Many people who live in cool, wet and windy countries dream of retiring to somewhere with a warmer climate. There are plenty of holiday destinations which match these criteria, although these places are not necessary suitable for residing on a long-term basis. Perhaps the most popular choices are the Mediterranean countries, with Malta being towards the top of the list for many retirees.
Covering a relatively small area of just 122 square miles, the Maltese archipelago comprises of the main island of Malta, the neighboring islands of Gozo and Comino and a number of outlying uninhabited islets and rocks. The majority of its inhabitants live on Malta, in and around the nation’s capital, Valletta.
As well as the islands’ pleasant climate, with the average of around 3000 sunshine hours a year being amongst the highest in Europe, Malta is also renowned for its plethora of historical monuments, with nine UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Located practically in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is easily accessible for retirees from throughout Europe. There are numerous airlines operating regular flights to major destinations throughout the world from Malta International Airport: a modern airport located towards the centre of the main island, close to the town of Luqa. Retirees who are concerned about transporting their precious possessions to Malta will find that many shipping companies operate regular services to Grand Harbour, one of the largest and busiest container ports in Europe.
Finding Somewhere to Live
There is a good choice of accommodation available in Malta, suitable for both purchasing and long-term rental. Fortunately, the purchasing procedure in Malta is relatively straightforward. This is aided by the fact that the majority of agents in Malta will set up a Preliminary Agreement, or ‘Konvenju’. This is where the purchaser and vendor are both in agreement to complete the transaction by a set date, subject to a mutually agreed list of conditions. Upon signing the agreement, the purchaser will need to pay around 5% of the purchase price, which includes 1% stamp duty. All this protects the purchaser from the risk of gazumping or outbidding.
Those retirees who would prefer to rent a property in Malta will find the process even more straightforward, as there are numerous well-regarded letting agents to help you arrange the finer details of the big move. As English is the country’s second language, any translation issues should not be an issue during the rental or purchasing process.
Settling in to Your New Surroundings
As previously mentioned, English is one of Malta’s two official languages, meaning that everyday communication is easy. This makes a real difference for retirees setting up their new home and sorting out bills, utilities and all the associated paperwork. Food and drink prices in Malta are relatively reasonable and due to the country’s excellent connections with the outside world there is a great choice available. Being an island, it will come as no surprise that fresh fish and sea-food dishes are popular, cheap and readily available. The Maltese are a friendly race and there are large ‘ex-pat’ communities to be found throughout this small nation. This is in-part due to the islands’ history as a popular migration destination. Therefore retirees should find integration into their local community very easy.
Getting Around in Malta
There are excellent transportation links throughout Malta. The island boasts over 1200 miles of roads, a large amount when you consider the size of the islands. Fortunately for British retirees, they will discover that in Malta everyone drives on the left! Buses are the main mode of transport on the main island, with regular services connecting the larger towns and villages throughout the day and night. There are also cheap and regular ferry services to connect the main island to Gozo and Comino.
As old-age beckons, retirees must consider their health and wellbeing once they have settled into their new life in Malta. This need not be a concern, as Malta offers an excellent standard of healthcare, which closely resembles the British system. The island’s main hospital, Mater Dei, is one of the largest in Europe and offers both public and private healthcare. There are also another two private hospitals to be found in Malta, as well as general practitioners and trained pharmacists to be found in all the island’s main towns and villages.