Horrible Paceville
Photo credit: TheLolPost.com

Malta is an incredibly safe place. According to several reports, Malta has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the EU, and the Crime Index for 2016, published by Numbeo, lists only two EU countries – Denmark and Estonia – as safer than Malta.

It’s true that, when compared to most other countries, it’s incredibly difficult to fall victim of a violent act in Malta. But things like this do still happen, which is why it always pays to be careful.

Below, we’ll list a number of areas, places and activities that, in our opinion, considerably increase the risk of getting hurt in an otherwise safe and lovely country.

1. Paceville (St. Julian’s)

The fact that this popular party area made it to the top of this list probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been on the island for longer than a few months.

Often dubbed the Crime Capital of Malta, the crime rate in this area is five times greater than the national average. This includes not only prostitution and drug-related crimes, but also violent crimes and robbings.

Not a single week seems to pass between local newspapers reporting on incidents where someone got badly beaten up or worse, drugged in Paceville.

Be especially careful to stay away from the (numerous) strip clubs in Paceville. Like nearly everywhere in the world, these are the kind of establishments where scams targeted at foreigners are commonplace, and help is almost never anywhere to be found.

Now, whilst most of these incidents can usually be avoided by consciously ‘staying out of trouble’, others can’t, which is why it’s my strong suggestion to avoid Paceville whenever you can.

There are, at the end of the day, many other party spots on the island, that gather a lot of people. Clubbing complexes like Gianpula, the newly opened Uno Village and the Aria complex 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.

2. White Taxis

One would probably need to be partially blind to not notice the reports of bad service, overcharging, and downright violence, very often reported about white taxis and their drivers. (Related: How Malta White Taxi Driver Ripped Me Off, Nearly Killing Me)

There are countless of these reports available from all of the Maltese newspapers, one Google search away from those who are interested, but yet more and more people keep using the white taxis, and later regretting it. And it’s not just tourists.

Malta boasts a large number of good and reputable taxi companies, such as eCabs, Yellow Cabs, and even the zero-emission Greenr Cabs – all of which offer the same or cheaper prices than the “legal” white taxis, and 9 times out of 10 a far better service on top of it.

If you do find yourself in a situation where you MUST use a white taxi (e.g. you can’t wait and no other taxis are available), do yourself a favour and pre-pay at the designated taxi kiosk, now found in many popular areas, including Paceville and the airport. Not doing so will leave you vulnerable for serious overcharging, and potential verbal or physical assault for non-compliance.

3. Sliema / St. Julian’s Beaches

Don’t get me wrong – I’m by no means telling you to avoid the beaches in Sliema or St. Julian’s.

What I am recommending, though, is taking an extra good care of your belongings whilst enjoying the sun at those beaches.

One should, of course, take care of their belongings at ANY beach, but due to the higher concentration of tourists in these areas, muggings and pickpocketing also tend to be more prominent there.

Don’t go thinking that the popular beaches in Malta are highly contaminated with thieves now, though. They aren’t. And as long as you take standard precautions and don’t leave your stuff lying on the beach whilst going into the water with your whole company, you’ll be fine!

4. Walking on Roads

It’s easy to notice that many roads in Malta either don’t have a pavement next to them, or the pavement is incredibly narrow and often cut off.

This, combined with the Southern European way of driving, can be extremely dangerous or deadly, especially when matched with “activities”, such as listening to music through headphones (and therefore not hearing traffic) and/or texting/emailing/browsing the web whilst walking.

Also bear in mind that drunk driving is still a major issue in Malta, and enforcement in this regard is very limited at best. This means that quite often, especially in “party areas” and on early hours of weekend days, a large percentage of drivers on the road will always be intoxicated.

But once again, it’s not anything major, as long as you acknowledge and accept it. Just be careful when walking around, and take care to stay safe on your own, rather than expecting drivers to notice you.

5. Albert Town

I’m personally not sure why or how anybody would manage to find themselves in Albert Town by an accident, as it’s fairly remotely located, but according to various reports, it’s a place to best stay away from.

Albert Town is said to gather most of the island’s prostitution activities, and whilst prostitution on its own doesn’t make an area unsafe, the crowd that usually goes with it, does.

Albert Town is also, apparently, a major drug trafficking hub, making the prospects of finding an “innocent party” there even slimmer.

But once again, I can’t think of any good reason why, as an expat, you would end up in Albert Town. Personally, I hadn’t even heard of the place in my first 2 years in Malta, and I’m a fairly outgoing person.

Note: The data that we have on Albert Town originates from material that’s published several years ago. If anything has changed since, please let us know and we’ll amend the article!

Bottom Line

As I mentioned earlier, overall Malta is an incredibly safe and friendly place, both for tourists and for residents, and chances that you’ll get in trouble of any kind are incredibly slim, unless you’re begging the trouble to find you.

Did I miss out on any recommendations, or perhaps pictured something in an overly bad light? Let me know through the comments section below and I’ll be happy to revise the piece!

6 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve been to all and survived. I’ve been to paceville every weekend for like 9 years now, and was never robbed or involved in a fight. Just take the usual precaution and don’t entice a fight and you’ll be fine. No need to pound the alarm on paceville. Besides, drugs are found in Gianpula, Aria and Numero uno almost every weekend as well. That also means police are doing their job. About crossing roads, be careful but then again, neither me neither anyone in my family was ever invovled in a traffic accident.

    • You have been lucky Mario and whilst i agree with most of your comment I am sure you will agree that the last 5 years has seen a decline in the attractiveness and safety of our entertainment centres?

    • For the record, I do agree with you, and whilst I’m no particular fan of Paceville (or rather – the predominantly 15 year-old crowd that seems to dominate it nowadays), I’ve also never been involved in a fight or been mugged.

      With that said, the numerous reports of other people who have been are alarming nevertheless – and the mere fact that there are other (better – in my subjective opinion) party areas on the island, where there are never reports of bouncers punching someone’s head in for saying the wrong thing, or reports of daily street fights, makes it an easy choice for me to avoid PV and go elsewhere.

      I also agree that it’s quite unlikely that anything bad happens to you in PV unless you’re actively looking for trouble, but the unfortunate reality is that many people (including many of our readers, I’m sure) do tend to overuse the booze a little, and under a sufficient dose even the quietest guy can appear to be looking for trouble – hence my general suggestion to stay away altogether instead – better safe than sorry.

      As for traffic, once again, my personal experience has been similar to yours, but numbers do speak for themselves and whether anything has happened to me, you, or our relatives is a bit irrelevant and doesn’t change the fact that Malta is amongst the top countries in the EU on the number of traffic accidents, and therefore a bit greater care needs to be taken here than – say – Finland or the Netherlands.

  2. Excellent article Janar. I am happy to see you have covered almost all the horrors I know of in Malta. I have lived here 28 years and have seen the decline in Paceville and some other areas such as Buggiba and Qawra.

  3. Swimming in rough seas is almost always followed by someone lost at sea, almost always a non local.
    And jumping from high places into the sea is very often followed by the army’s helicopter having to go and save an injured party, again almost always these people are foreign

    • Thanks Ramon! This is an incredibly good addition indeed, and I’ll schedule to add it in to the article. Lots of reports lately of people going missing / found dead after ‘being brave’ and going swimming with meter high waves ..

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