Retiring to Malta
Malta offers British expats the appealing combination of familiarity and escape as a set of three southern Mediterranean islands – along with Comino and Gozo – that were British colonies for nearly two centuries.
This archipelago has been independent from British rule since 1964, but is still within the British Commonwealth and there is plenty to make British people feel at home. English is the second official language and spoken by 90% of the population. There is a sizeable British population (around 7,000 residents hold a UK passport, making British people the biggest expat population in Malta). Signs of the colonial legacy range from the British legal system and driving on the left, to red phone- and letter-boxes.
Malta is also a melting pot of other international communities, with 60,000 foreign nationals among its total population of 450,000. They contribute much to the island’s character and economy, but they are also drawn by the distinctly Maltese culture that is part Italian and part North African in influence, with its nearest foreign land masses Sicily to the north and Tunisia to the south.
The relaxed and affordable way of life and sense of safety draw many overseas families and retirees to move to the island, and to neighbouring Gozo.
Malta is a small island. At just 30km by 15km, it takes about 40 minutes to drive from one side to the other, and you are never more than a few kilometres from the sea. Besides its rural expanses and beautiful bays, Malta also has the highest density of population in Europe. Birkikara is its biggest city, with 22,000 inhabitants, and Valletta, the capital, has 6,500 residents.
If you are someone who gets cabin fever if based on a small island for too long, Malta lacks the entertainment options that life in a city such as Barcelona or Lisbon, or a major resort area such as the Costa del Sol or the Algarve provides.
But you can find a home that offers city, coastal or rural life here – without being a great distance from the alternatives. You can also avoid the high premiums for beachfront properties by heading a short distance inland and still be within a short drive of the sea.
The cost of living in Malta was once lower than elsewhere in Europe, but prices are catching up. Incomes are lower than the European average so people’s purchasing power is relatively low, and it is still cheaper to live in Malta than in many large European cities.
Compared with the UK, it’s cheaper in Malta to rent property, eat out, enjoy leisure activities, insure cars, moor boats and hire tradespeople from mechanics to cleaners. Taxis are also cheap, with fixed fares. Some of the more expensive items are cars and electronics.
EU citizens can live, work, study, retire and own property in Malta. Within a month of your arrival, you must report to the police headquarters or the Floriana, an administrative centre in Valletta.
After three months in Malta, non-Maltese domiciles must apply for a Registration Certificate, which has no relation to taxation, but grants the right to live in Malta. EU citizens must still apply and show evidence of economic self-sufficiency.
See our ‘Brexit Update’ pages for how your retirement to Malta may be affected as the UK leaves the EU.
‘Retiring to Europe‘ provides you with the key information you need to consider when planning your retirement to any of the most popular countries in Europe. The following subjects are comprehensively covered for each destination:
Cost of Living
Retiring to Europe
Europe remains a popular retirement destination for Britons. But where best to retire in Europe? The full-colour, 264-page book ‘Retiring to Europe’ considers the pros and cons of the popular options. It examines in detail climate, lifestyle, language, travel connections, the affordability of property, access to healthcare and the tax and other financial implications of residency in ten European countries.
It focuses on the areas of Mediterranean Europe that Britons prefer to retire to: France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Greece, Turkey and Croatia. It also looks at the UK as a retirement option.