11 Tips Before Traveling to Malta


The Maltese archipelago is a trendy destination that increasingly attracts the curious. The sun, the sea, and a rich cultural heritage draw nearly 2.5 million travelers each year. If you too are considering traveling to Malta, follow our recommendations for a successful stay.

Planning a trip to Malta

#1 Apply for the European Health Insurance Card before traveling to Malta

The Maltese archipelago is part of the European Union. For nationals of one of the 27 EU Member States (as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), when traveling to Malta, in case of health problems on site, it is possible to benefit from the European social security system. Therefore, think beforehand, at least 15 days before your departure, to order the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

For UK nationals, The UK GHIC has replaced the existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), it can be ordered on the website of the NHS.

The European Health Insurance Card is free and allows for 100% coverage in case of hospitalization, without upfront fees. It is also available for minors who are still attached to their parents’ accounts.

A precaution too often forgotten by those traveling to Malta, and all the more important since the health crisis related to Coronavirus.

#2 Use an Online Platform to Book Accommodation

Whether you want to book a hotel in Malta, an apartment, or a homestay, prioritize online platforms: Expedia, Booking, etc.

Booking a Hotel in Malta

Using online platforms offers additional security and guarantee, with fewer bad surprises and the ability to intervene in case of issues with the hotel.

Another aspect is the price of rooms. Maltese hoteliers almost always offer prices higher than those found on major online booking sites. This is partly explained by the fact that many rooms are pre-purchased in bulk by tour operators, to be resold at retail.

The best available hotel prices in Malta are very often found on Agoda platform.

Renting an Apartment in Malta

Be particularly cautious when booking an apartment or house in Malta. It is advisable to avoid booking remotely directly with an owner without having visited. For short-term rentals, prefer platforms like VRBO or Airbnb, which already have reviews and feedback, and centralize payments.

It’s worth noting that some owners in Malta have a reputation for not always returning deposits, sometimes leaving tourists stranded at the end of their stay.

Accommodation for a Language Stay in Malta

If you’re planning to be among the 80,000 students who come to learn English during a language stay in Malta each year, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We will help you find a school, accommodation and provide support in case of any problems on site.

#3 Avoid Unnecessary Spending

Bank Cards and Fees in Malta

Before departing, we advise you to opt for a bank card with free payments and withdrawals abroad. Once in Malta, always withdraw money from HSBC or BOV (Bank of Valletta) ATMs to avoid withdrawal fees.

You will see many small ATM machines around the island or in hotel lobbies. Be careful if you use them, as transaction fees can reach between 3 and 5%.

Additionally, we recommend downloading the Revolut app. This payment app is very popular on the Maltese archipelago, it is free and allows for payments at island merchants, currency exchanges, and instant transfers between individuals.

Displayed Prices vs. Paid Prices

Whether in small or large retail stores (Welbee’s, Lidl, Scotts, Greens, etc.), always check your receipt. The prices displayed on shelves do not always match the prices paid at the checkout.

Displayed prices are not always updated, promotions are not always applied, and labeling is often approximate. To avoid unpleasant surprises, check prices at the terminals during your shopping and your receipt upon exiting.

Change for Small Purchases

When moving around the Maltese archipelago, always try to have between 5 and 10 euros in coins.

For purchasing a bus ticket, a Pastizzi, or a bottle of water on the street, try to have the exact change. Note that some merchants or bus drivers do not accept bills, so it is wise to anticipate.

#4 Equip Yourself Before Departing to Malta

Accessories to Bring

There aren’t many accessories to plan for before leaving for Malta. However, you will need to protect yourself from the sun and therefore equip accordingly. Malta also uses British-style electrical plugs. We advise you to bring the following accessories so as not to be caught off guard upon arrival:

  • A pair of sunglasses
  • Sunscreen SPF 50+ (regardless of the season)
  • A head covering (cap, hat, etc.)

If you forget, do not worry: all these accessories are available in most supermarkets across the archipelago.

Clothing to Consider

Going to Malta means heading to a warm and sunny country. If you are leaving between May and September, avoid the unnecessary: it will be hot, and you will spend most of the time in shorts (or dresses), even in the evening.

From October to April, temperatures drop but almost never fall below 10°C. Therefore, there’s no need to overpack; you won’t face snow or negative temperatures.

However, the island country can be quite windy during the winter and prone to sea storms. If your stay is planned during the winter months, consider bringing a windbreaker or a jacket with a hood, and possibly a beanie if your ears are sensitive.

For the more athletic, it’s worth noting there is now a Decathlon in Malta; it is therefore possible to equip yourself on site if necessary.

#5 Plan Ahead for Your Visits and Activities

Whether you’re heading to Malta for a weekend or a several-week stay, it’s highly recommended to anticipate and plan your visits and activities in advance to ensure you don’t miss out and to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Malta is full of places to discover: the Blue Lagoon, Valletta, Mdina, Gozo, etc. Although the island is small, road and sea transport, such as at the Cirkewwa ferry terminal, can take time.

Among Malta’s must-sees, some activities quickly become overcrowded with tourists during the high season and can be fully booked.

We advise you to book your activities in advance via Get Your Guide or Viator, especially for water activities and guided tours. Also, make sure to book your tickets for museums, temples, boats, etc., to avoid disappointments.

Don’t hesitate to go off the beaten path and prefer off-peak hours (early morning) to avoid crowds and discover the authentic Malta.

#6 Choose Bus, Uber, eCabs, or Bolt for Getting Around the Island

For getting around during your holidays in Malta, we recommend using the Bus service (Malta public transport), the cheapest way to travel across the archipelago. If you are staying for several weeks, it might also be worthwhile to consider a Tallinja Card.

We also recommend using ride-hailing services: eCabs, Bolt, or Uber.

eCabs, Bolt, and Uber require downloading an app on your phone. Two solutions that allow you to get transportation in less than 5 minutes anywhere on the island and at cheaper rates than conventional taxis.

Tallinja Bus Card Malta
Ryde Malta Transport Car

We advise against using the services of white taxis. You will see them parked at the most touristy spots; they are more expensive than Bolt drivers and sometimes rough with travelers.

If necessary, it is essential to always agree on the fare before departure. If you forget to take this precaution, the driver can set the fare at their discretion.

#7 Protect Yourself from the Sun in Malta

The weather in Malta is one of the archipelago’s assets, but the Maltese sun requires caution.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the archipelago is very high, especially during the months of June, July, and August. In Malta, in summer, the UV index is almost always between 10 and 12 during the day, a level considered extreme.

Therefore, avoid sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., a period when it can be dangerous. Equip yourself before departure: sunglasses, SPF 50 sunscreen, hats, etc. Protect yourself as much as possible because your skin’s health depends on it.

Be especially vigilant about protecting children and teenagers, who are more sensitive to the effects of the sun and less aware of the dangers it represents.

Remember to check the real-time UV index before going out.

#8 Do Not Drink Tap Water

Tap water in Malta is technically potable, but it’s partially derived from a desalination process. It’s desalinated and then purified, resulting in water with an unpleasant and indigestible taste due to heavy chlorination.

However, tap water is safe for bathing and cooking, but for drinking, it is recommended to prefer bottled water.

Still Water and Naturale Water

In United Kingdom or Ireland, bottled water is generally mineral water. In contrast, in Malta, you will mainly find “Still Water” or “Table Water”, like San Michel, Kristal, or Fontana, which contain few minerals, notably little calcium.

Mineral water is available under the name “Naturale Water”, it is more expensive. Rocchetta, San Benedetto, Acqua Panna, and Sant’Anna are among the main brands available.

As a tip, for good quality mineral water at an affordable price, opt for the Saguaro brand available at Lidl in Malta.

#9 Exercise Caution in the Nightlife Districts of Paceville and Buġibba

Malta enjoys a high level of safety, with a safety score of 81.8. The island state ranks twelfth globally in terms of safety, far ahead of other major European countries like France (32nd), Belgium (30th), or the United Kingdom (27th). However, increased vigilance is recommended in the island’s nightlife districts to prevent misadventures.

Paceville, Malta’s notorious nightlife district, is often an essential stop for young people from 17 (the legal age to drink alcohol in Malta) to 35 years old. Vigilance is therefore essential, as incidents in Paceville are legion! Buġibba has also seen several high-profile incidents in recent years.

As in many party places, the combination of crowds, alcohol, and loud music creates an environment ripe for pickpockets and opportunists of all kinds.

Always check the amount on the payment terminal when paying by card. Ideally, avoid carrying your bank card. Keep an eye on your phone and avoid placing it on a table or counter.

Be also aware of the very high volume levels in clubs. Even if it may seem unappealing, it’s worth admitting, we strongly recommend the use of earplugs (earplugs) to prevent tinnitus.

#10 Observe the Swimming Flag Guidelines

The island of Malta, bordered by the Mediterranean, is an exceptional destination to enjoy the seaside, swimming, and water activities. However, to avoid any unpleasant surprises during your stay, it is crucial to observe the guidelines indicated by the swimming flags. To take no risks, follow the golden rule which consists of swimming in Malta only when the green flag as well as the red and yellow flag are raised.

The Meaning of Swimming Flags in Malta

  • The Red and Yellow Flag: Indicates a swimming area monitored by lifeguards. These areas are recommended for families.
  • The Green Flag: Means that the swimming area is calm and without any particular danger.
  • The Yellow Flag: Signals moderate risk. Swimming is still possible but caution is advised due to waves and currents.
  • The Red Flag: Indicates high risk. Swimming or water activities are discouraged due to waves or strong currents.
  • The Purple Flag: Warns of the presence of dangerous marine animals, often jellyfish.
  • The Double Red Flag: Means a formal prohibition of swimming and the closure of the beach, often due to water pollution.
Informational sign about jellyfish in Malta

Do not swim when the purple flag is raised. The stings of certain jellyfish (Mauve stinger, Portuguese man o’ war, Moon jellyfish, etc.) are very painful and can leave marks for several months.

#11 Respect the Customs and Traditions of the Island

When traveling abroad, it’s important to respect the local customs and maintain decent behavior.

Traveling to Malta is often synonymous with long-awaited and well-deserved vacations. Vacations that sometimes turn into a form of “letting go” for some travelers, disregarding the rules of propriety.

Being abroad can give the illusion of a certain impunity, but be careful, the reality in Malta is quite different, and the Maltese authorities are uncompromising with vacationers.

For a successful trip to Malta, simply adopt decent behavior. Be courteous, respect the rules, show patience, don’t litter, avoid noise pollution, etc. Behaviors that simply make sense or relate to good manners.

Also remember that the small island country is very Catholic; therefore, avoid behaviors that could “offend Christian morals”, or you might draw the ire of the locals.

Also avoid political subjects with the inhabitants of Malta. The Maltese are very politicized. Generally speaking, half of the island’s inhabitants are firmly opposed to the other on major political issues. This can even be observed within the same family. Topics such as corruption, the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, or the government should therefore be avoided in your discussions with the Maltese.

Frequently Asked Questions Before Traveling to Malta (FAQ)

Can you drink tap water in Malta?

Tap water is potable; it does not contain bacteria but is both bad-tasting and highly chlorinated, making it indigestible. It is therefore advisable to only drink bottled water when traveling to Malta.

Is it dangerous to travel to Malta?

Malta is a safe country. The main crime rates are lower in Malta than in most European countries. Malta thus has a higher safety index than France, the UK, Russia, Italy, or Australia. No area is advised against for travelers going to Malta. However, vigilance is recommended in the nightlife district of Paceville, where alcohol and parties sometimes attract pickpockets and opportunists.

Are there jellyfish in Malta?

The Maltese archipelago sees the arrival of jellyfish in periods. Some of them, like the Mauve Stinger, the Box jellyfish, or the Portuguese man o’ war, can be very stinging and cause significant burns. Dangerous jellyfish are indicated by the presence of a purple flag. It is therefore important to respect the bathing instructions of the lifeguard posts so as not to spoil your trip to Malta.

Is topless allowed in Malta?

Going topless or not wearing a swimsuit top is prohibited in Malta and very frowned upon by the island’s inhabitants.

What is the legal age for drinking alcohol in Malta?

The legal age for alcohol consumption in Malta is 17 years. Identity checks are not systematic, and it is still common to see teenagers accessing alcohol before the legal age.