Valletta, is inextricably linked to the military history and charitable Order of St John of Jerusalem. Built after the Great Siege of 1565 and named after Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette, this fortified city has hundreds of monuments, all within a relatively small space, making it one of the richest historic areas in the world.
In 2018, Valletta will be the European Capital of Culture.
Malta has often been called the ‘Fortress Island’ due to the high concentration of military architecture. This is a legacy of the islands’ history which saw them being fought over, time and again, due to their strategic location and deep, safe harbours.
The withstanding fortifications were built during two distinct periods: under the rule of the Knights and those built during British colonialism. These are imposing reminders of military endeavours and a reminiscence of an age of chivalry, heroism and legendary battles.
Whether taking a stroll along Valletta’s bastions or venturing along the Victoria Lines running along the Great Fault, you’ll find remnants of our glorious military past, from 17th century coastal forts and watch towers to World War II pillboxes.
Whether you’re wondering the streets of Valletta, or exploring other towns and villages across Malta and Gozo, you will come across a variety of historical sites from different eras, each one adding an individual piece to a historical mosaic that spans across the centuries.
Museums & Galleries
Discovering 7000 years of history is easier than you might think. The Maltese Islands are really one big heritage park. There are open-air sites and indoor museums dedicated to every historical era – ranging from Prehistory to World War II.
The Knights of St John were great patrons of the arts and during their 250 years rule, they left a legacy of masterpieces which can be found in museums, palaces and churches all over the Islands.
With their deep colours and rugged landscape, the Maltese Islands have long inspired local and foreign artists, photographers and sculptors. Some of them are exhibited in various galleries, including works by some excellent contemporary artists. The Spazju Kreattiv at St. James Cavalier in Valletta, showcases their work, whilst other venues, such as The National Museum of Fine Arts and the National Museum of Archaeology hold regular exhibitions of art, sculpture and ceramics.
Malta is one of the oldest bastions of Christianity. St Paul shipwrecked as a captive en route to Rome in 60 A.D. and introduced the Christianity to the Maltese. His steps can be retraced in the shrines, grottos and catacombs of Rabat and in the ancient capital, Mdina.
There are over 360 churches and chapels scattered across the islands which form an integral part of the landscape and are at the heart of Maltese social and cultural life.
Many of these buildings are veritable works of art. They are adorned with intricate decorations and stone sculptures depicting saints, angels and sacred symbols.
Perhaps most intriguing of all religious sites are the small, wayside chapels. Some are excavated in the rock; others cling to cliffs. All are places of quiet contemplation.
- Power Supply:
230V ±10% electrical supply. Supply frequency is 50Hz.
Plug socket in use is the three-pinned rectangular pin BS 1363 plug. The two-pinned round pin BS 4573 plug is used for shavers. Adapters are widely available.
- Time Zone
The time zone is Central European Time (GMT+1).