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About Malta

Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta), is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, 80 km (50 mi) south of Sicily, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya, with Gibraltar 1,755 km (1,091 mi) to the west and Alexandria 1,508 km (937 mi) to the east. Malta covers just over 316 km2 (122 sq mi) in land area, making it one of the world's smallest states. It is also one of the most densely populated countries worldwide. The de facto capital city of Malta is Valletta; the largest town, Birkirkara. The main island comprises many towns, which together form one Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) with a population of 410,000. The country has two official languages, Maltese (considered the national language) and English.

Throughout history, Malta's location has given it great strategic importance,  and a succession of powers including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St John, French and the British ruled the islands. Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a republic in 1974, whilst retaining membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. Malta was admitted to the United Nations in 1964 and to the European Union in 2004. Malta is also party to the Schengen Agreement and in 2008 it became part of the eurozone.
 
Malta has a long Christian legacy and is an Apostolic see. According to the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, St. Paul was shipwrecked on "Melite", as the Greeks called the island, and ministered there. Catholicism is the official religion in Malta as declared by the Maltese constitution. 
 
Malta is internationally renowned as a tourist destination, with numerous recreational areas and historical monuments, including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, most prominently the Megalithic Temples which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.  
 
Practical Information:
 
Money
All major credit cards are widely accepted.  The euro (€) replaced the lira as the new national currency on 1 January 2008. Banks are the best place to change money; they almost always offer a significantly better rate than hotels or restaurants. It's a good idea to round up a taxi fare or restaurant bill to leave a small tip. Shops have fixed prices; hotels and car-hire agencies offer reduced rates in the low and shoulder seasons (October to May). There's an 18% value-added tax on most consumer items.
 
Visas
Visas are not needed for visits of up to three months by nationals of most Commonwealth countries (excluding South Africa, India and Pakistan), most European countries, the USA and Japan. Full details (and visa application forms) are on the website of Malta's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.foreign.gov.mt).
 
Getting There:
 
Air
Malta is well connected to Europe and North Africa. All flights arrive at and depart from Malta International Airport (MLA; Tel:. 21249600; www.maltairport.com) at Luqa, 8km south of Valletta. The Maltese national airline is Air Malta (code KM; Tel.: 21690890; www.airmalta.com;).
 
Budget carriers Ryanair (code FR; www.ryanair.com) and Germanwings (code 4U; www.germanwings.com) have been flying in and out of Malta from early 2007.
 
Boat
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 (Tel.: 21228777); Catania (Tel.: 095-535 711); Pozzallo (Tel.: 0932-954 062) runs fast catamaran services to/from Sicily (Catania & Pozzallo). The Pozzallo-Malta crossing operates year-round.
  • Ma.Re.Si Shipping (Tel.: 21233127; www.smstravel.net, click on Ferries) operates between Catania and Malta weekly), and between Malta and Reggio di Calabria weekly also.
  • Grimaldi Ferries (Tel.: 21226873; 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 (Tel.: 25691600; www.gnv.it) operates a weekly Genoa-Tunis-Malta-Genoa service.
 
Getting Around:
 
Boat
The Gozo Channel Company (Tel.: 2158 0435; www.gozochannel.com) runs regular car-ferry services between Cirkewwa (northern Malta) and Mġarr (Gozo), with crossings every 45 to 75 minutes from 6am to around 10pm, and every two hours throughout the night (crossing takes about 25 minutes). 
 
The Marsamxetto ferry service (Tel.: 2146 3862) crosses frequently between Valletta and Sliema (crossing takes about five minutes). Arrival and departure points are at the Strand in Sliema and at the end of Triq San Marku in northwest Valletta.
 
Bus
Malta and Gozo are served by buses run by the Arriva Malta (Tel.: 21 22 2000; http://www.arriva.com.mt). Most of Malta's services originate from the City Gate terminus, just outside Valletta's fortifications. Services are regular and the more popular routes run till 11pm. 
On Gozo, the bus terminus is in Victoria, just south of Triq ir-Reppublika. All services depart from here.
 
Car & Motorcycle
With low rental rates it might make economic sense to hire a car. All the major international car-hire companies are at the airport, and there are dozens of local agencies. Shop around rates depend on season, length of rental, and size and make of car.
 
Taxi
When you arrive in Malta, at the airport or the sea port (Valletta Waterfront) you will find taxi stands or a taxi bay at first hand, outside the arrivals lounge and at the shipside. The local taxis are painted all white with a "Taxi" sign on the roof and their registration code number on the side of the doors of the passenger and drivers side.  They also have stands outside the larger hotels, in Valletta, Sliema Ferries and Spinola Bay, Mdina main gate, Bugibba, St Paul's Bay square and in the popular resorts.
 
Malta also has Black Taxis. The difference is that the black taxis are operated by garages with a fleet of taxis. They are not allowed to cruise to pick up fares.  You have to contact the garage or hire company by phone/email or personally for them to arrange to pick you up. 
 
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Reliance Malta Ltd
Hughes Hallet Street
Sliema SLM3141
Malta

 
 
Tel.:      +356 2134 7359
Mob.:    +356 7934 7359
 
Email.: info [at] reliancemalta [dot] com
I have no hesitation in recommending your services to any prospective property owner, particularly if they are located overseas. Your professional manner allows me to be worry free despite being in a different country.
Isabel Chamberlain, Ipswich UK