Country facts & figures
Official Name: Republic of Malta
Capital city: Valletta
Location: Southern Europe
European Union: Member since 2004
Population: 430,000 (2015)
Area: 316 km2
Time: 1+ GMT
Official Languages: Maltese and English
Legal System: Common & Civil Law
GDP per Capita (€): 18.700 (2014)
Economic Sectors: Tourism, high value added manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, ICT, financial services, education and training, Aviation, Maritime, and filming.
Principal Religion: Roman Catholic. Other religious denominations are also represented with places of worship.
Malta has a rich history spanning over 7,000 years and has often played a crucial role in the making of history due to its strategic location in the center of the Mediterranean Sea. The Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs and the Spanish all ruled the islands for varying lengths of time. Furthermore, the main influences in Malta have been predominantly the following:
- Arabic period provided the basis of the Maltese language;
- period of the Knights of St. John shaped the islands culturally, socially, commercially and artistically; and
- British period introduced British justice, a unified modern code of laws.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Sicily, the Maltese archipelago consists of three main islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino.
The largest island of the group is Malta, from which the archipelago takes its name. Valletta, the capital city, is the cultural, administrative and commercial center of the archipelago, and has also been awarded the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture 2018. Malta is well-served with harbours, chief of which is the Valletta Grand Harbour. Malta's international airport is situated five kilometers from the capital.
The second largest island, Gozo is topographically quite different from Malta. Quaintly attractive for its less industrialized way of life, Gozo can be reached from Malta.
The distance between Malta and the nearest point in Sicily is 93km. The distance from the nearest point on the North African mainland (Tunisia) is 288km. Gibraltar is 1,826km to the west and Alexandria is 1,510km to the east.
Maltese, the national language, is of Semitic origin written in Latin script that over the centuries has incorporated many words derived from English, Italian and French. For official purposes, both Maltese and English are recognized and given equal status and use in Government. Likewise, most business correspondence is normally in English. Other languages, particularly Italian and French, are also spoken by the population.
Malta’s climate is strongly influenced by the sea and is typical of the Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winters, with February being the coldest month, and hot, dry summers and August being rather hot. Malta enjoys 300 days of sunshine per year, with a daily average of 6 hours' sunshine in mid-winter, to more than 12 hours in summer.
Everything in Malta is close and easily accessible. Living in Malta is a unique experience, especially for those used to hectic city environments and long travels between work and home. The island's small size and wealth of entertainment options mean that in Malta, it is possible to have everything in one day, being a day at work, a good work out, and relaxation at the beach.
Malta offers many archaeological sites, cultural monuments and other historical treasures. For those who enjoy the nightlife, Malta also offers many bars, restaurants, cafes, discotheques and casinos. Many sportive activities can be enjoyed throughout the year including tennis, golf, sailing, and windsurfing, horse riding and diving. Malta boasts a packed calendar of cultural events throughout the year including art exhibitions, classical performances, plays, and concerts. During the summer months, a visit to a Maltese ‘festa’ is a must, with every village or town celebrating its parish patron saint involving village decorations and fireworks.
Malta’s Mediterranean cuisine is as healthy as it is tasty. Domestic menus are often set by seasonal food items, particularly aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, and courgettes, together with freshly caught fish. Typical year-round dishes include rabbit and bragoli (beef olives), served with the renowned local bread baked in a traditional wood-burning stone oven. However, one finds numerous restaurants in Malta which provide menus including Italian, French and Asian cuisine.
Residents can enjoy an exceptional standard of living and the very low criminal rate of the country allows Malta to be a safe country to live in and an ideal place to relocate.