Malta travel guide
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'.
316 sq km (122 sq miles).
460,297 (UN estimate 2018).
1,354 per sq km.
President George Vella since 2019.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat since 2013.
Last updated: 18 September 2019
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Stay up to date
The UK is leaving the European Union. The rules for passports, entry requirements, driving, EHIC cards and more may change after Brexit.
This page will be updated with country-specific information for travellers to Malta as things change. Sign up for email alerts and view the latest updates for UK nationals travelling to and living in Europe.
Around 500,000 British tourists visit Malta every year. Most visits are trouble-free.
If you’re living in or moving to Malta, visit our Living in Malta guide in addition to this travel advice.
If you’re travelling to Malta to do business or provide services, see further guidance on providing services in Malta after Brexit.
You can contact the emergency services by calling 112.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Malta, attacks can’t be ruled out.
Safety and security
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.
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.
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.
You can drive in Malta using your UK driving licence.
You will need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) to be able to drive in some European countries as a visitor if there’s a no-deal Brexit. Check this guidance page for full information. You should also check guidance on driving in the EU after Brexit for information on other additional documents you may need to carry. If you’re living in Malta, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.
Take care while driving as some roads are in poor condition. Keep to the speed limit. Local standards of driving are poor.
In 2017 there were 19 road deaths in Malta (source: Department of Transport). This equates to 4.1 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2017.
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.
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.
Local laws and customs
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.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Malta. If you’re planning a stay of longer than 3 months, see our Living in Malta guide and contact the Maltese High Commission if you have further questions.
The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change if there’s a no-deal Brexit, but you should not need a visa for short trips. The European Commission has proposed that British Citizens would be able to visit countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa.
If you’re travelling to Malta, previous visits to the Schengen area within the 180 days before your date of travel would count against the 90-day limit, but trips to other EU countries outside the Schengen area (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania) would not. The 90-day visa-free period would not entitle you to work - most countries will require a visa and work permit. You may also need to get a visa before you travel if you’re planning to stay longer than 90 days, or your visit would take you over the 90 days in 180 days limit. You should check with the Maltese High Commission what type of visa, if any, you will need.
After Brexit, on arrival in the Schengen area you may be asked to confirm that you have sufficient funds available for the duration of your stay. As non-EEA nationals, different border control checks will apply, and you may also be asked to show a return or onward ticket. UK nationals would not have an ongoing right to use the separate lanes provided for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
The rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if there’s a no-deal Brexit. If your adult passport was issued over 9 years ago, you may be affected. You should use this tool to check your passport is still valid for your trip before booking travel.
Adult and child passports should have at least 6 months’ validity remaining on your date of travel. If you renewed your passport early, extra months would have been added to your new passport. Any extra months on an adult passport will not count towards the validity requirement, so some passport holders will need to have more than 6 months remaining in order to travel.
You can check your passport here.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from 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).
Access to healthcare for British nationals travelling or living in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will change if there’s a no-deal Brexit. More information about healthcare for UK nationals living in and visiting Malta is available on the NHS website.
You should still get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. UK-issued EHICs remain valid, but this will change if there’s no deal.
The 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 Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.
The UK government has or is seeking agreements with countries on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after the UK leaves the EU. The NHS website and this travel advice will be updated with further information on travelling to Malta as the circumstances change.
Whether you’re travelling before or after the UK leaves the EU, it is important to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes cover for emergency medical treatment and associated costs. The existing EHIC arrangements are not an alternative to travel insurance, as some health-related costs, including for medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment, are not covered. 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.
The currency of Malta is the Euro.
Travel advice help and support
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 and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (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.
The FCO 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 FCO 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 FCO travel advice
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.