Expat Talk – Why you would (or wouldn’t) want to live in…Malta

Posted on April 18, 2010




It may be hard to believe when you look at the size of the island, but there are plenty of long-term travellers stopping by, and expats who have settled somewhere along the coast and never looked back. Malta’s plus points are quite numerous – mild winters filled with sunny days and spectacular summers, bright and spacious accommodation for a relatively inexpensive rent, no need to learn a foreign language because English is one of the two official ones, low crime rate, a slow, laid-back style of living and the guarantee of never being more than 15 minutes by car away from the sea.

If you can secure a job with a good salary (jobs in the lower levels of the tourist industry tend to pay little and would have you struggle financially), share a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment with at least one flatmate, and own a car for the times when public transport is not available, then you’re likely to have a very comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle, especially if you’re a natural beach bum.

Around the island you will find endless swimming spots options, from small sheltered sandy beaches to rocky spots facing the open sea, all absolutely free (unless you want to rent sun beds and umbrellas, but no one will force you). Dining out at least once a week is perfectly feasible, with mouth-watering meals to be found whatever your budget (it may take you a while to separate the trash from the gems, but exploring is half the fun). Partying and socialising is a national sport. Almost all clubs in the St. Julians and Paceville areas are free, and those few which require an entrance fee ask for a modest sum. Restaurants, beer gardens, Irish pubs, seaside cafes and classier wine bars are literary everywhere, some of them in stunning locations (just a few examples: Lupanara wine bar and Bacchus restaurant located in vaults built into limestone bastions, Don Berto and Piccolo Padre for a meal right by the sea, and Level 22 on the 22nd level of the Portomaso tower for super posh but pricey drinks).

Then there is the landscape itself which changes dramatically across the island, surprisingly, considering its compact size – the old, weathered bastions and houses of VallettaMdina and Vittoriosa, the seaside promenades of Sliema, St. Julians, Buggibba and Marsaskala, the golden bays and towering cliffs, the quietude of the residential towns and the mayhem of the tourist zones.

Add to all this a palpable international vibe in its touristic centre, with English language students and seasonal workers from literally all over the world and the generally quite friendly and helpful locals, and you might just fall head over heels in love with this country.

There are of course negative points as in all other places – bus drivers are not the friendliest bunch and restaurant and shop staff can often come across as cold and uncaring –  and people who stay in Malta for a while often love or hate it completely (there seems to be little in between) , but when they do love it, it’s because they’ve approached it with an open mind.

Malta is best appreciated if you already have a well-developed carrier and wish to down size from a hectic life in a noisy and cold city. If you tend to get a little claustrophobic, just make sure that your salary can allow you one or two holidays away from the island and you should be just fine (although especially in the warmer months you might feel like you are already on holiday). Be prepared for a seriously hot summer though, and a seriously serious suntan.


Useful Websites

Official Government of Malta Webiste

Online guide to events, festivals and concerts

Official Malta tourism website

A few real estate agencies:   Dhalia and Sara Grech

Online Times of Malta Newspaper including a classified section

University of Malta website 

Restaurant reviews by locals

Weather report 


– Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @ www.travelwithdenden.wordpress.com

Posted in: Expat Talk, Malta, Malta