Living in Malta?
Living in Malta
At a glance:
- Malta is a very conservative country and Catholicism plays an important social and political role.
- Children must learn Maltese at school.
- The healthcare system is excellent and is modelled on the NHS.
- Malta’s public transport system consists exclusively of buses.
- Roads are highly congested so it is important to drive safely.
To many expats, living in Malta seems like a perennial holiday at first. Everyday life in Malta catches up with them sooner or later, even in such a picturesque place, but there remains plenty to enjoy. As a tiny country with little to no natural resources, Malta was forced to make the most of its other advantages, its rich history, beautiful coastlines, and sunny skies. The tourism industry is therefore an important source of income for numerous people.
Historical and Religious Heritage
Expatriates should take some time out of their busy schedules to savor the delights their new home has to offer. Amateur historians shouldn’t miss out on exploring the vestiges of Malta’s prehistoric period. The megalithic complexes were built by a vanished civilization living in Malta even before the construction of the pyramids. If you prefer the more recent past, the various fortresses and the Grand Master’s Palace from the era of the Maltese Knights are well worth a visit.
Even if you have been living in Malta for a while, you won’t run out of churches to discover. According to a local saying, there are 365 churches on the islands, one for each day of the year. Quite a few of them are dedicated to St. Paul, who is said to have brought Christianity to Malta himself.
Today, 98% of the population is Catholic. Religion still plays an important role in daily life in Malta: expatriates and visitors adore the traditions of individual parishes, with their celebrations in honor of the local patron saint. But Malta is also a socially conservative country, where topless swimming or sunbathing is forbidden, abortion is strictly illegal, and divorce wasn’t introduced until 2011.
The Performing Arts
Once your feet ache from trotting from one imposing fort to the next, from one charming church to the other, Malta provides you with countless opportunities to have a seat and keep enjoying yourself. The country has several theaters, including the Aurora Opera House for lovers of classical music and the grand Manoel Theatre with its baroque interior. Contemporary performances find a home in St James’ Cavalier Centre for Creativity, which also features an art-house cinema for independent productions. Malta’s other six movie theaters are mostly multiplexes focusing on Hollywood blockbusters.
In summer, when the nights are mellow, it’s time for Malta’s festival season: from choir music to jazz to open-air Shakespeare in the San Anton Gardens, there’s something for every culture buff! Foreign residents living in Malta will quickly notice that music is a point of pride for many Maltese towns. Marching band competitions are a fixed part of local life in Malta’s villages, causing a general fervor usually reserved for popular football teams or horse racing favorites.
The Great Outdoors
Due to the country’s lovely scenery and favorable weather, outdoor enthusiasts living in Malta have various options to keep them occupied. Even if you can’t afford a yacht of your own, you may want to literally learn the ropes and try a sailing course. Divers appreciate the variety of diving sites around Malta, Comino, and Gozo, where you can venture into shipwrecks from World War II or admire the biodiversity of Mediterranean reefs.
The Marsa Sports Club is a go-to venue for hobby golfers, tennis players, and cricketers. No matter where you are currently living in Malta, the nearest pool to swim a few laps in is never far. If you wish to mingle more with your Maltese neighbors, a game of bocci — the local version of boules or boccia — is the perfect opportunity!
Regardless of which activities you personally prefer, one thing is for sure: expat living in Malta will never be dull.
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