Are you planning to move to Malta?
Or are you already living in Malta and want to know more about the place?
Today I'm sharing my experience of the island, pros and cons of living in Malta, and a few other interesting insights. Hopefully this article might help you decide if this island is the right island for you.
(Update: this was written over 5 years ago and the situation on the island has changed a little. Higher prices and harder to come by good rentals for example.)
As I have been living in Malta for about 5 years now, I feel experienced enough to write a review about this island.
I came here January 2012 and have been living here pretty much full time since then, except for some months every year that I spent in my home country Sweden and some business trips to i.e Philippines, Caribbean and Dubai to escape the worst winter months here.
Living in Malta – Should you move here?
Let me summarize my experience of living in Malta and tell you the pros and cons of life on the island.
I was living in Malta for almost exactly 5 years, from age 19 to 24 (few years ago I switched island and now living in Cyprus).
All in all: I really loved my time in Malta. Met the best people in the world, had a good work/life balance, enjoying great food and just having overall good feelings there. It was a great timing for me to leave as well though.
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Pros & upsides with Malta
There are countless of good things about living in Malta from my perspective as an entrepreneur.
Here's some of upsides & pros:
1. Great entrepreneur network
Very good network of entrepreneurs. People from all around the globe got attracted to this island for multiple reasons. Plenty of meetups and coworking opportunities exists.
2. Relaxed way of life
Life in Malta is a very simple and relaxed way of life. People are not overly stressed, you have the sea all around you, the vibe is overall very chill.
Also, it's super easy to find accommodation, plus, you don't need a car to get around the island.
3. Low taxes
One great upside with living in Malta is the overall low tax pressure.
About the lowest effective taxes in EU if you're running your own business, so great for entrepreneurs.
Also pretty reasonable income taxes.
There's also tax benefits for people looking to retire.
4. Vibrant party life
Malta has a great party scene, so it's a heaven for young people in many ways.
There's an abundance of clubs, venues, bars and nightlife in all forms and shapes.
5. Lovely locals
The Malta people (Maltese locals) are very warm and friendly. They will help you in any situation whether they know you or not.
I have only good experience with the people from Malta.
6. Lowest crime in EU
Malta has a very low crime, compared to the rest of the EU. I've never felt unsafe or threatened.
This is a huge plus for me personally.
7. Great company base
There's several reasons why Malta is a good place to incorporate your business in.
For example, you have low minimum wages, reasonable social security, access to multiple nationalities and skillsets, low share capital requirements, and not a lot of restrictions on expenses.
You may also want to read 10 reasons to open up a Malta Ltd company for more pros and cons with moving to Malta from a business perspective.
Cons & downsides with Malta
Yes, there's also some bad things about living in Malta:
1. Compact space
It can feel very compact in Malta, and generally, it's hard to find space. Space for parking, space for your garden, space for quiet.
If you love having plenty of space, and not so much people, then Malta might not suit you. It's actually the most densely populated country in the world.
2. Lack of nature
Although there are some nice beaches, overall, the nature in Malta is lacking.
We call it “a rock in the sea”, and that's practically what it is. It's not very diverse.
There's some nice beaches, but they tend to be overcrowded in the summer. Gozo has more nature to offer.
3. Prices are going up
From a value standpoint, heavily inflated prices last years may have made it less attractive to both rent and buy property in Malta.
Update 2022: The cost of living in Malta has been decreased after the pandemic. Rental situation has improved slightly again.
4. Lack of structure
There's a lack of structure that I've never seen before.
Things work, but there's no way to tell how they work. It's generally very difficult to get things done on a bureaucratic level.
This says it all:
I have once asked a Maltese person on how we should structure up my company setup. He responded “Structure? What do you mean structure?”. He literally didn't know how the word was supposed to be interpreted.
Joking aside, expect to spend time on getting errands done.
Short info about the island(s)
Is Malta part of Spain or Italy?
No – it's not.
Funnily enough, that's what many people ask when you mention Malta.
Malta consists of 7 islands (where of 3 are inhabited) in the southern part of the Mediterranean Sea (south of Italy, east of Tunisia) with a population of 450 000 people, most people live on the main island “Malta”.
The official languages are English and Maltese. Maltese is a Semitic language written in Latin, sounds a bit like someone talking Arabic in an Italian accent.
The Maltese are friendly, typical Mediterranean people, relaxed and non-stressful. They love food and are the top 5 most overweight people in the world, it is also one of the countries with most cars per capita. A bad combo, fitness wise.
The weather in Malta
Many people move to Malta because of the weather.
In my personal opinion, the Maltese weather is amazing.
Of course, it's not a hundred percent optimal..
Summers can be very hot, and the indoor climate during winter can be rough.
But of course, if you just like me, have been spending your life in a country with more rain than sun, you will surely appreciate the weather here in Malta. We have about 3200 hours of sun every year.
Weather in summer
The summers are way too hot and humid to be able to feel comfortable. Hottest months are July, August and September, where the average temperature is 32C and humidity is around 75%.
This is really uncomfortable, and it doesn't really get any better during the nights, when the humidity tends to rise up to 90%. Rest of the year is quite wonderful.
Weather in winter
The winters here are OK, the coldest month is February with an average temperature of 15C. It does rain a lot, but most of it bursts down in a concentrated period of the year (Dec-Feb), and usually never lasts for more a couple of hours.
What I feel obligated to mention, is that the indoor climate is really miserable. No central heating, bad isolation, high humidity and cold winds.
Don't just bring one sweater, bring all of your winter jackets and use them simultaneously while sitting inside still freezing your butt off.
Cost of living in Malta
Overall, the cost of living in Malta is okay (at least when I lived there).
I come from Sweden and the prices I'm used to over there are quite higher than the prices I find in Malta. According to Expatistan (“Cost of living in Stockholm is 58% more expensive than in Valletta”), so it is quite a difference.
However, there are some things, that for some reason, are very much overpriced here on this island.
Cars, crisps and shampoo are three things. Imported things – in general.
On the other hand, you'll enjoy a nice meal in good restaurant for about €20 including wine, coffee for €1.5.
Taxis are quite cheap, based on fixed fees instead of distance.
Housing situation in Malta
The housing situation here is quite wonderful, even though it have been getting much more busy lately, it is still very easy to find a good place to live (but you should avoid house hunting between May and September due to high season).
How to find a rental in Malta
It's very simple. The process looks something like this:
- Send an email to a real estate agent or multiple ones. They will contact you and ask you what kind of place you're looking for.
- You will tell them the preferences you have.
- They will pick you up where you live the next day, and drive you around to all the places they found based on your preferences.
- You may see 5-10 different objects in just one tour, that lasts for some hours.
- You tell the real estate agent which one you like, and you may get the keys a couple of hours later, if the apartment is available from that date.
This is basically how simple it is to find a rental in Malta.
Office & internet
Offices are not as easy to find and it will cost you to rent a place with an office permit. There are plenty available throughout the island, but finding an affordable one near the sea will require a bit of luck, unless you're willing to pay.
That being said, if you're willing to go more inland, there are plenty of offices for cheap rent.
Internet is working fine, most of the time anyway. Pay €50 monthly for Fibre 60 mbit/s.
You can get up to 250 mbit/s for €100. WiFi is common in coffee shops and restaurants, but don't expect to find the ultimate work spot around every corner.
Setting up a business in Malta
Malta is very popular among small business owners and entrepreneurs who wants to set up a business fast and easy without too much tax pressure.
There's many benefits of having your business in Malta and I can while there's some bureaucracy to deal with, it's definitely worth it in the long run.
- Low share capital requirements
- Access to multiple nationalities for employment
- Deductible expenses
- Decent social security tax
- Low corporate tax (effective rate of 5% for expats)
For more information about setting up a company in Malta, I wrote a post more specifically about the business aspect, read it here.
What do to in Malta & Gozo
What to do in Malta?
Well, this is where it can get quite limiting, sometimes..
Once you have visited all the big tourist attractions, been to the beach, the parties and visited the other islands, there is unfortunately not a lot of stuff left to do in Malta.
The island is really tiny and you can get from one part of the main island to the other within an hour.
Gozo, the second biggest island, is half as big, and has some beautiful nature and cool scenery. You'll enjoy a weekend there, but that's it.
I found when I was living in Malta that it was important to get away from the island frequently.
Luckily, there are really cheap tickets to a lot of European capitals, only a few hours away.
Hang out with other internet entrepreneurs
The most amazing thing about Malta is how international it is. You find people from all and every country here.
I just wanted to touch on this point specifically.
I think I have meet people from more than half of the world's countries here. It also tend to attract a lot of entrepreneurs, like myself. Probably because of the good weather, taxes and business-friendly environment.
One of the keys that played a role in the success of my own business was all those great people that I encountered and brainstormed with daily.
This is really one of the main keys to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
I also mention this in my story on how I started to make money online, read if you're interested in online marketing and entrepreneurship.
Tax climate in Malta
The very gainful tax climate in Malta is basically why I got eyes for it in the first place. Pretty much the whole gambling industry in Europe is based in Malta due to its generous gambling license regulations and low tax pressure.
The corporate tax here is 35%, however, if having the right corporate structure, you'll get a tax refund of 6/7 on dividends, resulting in an effective tax of 5%. If the dividend is not remitted to Malta, there are no further tax consequences.
Moreover, the salaries here are way lower (average €950 per month) and the social security tax is not as high compared to other European countries, which makes it a good place to keep its workforce on.
Estate tax is also particularly beneficial, as there's no wealth or inheritance tax in Malta – however there is a 5% transfer fee.
If you're interested to hear more, contact me and I can set you up with good tax lawyers.
However, you don't have to live in Malta necessarily for some of the tax benefits to apply. This depends on your personal residence more than anything.
If you're from Sweden, like me, then you won't enjoy much tax benefits unless living in Malta more than 183 days per year.