The Maltese Archipelago lies virtually at the centre of the Mediterranean, with Malta 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km north of Africa.
Malta’s climate is strongly influenced by the seas and is typical of the Mediterranean. Winters (November-April) are mild, with occasional short chilly periods. Summers are hot, dry and sunny. During spring and autumn, very hot wind from Africa occasionally brings unseasonally high temperatures and humidity.
Maltese is the official language of Malta. English is widely spoken and understood.
South African passport holders require a visa for Malta.
WHAT THINGS COST *
Bottles water EUR 1.50
Can of coke EUR 1.50
Bottle of local beer EUR 1.50
Take away lunch EUR 10.00
Dinner at a restaurant EUR 20.00
20 minute taxi journey EUR 25.00
*Purchase price will vary depending on point of sale.
Below are a few hints that may help you when planning for your trip to Malta:
Visas are required by South African passport holders.
Malta’s climate is typically Mediterranean. It is warm most of the year. Between April and September, there is virtually non-stop sunshine with temperatures around 30 °C. In winter the temperature rarely drops below 12°C. Snow or frost is unknown and rain is likely to fall only between November and February.
In summer it can be very hot, so bring only loose, cotton clothing. Sunglasses and a brim are essential. If traveling between October and May, bring a raincoat or umbrella; during winter months, add a heavy sweater and strong shoes.
The electrical supply is 240 volts, single phase, 50 cycles. The 13 amp, three-pin rectangular sockets are used in Malta.
LANGUAGE & RELIGION
Maltese (a Semitic language) is spoken in Malta and Gozo but nowhere else in the world. English is the second language and is spoken, or at least understood, by the vast majority of the population. Malta is a Roman Catholic country but all religions are tolerated and services are held in various languages for foreign visitors (on Sundays).
Malta’s currency is the Euro. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency visitors may bring into the Islands, provided it is declared upon arrival. The maximum amount of Maltese currency is, however, limited to LM50. Visitors may take out of Malta any unspent foreign currency but no more than LM25 in Maltese currency.
Hotels accept traveler’scheques, but shops and restaurants will take only cash or credit cards. ATM’s are available at most localities and accept major credit cards.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, even by the women who sell their lace cloths on the village waterfront. American Express and Diners cards are not as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercards.
Malta opens early for business with the working day usually running from 8:30am – 5pm. In the summer months work will start and finish even earlier. Shops are generally open 9am – 7pm Monday to Friday, with a long siesta-like lunch break between 12:30pm and 4pm, and mornings only on Saturdays.
Banking hours vary but are usually 8.30am – 12.45pm Monday – Friday. There is a 24-hour, seven days a week service available at Malta International Airport.
You will generally find the Maltese people to be willing and eager to help you without expecting a reward, but we still urge you to conform to worldwide trends in this regard. Hotel porters should receive a small tip ( € 1) for carrying your luggage (unless traveling in a group in which case this may be included in the tour cost). Guides and drivers should also receive a gratuity and the customary 10% is recommended for restaurant visits and room service.
Buses: the system is both reliable and inexpensive (not more than a few cents). Services start at 5.30am and stop at between 10 – 11pm. The main bus terminus is at Valletta from where buses operate to all parts of Malta, although there are also direct, point-to-point, services. The cost of a bus route ranges from 46 Euro cents to 1.65 Euro cents.
Taxis: You can pick up a taxi at the various ranks around town, at the airport,harboursand outside hotels. Street hailing is not normal. It is wise to insist that either the meter be switched on, or make sure you agree a price before you start your journey.
RE-CONFIRMATION OF RETURN FLIGHTS
Please remember that it is imperative to re-confirm your flights at least 72 hours prior to departure. Failure to do so may result in automatic cancellation of your flight.