National Tourism Organisation
Republic Street 280
Valletta, CMR 02, Malta
Tel: 22 4444/5, 225048/9, Fax: 220401


Physical geography

The Maltese Islands consist of Malta, Gozo, Comino and two other uninhabited islands and are situated in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. The total area covered is approx 315.6 sq km: Malta 245.7, Gozo 67, Comino 2.7, Malta is 27km long and 14.5km wide. The islands have no mountains and no rivers.


The climate is temperate and healthy: there are no biting winds, fog, snow or frost. Rain falls only for very short periods, averaging a total of approximately 578mm in a whole year. The average temperate for winter *(November-April) is 14.1°C and for summer (May-October) 23°C. Average daily sunshine hours for winter are 6.46 and for summer 10.11. The hottest period is from mid-July to mid-September, but the heat is tempered by cool sea breezes. The prevailing winds are the North Westerlies.

Economic geography

The Malta Development Corporation is the exclusive Government agency responsible for promoting and supporting direct investment into Malta. Set up by an Act of Parliament in 1967, the Corporation is a one-stop agency assisting the investor from the moment of initial contact up to project commencement and beyond. The Corporation also helps formulate and implement the country's industrial strategy with a goal to create employment in export-oriented high technology manufacturing industries. MDC administers a competitive incentives package which includes a ten year tax holiday, soft loans, training grants, ready-built standard factories and land at subsidised rates, customs duty exemptions and a liberal work permit policy. Though Malta is open to any proposal, the Island's priority industrial sectors include: structural and fabricated metal products; electronic equipment, electrical and mechanical equipment, communications equipment, professional and controlling equipment and photographic and optical goods. (Address: PO Box 571, Valletta CMR02; Tel: (+356) 448944; Fax: (+356) 448966; Chairman: Anthony S. Diacono.

METCO: The Malta Export Trade Corporation (Metco) was established in 1989 on the initiative of the Government with the participation of the private sector. It is responsible for all export trade promotion activities on the island and acts as an advisor to Government on international trade matters. Metco works to attract foreign buyers and businessmen to source their needs from Malta. It acts as an intermediary between the international trader and the local manufacturers and exporters. Metco projects Malta's image as a supplier of high quality goods and services and participates in numerous trade fairs and trade exhibitions abroad. (Address: Trade Centre, Industrial Estate, San Gwann SGN 09; tel: (+356) 446186/7/8; fax: (+356) 496687; Chairman: John Bonello). Malta financial services centre: The financial services framework in Malta provides the necessary legal structure for the setting up of international business operations including banking, unit trusts, SICAVs, mutual funds, captive insurance and international trading and holding companies. The business opportunities are further enhanced by tax planning opportunities including a network of 22 double taxation treaties, availability of unilateral tax relief and, where applicable, a flat-rate foreign tax credit.

The Malta Financial Services Centre (MFSC) is the autonomous government authority, set up in 1994, to be the primary regulator of financial services in Malta. Its Regulatory Unit is divided into three divisions to cover the investment services, banking and insurance sectors. The objective of the MFSC is to provide an efficient service of a constantly high quality to the business community and to lead Malta's continuing development as an International Financial Centre. (Address: Attard; tel: (+356) 441155; fax: (+356) 441188; Chairman: Prof. J Bannister).

Malta Freeport: The Malta Freeport is now a major transhipment Mediterranean centre, with container terminal facilities, storage for oil products, and industrial warehousing. The port's strategic position, excellent shipping links worldwide and round the clock operations have made it a premier distribution base. The rapidly increasing demand for container transhipment led to the construction of another terminal, which will double the annual handling capacity to 1.25 million TEUs by 1998. The oil terminal is one of the largest of its kind in the Mediterranean, with a capacity of 360,000 cubic metres. (Address: Freeport Centre, Port of Marsaxlokk, Kalafrana BBG 05; tel: (+356) 650200; fax: (+356) 684814; Chairman: Marin Hili).


Total population of Malta 376,335 (1995).

A brief history

The Maltese Islands in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, were in turn held by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and the Romans, and were conquered by the Arabs in 870. From 1090 they were subject to the same rulers as Sicily until 1530, when they were handed over to the Knights of St. John, who ruled until dispersed by Napoleon in 1798. The Maltese rose in rebellion against the French and the island was subsequently blockaded by the British - aided by the Maltese - from 1798 to 1800. The Maltese people freely requested the protection of the British Crown in 1802 on condition that their rights and privileges be preserved. The islands were finally annexed to the British Crown by the Treaty of Paris in 1814.

On 15 April 1942, in recognition of the steadfastness and fortitude of the people of Malta during the Second World War, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the island. After the war the aspirations of the Maltese for greater political freedom resulted in the 1947 Constitution. This was replaced by the 1961 Constitution under which the Maltese Islands were governed until the attainment of independence within the British Commonwealth on 21st September 1964. Under the defence agreement British forces were entitled to remain in Malta for ten years. Under a financial agreement Britain undertook to provide capital aid in the form of grants and loans for the diversification of the economy.

The Malta Labour Party under the leadership of Dom Mintoff, won the general elections held in June 1971. Soon after, the 1964 agreements with Britain were re-negotiated by the Maltese Socialist Government and a new agreement, valid until 31 March 1979, was concluded. Malta became a Democratic Republic within the Commonwealth on 13 December 1974. At the general elections in September 1976 the MLP was returned to power with a narrow majority of seats. The MLP was again returned to power in December 1981 elections with a majority of three seats in the House of Representatives, although it obtained only 49.1 per cent of the votes. The Nationalist Party, which had obtained 50.9 per cent of the votes, contested the result, demanding electoral reforms and fresh elections. However, the Socialist Party continued to govern. At the end of December 1984 Mr Mintoff announced his retirement and Dr Mifsud Bonnici was sworn in as Prime Minister.

In the general elections in May 1987, the PN obtained 50.9 per cent of the votes but won only 31 of the 65 seats in the House of Representatives, while the MLP, with 48.9 per cent of the votes, won the remaining 34 seats. However, in accordance with a constitutional amendment that had been adopted in January, the PN was allocated four additional seats, giving it a majority of one in the legislature. The leader of the PN, Dr. Edward Fenech-Adami, became Prime Minister with an unequivocal commitment to the social and economic values of the Western democracies while adhering to a policy of military neutrality and non-alignment. On the domestic front the Maltese Government embarked upon a policy of economic liberalisation, export-oriented economic growth and services.

Malta is actively establishing itself in the Offshore business and as a transhipment centre. As a way of buttressing pluralistic and democratic institutions on the Island, the new Government has incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights in the Maltese Law. Malta applied for European Union membership in July 1990. In that same year Malta's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Guido de Marco, was unanimously elected President of the 45th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. At the general elections in February 1992, the PN was returned to power with an increased majority over MLP of three seats. In 1993 there was the re-introduction of local government in the Maltese Islands - in all there are 67 local councils in Malta and Gozo. Malta plays an active and committed role as a member of the United Nations, in the work of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and co-operation in Europe (OSCE). In April 1995 Malta accepted the invitation open to all OSCE members to join the Partnership for Peace programme.

In March of 1996 the Constitution was further amended to provide that at a general election (due in 1997) which is contested by more than two political parties in which only candidates of two such parties are elected, the party with the greater number of votes is ensured a majority of seats in the House of Representatives by the allocation (if necessary) of extra seats to that party.


Roman Catholic; also churches belonging to other denominations. Freedom of worship guaranteed by the Constitution.


Maltese and English are the official languages, Italian is widely spoken. The services of guide lecturers in other languages including French, German and Spanish are also available.


One hour ahead of GMT. During the summer months Malta time is two hours ahead of GMT.


Malta's currency is decimal. The Maltese lira LM is divided into 100 cents of ten mils each and equals approx US$2.73.

Official holidays (all shops and offices closed)

1 January, New Year's Day - 10 February, St Paul's Shipwreck - 19 March, St Joseph - 28 March, Good Friday - 31 March, Freedom Day - 1 May, Labour Day - 2 June, Commemoration of 1919 - 29 June, Imnarja - 15 August, the Assumption - 8 September, Our Lady of Victories - 21 September, Independence Day - 8 December, Immaculate Conception - 13 December, Republic Day - 25 December, Christmas Day.

What one should not fail to see

In Valletta: National Museum of Archaeology, National Museum of Fine Arts, St John's Co-Cathedral and Museum, Magisterial Palace, Manoel Theatre, the Armoury and the Upper Barakka Gardens, The National War Museum, the War Room and Casa Rocca Piccola, the Mediterranean Conference Centre (formerly the Sacra Infermeria of the Knights of St John), the 'Valletta Experience', 'Wartime Experience' and the 'Sacred Island' (audio visual shows projecting particular episodes of Malta's 7,000-year-old history; Fort St Elmo - open to the public on Saturdays (afternoon) and Sundays (whole day; Inguardia - a full-scale re-enactment of a military parade in period costume, held at Fort St Elmo on every alternate Sunday.

Outside Valletta: Cottonera: Three fortified harbour towns of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua (known also as the 'Three Cities'). Vittoriosa: National Maritime Museum. Paola: The Hypogeum (an underground burial and temple complex). Tarxien: Tarxien Megalithic Temples, and Museum. Birzebbuga: Ghar Dalam (cave and Museum) and Borg in-Nadur (bronze age village and temple). Marsaxlokk: Fishing village. Zurrieq: Blue Grotto (series of seacaves). Limits nf Qrendi: Hagar Qim and Mnajdra prehistoric temples. Fawwara, Girgenti, Dingli cliffs, Mtahleb, Bahrija, Dwejra: picturesque agricultural hamlets in the west and northwest of Malta. Rabat: Buskett Gardens, Verdala Palace, St Paul's Catacombs, St. Agatha Catacombs, St. Paul's Grotto, National Museum of Roman Antiquities. Mdina: Malta's mediaeval fortified capital, housing imposing buildings like Mdina Cathedral and Museum and Vilhena Palace, now the National Museum of Natural History. The 'Medina Experience' (a multivision show 'Mediaeval Times' and 'Ndina Dungeons' can be enjoyed in their historic setting. Ta'Qali Handicrafts Village Park and national Stadium.

In Gozo: The Citadel a fortified hill dominating Victoria, the capital, (popularly known as Rabat). The museums of Archaeology, Folklore, Natural Science and the Gozo Cathedral Museum are in the Citadel. Alabaster caves, Calypso's cave, Basilica of Ta'Pinu, the village of Marsalforn, beach of Xlendi, Inland Sea and Ggantija Temples. The Gozo Heritage (Visual presentation on the Islands) history). A visit to the Island of Comimo is well worth it. The hotel Comino runs a regular boat service between Malta, Gozo and Comino betwen March and November.

Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring

May to October: For swimming and water-sports; but Malta is an all-the-year round resort with very mild winters when the Islands' archaeological, historical and cultural heritage could best be enjoyed.

How to dress

Very light clothing from June to September. Otherwise, medium-weight clothes and a raincoat.

Main holiday resorts

Bugibba, Marsascala, Mellieha, Qawra, Sliema, St. Julian's and St. Paul's Bay in Malta; Xlendi and Marsalforn in Gozo; and the Island of Comino.

Main holiday sports

Swimming, water-skiing, skin-diving, sailing, horse racing, polo, soccer, water-polo, golf, wind-surfing, tennis, abseiling, sky diving, rock climbing, trekking and biking.

What to eat and drink

Good local dishes include: Lampuki Fish Pie; Bragoli (eggs and minced meat wrapped in a steak); Timpana (macaroni, liver baked in a pastry case). The main drink is wine. Local beer is wholesome and cheap.

What to buy

The exquisite Malta lace can be bought everywhere and under any form imaginable. Pottery, glass, ceramics, copper and brass articles are delightful and make an attractive souvenir. Dolls and model boats (dghajjes) are most colourful. Silver and gold filigree work is one of the oldest crafts of the island and can be bought anywhere. A display of local crafts is mounted at the Malta Crafts Centre, St. John Square, Valletta. There is a Crafts Village at Ta'Qaii in Malta and another one at Ta'Dbiegi in Gozo.

Frontier formalities

The Commissioner of Police notifies that the issue of visas will be regulated as follows:

Citizens of the countries mentioned hereunder do not need a visa to enter Malta:

A Commonwealth countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Darussalam, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Fiji, the Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts & Nevis, Santa Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

B UK dependencies: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Island, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Montserrat, Pitcairn Henderson, Ducie and Oene Islands, St. Helena, St. Helena dependencies, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, Tristan Da Cunha, Turks and Caicos Islands.

C Council of Europe members: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden Switzerland, Turkey and the UK. D Bilateral agreements/arrangements and others: Algeria, Argentina, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Indonesia, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Lithuania, Monaco, Morocco, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Tunisia, USA, Uruguay and the Vatican City.


Personal clothing and personal belongings, intended for the visitor's own use, are not liable to duty if used. Visitors may bring in free of import duty 200 cigarettes, or 250gr of tobacco or equivalent weight of cigars, one bottle spirits, one bottle of wine and a small quantity of perfumery or toilet water.

Currency regulations

Non-resident travellers may bring into Malta any amount of foreign currency. Importation of Maltese currency, however, is limited to LM50 in notes and coins. Non-resident travellers may export the unspent balance of foreign currency brought in by them, provided such foreign currency has been declared on the appropriate form on entry into Malta. Non-residents may not take currency out of Malta. Maltese currency notes and coins in excess of LM25. Malta's gold and silver proof and brilliant uncirculated coins are legal tender. Enquiries are to be directed to the Malta Coin Distribution Centre, Central Bank of Malta, Castille Place, Valletta.

Main travel routes

The following are recommended to tourists: 1) Gozo and Comino, Malta's Sister Islands. 2) Daily pleasure cruises around Marsamxett and Grand Harbours together with ferry trips around the Maltese Islands during summer. 3) Boat trips to the Blue Grotto. 4) Mdina, the mediaeval capital of Malta.

Malta can be easily reached by Air Malta, Aeroflot, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, Balkan Bulgarian Airlines, Egyptian Air, GB Airlines, Lufthansa, LTU, TAT, Swissair Transavia, Tuninter.

A frequent scheduled car ferry service operates between Malta and Gozo. The two islands are also linked by a scheduled helicopter service.

A ferry service applies in Marsamxett harbour, linking Valletta, Malta's capital, with the town of Sliema.

Ferry boats and catamaran services also run between Italy, Sicily and Malta.


Events of the year

There are numerous local 'festi' in the villages characterised by colourful processions, band marches fireworks and illuminations (about 30 of them) between May and October, there are pageants on Good Friday. Four days of Carnival end on eve of Ash Wednesday, the Folk Festival of Imnarja on 29 June. This is a feast of folk-dancing; music, singing; an agrarian exhibition, street races of horses and donkeys, ridden bareback. The International Fair of Malta is held from 1 July to 15. The Malta International Arts Festival July/August incorporating a jazz festival.

Trotting and flat races are held every Sunday afternoon at the Marsa Sports Club between October and May. Sailing and windsurfing regattas are held between April and November. There are numerous other shows such as dog and horse shows and fairs throughout the year.

Between October and May several cultural events are held in the 'historic Manoel Theatre. In the same period, there are many sport competitions. Flower shows and athletic meetings are held in April/May and an organ festival at St Johns Co-Cathedral. A festival of history, music and dance is held in Valletta during the last week in April. The Bingu Festival with life re-enactment projecting episodes from the Knights of St John's stay in Malta is held on the first weekend in October followed by the International Choir Festival during the first week in November.

Yachting Centre - Malta has two modern yachting centres taking some 1,030 yachts. Berthing is provided on 15 lines of floating pontoons up to 18m in length on double mooring lines. Yachts of various nationalities use the centre. There is a yacht yard disposing of seven slipways.

Conventions - Malta has modern convention facilities in major hotels and the Mediterranean Conference Centre. Car hire. Various makes of Self-Drive Cars are available from international car hire representatives and local garages. Address: The Secretary General R.A.C.A., Msida Sea Front, Msida. Phone: 222912.

Estimated number of beds: 37,000 beds in hotels, guest houses and complexes; also additional self-catering accommodation available.

Representatives abroad

Malta: Chairman: Dr Joseph Gaiea Debono, Deputy Chairman and CEO: Major Alfred Cassar Reynaud. Director, Marketing: Paul Gaiea. Director Events: Piju Spiteri. Director Administration: Albert Mallia. Head Office: 280 Republic Street, Valletta CMR 02, Tel: (+356) 22 3595, 224444/5, 225048/9, Fax: (+356) 220401.

France: Director Dominic Micallef, Office du Tourisme de Malte 9, Cite de Trevise, 75009 Paris, Tel: 0033(1) 48000379, Fax: 0033 (1) 48000441.

Germany: Director Joseph Galea, Fremdenvericehrsamt Malta, Schillerstrasse 30-40, D-60313 Frankfurt am Main, Tel: 0049 (0 69) 28 58 90, Fax: 0049 (0 69) 28 54 79. Also responsible for Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland.

Italy: Director Ian Ciappara, Ente Nazionale per il Tunsmo di Malta, Via M. Gonzaga 7, 20123 Milan Tel: 0039 2 867376, 867395, 867509 867511, Fax: 0039 2 874687.

Netherlands: Director John Montague, Nationaal Verkeersbureau Malta, Singel 540, 4th Floor, 1017 AZ Amsterdam, Tel: 0031 20 6207223, Fax 0031 20 6207233. Also responsible for Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the Baltic States.

United Kingdom: Director Jeffrey Cutajar, Malta Tourist Office, Malta House, 36-38 Piccadilly, London W1V 0PP, Tel: 0044 0171292 4900, Fax: 0044 0171 7341880. Also responsible for Eire.

United States and Canada: Director Michael Piscopo, Malta National Tourist Office Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Ave, Suite 4412, New York, New York 10118 United States, Tel: 001 212 695 9520, Fax: 001 212 695 8229.


Argentina: Corr/rep: Basilio Tsolis, Viamonte 783, Buenos Aires, Tel: 0054 1325-0778, -0756, Tlx: 23137, Fax: 0054 13227837.

Australia: Corr/rep: Leslie Cassar, W.A.S. (World Aviation Systems), 403 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia, Tel: 0061 2 321 911, Fax: 0061 2 290 3641.

Austria: Corr/rep: Emst Braun, BTR Touristik GmbH, Hilton Centre, Top 1742 LanWrasser, Haupstrasse 2 A-1030 Vienna, Tel: 0043 1 7139331, Fax: 0043 1 7134036.

Belgium: Corr/rep: Louis Pletinckx, Aviasales, Boulevard Maurice, Lemonnier 131/6, B-1000 Brussels, Tel: 0032 25136528, Fax: 0032 25136067.

Czech Republic: Corr/rep: Ernest Flamini, Brooks Limited, P.O. Box 108, Kaprova 13, CZ-110 01 PF; AHA 01, Tel: 0042 2/232 7213, Fax: 0042 2/232 7469

Eire: Domino Marketing Services, Charlemont Place, Dublin 2, Tel: 00353 4781544, Fax: 00353 478 0224.

Italy - Sicily: Corr/rep: Mario Papa & Antonio Recca, Intermed, Via O M Corbino 5, int B, 97100 Ragusa, Tel: 0039 932 246700/583 01892, Fax: 0039 932 653300.

Japan: Corr/rep: Michio Endo, Step by Step Inc, 2734 - 5 Shimonagaya Kohnan - Ku, Yokahama City, Kangawa Pref, Japan 233, Tel/Fax: 008145/823-5488.

Norway: Airline Directors, Fridtjof Nansens Plass 7, N-0160 Oslo. Tel: 0047 22 41 14 84, Fax: 0047 22 410311.

Portugal: Avenida da Liberdade, 35- DT1 200 Lisbon, Tel: 00351 1 3477931/3 Tlx: 43452, Fax: 3479272.

Russia: Malta Tourist Office, Korovy Val 7/219, Moscow, Tel: 095 232 6413, Fax: 095 232 6413.

Spain: Corr/rep: Bill Gabisch, Y Marketing Turistico, c/o Zurbano, 26128010 - Madrid, Spain, Tel: 0034 1 3192341, Fax: 0034 13198359.

Sweden: Airline Directors, Drottininggatan 65, S11136 Stockholm, Tel: 0046 8233680, Fax: 0046 8233669.

Switzerland: Ticino Corr/rep: Fausto Amiconi, Via Al Forte, 6901 Lugano, Tel: 0041 09123 85 45, Fax: 0041 09122 02 66.

We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Malta thanks to the co-operation of the National Tourism Organisation in Malta.