Malta vs Cyprus Round 2

Some time ago we covered some of the similarities and differences between Malta and Cyprus in the Round 1 of our Malta vs Cyprus Fight.

I compared the two countries’ climate, cost of living, party scene, beaches, expat communities, driving cultures, nature and languages – check it out here.

Time for Malta vs Cyprus Round 2!

But it’s time to move on to more serious matters – from job opportunities for expats to bureaucracy and taxes.

Whilst my opinion is always going to be just that – an opinion – I’ve spent considerable time living in both countries as an expat, so I’ll do my best to give you my take on things, and hopefully make the choice easier for those who are choosing between the two.

This time around I’m going to compare Malta and Cyprus in 9 different categories, with the winner and the loser (or a tie) determined in each.

Let’s go!

Jobs for Expats

Most expats in both Malta and Cyprus tend to work either in the service industry (bars, restaurants, hotels) or in the iGaming industry.

The countries are comparable in both of these sectors. Even though English is not an official language in Cyprus, most tourist-oriented bars and restaurants are happy to hire people who don’t speak Greek.

When it comes to iGaming jobs, there are a large number of iGaming companies in both countries, but Malta quite clearly wins both in the number of firms and the number of vacancies at any given time.

Based on purely subjective research, my own experience, and that of some of the people I know, salaries also tend to be a little bit higher in Malta, making Malta the winner of this category.

Winner: MALTA


With both Malta and Cyprus being Southern European countries that boast an extremely relaxed lifestyle, excessive bureaucracy and red tape can be fairly bothersome in both. Especially for people coming from Central and Eastern Europe who are used to high emphasis being put on efficiency.

Over the years, things have improved significantly in both countries, but excessive red tape still remains, especially when it comes to communicating with government institutions and banks.

The banking system, having originated in Colonial days, is very similar in both Malta and Cyprus (with perhaps the difference being the percentage of Russian money and Greek banks in Cyprus – but that’s a story for another day).

When it comes to communicating with various government institutions, Cyprus certainly wins in overall speed and efficiency (which isn’t great, but still beats Malta). However, it loses in a lot of government communication and forms being exclusively in Greek, whilst in Malta everything can be done in English as it’s an official language of the country.

Winner: TIE!

Getting Around: Taxis

Taxis in both Malta and Cyprus are fairly expensive and quite dreadful (Related: How Malta White Taxi Driver Ripped Me Off, Nearly Killing Me). Prices tend to be high, cars in varying conditions, and drivers often rude and prone to overcharging foreigners – tourists or residing.

But what Malta has that Cyprus doesn’t (at least when I was last there), is several large private taxi firms that have fixed prices, good cars, decent arrival times and polite drivers.

Winner: MALTA

Spare Time

With both countries being tourist hotspots, there are plenty of possibilities to spend one’s spare time, from parties and clubbing to visiting beaches and going to museums.

Where Malta excels, though, is the compactness of the country. You can literally get from one end of the island to the other in less than an hour (unless there’s a traffic jam, that is), which means that nothing is ever too far.

Whilst Cyprus has, in some regards, a little bit more to offer than Malta (e.g. more sandy beaches), if you want to do something specific – such as visit museums – you’ll quickly find that it requires significant travel time, to get from Limassol to Nicosia, for instance.

The same also applies for partying. Paceville (the main party hotspot in Malta) is within a 30-minute drive from pretty much anywhere on the island, whereas Ayia Napa (the main party hotspot in Cyprus) is over an hour on the motorway from Limassol, an hour from Nicosia and nearly 2 hours from Paphos, making it unfeasible to “pop over for a few drinks and grab a taxi back”.

On the other hand, many expats who don’t have the opportunity to travel very often have reported that Malta’s small size makes it quite “dull” after a while. This is where Cyprus is a little bit better option, as one can pop over to the Troodos mountains (where you can even ski in the winter!), check out one of the many small fishing villages or even go to the occupied Northern side to see what life is like over there!

As such, it probably wouldn’t be fair to declare a winner, as both places offer their own unique blend of things to do and come with their own plusses and minuses.

Winner: TIE!

Crime & Safety

First, it has to be said that both Malta and Cyprus are extremely safe places to be in. On the Global Safety Index, the countries rank at #17 and #21 respectively – second to only a handful of other European countries. In comparison, Greece ranks #43, the UK #54 and the United States a whopping #73.

But there’s more to it than just the global index. When diving deeper into the numbers, we notice that from 2007 to 2012, the number of robberies more than doubled in Cyprus, and the trend was similar in Malta. This is an incredibly unfortunate development, as even though violent crime is still super-low in both countries, muggings and robberies are on their way up, so it pays to be careful.

There isn’t a clear winner in this category, as even though Malta ranks a notch higher than Cyprus, the differences are minuscule.

Winner: TIE!


Leaving aside business taxes (which are a whole different story), the tax systems of Malta and Cyprus are relatively similar, in that both countries have a progressive income tax system (the more you earn, the more you pay), and a fixed National Insurance / Social Insurance tax.

When it comes to income tax, Cyprus is far more generous in that the first €19,500 earned in a year is tax free. Malta has this figure set at €9,100. It’s not as black and white, though, as Malta also has a 15% tax band for income up to €14,500 (from there on, it jumps to 25% and then 35%), whereas in Cyprus, anything above the initial €19,500 is taxed at 20%, then 25%, 30%, and 35%.

National Insurance in Cyprus is a flat 7.8%, whilst in Malta it’s 10% (with some exceptions).

But enough of percentages. How much money will you really pay in taxes?

For an employee making €20,000 a year gross (a fairly standard salary in both countries for an entry-level professional), you would take home €18,340 in Cyprus, or €15,815 in Malta, making Cyprus a very clear winner in this regard.

Winner: CYPRUS


If you’re a fan of low-cost airlines, then both Malta and Cyprus are equally great places to be in! Due to the touristy nature of the countries, RyanAir and EasyJet run tons of flights to a lot of European destinations.

Malta seems to be winning in this regard, though, as Ryanair have a lot more destinations from Malta International Airport than they do from Larnaca and Paphos airports combined.

Malta also has its national airline – Air Malta – that flies to 28 European destinations. This is something that Cyprus can’t compare to any longer since Cyprus Airways unfortunately went bust a few years ago.

It’s also easier (for most) to reach the airport in Malta than it is in Cyprus. In Malta, you can grab a bus or a taxi from almost anywhere and reach the airport in 30-45 minutes. In Cyprus, unless you live in Larnaca or Paphos, getting to an airport can be quite a drive.

Winner: MALTA

Getting Around – Public Transportation

Even though constantly improving, the bus network in Malta isn’t great (Related: Only in Malta: When Public Transportation FAILS). The island is super small, but the road infrastructure just isn’t there, making it super difficult to run an efficient bus service.

Cyprus, on the other hand, is a little bit different. Whilst Malta can be considered a “big town” for all intents and purposes, Cyprus has multiple towns and the distances are often significant. Because of this, we’ll have to look at inter-city transport and inner-city transport separately.

Like Malta, the only public transportation in Cyprus is buses. Back when I lived in Cyprus about 5 years ago, bus service both between towns, and within Limassol and Larnaca was – simply put – dreadful. Things have, however, improved significantly, and one can nowadays catch a bus between any of the major towns without too much of a hassle. Based on reports, inner-city transport in bigger towns is also quite decent nowadays.

Winner: CYPRUS

Internet Price & Speed

When it comes to Malta, most people who have lived here for a while know that things aren’t exactly in the best shape when it comes to Internet connections. Or as the Times of Malta put it, “Malta’s broadband is slow, most expensive in the EU“.

This, actually, seems a little bit off, as looking at Melita’s (one of Malta’s largest ISPs) website, they’re offering a basic 50mbps package for €27 per month. Looking at Cytanet’s (the largest ISP in Cyprus) offerings, we can see that a 50Mbps connection sets you back a whopping €52 per month – making it nearly twice as expensive!

We’re not going to dive into the “advertised vs actual speed” discussion here, as a lot of it would be overly subjective. Those who have lived in either Malta or Cyprus also know that a lot depends on your luck, as things can be either perfectly fine or absolutely unbearable.

Winner: MALTA

The Winner

We’ve now compared the two countries in 17 different areas throughout Round 1 and Round 2, and have hopefully helped at least some people who were thinking of whether to move to Malta or to Cyprus.

So who’s the winner?

If we look at purely the numbers, then Malta won in 7 categories, Cyprus in 5, and another 5 were tied. But personally, I believe there’s no winner or loser to be declared.

As has become evident (I hope), both countries have A LOT to offer to expats, and whilst some things are “better” in one and others in the other, at the end of the day it all depends on what you’re after.

Personally, I couldn’t live without easy access to an international airport, but don’t care the slightest about nice beaches, whilst some other people may travel only once a year, but spend 2 days a week on the beach. It’s all individual.

There’s also a lot more to both of these wonderful countries than can be put into two little articles. With this in mind, I’d highly recommend anyone serious about relocating to either country to pack your bags, come over, and see for yourself.

Bottom Line

As I said before, a lot of this is my personal experience and subjective opinion, so your mileage may vary.

But please let me know in the comments below what’s your opinion of it all, and which of the two countries is the winner FOR YOU and why!


  1. When speaking about relocation, many people would take this step in the long term – which also includes considering buying a real estate in the country.
    You didn’t present any insight about owning a property in those countries – maybe you didn’t own anything, but it’s highly probable, that you know people who do.
    So, it would be interesting to read something about building quality, taxes, expenses, problems that house or apartment owners face (like mould, moisture, etc.)

    Many thanks!

  2. True Cyprus has more beaches , but Malta has inland seas like Venice, the capital city Valletta is adorned with palaces and great views. i have been going to Cyprus for the last 40 years , about Cypriots ability of the English language it does not compare to Malta. There where a lot of times that I found out it was hard to communicate in the English language in Banks , government offices etc. About public transport in Cyprus it is very hard to get around to the Villages. There are Villages that public transport means one bus in the morning and than the same bus goes back to Town at night. Cyprus has more open spaces and less noisy than Malta. Malta has a lot of activities going on the year round , nice architecture. Medical service at the Government hospital is well better off than Cyprus. ( even in Cyprus hospital I found out that a lot of stuff do not speak English) Cyprus beats Malta for it,s mountain villages and the surrounding area. Malta is a tiny island and one may feel
    himself cramped . I myself love Cyprus my wife is Cypriot but we live in Malta.

  3. Hi Janar, I would love to know what you think about Cyprus vs Malta nowadays. Since Malta is getting more and more crowded with more and more construction sites… An updated article would be amazing 🙂
    We live in Malta (Gozo) for 5 years and are thinking of moving abroad. The noise, pollution, less and less green areas and rudeness/cruelty to animals is really dragging on our nerves – being an animal lover and enjoying long hikes in the countryside. For example, there is more and more poison spread and I feel the hunting is getting worse instead of better. Additionally, we hardly know any other people with a similar mindset – being online entrepreneurs on Gozo. Moving to Malta isn’t an option because traffic and noise is horrible 😉

    • you live in Gozo and you think its noisy?
      Ive never been in a more quiet place in Europe
      True that Malta is a different story, buy Gozo noisy?

  4. not sure what to say or think about which country is the winner. I only know that i would definitely like to move away from the UK after been living here for 20 years and i love nature, the sun, space and the sea. i am more inclined to Cyprus. it seems to resonate with me more and i don’t like crowded areas or too much noise. i have been to both countries. i love the architecture in Malta but i like what Cyprus offer and less expensive rent and taxes. more. in term of the language, yes i suppose in Malta is easier but my best friend lives in Cyprus and last time i went i did not have any problem with the language. anyway both fascinating islands. Not sure what i will do but i was born on an island and always felt i wanted to live on an island. 😊

  5. I think that Janar needs to update this web site because since 2016, a lot of things have happened and changed in Malta. The first thing is that the building mania has taken away the quality of life from the Maltese, the traffic and the public transport maddening and the roads are one of the main problems for anyone using both a private car, taxi or bus will take an hour or more for a journey that should not last more than 10 minutes.

    Since then, Malta lost its Prime Minister Joseph Muscat declared as the most corrupt PM in the world after an investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia published a 10 million page document which revealed several ministers besides Muscat himself having been the culprits of corrupt practices and money laundering. The scandal is the biggest since the Watergate scandal and last week 2023, the courts have found more corruption about the contract of sale of two hospitals to Vitals and that three other of the current regime’s ministers at least were involved. The Law Courts have declared the contract null and void and Vitals ordered to vacate the premises. In these past 10 years under this criminal regime over 300 foreign investors have departed from the island and at least 70% of the young people have either sought pastures new in other EU countries or are going to leave the island.

    So, you can forget finding a job here with a e gaming company because the majority have left as the banks have now increased red tape for property or business loans. Besides buying property here is as expensive to the point only 30% of the population can buy its own apartment. Prices have soared between Euros 200,000 to 6 million and this island is now good to live on only if you do not suffer from dust allergies and happen to be a multimillionaire.

    Quality of life is zero and the level of education for those thinking of coming here to study has become a joke like the regime that has been governing this island for the past ten years and has not introduced a single investment plan so as to decrease the continuous building mania that has ruined not just the history of architecture in Malta but the environment and the traditional way of building that five star tourists used to visit here just to experience that feeling of an island where time stopped still.

    Personally, because of this dust and diesel pollution, not to mention the noise pollution created by the building industry in every town, city and village I have lost 75% of my hearing. Unfortunately, I am 65 and have to many health issues to be able to move from this rotten island that this regime has made unlivable for Messrs John Citizens.

    My advice Cyrus wins hands down and any other European country including Italy, Greece, the UK, Scotland, Wales – anywhere but her. this country is on the verge of bankruptcy at the moment we are in debt up to 30 billion Euros most money of which was stolen by the criminal governing this island. Do you want to feel suffocated and start suffering from allergies and claustrophobia come to Malta. If you wish to breathe fresh air and find working opportunities other than as maids, waitresses, masons, nurses and cleaners in hotels and be exploited not to mention most of your income will end up saved to pay your rents seek another country where foreigners are treated better.

    Rents here start off at 400 Euros monthly for a small room without a toilet, and if you want an apartment you need to spend at least between Euros 900.00 up to Euros 1,400 per month. As for wages, foreigners in the above mentioned categories are paid about Euros2.00 per hour!!! This regime’s duration is about to come to an end – I strongly recommend you wait until the government changes because we are being governed by unscrupulous criminals and assassins who blew the journalist mentioned in her car and killed her in front of her own home and kids. The perpetrators, the ones who organized the assassination are still at large even thought both the police and Attorney General not to mention most of the population know who they are. I can reveal there are ministers and high profile members in even law enforcement agencies involved. Corruption is rife and now we await the Eu that will be taking steps to watch what the government is going to do after the law courts’ judgement on the Vitals’ case has been proven as FRAUDULENT.

    The government till now is still dragging his feet and defending whose that cannot be defended because of the evidence presented in this case which has been ongoing for months.


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