Living in Malta – viewpoint from an internet entrepreneur

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Are you planning to move to Malta? Here I’m sharing my experience of living in Malta, and hopefully that might help you decide if this island is the right island for you.

Just an update: this was written over 2.5 years ago and the situationen 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 for 5 years – Should you move here?

Let me summarize this post for you and tell you the pros and cons.

I was living in Malta for almost exactly 5 years, from age 19 to 24 (now I switched over to the neighbour island – 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.

Upsides with Malta

  • Very good network of entrepreneurs, from everywhere on the map. Meetups and coworking opportunities exists.
  • Simple and relaxed way of life. It’s super easy to find apartments (at least it was), you don’t need a car and things generally are never that complicated (except the simple things).
  • About the lowest effective taxes if you’re running your own business. Also have upsides for people looking to retire.
  • Great party life, heaven for young people. Abundance of clubs, bars and nightlife.

Downsides with Malta

  • Compact, hard to find space. If you love having plenty of space, and not so much people, then Malta might not suit your dreams. It’s the most densely populated place in the world.
  • Lack of nature. Nature is not very diverse. There’s some nice beaches, but they tend to be overcrowded in the summer. Gozo has more nature to offer.
  • From a value standpoint, heavily inflated prices last years may have made it less attractive to rent or buy.
  • There’s a lack of structure that I’ve never seen before. Things work, but there’s no systems, and it’s generally difficult to get things done on a bureacratic level. This will describe it: I have once asked a Maltese person on how we should structure up the companies. He responded “Structure? What do you mean structure?”. He literally didn’t know how the word was supposed to be interpreted.

You may also want to read 10 reasons to open up a Malta Ltd company.

Short info

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 not a hundred percent optimal..

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 a 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 bring one sweather, bring all your winter jackets and use them simultaneously.

DSC00820
Blue Lagoon, Malta. The clearest water I’ve ever seen.

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. 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).

Setup an appointment with a real estate agent

Send an email to a real estate agent. 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.

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.

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. I wrote a post more specifically about the business aspect of Malta, read it here.

What do to in Malta & Gozo

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 in just about 30-45 minutes with car. Gozo, the second biggest island, is half as big, and has some beautiful nature and cool scenery, but something you can spend a weekend doing, not more.

Therefore, it’s important to get away once in a while. Luckily, there are really cheap tickets to a lot of European capitals, only a few hours away. Or maybe North Africa just an hour 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 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 main keys that played a role in the success of my own business was all those great people that I encountered and brainstormed with daily.

I also mention this in my story on how I started to make money online.

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 it’s 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. 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.

Written by
Johannes Larsson
Join the discussion

46 comments
  • Hi, thanks so much for the very insightful info about life in Malta. I’ve been considering moving to Malta for a while now and it’d be great to get some inside info about life in Malta especially career wise. I am from Sweden just like yourself, I’ve got a bachelors in political science w a major in finance ( that I’ve partly completed in uni in San francisco), I’ve lived in sydney and Oslo prior and have years of experience within finance (credit and banking).

    I’m really eager to move to Malta due to the climate mostly, but my only worry is career wise- as you’ve mentioned in your post the salaries are much lower than what I’m accustomed to, are the salaries really that low for professionals? And how is the unemployment situation for professionals within my field? Or in general, do you have a sense that it’s difficult getting a well payed professional job?

    Also is the shopping good? I’ve read in a few forums that there’s not much shopping and the provided range tense to be a few seasons behind. Is that true? On the other hand I’m a big us shopper and tend to compare shopping with the big malls and department stores in San francisco and sydney. What is to be expected?

    Thanks again so much for the useful info 🙂

    • Thanks for reading! 🙂
      I am not 100% sure about your queries in regards to the professional situation, but in general the salaries are really low and my guess would be that it applies to the finance sector as well. I guess if you find a smaller company you can probably affect your salary more.
      The upside is that you don’t pay a lot of taxes and things are cheaper in general.

      The shopping is not really good. But Istanbul is just a flight away if you want good clothes =)

  • Hi Johannes,

    Thanks for the advice. I’m about to have a job interview for a position in Malta, and if you don’t mind, I wanted to ask you 3 questions:

    1. Do you know anything about the school system in Malta? I have two kids (3 and 8) and I was just wondering about the quality of the educational system there.

    2. Do you think Malta is a good place to live with a family? I mean, in terms of quality of life…

    3. Do you think that a salary of around 30,000 euros would be a nice salary for the standards of living in Malta?

    That’s it. Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

    Best,

    Carlos

    • Hey Carlos! You’re most welcome, glad you found it useful

      1. No experience myself, but a friend of mine who moved from Sweden with his 3 kids was very happy and amazed by how good and welcoming it was. Schools are free, and education is generally good. Some public schools teach in English if there are kids in the class that does not speak Maltese. Apparently the kids was given homework every single day, so it’s a bit sweaty
      2. It depends on what your family value I suppose. I could definitely see myself having a family in Malta due to the fact that it’s a really safe place (low crime).
      3. I’m sure you can afford a normal life, but maybe not luxury. I would not rent something too expensive to start with. There are nice houses with 500-700 EUR monthly rent a bit outside of the most central areas.

      • Hi thank you for the excellent review. I would like to know if now, in 2017 much as changed since 2015?

  • I’m thinking of a move at a salary of 35k euro to work in Valletta. I’m an EU citizen. Would I get any tax deals on my salary? Doubt it, I suppose.

  • Hello Johannes

    I would like to ask you about setup a company in Malta, do you know how much cost and the different company possibilities?
    My business is in internet with portal in 6 European countries and for this I need 6 peoples with mother language in German, Spain and Uk, do you thing is easy to get young peoples?

    Please let me know
    thanks
    marco

    • Hello Marco,
      You can get a Malta Ltd for like €2000. There are lots of young people here and it’s very internationally mixed, so I’m quite certain you will find anyone you seek.
      What kind of business do you have? Skype: jontzlar

  • Hi Johannes

    I am researching for a place to retire (in about 20 yrs) and saw on the internet that Malta is one of the cheapest places in live in Europe.
    I wanted to find out about the health system, as I am living in Africa and our health system is expensive and not too customer friendly.

    Paula

    • Hmm not sure if Malta is considered very cheap. The prices on accommodation are going up lately due to increase in popularity
      The health system here is very good.

  • Johannes,

    Thank you for your info! Do you have an attorney you could recommend? I’m heading to Malta in April and want to set up a business there. Staying in Gozo for a few days, and then Valletta.

    Cheers,
    Kevin

  • Thanks for a great article. I’m looking to move from London as have a family now and the weather is much more appealing. I am in the film industry however I’m not sure that it pays much on the island and I would definitely be open to changing lanes. How is the digital landscape? Or is it all mainly just people working remotely from Malta? Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Hello good morning all, how is the job market for graduate entry level mechanical engineers in Malta? I am currently working as building service technician in UK….it might help… Thank you in advanced.

  • Thanks for info, it’s helps
    Thinking of moving to Malta with 3 kids, now living in China. Here kids can’t learn English or is very expensive.
    How easy is to find and buy old house and fix them? I may import all materials from China

  • Hi,
    Thank you for so much information on malta.
    I am considering moving as I’m based in africa right now and have a 2 year old and find schooling and general quality of life for my son is not very good here.
    I have experience in running my own food businesses and was wondering if you think a trendy cafe / lounge would do well in malta and if so then what area would be best?
    I intend on visiting in June for a month to do my research but any insight you can give me would be valuable.

    Thanks
    Pariza

  • johannnes Hi,

    I’ m from south east asia and offered a job in Malta, I was informed that the minimum wage is 950 euros, I was wondering if how much income tax is being deducted, are we required to pay medical and dental insurance?, and can i bring my family, wife and two kids as well? thanks for any advice.

  • Hi Johannes,

    Nice post!!!

    I got an offer from a software company of Malta,24500 Euro per annum.
    Is it enough to survive over there?

    As per the calculation I will be getting 1699Euro per month. I need your assistance as I have to take the decision as soon as possible.

    Is 1000Euro enough for single person to live a normal life in Malta?

    Regards,
    Atanu

    • 1000 EUR is enough but not too much. You would have to find an apartment around 500 ish I guess, so your best bet is Msida, Gzira or Swieqi.

  • Hi Johan, Thank you for the article it’s very useful!
    I like the country and many people recommend the nice and peaceful life there. My BF is moving there next week and I’m planning move to Malta in couple of months but I need to look for a job in Operations/Logistics Management. Can you please share your thoughts of job opportunities, is it possible to find a nice job there? I have 4 years Operations job experience, education in Entrepreneurial Business also I’m IATA (International Air Transport Association) licensed.

    Thank you in advance
    Best regards,
    Alex

    • Hi Alex,
      I thinking about moving to Malta. I would like to find job position in logistics. Can you please share your experience? Was is really hard to find a good logistic position?
      Thank you so much!
      Helena

  • Good day johannes. Nice article, please i base in Africa and I will like to study engineering in university of malta, I don’t know if international students are being offered job while studying, and if Malta government subsidize the cost of living. Thanks

  • Hi Johan
    I have a number of job offers in Malta ranging from 30000-35000 Euros a year.
    Can a single person live off that well? any idea what i would be expecting a month from that after tax?
    Also how easy is it to travel to the mainland by ferry/boat rather than Plane?
    Thank you
    Gavin

  • I am an industrial arc welder,and I wish to settle in Malta.will I easily get a job,and what is the minimum wage for welders in malta.I am in Africa

  • We are looking to move from Manchester, England to the South of Malta, Zurrieq, Marsascala areas. What is the crime rates for the areas, and cost of housing, for an average 2 bed apartment (furnished – with fitted kitchen and bathroom). As we are retiring, both myself and my wife need regular medication, for multiple conditions due to age. Are some medicines free or does one to to pay for all and do the over 60’s receive free medication? Also do you know if the south of Malta better than the north for housing and value for money.

    Many thanks
    Gordon A

  • Hello Johannes!

    Thanks for the post! It is really useful. With my husband are considering Malta as an option to move. I am a pharmacist. Do you know if there are Pharmaceutical Laboratories or jobs related with this area?

    Thank you very much,
    Nancy.

  • Hello Johannes,
    I have been living in Malaysia for 5 years (before that 7 years in Italy) always in full-time employment, first for an Italian company and now for a Japanese company. My job is global sales & marketing, and wherever I live I work from a home-based office. Then every few months I travel on business to international trade fairs in the UK, Spain, Italy and Hong Kong.
    It’s possible that I will leave Malaysia sometime in the next 6 months, and had considered Malta as my next destination, partly because I still have family in the UK and rarely see them as I live in SEA. I am a UK passport holder and wondered how easy/difficult it might be to settle in Malta, from an official resident/tax payer point of view,
    My salary would be still be paid into my bank account wherever I lived, generated from our bank in Tokyo, and I know my own bank has a branch in Valletta. I may consider coming to Malta in late September for 5 days or so, to get a better feel for the place and view some apartments.
    I feel it’s unfair to ask such questions and expect fully detailed answers from you, however maybe you could suggest a few websites I can view which might furnish me with the info I am interested in?
    If you can help, many thanks in advance for your time.
    Will

  • Hi, we have been living in Spain (Costa del Sol (for the past 20 years). We are now UK pensioners Since the vote to Brexit, things have been difficult and we may have to apply for visas as our pensions don’t meet the criteria.

    The Costa del Sol has become quite expensive in recent years but we don’t want to move to the mountains. We also have 5 dogs and 2 cats who we cannot leave behind.

    Just wondering whether Malta would be able to offer us a life or if we need a huge pension pot.

    Thanks Jill

  • Hello Johannes,
    I am from India, getting job offer from software company in Malta on the cost of 1800 euro per month after tax deduction.
    How much I save/month as individual with average standard living?
    Thanks
    Ankur

  • Hi Johanne,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading some of your blog articles about Malta. My husband and I are going to be in Malta for 1 month from the end of Jan and would love to meet with you for a coffee if you’re there? My email is design@onelinestudio.co.uk so we can arrange a good time and place.

    I run a small ethical marketing and branding agency http://www.onelinestudio.co.uk/. I suspect a bit like you I live and work whilst moving around the world for various reasons. I’d be interested to connect and learn more about the business opportunities in Malta and perhaps there may be some projects we could collaborate on once we get to know what each other does a bit more.

    My business One Line works with entrepreneurs and businesses who have an ethically motivated edge to their product or service. With my background in Fair Trade we’re able to connect them with customers and audiences through values-led branding and marketing.

    Some of my clients include WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation), UK Charities, a number of independent fashion blogger-makers, Ethical Law Magazine The Conscious Lawyer, packaging clients for food and retail products… the list too long to mention here but as you can see is very diverse!

    I look forward to your reply.

    With thanks and kind regards
    Helen

  • Hello Johannes;

    Thanks for the viewpoint. Is it possible for you to reccomend consultant or attorneys for consultation about start-up and formation of company (possibly ltd.)?

    Thanks and kind regards,

  • Thank you for the wonderful share. I live in Dubai and am very happy here with a very good job, however due to several reason have been considering immigration to a foreign country : i am originally from a country where there is a lot of turmoil and instability and since the UAE doesn’t offer permanent residency status or citizenship husband and I are looking for a a foreign country which offers PR or citizenship. we have been considering North America but with recent ‘changes’ we had to rethink the strategy.
    I am being offered a job in Malta through a few connections I have here which will pay apprx. euro 48K. I am contemplating the offer for the below reasons:
    Pros:
    Malta offers PR – correct?
    Malta may offer stability which you cant guarantee in Dubai as we are expats and not citizens – hence if we dont have a job here we go back home

    Cons:
    I am making good money in Dubai and am employed at a very good firm
    I love my job and life here

    Could you advice/comment on the above please?

    thank you

    • Hi Berry, i also live and work in Dubai, my plan is same like yours, to migrate to Malta because the same reasons you gave, pls can i drop my mail so that we can connect to share some ideas together or you can equally reply with your email. I will be glad to connect with you. Thanks

  • Hej Hej!!My name is Georgia i am 25 years old and I come from Greece.I am a kindergarten teacher with master in special education and I am really interesting moving to Malta.Do you now if it will be easy for me to find a job as SEN teacher?

  • Hi, we are thinking to move to Malta through Malta residency programs MRVP, will we be able to qualify for Malta citizenship after 5 years of stay in the country!! ??

  • Hej Johannes!
    Först vill jag säga vilken bra artikel du har skrivit. Jag vet inte om du bor kvar i Malta men du kanske kan hjälpa till med några frågor. Jag och min man jobbar med spel utveckling och vi har 2 söner som behöver skola där. Har du någon hum om vilka skolor som är bra och var man ska bo om man flyttar till Malta. Mina pojkar är 17 och 15 år gamla. Uppskattar om du kan ge lite råd vad man ska tänka på innan man flyttar.
    /Marie

  • My Wife and I are thinking of moving to Malta We hold EU / U.S dual Citizenship. Hopefully we will meet for Coffee. Found you article very good.

  • Hi Johannes,
    Thank you very much for an interesting reading.
    I have recently got an unexpected job offer from Sweden (somewhere North, not sure about the town yet), though we were already decided to move to Malta this summer, mostly because of the weather and lifestyle. Currently, we are living in the UK and I am pretty fed up with a
    constant rain. However, now I am considering Sweden as well as it might be a nice place for raising up kids. They are 6 and 5 years old. Could you please give me any inside into advantages and disadvantages of being raised in Sweden compare to what it might be in Malta? If you could choose where would you like to be born again? 🙂 btw is weather in Sweden really that bad?

    Thanks a lot and kind regard,
    zuzik

  • Johannes, your information on Malta is very helpful to anyone thinking of moving to Malta. I am a retired teacher and would love to continue teaching (English) in Malta. I am a US citizen, but would gladly give it up for Malta. Do you know how or what I need to do to get a work visa for Malta?

  • Hi Johannes, thank you very much for all the expierence you shared with all the readers like me, it is very interesting, congratulations¡¡
    I am a jewelry appraiser, gemmologist and desgner and I am thinking to move to Valetta to open my own business. I wanted to ask you if there is many valuers or for the contrary there is not many, which is good for me.
    I would like to know more or less the rents of commercial business and house for 2 adults and 2 children in Valetta. I thank you very very much in advance and all my best wishes¡¡¡¡
    Marta

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