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Malta - Country Information

Malta is located in the central Mediterranean Sea, 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km north of Africa. It forms the Maltese archipelago with the islands of Gozo and Comino.

Sailing in Malta - Country Information - Sailing Europe

Basic Information

Full country name: Republic of Malta

Surface: 320 km2 (124 miles2)

Capital city: Valletta

Government system: Parliamentary democracy.

Population: 378,000 of which 29,000 live in Gozo.

Language: Maltese and English (Italian is also widely spoken).

Major Industries: Tourism, ship repair and construction.

Time zone: GMT + 1 hour

Religion: Roman Catholic (91%)

Culture: Although Mediterranean culture dominates the island, there are many marks of British rule, as the British governed Malta for almost 150 years.

Coastline: The archipelago's 252.81 km coastline comprises mostly rocky inlets with a few, sandy bays to the North West.

Inhabited islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino

Uninhabited islands: Cominotto and Filfla

Highest peak: Dingli Cliffs

Climate: The climate is Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers.
Summer temperatures are often cooled by sea breezes, but in spring and autumn a very hot wind from Africa occasionally brings unseasonally high temperatures and humidity. This is known as the Sirocco, or, in Maltese, the Xlokk - this wind affects Greece and Italy as well; in Malta the air is generally drier because of the short sea track from the African coast. Annual rainfall is low, averaging 568 mm a year, and the length of the dry season in summer is longer than in neighbouring Italy. Sea bathing is quite possible well in to the 'winter' months, and the peak beach season can last until mid- to late October.

Currency & Banks:
Euro (€) - 1 EUR = 100 cent
Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent and 1 and 2 EUR
Bank notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 EUR

Banks are normally open until early afternoon from Monday to Friday, and until midday on Saturday. Some banks/branches work longer hours. Summer and winter opening hours may differ. Exchange bureaux at Malta International Airport are open 24 hours a day. International bankcards are accepted and foreign currency is easily exchanged. Banks, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and exchange bureaux can be found all over the Islands. The majority of hotels, larger shops and restaurants also accept payment in the main international currencies.

Useful Information

Electricity: The electrical supply is 230 volts +/- 10%. The frequency of the supply is 50 hertz. The three-pin rectangular plug system is used, as in Britain. Adapters are very easy to find.

Water: Tap water is safe to drink. Local and imported bottled mineral water is also available.

Telephone code: +356

Health service: Medical care in Malta is available through both public and private hospitals and the quality of medical care in Malta is excellent. However we suggest that before you travel to the Maltese Islands all necessary measures are taken to ensure that you, and anyone else travelling with you, is up-to-date on all routine and recommended immunisations according to schedules defined in your respective country.
Visitors from EU member states should make sure that they have a European Health Insurance card. It is advisable that all visitors, irrespective of their nationality, take out a personal medical insurance policy.
Malta has reciprocal health agreements with Australia and the United Kingdom. Nationals of these countries, visiting the Islands for no longer than one month, are entitled to free medical and hospital care in both Malta and Gozo.
Visitors receiving special medical treatment should bring a medical prescription or a letter of introduction from their family doctor, in case they need to purchase particular medicines.

Useful telephone numbers:
Ambulance 196
Consumer Protection 21250221
Direct Dialling Code (Malta) 356
Directory Enquiries 1182
Directory Enquiries (Go Mobile) 1187
Directory Enquiries (Vodafone) 1189
Emergency 112
Emergency Rescue by Helicopter 21244371
Emergency Rescue by Patrol Boat 21238797
Emergency Vet Services 50043888
Fire Brigade 199
Flight Enquiries 21249600
Government Information Service 153
Gozo Channel Co. Ltd 21556114
Hospital - Gozo 21561600
Hospital - Malta 25450000
International Code 00
Lost Property 21224781
Overseas Operator 1152
Passport Office - Gozo 21560770
Passport Office - Malta 21222286
Police 191
Time Check 195
Weather Forecast 50043848

Visa: It is advisable that you check about visa and entry requirements before making your travel arrangements.
For more information visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website or contact an official Malta diplomatic representative near you.

National holidays
January 1st January - New Year's Day
February 10th February - St. Paul's Shipwreck
March 19th March - St. Joseph
31st March - Freedom Day
March/April (date changes) - Good Friday
May 1st May Labour Day
June 7th June - Sette Giugno
29th June - St Peter and St Paul (L-Imnarja)
August 15th August - The Assumption (Santa Marija)
September 8th September - Our Lady of Victories
21st September - Independence Day
December 8th December - Immaculate Conception
13th December - Republic Day
25th December - Christmas Day