Malta’s fame foes back to the Maltese knights, which are also the country’s national symbol. In the souvenir shops you will find many pieces depicting Maltese warriors and knights with Maltese flags. Malta is also unique because of its pizzerias, where you can find a local dish called pastizzi. It is a small pastry stuffed with cheese or other fillings, very heavy but very delicious.
Fun facts about Malta’s language and people
Malta has two official languages – Maltese and English, and you don’t have to know the Maltese language to communicate with locals – all of them know English. On the other hand, be prepared for some confusion because all of the streets and some titles on the buses and bus stops are written in the Maltese language. Maltese is similar to Arabic, but it also combines and mixes in English and Italian (primarily Sicilian) – the Maltese have taken many words from the cultures that lie near to them.
There are many British, Italian, Russian, African and other foreign people living in Malta. The Maltese are considered as a friendly and easygoing people, they love diversity, and they excel at enjoying life. Most of them are highly educated, open-minded, and well situated. Maltese people in general respect their nation and their country, they are proud to be Maltese, but you can always find a few of them who do not like foreigners. They have strong personalities, and quite often they speak loudly, so you are not always sure if they are fighting or just speaking normally.
Maltese people pay special attention to their holidays. They value many holidays and celebrate them with great enthusiasm. Once I witnessed a Maltese ceremony full of people who were walking, singing, and yelling with pints of beer in their hands accompanied by music, musical instruments, and also police and military. This can seem strange if you are not familiar with this holiday, so at first I thought it must be a demonstration or protest because people seemed very angry, but later I found out it was just a celebration. On most holidays, the Maltese decorate their churches in colorful paint, and sometimes they organize concerts as part of the observances.
Buses are probably not the best solution for your daily transport because they are not very punctual. Streets are narrow, and traffic can be overwhelming, so sometimes you can spend half an hour or one hour and sometimes even more to get onto a bus. There are situations when the bus is full before it reaches your stop, and it just passes by without opening the door, which can be really annoying. Malta is a small country, and most of the time you can explore cities on foot, so consider that option also. Also, be careful when crossing the street, because driving in Malta is chaotic, and drivers are focused on driving more than on pedestrians in the street. There are very few zebra crossings in Malta, and traffic lights are scarce also.
How to find a town or a street number in Malta
Actually, there is no way to find a street number because there are no street numbers! There are no borders between the cities in Malta as there are in other countries. Actually, Maltese cities are something like neighborhoods or urban districts in other countries, and most of the time you do not know in which city you are if you do not ask or do not look at the name on the bus stop or other signs. When you walk down a street or by the sea you can move from one city to another without noticing, because Maltese cities are small and sometimes only a few streets make a city. Yet again there are no numbers on the houses or buildings, so if you are looking for something it is hard to find it without further information. For example, every building in Malta has its own name. In the beginning it is strange and difficult to accept that concept, but later you will get accustomed to it.
An open-minded country
The Maltese are open-minded and in recent years have accepted the LGBT community in all aspects of life, so Malta is attractive to gay travelers. There are as many gay-friendly hotels, nightclubs, pubs, and many other things such as a parties, events, and social meet-ups.
Malta’s beaches and climate
Malta’s beaches have stony and rocky shores, but if you take some time and go further in the island you will find popular sand beaches such as Golden Bay, Paradise Bay, Melieha, etc. At first, uneven stone and rock beaches are interesting but later on, you realize they are not very pleasant places to stay for a whole day. In the summer, the weather is hot, humidity is high, and there are no sunbeds or umbrellas on those beaches and usually there are no stores, coffee shops, or places where you can buy refreshments. Also, be aware that there are many jellyfish and sea urchins all over the rocks near the shore. On the other hand, in the wintertime Malta is cold, windy, and also rainy, and be aware that if you are looking for a swim Malta will not be a perfect location if you decide to go there in December.