What to know about Malta

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Malta is a small country and island in the Mediterranean Sea, it’s also a part of the European Union. When you visit Malta there are a few things you need to know which will be mentioned in this blog.

Emergency number: 112

  • Police: 21224001-7
  • Ambulance: 112
  • Fire: 112

If you want to read about relocating to Malta, you can read our blog What you need to know when moving to Malta.

Information that you must know about Malta

The republic of Malta consists of five islands: Malta which is the largest, then Gozo, Comino and the two uninhabited islets of Kemmunett and Filfla.

Some general information that is interesting to know:

  • Capital: Valletta
  • Currency: Euro
  • Official language: English and Maltese
  • Largest religion: Christianity
  • Neighboring countries: Malta is an island in the Mediterranean Sea
  • Surface: 316 km2
  • Inhabitants: 516,869 (2021)
  • Independence: 21 September 1964

Malta is tiny but there is a lot to do and a lot to know. Below we give some important, fun facts that you should know before you go:

  • Tap water should be safe to drink but most people drink bottled water. I would recommend you buy a bottle that filters the tap water or buy a filter for on the tap.
  • Plugs are not like most European countries (Type C) but in Malta the plugs are like those in the UK, so Type G. Make sure to have adapters if you need one.
  • They say in Malta they have a church for every day of the year, which would mean that there are 365 churches in Malta. This is not the exact number of churches in Malta, but it comes close to 365, we heard there are around 359.
  • Many movie scenes were taken in Malta from series and movies like Game of Thrones, Gladiator, etc.
  • The Maltese love cats, you will see a lot of little houses made for the cats on the streets. The locals give food and water to the cats. That’s why the stray cats look clean and well taken care.
  • Must eat snack is pastizzi which is a pastry with ricotta or mashed peas.
  • Paceville in St. Julian’s is known for its nightlife.
  • The Maltese language is a mix of Italian, Arabic and English. It’s the only semetic language that is written in Latin script. You can buy a interesting book to learn some Maltese.
  • Pika is a word in Maltese that sort of means ‘neighbourly rivalry’. It’s a word that can’t be literally translated. It’s the competitiveness or the rivalry of the nature of the Maltese.

Pika is the need to keep making things bigger in order to outdo your rival

Mario Cardona

Some basic Maltese (Malti) that is nice to know:

  • Good morning = Bonġu
  • Welcome = Merħba
  • How are you? = Kif inti?
  • Thank you = Grazzi
  • Good bye = Ċaw
  • Yes = Iva ; no = Le

Tip: learn some Maltese and start understanding this challenging language.

Climate and landscape in Malta

Malta has a Mediterranean climate. It’s one of the sunniest countries in Europe. The summers are hot and dry, and the temperature reaches to 32 degrees Celsius in July and August. In the winter the temperature is mild and its wet, the temperatures can drop to 10 degrees Celsius from December to February.

The landscape is rocky and a typical Mediterranean vegetation. The island consists of many limestone formations. On the coastlines you will see steep vertical limestone cliffs.

Tip: Malta is perfect to have a picnic on the rocks and enjoy the beautiful views. Bring your picnic bag full of food and find the best spot to watch a sunrise or sunset. You can also enjoy the views without a picnic but a blanket to sit on is always handy.

Transport in Malta

In Malta they drive on the left side of the road, and they can drive crazy sometimes.

Never take a white taxi. The white taxis are really expensive, and they can try to scam you. The best thing you can do is take a Bolt or eCabs. These cabs are easy to use and cheaper. You can see how much you will pay for the ride in front, so you don’t get surprised afterwards.

Tip: download the Bolt app and eCabs. To order food you can also use Bolt or Wolt.

It’s easy and cheap to take public transport, the busses are good but can get crowded. Since the 1st of October 2022 most of the public transport is free if you have a Tallinja card. I suggest you apply for the card if you stay for a long time because otherwise you pay for the public transport. You can read more about the Tallinja card and register for a card on their website. More information about the bus system you will also find on their website.

An easy and relatively fast way to discover Malta is by car unless you get stuck in a traffic jam. You can park your car for free almost everywhere in Malta, you don’t need to pay to park on the street, most of the time.

Food in Malta

Balbuljata is a typical Maltese breakfast and it’s made of tomatoes and eggs. It’s most of the time served with Maltese bread. With their breakfast they will have a coffee. The pastizzi is the favorite Maltese snack and some will eat it for breakfast. It’s a pastry mostly made from ricotta or mashed peas but there are many combinations. Twistees is our absolute favorite snack. It’s crisps made out of rice with cheese flavor.

You must eat pastizzi! It’s the most popular snack!

Ilma zaghar is orange blossom water which they ad to coffee, cakes, puddings and more.

Maltese people love food. A lot of the meals are prepared with meat and fish but most of the time you can find a vegetarian option. Some food you need to try out in Malta are:

  • Bigilla: a paste, dip or spread made from mashed tic beans (ful ta’ Ġirba), garlic, parsley and other herbs. Perfect to eat on Maltese bread or on galletti which are traditional Maltese water crackers.
  • Ħobż biż-Żejt: Maltese bread rubbed with tomatoes or tomato paste and olive oil. Sometimes they also put olives, tuna, capers, onion, bigilla and ġbejna on them. It’s also called the Maltese bruschetta (because it’s like a bruschetta). The ġbejna is a traditional Maltese cheese.
  • Platt Malti: a platter to share as appetizers or between the meals. Some favorite things on a platter are: olives stuffed with anchovy paste, sausage, goat cheese, kapunata, bigilla paste, sundried tomatoes served with galletti. Galletti are a sort of flavored crackers.
  • Soppa tal-Armla: widow’s soup with vegetables
  • Aljotta: fish soup
  • Stuffat tal-Fenek: rabbit stew
  • Stuffat tal-Qarnita: octopus stew
  • Torta tal-lampuki: pie with fish
  • Timpana: macaroni dish baked with minced meat, tomatoes, garlic, onion and cheese
  • Ftira Għawdxija: pizza from Gozo, normally served with goat cheese, ricotta and potato toppings but other toppings are also available.
  • Braġioli: rolls with beef
  • Pudina tal-Ħobż: bread pudding
  • Kwareżimal: ‘vegan’ cookies without any dairy or meat but there is honey in them.
  • Figolli: biscuits for Easter
  • Qagħaq tal-Għasel: traditional sweet pastry mostly for celebrations or Christmas
  • Imqaret: pastry with dates

Kinnie is a soft drink from Malta which taste kind of bittersweet. Cisk is a well-known Maltese beer they even have Cisk non-alcoholic. Another beer that you must try is Farsons Blue Label some say it’s the best Maltese beer. If you don’t like the bitterness from beer than you can try Farsons Traditional Shandy, it’s a mix of beer and lemonade.

Tip: if you want to cook your own Maltese food then you can buy a Maltese cookbook and try out some delicious recipes. There is even a plant-based Maltese cookbook if you are vegetarian, vegan or if you want to experiment.

The Maltese kitchen is influenced by many different countries like Spain, Italy, Britain and North Africa. There is a lot more food that you should try out so discover the delicious, divers cuisine.

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