5 Things You Should Know About Malta

Having lived away from Malta for the past few years, I find that on every brief return to the island I have to re-learn things that came naturally to me when I lived there. After a two-week stint in Malta and Gozo, I have five tips to share with any newcomers to the archipelago, who would like to return to their home country unscathed.

1. Mind the gap (in the pavement)

Get used to looking at the ground as you walk. A few stumbles into my stay in Malta, I remembered that you can’t always take it for granted that the pavement is going to be fit to walk on. Or that there is going to be a pavement at all.

Malta pavement

2. Don’t forget to look up

Just as I got into the swing of watching the ground while walking, a new obstacle presented itself: low-hanging cables. In Malta, most cables run through the streets above ground, attached to the houses. Unfortunately, they come loose sometimes – as I discovered when I was smacked in the face by one. Growing an extra pair of eyes can help with this conundrum.

Malta cables

3. People will stare

There’s nothing wrong with your hair, your dress isn’t tucked into your knickers and your make-up isn’t running down your face. It’s not you; people in Malta just love to stare. I always seem to forget this one and spend the first few days of my stay wondering what’s so weird about me that people have to watch as I walk past. It takes some getting used to but eventually you’ll learn to ignore them. Plus it gives you free reign to eyeball anyone yourself.

4. Driving in Malta: You’re on your own

You know those things called Rules of the Road? Yeah, you can forget those if you’re driving in Malta. Don’t expect people to indicate, slow down at a roundabout or turn off their brights just because you’re approaching. Do expect drivers to overtake on the inside, cut you off and completely disregard the fact that you have the right of way. Having a car makes getting around the island really easy, however it can also be pretty stressful.

5. Stop looking at the clock

This last point can be a pro or con, depending on how you look at it. Things work much more slowly in Malta and trying to get anything done in a rush is only going to leave you frustrated. Shopping will take longer, dinner will take longer … most things will take longer on Mediterranean time. That said, there’s a much more social aspect to things as you’ll learn to get chatting to people while waiting, rather than tapping your foot and checking the time (which will get you nowhere).

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