street in Valetta Malta

Malta Life | Living In Malta As An Expat

This post was most recently updated on September 6th, 2021

If you’re looking for a dreamy place to retire to and start the rest of your life, then look no further than Malta. It attracts thousands of retired folks and expats thanks to its natural and man-made beauty. However, before diving into this island country, there are a few things you must know, most importantly what the Malta cost of retirement and living is.

Safety, healthcare, visas, and Malta’s social life are other factors you should include in your checklist before moving abroad. Knowing what waits ahead is essential for ensuring a comfortable retirement within your budget.

You’ll also need to know how you can get residence in Malta and where to move. Whether you’re chasing a peaceful environment or the vibrant city life, you’ll find your choice of either.

Read further to find out ways to retire in Malta, how much it will cost you, and what life is like on this mediterranean island nation.

Retiring In Malta

Malta’s beauty is of course essential to attracting retirees, but the country has more to offer than what meets the eye. There are plenty of affordable properties here to search out. Plus a sizeable number of expats and retirees to meet and gain their knowledge of life on the island. And most importantly, you can expect a great healthcare system. 

There are several ways to get residency here as a retiree. But of course that is dependent on whether Maltese policies apply to your country.

Paramount to qualifying for any of these incentives is proving that you have enough money to cover Malta’s cost of living. This can be in the form of pension funds or saved funds. Here are a few choices to help you assess whether you fit the bill or not.

Getting a Malta Permanent Residence Visa

If you’re a non-European national planning to retire to Malta, a Maltese permanent residence is the perfect choice. It allows you to live off your pension and must be renewed annually. However, you will not be allowed to work in Malta.

The following are the firm requirements to qualify for this visa:

  • Go through a thorough interview phase and have a clear criminal history
  • Have a net worth of at least $395,127.33 or earn an annual income of at least $26,039

If you meet the above and are granted a permanent residence visa, you’ll have to buy a house or apartment worth at least $132,463 or $79,251, respectively. Alternatively, you’ll have to pay at least $4,700 in rent yearly.

Furthermore, you’ll need to open a Maltese bank account to receive your pension.

Malta Retirement Programme

The Malta Retirement Programme, also known as the Malta Retirement Visa, is another way to retire easily in the country. It grants European, Swiss, and EEA citizens a residence permit allowing you to spend your later years in a tranquil environment.

However, you’re allowed to hold a non-executive post on a company, foundation or other organisation’s board. The following are the requirements you must meet to qualify for this programme:

  • You must stay in Malta for at least 90 days a year, for five years. And may also not live in any other country for more than 183 days per year.
  • Also, you must own or lease a place in Malta or Gozo (more on it later). When buying, your property should cost at least €275,000 (approximately $333,038.75) in Malta or €250,000 ($302,762.50) in Gozo. Annual rent must be €9,600 ($11,627.04) or €8,750 ($10,597.56) in Malta or Gozo, respectively.

Additionally, your lease agreement must be for at least twelve months. Both ways of obtaining residency are relatively affordable and make your Malta retirement dream a reality for less than $2000 a month.

Best Places to Retire in Malta

Malta has numerous budget-friendly places fit for retirees and their needs. Whether you’re looking for tranquil environments, lively places or those with a concentration of expats, there’s something for you. Here’s a summary of some of the best places to stay when you relocate to Malta.

  • Valletta – The nation’s quiet capital which has a host of historical, cultural, and artistic attractions to visit including museums and theatres.
  • Gozo – An island that is renowned for its landscapes, tranquil environment, and a modern yet archaic way of living that’s popular with retirees. Offers scenic views of the surrounding nature and the Mediterranean while having all the necessary amenities in proximity.
  • Great Harbour Area – Perfect if you prefer a lively area full of shops, cafes and an urban lifestyle. The area encompasses Vittoriosa, Senglea, and Cospicua, and is home to one of the world’s most incredible harbours.
  • Marsascala – Found on Malta’s northern coastline is this quiet little town featuring a lengthy seaside promenade. Lacking flashy attractions, it’s a great area for escaping the frenzy that is city life.

Other cities in Malta perfect for a comfortable retirement that won’t cost an arm and a leg are Marsaxlokk and Madliena. If these don’t sound ideal to you, don’t fret. There are plenty more (expensive) places to choose from! Plus, Malta is a small island so you can easily see other towns and their attractions without travelling very far.

Cost Of Living In Malta

It’s important to understand how much it costs to live in Malta. This will help you plan your retirement funds and how you can stretch them as far as possible.

If you’re coming from more affluent nations, the cost of Malta to live is significantly lower than those places. Assuming that, of course, you carry on leading the exact type of lifestyle you led in your home country. 

Your monthly costs will also depend on where you stay. For instance, the abovementioned places are cheaper to stay in than flashier places such as Ta Xbiex.

In comparison to some of the major capitals or cities of the Western world, Valletta is cheaper. This goes for places such as London, Sydney, Washington, New York and other similar busy cities and capitals.

You can use Numbeo to compare the cost of living across different cities based on data provided by residents of those cities. However, please note the information isn’t totally accurate as it’s given by people without any verification by third parties. Still, it’s a decent way to gauge what to expect in whatever area you choose to stay in.

Average Cost For Two People

  • Rent: $800
  • Groceries: $500
  • Restaurant Meals: $50 for a nice restaurant
  • Bus Pass: $28 a month
  • Internet: $40
  • Entertainment: $200

A couple could easily live for $2000 a month as long as you didn’t eat out at expensive restaurants a lot. Alternatively, find some expats in Malta or the country’s citizens on social platforms like Facebook to get a first-hand account about Malta life.

Life in Malta

Apart from expenses, there are other issues to consider when moving to Malta to retire. This includes the weather, safety, the healthcare system, and social life. Here’s an account of what to expect when you retire in Malta.

Is Malta Safe?

Malta is a relatively safe country that isn’t full of violent crimes that would make it unsafe. The most common crimes are petty thefts. They occur mostly in tourist-heavy towns such as Viletta and St. Julian’s on buses or anywhere there are crowds.

While the police are relatively successful in catching these thieves, it’s best to be aware and safeguard your belongings.

Malta’s Healthcare System

Malta has a great healthcare system that all its residents benefit from. The nation has both a free public and private healthcare system.

The public option grants access to the various hospitals the country has for both primary and emergency healthcare. Despite these benefits, many Maltese people opt for private schemes because they’re generally better.

Retiring to Malta, you’d get better health security with a private healthcare plan. Expect it to cost you less than $150 per month, given you’re in decent health. That’s generally less expensive than most affluent nations.

Malta’s Weather

Malta weather is typically sunny with a hot summer and spring. From June to September you can expect an average temperature of 25 C (70F) and hardly any rain. Then more temperate conditions in winter and autumn. From December to March the average is 13 C (50F).

Even though the winter is when the rainy season comes, Malta usually only experiences an average of 7 rainy days a month. With this many sunny days, it’s the perfect place for exploring the country with so many outdoor activities. Mild temperatures in the colder seasons are great for tasting some of the best Maltese food with your partner.

Malta’s Social Life

Like every other country, you’ll find a diverse group of personalities in Malta. Though generally, most Maltese people are friendly and welcoming. This applies especially to their treatment of elderly people.

While Maltese is the official language, there’s a large number of people who also speak English. Plus, you’ll find communities of Malta expats that should ease your transition. There’s a sizable group of Britons, Australians, and North American retirees to found in different towns around the island.

Popular activities include exploring the Blue Lagoon and sea caves, parasailing, scuba diving, or sailing around the island in one of the small group tours.

Choose Retirement In Malta

Whether you want to spend your later years in a tranquil place, or in a vibrant, lively town, there’s something for you in Malta. Plus there are several ways to retire to Malta without taking too much of your pension funds.

Not only is the country relatively inexpensive, but it also boasts great safety and a terrific healthcare system. All the above has made Malta a world recognized retirement destination for people from several countries. Many of which you’ll probably meet.
If this European paradise sounds like your idea of a great retirement, then pack your travel essentials and make your way there. You’re sure to love it!