Malta The Gem of the Med
Malta is a vibrant, colourful and cosmopolite island located in the middle of the Mediterranean. Many great civilisations such as the Phoenicians, The French, Templars and the British empire has at some point captured or colonized the islands which today shows in a bursting nation with a multicultural past and a dynamic present.
The country of Malta has experienced tremendous growth for over a decade. This mainly started after the country joined the EU European Union and became a member state, making it a breeze for goods and people to cross borders. Today’s Malta is best known for being on the forefront in digital innovation within iGaming(regulated online gambling), FinTechand is also known as the blockchain island after the government’s latest efforts to regulate this new exciting industry which many believe is the future of financial transactions and the potential death of high street banks as we know them today.
Why Malta & iGaming?
Malta started its journey to become the top jurisdiction in 2002 when they launched their EU gaming license which makes it possible for foreign companies to relocate to Malta and start offering their iGaming services to the countries that are included in the European Union. Having this said is Malta the best alternative for a company that wants to offer iGaming services to EU member states. Many of the companies also have additional licenses that make it possible to offer services in the UK, Spain, Italy and Canada which have national licenses. Apart from this we also like the fact that taxes in Malta are quite low compared to other European countries, the friendly Maltese people speak English and we can enjoy over 300 days of sun each year and a mild winter climate.
How’s life in Malta?
Living in Malta is an experience like no other. On this small island where west meets east, you’ll see limestone houses of character alongside modern high-rise block of flats, at the same time tailors and tech firms being door-to-door. During a walk alongside the famous “The strand” will you hear more languages than you can count. The Maltese public services are offering a high standard and the healthcare system, in particular, is often praised to be amongst the best in Europe. One must experience this lovely island for him/herself but if you close your eyes and imagine that the UK (United Kingdom) and Italy had a baby together, maybe that would be Malta.
Malta’s weather and climate
The Maltese islands benefit from a climate that offers warm and sunny weather more or less all year round. People from Scandinavia would say that the summer season starts at the end of March and continues until the end of November. During the warmest period in July-August-September, it becomes really hot and temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius are normal during this period.
Here you can check out some average temperatures.
Malta Weather is the nations trusted weather forecast service. They also have a quirky facebook page.
News sources in Malta.
In Malta, there are many online resources when it comes to getting to know local and international news. Here are some examples:
- Malta Independent– One of the two major newspapers. The newspaper sympathizes with the Nationalist party (major conservative right-wing party).
- Times of Malta– The second major newspaper, also supporting the Nationalist party.
- Malta Today– Another major newspaper which supports the Labour party (social democrats).
- Lovin Malta– Non-political webzine, let’s call this a small local version of Buzzfeed.
Since Malta is so small, chances are that you won’t need to travel a lot by vehicle but in case you find yourself in a situation you need to go a distance you have the following alternatives:
- Malta Public Transport– by far the cheapest way to get around the islands. Buses are plenty but don’t necessarily arrive in time. Skip checking the timetable and just head over to a bus stop and a bus will soon show up.
- Bolt(formerly known as Taxify) – An Estonian Uber-copycat that has taken Malta by storm. Download the app, chose your location and a cab will soon show up and take you wherever you want (cheap).
- eCabs– the major taxi company in Malta. These guys have been around for 10+ years and have a massive fleet of Black Peugeot cars. Same thing here, download the app and you’ll soon be on your way (also cheap).
- White Taxi Union – Avoid these at all costs. These cabs usually are older, don’t have fixed rates and may try to rip you off.
Decorating your home
You’ll most likely end up renting a furnished flat but maybe you still want to add some colour, fabrics or a nice piece of furniture to make it yours and cosy. There are tons of places where you can get these. Here are some examples we can vouch for:
- JYSK– well-known in Scandinavia and recently opened in Malta. They offer low-price fabrics, pillows, outdoor furniture as well as smaller furniture items. Similar to IKEA.
- JB Home – the go-to shops when it comes to fabrics. If you don’t find your fabrics here you won’t find it anywhere else.
- The atrium– a large furniture store divided into 4 floors (and a nice café on top) where you will find everything from lightning, kitchen utensils and large furniture.
- HomeMate– massive building packed with accessories and things for your home.
- Maltapark– reuse, re-sell, re-invent. Here you can find tons of second-hand items ranging from cars down to well, anything. Scandinavians will find this similar to Blocket.
- Megastore– travels to Sicily and buys furniture from Ikea, sportswear from Decathlon or electronics from MediaMarkt and brings it right to your door.
Finding an apartment in Malta
There are more estate agents in Malta than there are cars. Well, not really but you get what we mean. There are tons and tons of letting agents that will help you find your perfect place to call home.
How does it work?
You contact a rental estate company and let them know about what areas you’d like to live in, how many bedrooms, budget and any other requirements you may have (pet-friendly, non-smoker etc.). An agent will call you and send over some properties that are available right now and if you want you can both go and view them together. As soon as you find what you like you sign a contract with the landlord, pay one month’s rent in deposit, pay for the first-month \’s rent and then you’re ready to move in! Simple as pie.
Tips when searching for a property
- Never sign a lease on a property you haven’t viewed.
- Check water pressure – is it ok? Is the geezer big enough to take a long nice shower?
- Are there enough pillows, quilts, plates, glasses etc.? Ask the landlord to buy more before moving in.
- Are there any construction projects nearby that may wake you up in the morning?
- Haggle! You can often get €100- 50 off each month if you show that you want to sign but want a better deal.
- Is the utility bills “residential” or “domestic”? Make sure that the tariffs are residential and not domestic to avoid paying more than needed.
Some well-known real estate agencies in Malta.
ReMax– large corporation that’s the biggest in Malta and that has many offices around the world.
Frank Salt– large but local real estate company. Trusted by many throughout the years.
QuckLets– A newcomer that strives to be more agile than its competition
Bonus: Do you want to share an apartment?
Flatmate is a new site that lets you team up with others to find a place together. This might be a great way to start your time in Malta as you get to know new people immediately and at the same time keep costs down. Why not try it out?
Opening a bank account in Malta.
With stricter laws and regulations within the European Union Malta is no exemption. Now opening a bank account requires a quite rigorous process where you will need the following documents:
The main banks in Malta are:
Bank of Valletta(the national bank)
HSBC(Enormous British-Hong Kong bank)
BNF Bank(a Portuguese banking chain)
APS Bank(Church bank)