Malta - A General Overview
Megaliths, medieval dungeons and Calypso's Cave – The Maltese Islands are positively mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages are crowded with Renaissance cathedrals and Baroque palaces. As the countryside is dotted with the oldest known human structures in the world, the Islands have rightly been described as an open-air museum.
Valletta, Malta’s capital and a World Heritage site, is nothing short of an open-air museum. It is a living experience of Baroque architecture, a monument donated by the Knights of St John nearly five centuries ago. Throughout the years, Valletta has welcomed emperors, heads of state, artists and poets and is now the permanent seat of the Maltese government.
Malta International Airport Gudja (6km from the capital Valletta), Tel:(+356) 21 249600
Banks & Bureaux de Change
Generally open from 8.30am to 4pm during the week, and up to 11.30 am on Saturdays. Some banks work longer hours. Summer and winter opening hours may differ. Exchange Bureaux at Malta International Airport are open 24 hours a day. International bankcards are accepted and foreign currency is easily exchanged. Banks, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and exchange bureaux can be found all over the Islands. Many hotels and larger shops and restaurants can exchange currency. The exchange slip is required to change local currency back to foreign denominations on departure.
Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard and Visa credit cards.
Malta’s currency is the EURO
Electricity supply is 240 volts, single phase, 50 cycle. The square-fitting standard three-pin British plugs and sockets are used. Adapters are very easy to find.
The official languages are Maltese and English. Almost all the Maltese speak English. Maltese is a Semitic language written in the Roman script comprising a vast element of words of Latin origin. Italian is also widely spoken.
Malta has a total of 14 5-star hotels and 41 4-star hotels, totaling to 29,700 beds. The Grand Hotel Excelsior and the Phoenicia Hotel are located 5 minutes away from the MCC. Other hotels are situated in the St. Julian’s area, 15 minutes away from the MCC.
Malta enjoys a high standard of medical care. The general hospital is 'Mater Dei' but there are government health clinics in various towns as well as several private hospitals.
The Maltese Archipelago lies virtually at the centre of the Mediterranean, with Malta 93kms south of Sicily and 288kms north of Africa. Its position is as follows:
New Year’s Day - 1st January
Telecommunications and Internet
Local and international telephone calls can be made from hotel rooms, and credit and charge cards are normally accepted. Most hotels also offer Internet access, fax and telex services. The Islands are wellwired
Malta is on Central European Time (CET), that is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The islands are six hours ahead of Eastern Seaboard Time (EST) and nine hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST).
It is advisable to check about visa and entry requirements before making travel arrangements. For the latest information, visit the Malta Government Website or contact an official Malta diplomatic representative in your area.
Malta is well connected to Europe and North Africa. All flights arrive at and depart from Malta International Airport (MLA; 2124 9600; www.maltairport.com) at Luqa, 8km south of Valletta. The Maltese national airline is Air Malta (code KM; 2169 0890; www.airmalta.com; Misraħ- il-Ħelsien, Valletta).
Other airlines flying to Malta are:
Malta has regular sea links with Italy. You can also sail from Tunis to Malta (but not from Malta direct to Tunis).
Virtu Ferries (www.virtuferries.com) Malta (2122 8777); Catania (095-535 711); Pozzallo (0932-954 062) runs fast catamaran services to/from Sicily (Catania and Pozzallo). The Pozzallo–Malta crossing operates year-round (€81/99 one way/return from Pozzallo, Lm26/35 one way/return from Malta, 90 minutes).
Ma.Re.Si Shipping (2123 3127; www.smstravel.net, click on Ferries) operates between Catania and Malta (Lm20/35 one way/return, 12 hours, weekly), and between Malta and Reggio di Calabria (Lm25/45 one way/return, 15 hours, weekly).
Grimaldi Ferries (2122 6873; www.grimaldi-ferries.com) operates a weekly service from Salerno, south of Naples, calling in at Tunis en route to Malta (ie Salerno–Tunis–Malta–Salerno). Similarly, Grandi Navi Veloci (2569 1600; www.gnv.it) operates a weekly Genoa–Tunis–Malta–Genoa service.