The Maltese Islands are situated in the Mediterranean Sea, about
100 km from Sicily and 290 km from North Africa. They consist of
Malta (390 sq km) Gozo (65 sq km) and Comino (2.5 sq km). They are
one of the oldest civilisations in the Mediterranean dating back
to circa 5000 years B.C. The population is around 385,000 and is
homogeneous with its own identity and language. The official languages
are Maltese and English with most of the people also fluent in Italian.
Malta's topography is characterised by a series of low hills and
slopes towards the Northeast and low lying land to the Southeast.
The Islands have a typically temperate climate offering warm, dry
summers and mild winters. Malta enjoys some 300 days of sunshine
and the average rainfall is about 590mm. Temperatures range between
14°C in winter and 32°C in summer.
for a more detailed weather report
Ever since its inception on the drawing board, Portomaso aimed
to be one of the most prestigious addresses in the Mediterranean...
And it has succeeded in its goal, becoming not only a top-class
development of high standards, but also a home away from home. Other
destinations may also offer a warm climate, but nothing beats the
warmth of the Maltese culture and lifestyle.
Malta's currency is decimal and the unit is the Euro (€) which
is divided into 100 cents. There is no limit to the amount of foreign
currency visitors may bring into the Islands, provided it is declared
Shopping: Shops are usually open between 0900 and 1900 hrs.
However, in commercial areas frequented by tourists, most shops
remain open until approximately 10.00 pm. Shops are not open on
Sundays and Public Holidays. There are open-air markets, one day
a week, in most towns and villages. The largest is the Valletta
market on Sunday mornings. Major Credit Cards, Travellers Cheques
and Eurocheques are accepted at most leading shops and restaurants.
Ethnically, the Maltese people are quite an extraordinary
mixture. Throughout the Islands long history, the many races that
have settled here have left their indelible marks. Thus the Maltese
are among the most cosmopolitan people in the world. Nonetheless,
there remain definite characteristics, which are � and always
have been � distinctly Maltese both culturally and physically.
The Maltese character is gregarious and amiable. We love visitors
and will go out of our way to make strangers feel at home. Nearly
all Maltese are Roman Catholics and the influence of the church
is not what use to be. Every town and village has its own church....
some of these are large and imposing � for example the parish
church in the town of Mosta has the second largest unsupported
dome in the world. During the summer months each town and village
celebrate the feast day of its particular saint. These are coluorful
occasions with the whole population of the village en fete. Religion
seems to be as much a part of life as eating and sleeping. Tolerance
is another character trait, which has been honed over generations
of foreign occupations.
Most first-time visitors to the Maltese Islands remark on the
friendliness and almost na�ve openness of the people. When you
live here you realize that it is no act, put on for the sake of
the tourist. Neighbours will always look out for one another �
they will knock on the door on their way to the shops to ask if
they can getting anything for you � they take messages happily
� look after your children and pets � and generally become very
protective towards any non-Maltese living in their community.
Tourists to Malta � who later become permanent or temporary residents
here do so for the overwhelming reason that they are made to feel
welcome � and that � in a nutshell, sums up the character of the
Time: Malta is on central European time (CET), that is one
hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in winter and two hours
from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October.
Electricity: The electrical supply is 240 volts, single
phase, 50 cycles. The 13 amp, three-pin rectangular sockets are
used in Malta.
Care: Malta enjoys a high standard of medical care. Medical
facilities, run along modern lines, are available through the regional
health centres and two general hospitals:
Mater Dei Hospital, Malta. Tel: (+356) 2545 0000, and Gozo General Hospital. Tel: (+356) 2156 1600, Fax: (+356)
There are also special clinics for diabetic sufferers.
Chemists generally stock a wide range of pharmaceutical products
and drugs and can be found throughout the islands. They are open
during normal shopping hours. On Sundays chemists open by rota from
09.00 until 12.30 in Malta and from 07.30 until 11.00 in Gozo; check
the local Sunday newspapers for details.
Persons receiving medical treatment and who may need to carry medicines
into Malta or purchase fresh supplies are advised to carry a letter
of introduction from their family doctor. British nationals holidaying
in Malta are entitled to free medical and hospital care.
Tap water is perfectly safe to drink but may taste strong by European
standards. Milk is pasteurised and available daily in cartons and
bottles. All dairy products are safe for consumption.