Fact file: Malta

Did you know?
The Maltese language is Semitic in origin and believed to be based on Phoenician (Phoenicians colonised Malta from around 800 to 218 BC).
Language
Maltese and English
Visas
None required.
Getting there
There are regular scheduled flights from Heathrow and Gatwick and charter flights from England and Scotland offer outstanding value.
Flying time from London
Three hours.
Getting around
Bus services are cheap and extensive. What the 1950s buses lack in comfort they make up for in beauty. Taxis are expensive. Bicycles are handy as distances are so short, but it can be hot and hilly. Travel between Malta, Gozo and Comino is by ferry with bus connections. If you're flush you can take a helicopter to Gozo.
Currency
Maltese Lira (Lm).
Costs
As a rough guide: A pint of beer £1.50, moderate restaurant meal £6, litre of petrol 60p, roll of film £5, short taxi ride £4.50.
Weather
If you go between February and June you will miss the rainy season and the hot summer when temperatures climb to 30C (86F). September and October are good times to visit, for similiar reasons. There's still plenty of sun in winter when temperatures average around 14C (57F).
Time difference
1 hour ahead of GMT.
International dialling code from the UK
00 356
Voltage
240 volts, 50Hz, 13 amp three pin rectangular plugs like the UK.
Opening hours
Shops open 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm or up to 10pm in tourist areas and are not open Sundays. Banks open 8.30am to 2pm Mon-Thurs and Sat and until 3.30pm on Fris. Valletta's main post office is open from 8am to 6pm.
Health - Before you go
No jabs required. The UK has a reciprocal health agreement with Malta so medical treatment is provided in an emergency but prescribed medicines are not. Take an EHIC form with you (from post offices).
Health - When you are there
Tap water is safe to drink but heavily chlorinated so better to drink bottled. Otherwise you should encounter no health problems.
Warnings
If you are driving, beware the potholes and lack of roundabouts. Right of way at junctions is on a first come, first served basis. Hitch-hiking is frowned upon.
Emergency
Medical dial 196. British Embassy - 7 St Anne Street, Floriana; Tel 23 31 34/37.
Customs
Duty will be charged on any gifts brought in for local residents so beware if you're visiting ex-pats.
Pets
Malta is part of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which allows cats and dogs to travel freely between the UK and Malta. It takes several months to set up the relevant documentation. See your vet for details and be aware that Malta has different requirements to other European PETS destinations.
Tipping
Taxis and restaurants will expect a 10% tip.
Tourist office
Malta Tourism Authority, Unit C, Park House, 14 Northfields, London SW18 1DD. Tel. 020 8877 6990.


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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