Malta has become increasingly popular with expats in recent years. A boom in the Gaming Industry, as well as various other job opportunities, have opened a new road for foreigners living on our island. The major part of our population speaks fluent English (it is an official language after all), cost of living is achingly cheap when compared to major European cities, and everything is just a stone's throw away. Forget hour-long commutes to work, it takes a full hour to cross the island from North to South. Boasting jewel coloured waters and the cleanest beaches in Europe, Malta scores high points with youngsters looking to make a living while also living life. So, what does living in Malta entail?
Where to live?
Renting is always the best option when testing the Maltese waters - it gives you time to see if you like this place after all! There is a myriad of rental properties in Malta, most flocked in the Sliema/St Julian's area, where all the buzz/work/play is. Rental properties in this area vary in price - you really do get what you pay for. There are luxury apartments which will set you back a couple of thousand of Euros each month, and there are also smaller, one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments which are more budget-friendly, in the 500-600 Euro a month range. Take note - rental prices generally do not include utilities, thus you have to make sure to take that into consideration before renting. Utilities (water and electricity) are not the cheapest, but with some attention, they won't break the bank either. A big plus is that most rental properties come fully furnished, so all you'd have to do is just move in! Rental properties in other areas of the island tend to cost a bit less than their Sliema/St Julian's counterparts, the main reason being that they are essentially more remote and further away from the 'buzz'. These can be a viable option if you're looking to save your pennies, however, beware of travelling times/costs, especially during the summer months when all the buses are jam-packed with tourists.
Check out www.shortletsmalta.com for a list of rental properties around Sliema/St Julian's.
Malta is ranked as one of the best places for healthcare around the world. Maltese citizens receive free healthcare, yet many will also opt to pay for private healthcare insurance, which offers a wider range of services and quicker appointment times. However healthcare quality, even in public hospitals and clinics is truly excellent. The cost of insurance here in Malta is much less than in the rest of the world, compared to countries such as the US. EU citizens residing in Malta are eligible for free healthcare as long as they have an E121 form, with which they can be issued a Certificate of Entitlement. Foreigners outside the EU would need to pay for private insurance.
Not the most glamorous of subjects, but vital for everyday life nonetheless. Groceries in Malta will not burn a hole in your metaphorical pocket, however, it is best to pick and choose your wares. Each town has multiple small grocery shops from where you can get your daily needs, and fairly recently several big chain supermarkets and food stores have started opening shop here in Malta. Discount supermarkets have made a huge hit with the Maltese, with local grocery shops becoming more of a daily necessities hub. Average prices for groceries are as follows:
A loaf of white bread: €.85 Rice (1kg): €1.10 Dozen eggs: €2.05 Milk (1 litre): €0.90 Chicken breasts (1kg): €7.10 Apples (1 kg): €2.00 Tomatoes (1kg): €1.10
Prices are not too high, yet they're not the lowest either. It's best to plan ahead and set a budget for each month so that your Malta experience does not send you overboard.
Eating out is also not the cheapest, but once again depends on which restaurants you choose. Average prices for Malta are thus: Meal at a mid-range restaurant:
€16.00 Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: €9.00 Fast food meal: €7.00 Coca Cola (500ml): €1.25 Cappuccino: €1.50 Bottle of beer (local): €2.10
to be continued