Malta’s climate is strongly influenced by the sea and is typical of the Mediterranean. The Islands have a very sunny climate with a daily average of five to six hours sunshine in mid-winter to around 12 hours in summer. Winters are mild, with the occasional short chilly period brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe.
Summers are hot, dry and very sunny. Day-time temperatures in summer are often mitigated by cooling sea breezes, but in spring and autumn a very hot wind from Africa occasionally brings unseasonally high temperatures and humidity. This is known as the Sirocco, or, in Maltese, the Xlokk – this wind affects Greece and Italy as well; in Malta the air is generally drier because of the short sea track from the African coast.
The official languages are Maltese and English. Maltese is a language of Semitic origin written in the Latin script. Over the centuries, it has incorporated many words derived from English, Italian and French. Italian is also widely spoken.
Medical care in Malta is available through both public and private hospitals and the quality of medical care in Malta is excellent. However we suggest that before you travel to the Maltese Islands all necessary measures are taken to ensure that you, and anyone else travelling with you, is up-to-date on all routine and recommended immunisations according to schedules defined in your respective country.
The information provided on this portal is not a comprehensive medical guide for travellers to the Maltese Islands. We strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor for specific information related to your needs and your medical history; recommendations may differ for pregnant women, young children, and persons who have chronic medical conditions.
Malta with its ideal location is equipped with some of the best harbour and associated services as well as berthing arrangements and maintenance facitilies. Popular marinas are those in Portomaso marina St Julians, Manoel Island, Grand Harbour, Ta’Xbiex and Mgarr, Gozo.
Malta is the ideal stopover when cruising the Mediterranean and also offers the best tourist and yachting facilities in the Mediterranean and boasts skilled boat-builders, as well as shipyards, slipways and floating docks.
Restaurants and Cuisine
A mouth watering variety of different cuisines is available in Malta – something for all tastes and budgets.
Strongly present in the menu is pasta and pizza but one will find a huge selection of fusion and international restaurants across the islands, including global franchises.
Typical of the Mediterranean lifestyle, the Islanders’ approach to life is to enjoy and celebrate it as much as possible. Nightlife on the Islands is always bustling – even if the vibrant calendar of events is lean during some periods, there are always scores of clubs to visit, excellent wine bars and first-rate restaurants to try. The Islands have an effervescent calendar of cultural events to see, such as the Summer Malta Arts Festival, the Valletta Baroque Festival, the Opera Festival, the Choir Festival and the International Jazz Festival held in July.
Major music concerts (Sting, Roger Waters, Sir Bob Geldof, Elton John) are held all summer long by individual organisers, attracting massive crowds of both tourists and locals alike.
The Maltese Islands have also become a hub for the clubbing scene. Internationally renowned DJs appear (Paul Oakenfold, Erick Morillo, Magda, Tiesto, Van Heill) for guest weekends throughout the year. This scene thrives all year round and is an all-week affair in a variety of venues, from large clubs to quieter bars where some excellent house DJs entertain and the admission is free. The main nightlife clubbing action is in Paceville, on the coast near St. Julians, where the clubs and bars are in abundance.
Classical music is very popular on the Islands and organ recitals take place regularly in Baroque churches. Regular orchestral, soloist concerts and operas take place in some stunning historic venues.
Band music is one of the most popular traditions on the Islands. Every town and village has at least one band club. Band music is taken seriously on the Islands and the highlight of the year for band clubs is the parish festa.
Very unique to the Islands are the lively summer village parish festas. Saints, fireworks, food and fun are all part of this cultural phenomenon – try and catch one as they’re not to be missed.
Theatre is a lively and well-represented part of the local cultural scene. The Baroque 18th century National Theatre makes a wonderful venue for the performing arts. The open-air Shakespeare performed in the Baroque Gardens of San Anton Palace in July is one of the many theatrical highlights. For some fun and great kids’ entertainment, try the Christmas Pantomime.
There is a variety of other sources of nightlife entertainment – try your luck at the casinos, go see a film (blockbuster movies, art house films, re-releases and non-English language films) or do as the Maltese and dine al fresco at one of the romantic palazzos or bustling harbour restaurants.
In recent years, Malta has become one of Europe’s most popular film and television locations – dubbed “the Mediterranean’s mini-Hollywood” by the London Times.
The Maltese Islands – Malta, Gozo and Comino – have been home to Hollywood blockbusters such as Gladiator, U-571, The Count of Monte Cristo, Troy, Munich as well as prestigious dramas and sitcoms such as the BBC’s Byron and ITV’s Coronation Street.
The islands’ beautiful, unspoiled coastlines and breathtaking architecture have ‘doubled’ for an amazing variety of locations on the big and small screens – from ancient Rome to 19th-century Marseille and 1960’s Beirut. Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Wolfgang Petersen, Guy Ritchie and other renowned directors, as well as a host of A-list celebrities such as Russell Crowe, Brad Pitt, Sharon Stone, Madonna and Sean Connery, all experienced Malta’s movie making facilities and its many charms.
Shopping is among the favourite activities on many a holidaymaker’s to-do list. Malta offers numerous and diverse opportunities and is sure to satisfy the casual buyer as well as the serious shopaholic.
Retail outlets and shopping centres can be found in all the major towns and villages, but the foremost amongst these are at Valletta in Republic Street and Merchants Street; in Sliema mostly along Tower Road, Bisazza Street and the Strand; in St Julian’s and Paceville; in Paola town centre; in Ħamrun along High Street; in Mosta around the town centre; in Buġibba and St Paul’s Bay; and in Victoria (Rabat) in Gozo. Shops are normally open from Monday to Saturday, mornings and evenings. Opening times of shops are usually between 09.00 – 13.00 and 16.00 – 19.00hrs. However, in tourist areas, shops are open throughout the day Mondays to Saturdays, from 09.00 till 19.00 hrs and even later.
Crafts have undergone a revival in recent years. Not solely because they make interesting souvenirs but also because of their high cultural value to the Islands. Some crafts, such as knitwear, basket-ware and lace, have a long history.
Markets are at the heart of Maltese village life and an experience not to be missed by visitors. Almost every town and village has its version. For the locals, they are a place for socialising, catching up with neighbours and local news, as much as for buying daily necessities.
The concept of Shopping Mall is a relatively new addition to the Maltese commercial landscape, but is one that has rapidly gained popularity amongst locals and tourists. The comfort and convenience of shopping under one roof has seen a number of malls opening in both Malta and Gozo.