Tips to keep in mind when exploring Malta
- The sea has no tides but carries with it some dangers of undertows in winter. Swimming in winter is therefore not advised. Ghajn Tuffieha bay, on the West coast of Malta is known for its treacherous undertows in winter
- Swim where the Maltese do and avoid swimming alone
- Although the weather during the winter months can be inviting, do not swim far out. Underwater currents can be treacherous.
- Entry-points around rocky bathing areas can be slippery.
- Men – walking around bare chested away from bathing areas is considered rude in Malta just as it would be back home!
- When visiting a church, you will be expected to wear tops with sleeves and preferably long trousers as opposed to shorts
- If you decide to go for a walk – the RTO signs mean Restricted to Outsiders. Often these signs (sometimes spray painted) are put up by hunters who do not own the land but want to practise their hobby in peace. If you can, avoid these areas, otherwise just play dumb if you encounter anyone.
- Also, if you do go off the beaten path do mind your footing. It’s common sense, but Malta has some pretty high cliffs.
Food and drink
- The best (and freshest) fruit and vegetables are sold by hawkers at the side of the road. Beware of hawkers that go around the more touristic villages (Bugibba, Qawra, Sliema and St. Julian’s). Some are known to overcharge tourists unfortunately.
- Tap water, although often advised otherwise, is safe to drink but the taste isn’t spectacular to say the least. Some hotels will have their own reservoirs and will advise against drinking tap water.
- Between September and November the island is often hit by heavy showers, which means that in some localities streets may be flooded quite severely. If it rains heavily and you need to drive ask one of the locals which areas to avoid, depending on your destination
- Remember to use sun lotion in summer. Locals are advised to avoid the sun altogether between 11am and 4pm for health reasons.
Transport related Malta tips
- Two tips for driving in Malta:
- Driving in Malta can be a little chaotic. Pre-plan your trips to avoid dangerous situations on the road
- Keep to the left-hand side of the road. (Although the Maltese will tell you they drive on the shaded side of the road). The introduction of motorised transport in Malta came about while the British ruled the islands, and Malta adopted the UK highway code as a result.
- If you decide to take a taxi note the following: Black taxis offer fixed prices, while white taxis will charge you their own fees. White taxis are more common, so if you do end up taking one be sure to pre-arrange a price. You can negotiate a fee with them, but really only when other available white taxis are around
- When traveling by bus, be prepared to pay for your fare with small change. Bus drivers carry limited amounts of cash change and it’s one of the most common ways to annoy bus drivers (some of whom have a fairly short fuse – despite customer service training)
- Thinking of hiring a scooter or bike in Malta? Keep in mind that the road surface isn’t very good in some places and driving can be chaotic in Malta
- Beware of traffic wardens. Some are keen to fine a hired car, knowing that the driver may not be around long enough to contest it. The best preparation is to read up on the Malta highway code and take note of any advice issued by the car hire company
- Interested in taking a karozzin ride (horse-driven cab)? Beware that, although karozzin rides are relatively safe, the passengers on board the karozzin are not covered by insurance.