Malta Tips

Malta as a country is generally very welcoming towards expats, so most of the people moving to Malta tend to find their way around quite easily.

But there are little quirks about every place under the sun, and Malta is no different. Here are 5 tips that I wish someone had told me when I first moved to Malta. It’s all easy-peasy stuff, but the little things can save you some time and help you maintain your hair count 🙂

Tip #1 – One Needs to ‘Hail’ for a Bus

Needing to hail for a bus isn’t something unique to Malta in particular, but those coming from bigger cities (like myself), may find the practice a little weird.

Generally speaking, one needs to hail for a bus for it to stop in every station, except for very large stops and terminuses.

With public transportation in Malta being how it is, knowing this should save you quite a bit of frustration, as there are few things more annoying than waiting for a bus for 20 minutes, seeing it arrive and ………… having it run straight past the bus stop. So remember this one!

Malta Bus Stop
Credit: Elora Kask

Tip #2 – White taxis are robbery

I’ve written about white taxis before, and as much as I’d like to, there aren’t many good things to say about them.

But this isn’t the end of the world. Luckily, there are quite a few reputable taxi companies on the island that have a decent fleet with polite and (mostly) punctual drivers.

The two that I’ve used personally are eCabs, which is probably the biggest of them all, and Yellow Cabs, which also has a decent fleet. But there’s a lot more, so do your research!

Just remember – the only taxis that are legally allowed to pick up passengers from the street (e.g. without a pre-order) are the white taxis. All other companies require a phone call, but they can often send a car in as little as 5-15 minutes.

Taxi Sign
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Tip #3 – There are options other than Paceville for a good night out

Unless you’re 15 years old and your goal is getting drunk out of your mind like there’s no tomorrow whilst listening to pop music and periodically throwing up on the pavement, there are many other (and subjectively, better) places in Malta for partying and clubbing than Paceville!

Quoting from an earlier write-up of mine: “Clubbing complexes like Gianpula [in the outskirts of Rabat], the newly opened Uno Village [in Ta’Qali] and the Aria complex [in San Gwann] all have lively parties, but lack much of the violence associated to Paceville, and tend to cater less to the underage and the ‘barely legal’ clientele, making the parties more enjoyable in general.”

Gianpula Rooftop
Credit: Elora Kask

Tip #4 – The rental property market isn’t what it looks like

If you’re anything like me, then your idea of finding a new flat or a house is something like this:

  • Identify the largest estate agents;
  • Go on their websites, put in your criteria, and short-list the properties that you like;
  • Give them a call and arrange to view the properties you’ve short-listed.

Sounds easy enough? Not in Malta!

One thing to understand about the property market in Malta is that unlike many other countries, estate agents don’t have exclusivity over houses.

Exclu-what? In simple terms, this means that the same house is almost always represented by a horde of different agents, all trying to ‘make the sale’.

As a result, we’re in a situation where the majority of listings that you see on broker’s websites (and even windows) are LONG expired and not available any longer. That’s for the simple reason that landlords never inform their (tens of) brokers once their flat has been rented out, so often those “ghost apartments” stay up on agencies’ sites for months, and sometimes even years after.

So don’t waste your energy going through listings that don’t exist. Instead, call up an estate agent or three, give them your requirements and budget, and have them do the work they get paid for, which is finding you some options that are actually available.

UPDATE (20/01/17): TRM just heard from someone who used to rent out his property that it’s often not the landlord’s fault that ‘ghost listings’ remain active. In his case, he informed his 2 agents several times that the property had already be rented out, but the agents failed to remove it from their sites over a year. So in many cases, it’s the agents (and the poor regulation over them) that is to blame, rather than landlords.

Maltese Doors
Credit: Elora Kask

Tip #5 – Sunscreen’s necessity isn’t a joke!

I know I sound like a broken record but – it really isn’t a joke. I don’t know of a single foreigner who has moved to Malta and hasn’t gotten badly burnt within their first 6 months on the island. Usually, though, it’s more like the first 6 hours 🙂

The sun is extremely strong here, and even if it doesn’t feel all that hot, it can do some serious damage and end up rendering you unable to sleep for several nights.

So get that bottle of sunscreen out and avoid turning into a lobster!

Malta Beach
Credit: Elora Kask

Bottom Line

This is, of course, only the beginning. There are many other things for newcomers to know about this place, but the above should get you started nicely.

Got any tips of your own? Please shoot them through in the comments section below and I’ll look into adding the best ones into the article for others to see as well!

11 COMMENTS

  1. BEFORE MOVING HERE… you should know that there are no rent controls and the real estate agents keep telling owners to only give you a one year lease; at the end of that lease they will put up your rent by something like 300 Euros, which usually means you have to start looking for a new place, and then the entire thing begins again a year later! I heard of 9 people last year who had to leave their apartments because of this. Welcome to Malta!

    OH… and you should also know that Malta has the highest pollution levels of any city I can think of outside China! There has been a 30% increase in asthma in children in the last 10 years, so if you have young children, move elsewhere! As a comparison, here are pollution averages in other cities (and Florence is considered to be the most polluted city in Italy): Toronto: 26, Florence 32, Paris: 62… and Malta: 78!

    • You have obviously not had a good experience. My landlord reduced the rent to what I could afford, hasn’t increased it in 4 years . Don’t tar all with the same brush. If you don’t like how they do things, the airport is only a short taxi ride away !

    • I don’t have that experience either and don’t know any of my friends where they put up the rent so much that they had to leave. Actually the contrary. For most of my friends the rent has not been put up at all.The landlords are actually quite happy if they got good tenants and do a lot to keep them. Why would they put up the rent so much that they have to look again for new tenants which is more expensive for them. Unless they have bad tenants there is no point in doing that.We were asked immediately if we wanted a contract for 2 years and now can chose what we want and our rent has not been put up. Also the estate agent was excellent. We looked for the apartments on their website we wanted to see and they showed us around all of them and more. Back in the UK the council tax and utilities only will set you back so much that it is much cheaper here anyway. Just enjoy a new experience. I presume when you come here than back home it wasn’t that much better as you wanted to get away from there. Embrace all the differences. The island is small, but has got so much to offer and the people are very kind and helpful.

  2. Fortunately there are loads of properties for rent so moving is easy,. I am talking Gozo here where things are a little more relaxed. If my landlord hiked the rent then I reckon I could find a new property in less than a week. It took me 48 hours to find, sign, seal and deliver my current apartment.
    I think Ken had a bad experience, most landlords want Brits because they pay their rent and mine went out of his way to ensure I was happy. That said, I’m sure there are plenty of unscrupulous landlords out there, just like any other country who just want to rip you off.
    Ray

    • If I am quoting 9 other people, it isn’t just me who has had a bad experience. And to add something concerning the agents, there are incredible properties on their sites with incredibly low rental prices. When you call they will tell you that the property is no longer available, but 3 weeks or 3 months later the same property will STILL their listing. I once found my own apartment online listed for “available in 1 year”!!
      The reason for all of this is a typical marketing scam being used by ALL the real estate agents here: it is called “bait and switch”. You show something great to get people into the shop, but then tell them the last one just got sold – but they DO have something else which is a little more expensive… In fact, the great properties don’t even exist; it is all to get you to come see them. Pretending it was just sold isn’t true, because they must have gotten dozens and dozens of calls about that property over the last 3 months, but it is still online, so they are obviously leaving it there on purpose. Time to call this what it is: a scam.

  3. My landlord decided to increase the renting charges X 2, after 2 years.
    A lot of Maltese landlord doesn’t care about how a correct, clean, liable person you are, but money.
    Money comes directly on 3rd position :
    1)Jésus
    2)Maria
    3)Money

  4. My landlord is perfect, I have been renting my apartment for 4 years and the rent hasn’t gone up once. Maybe the tenants are the problem and the landlord wants them out …. don’t blame everything on the Maltese, if you don’t like how they do things, planes leave the airport quite often ….. get on one and leave !

    • Spoken like a true Hamalli. People like you is the reason Malta is still a backwater in europe, and always will be. of course theres the fact that malta is NOT europe, but Eurabia, so its bound to be a bit like normal, but shittier.

      Landlords is this country is a serious problem, and you should be able to recognize that, only in malta would you blame tenants for this kind of BS. In civilized countries they check it out, you know, REGULATE.

      But I live here because it annoys people like you that I earn 3-5 times what you do, and at entry level with no education, truth is, people like you deserve the minimum wage, judgmental retarded idiot that you are.

  5. one persons opinion of life on the island should not stop you from visiting.
    The malteses are rude, loud, friendly, helpful, discourteous, awful drivers, welcoming, passionate, undisciplined and like marmite, you either love them or hate them.
    Personally, I love the place, the people, the traffic jams, the loud parties but most of all, the weather.

  6. If you want to drive in Malta, beware. A lot do not realise the rules of roundabouts, pedestrians believe you should give way to them(not only Maltese),don’t expect a thankyou when giving way to another driver,speed is all for some drivers,especially the flashy cars, most don’t know what indicators are for, if they can park in the tightest spaces or block you in they wall so so, rather than walk a few yards to their destination, Other than their driving they are the most pleasant, trusting and helpful people you could meet. Love Malta xx

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