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Malta travel guide

About Malta

Malta is a relatively small archipelago consisting of three islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino) and other uninhabited islands. It has an area of 316 sq km (122 sq miles), which is roughly the same size as Munich. Although small in size, Malta has bags of character for visitors at every turn – secluded bays, buzzing nightclubs, exhilarating activities and amazing archaeological wonders all await visitors.

Most tourists come for the weather (there are more than 300 days of sunshine annually) and crystalline waters, which make it one of the best beach holiday destinations in Europe. The best beaches in Malta include the secluded Fomm ir-Rih, the popular Mellieha Bay, the red-sandy Ramla Bay (in Gozo), the breath-taking Blue Lagoon (in Comino), to name but a few. All three islands also fantastic diving experiences and top diving sites include The Blue Hole, Ghar Lapsi and Qawra Reef, along with seven conservation areas around wrecks:
• The Um el Faroud in Wied Iż-Żurrieq
• MV Xlendi, Cominoland, Karwela off Xatt l-Aħmar
• Tug St Michael, Tug 10 in Marsaskala
• The Imperial Eagle off Qawra Point
• Rożi, P29 off Ċirkewwa
• Blenheim Bomber off Xrobb l-Għaġin
• Bristol Beaufighter off Exiles Point

For history buffs, Malta's distinctive appeal lies in its extraordinary 7,000 years of history. This small island is situated in the central Mediterranean, making it a strategic base since the earliest days of navigation and attracting settlers to come and flourish. Today, it is easy for visitors to find mysteries from the Neolithic period, as well as historic marks left by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, The Knights of St John (aka Knights Hospitaller or Order of St John), and more recently the French and British. Because the past is well-preserved and visible today, Malta has been described as one big 'open-air museum'.

Key facts

Area:

316 sq km (122 sq miles).

Population:

460,297 (UN estimate 2018).

Population density:

1,354 per sq km.

Capital:

Valletta.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President George Vella since 2019.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Robert Abela since 2020.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Malta on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Malta.

Returning to the UK

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. Check when you book that the testing service can provide the appropriate COVID-19 test.

Check with the provider that results will be available in time for your flight. If you test positive, you will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Make sure your travel insurance covers this eventuality.

You can schedule a test at any private testing clinic in Malta. The Malta Tourism Authority has collated a list of some of the possible providers.

For departures, Malta International Airport advises travellers to use the airline check-in desk to have COVID-19 documentation checked, even if they have already checked online. Travellers found to be without correct documentation at the departure gate may be prevented from boarding their flight.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Malta

Passengers on public transport, including the Gozo ferry and clients of commercial entities must wear face masks.

Public spaces and services

Masks are mandatory in all public spaces, indoors and outdoors (children under 3 are exempt). From 1 July 2021, a maximum of 2 people may remove their masks in outside public spaces if they have been vaccinated and they have an official recognised vaccination certificate. If you live in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, Malta will accept the UK’s COVID vaccine certification (both the digital and letter versions) as proof of your vaccination status. If you live in Northern Ireland, Malta will accept the interim proof of vaccination document which are valid until 11:59pm on 31 July. (See ‘Demonstrating your COVID-19 status’)

Mask wearing on beaches is advised but no longer required.

Groups in public places are limited to 6 people unless from the same household.

Full details of exemptions from mask wearing are available online. Medical exemptions must be certified by a medical professional.

A maximum of 4 households are allowed to meet indoors, although it is recommended not to gather in private residences. Those found to be breaching the limit will be fined.

Restaurants and snack bars are open but there is a limit of 6 people per table unless the venue has restricted access to fully vaccinated staff and patrons when 8 people may sit at one table. Fines will be levied for non- compliance.

Social distancing of 2 metres is encouraged. Vulnerable people including those over 65 may return to work and leave their homes. Full information is available on the coronavirus advice page.

Health

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, even if mild, you should contact the public health helpline on 111 and follow their instructions.

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Malta.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Malta

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We will update this page when the Government of Malta announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Maltese national vaccination programme started in March 2021 and is using the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. British nationals resident in Malta are eligible for vaccination. Further details can be found on the Ministry of Health website. Details on how to get vaccinated is available by dialling 145 or by checking the Ministry of Health website.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Malta, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

The Maltese Government has a coronavirus advice page and information is available from Visit Malta. A helpline is also available on 111.

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Crime

Crime against tourists is rare although robberies, handbag snatching, pick-pocketing and theft from parked cars can occur. Safeguard passports, money and other valuables. Be vigilant when exchanging money and using ATMs, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use the hotel’s own safe if possible.

There have been instances of pick-pocketing on bus routes between Valletta and St Julian’s. Thieves are targeting crowded buses during the summer season. Be vigilant and keep sight of valuables at all times. Local police are aware of the problem and conducting investigations.

Personal attacks, including rape and sexual assault do occur. Avoid splitting up from your friends and don’t go off with people you don’t know. If you drink, take sensible precautions including buying your own drinks and keeping sight of them at all times.

Scams

British and Maltese nationals are increasingly being targeted by scam artists operating globally. The scams come in many forms (romance and friendship, business ventures, work and employment opportunities) and can pose great financial risk to victims. Be very cautious about any requests for funds, a job offer, a business venture or a face to face meeting from someone you have been in correspondence with over the internet.

Hunting season

Bird hunting is practised during the spring and autumn. Dates are movable and determined by the government in the lead up to the season. Local print and online news media normally carry the start and end dates, and times of when hunting is allowed.

Hunting with firearms is common and is normally allowed from 2 hours before sunrise until 2 hours after sunset. Hunting areas are rarely marked and can overlap with camping areas, country walkways and other public areas. Although not common, incidents involving members of the public have occurred previously. Be aware of your surroundings when visiting rural areas and nature spots during the hunting seasons.

Road travel

In 2019 there were 16 road deaths in Malta (source: Department of Transport). This equates to 3.2 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.

Take care while driving as some roads are in poor condition. Keep to the speed limit. Local standards of driving are poor.

If you are planning to drive in Malta, see information on Driving Abroad.

Licences and documents

You can drive in Malta using your UK driving licence.

If you’re living in Malta, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.

Driving a British car abroad

You will need a GB sticker or a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. From 28 September UK stickers will replace GB stickers. Check the GOV.UK Displaying number plates website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK before, on or after 28th September 2021.

Driving regulations

See the European Commission, AA and RAC guides to driving in Malta.

Swimming

During the summer, many beaches are patrolled by lifeguards and operate flag safety systems. You should make sure you understand the system and follow any warnings; red flags indicate dangerous or hazardous conditions. You should swim within designated swimming zones and take extra care if there are no life-guards, flags or signs. Follow local advice if jellyfish are present.

You can find more information and a general code of conduct for beaches in Malta on the Malta Tourism Authority website.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Malta, attacks can’t be ruled out. You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public places, including those visited by foreigners.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. 

Contact the European Consumer Centre Malta for advice about disputes with traders.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Malta set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact their embassy, high commission or consulate. You may also check with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and travel documents meet their requirements.

If you are travelling to Malta for work, read the guidance on visas and permits as the rules have changed since 1 January 2021.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Pre-arrival requirements

Since 30 June 2021, the Maltese authorities require all arrivals from the United Kingdom to present proof of full vaccination. This must show that you received a full course of vaccination at least 14 days prior to your arrival. If you live in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, Malta will accept the UK’s COVID vaccine certification (both the digital and letter versions) as proof of your vaccination status. Digital certificates must include a verifiable 2D barcode (QR code). Malta will also accept the Northern Ireland interim proof of vaccination document which was valid until 11:59pm 31 July. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status. (See ‘Demonstrating your COVID-19 status’)

If you received your vaccinations in the EU, then as of 1 July 2021 the EU digital Covid Certificates will be accepted.

If you received your vaccinations in a country that administers only one dose after recovery from COVID-19, and the vaccination certificate is accepted by the Maltese authorities, you may enter Malta if your certificate shows recovery from COVID at least six months before you arrive and one dose of an EMA approved vaccine.

Children aged 5 to 11 can travel if they are accompanying their vaccinated parents/legal guardian and must show evidence of a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, dated within 72 hours before arrival. Children under 5 do not need a test. Children aged 12 to 18 will only be able to travel if they have proof of full vaccination which must be two doses more than 14 days before travel.

If you have a Maltese issued certificate of vaccination you are exempt from pre-travel testing and self-isolation.

Maltese residents or citizens not in possession of a vaccine certificate must get prior authorisation to quarantine at home. You will be required to provide evidence of a PCR test dated within 72 hours before arrival and quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

Everyone must complete a Public Health Travel Declaration Form and the online Passenger Locator Form. You must show both forms to airline officials on departure and health officials stationed at the Terminal Temperature Screening Points when you arrive in Malta. The forms should be completed before departure.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

For further information about entry requirements visit the Maltese Government website. The Maltese Government will regularly review the list of countries for which prior testing will be required.

Scheduled flights may be subject to short notice cancellation. Check the Malta Airport website or contact the airline to check the status of flights.

Entry requirements if you have not been in the UK for the previous 14 days

Malta have a traffic light system for international arrivals. You may not travel to Malta from a country which is red listed via one of the amber listed countries. To travel to Malta from an amber country, you must have been in the amber country for at least 14 days.

If you wish to travel to Malta from a red listed country you will need prior permission from the Maltese authorities. You should contact your nearest Maltese Embassy or High Commission for more information.

Self-isolation when you arrive

The current list of countries exempt from self-isolation can be found on the Visit Malta website. If you arrive from an exempt country or region, you will need to certify you have stayed in that country for at least 2 weeks before you travel to Malta.

The Maltese authorities have announced that from 30 June 2021, arrivals from the UK will be required to present proof of full vaccination. This will exempt travellers from self-isolation.

Everyone arriving (and departing) from Malta has their temperature checked. If you have a high temperature, you will need to take a swab test. The Malta International Airport COVID webpage provides further information.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

If you live in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, Malta will accept the UK’s COVID vaccine certification (both the digital and letter versions) as proof of your vaccination status. Digital certificates must include a verifiable 2D barcode (QR code). Malta will also accept the Northern Ireland interim proof of vaccination document which was valid until 11:59pm 31 July. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

Only certificates showing the vaccine used is one approved by the European Medicines Agency will be accepted including Comirnaty (the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine) Spikevax (the Moderna vaccine), Vaxzevria (the AstraZeneca vaccine) and the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine. These vaccines have been approved for use in the UK. For more information visit the Maltese Government website.

Those arriving having had vaccinations not EMA approved will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:

  • you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
  • if you are travelling to Malta and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days
  • to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Maltese government’s entry requirements. Check with the Maltese High Commission what type of visa and/or work permit you may need
  • if you stay in Malta with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit

Any time you spent in Malta or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

At Maltese border control, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay

There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Malta. If you are resident in Malta, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in Malta guide.

Passport validity

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.

Make sure your passport is:

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave Malta, or any other Schengen country
  • less than 10 years old

The 3 months you need when leaving a country must be within 10 years of the passport issue date.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum 3 months needed.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Malta.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Malta on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Malta.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Healthcare

You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.

The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Maltese nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

If you’re living in Malta, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Malta guide.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

UK prescriptions are not recognised in Malta. If you need medication while travelling you should speak to a Maltese medical practitioner.

GPs may be found privately at most pharmacies, though their times of availability may vary.

Pharmacies are easily identified and usually bear a green cross outside the shop front. Prescriptions issued from EU Member States may be fulfilled by a Maltese Pharmacist provided they can confirm that the issuer is a licensed medical practitioner, dentist or veterinary surgeon.

Available medication might not match the exact make and brand of those found in the UK or EU and you should confirm with the pharmacist or doctor that your prescription has a suitable local equivalent.

Where this is not possible you may need to be assessed by a Maltese medical practitioner and provided with a local prescription.

The currency of Malta is the Euro.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice).

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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