Tourist Information Malta: Essential Travel Tips -BELS Malta

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Here are some travel tips you don’t typically find at a tourist office

Anyone travelling to Malta will require some basic tourist information about the Maltese islands, the people and how things work. This is even more important for English students who will be in Malta for longer periods. Some of the most important tourist information – to help you adapt to the local lifestyle – is not necessarily available at a tourist office; however, it will help you relax and enjoy your new environment more fully once the practicalities of accommodation and transport have been sorted out.

When you enroll as an English student at BELS Malta or Gozo, you will have immediate assistance with anything you may need regarding accommodation, transport, maps, events and things to do in Malta. More information is also available at any of the Malta tourist information offices scattered around the island. However, here we highlight what we consider to be some of the most unusual, but important, Malta tourist information that everyone travelling to Malta should know:

1. What to pack

This is a question even traveler has, but not something provided in tourist information offices! If you’re trying to decide what to pack for Malta, do not go overboard with the warm clothes and always pack in a T-shirt, even in January. Your best bet is to leave that heavy jacket at home and pack layers instead, which you can peel off when it’s warmer and put back on as it gets chilly. During the long hot summers, you will only need a light long-sleeved item if you’re by the sea at night. With its mild temperatures and only short bursts of storm and gloom, Malta weather is great – get ready for it!

2. Why you can ditch the dictionary

Don’t you hate it when you travel to a country and you can’t read the menu or ask for directions? You may be learning English to have an extra card to play when language is a barrier. Malta is an easy place to travel, because English is a national language, almost everybody speaks it, and any information is also available in the English language. Full immersion is what you’ll get as an English language student in Malta, and when you’re feeling lazy, you might enjoy chatting to a local in Italian, German, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian … the Maltese are a skilled lot when it comes to languages!

3. The Maltese language

No, the Maltese are not arguing all the time every time they address each other. The unfamiliar semiotic sounds and tonality of the Maltese language cause it to come across as far from gentle to the unfamiliar ears of a foreigner, but do not be alarmed – you might be surprised when those you thought were arguing will burst into mutual laughter two minutes later.

4. Maltese mannerisms

Visitors from countries which are more conservative in their display of emotions will need to become accustomed to the Maltese way of expression. The Maltese are passionate Mediterranean people in both love and war – they speak loudly, they gesticulate, and they vibrantly express their emotions, which die down as quickly as they flared up – that’s all the norm in this part of the world.

5. Maltese hospitality

As in any country, you are likely to meet a tourist tout or two, or the naughty shopkeeper in tourist areas who will overcharge a foreigner. In general, though, the Maltese are warm-hearted and welcoming and will go out of their way to make you feel at home and help you out of a sticky situation. Considering Malta’s long history of foreign occupation and influence, it is almost surprising that most Maltese enjoy the cosmopolitan and holiday feeling tourists bring to the island. Take time to meet the locals; it is a wonderful way to get to know the heart and soul of the country beyond first impressions. And actually, if you need any more tourist information, just speak to the locals when you’re in Malta and they’ll surely help.

6. Driving on the left

If you are planning to rent a car to see the sights, bear in mind that we are one of the few countries that drive on the left, just like England, Australia and Japan. It may feel a little tricky at times, but the good news is that distances are short and you will get to your destination very quickly – do not get disheartened! The main thing to remember is to turn clockwise around the roundabouts – there is nothing that causes more mayhem on the road than a lost tourist driving around in the wrong direction!

7. What you should know about indicators and hazard lights

Well, this is kind of embarrassing. We all know we should not do it, yet you are bound to see it time and time again, so let’s acknowledge it and move on. Most Maltese people still do not have a clue why cars have indicator lights and don’t use them or use them wrong. They also think that hazard lights are what you do when you stop temporarily in a no-stopping zone while you step out of your car to get what you need from the shop (double yellow lines and double parking included). It’s a shame, and it still happens. You have been warned!

8. Keep your kit on

Maltese people come in many varieties: some very open minded and some very conservative. So while the cosy beaches and crystal sea offer much to enjoy in swimming, snorkelling, diving, watersports, boating, cruises and fishing, it is best you keep your kit on – skinny dipping is illegal! Remember also that beach wear is for the beach – locals do not appreciate women walking in their bikinis in the street, and men can be fined for driving without a shirt on.

9. Nothing is out to eat you

Visit Australia, and you will suddenly drop to the very bottom of the food chain. In Malta, the land and sea are safe from dangerous creatures. Having said that, there are a few that will sting, bite and hurt you if you get too close for comfort, such as jellyfish and the fireworm, but snakes and spiders are not poisonous. You will not need any special vaccinations either.

10. Leave your boredom at home

If you think that the small island means there is not much to entertain you, scrap that idea. Malta’s 312km² are jam-packed with things to do – al fresco dining, theatre, bars, clubs, archeological sites, historic cities, museums, theme attractions, adventure sports, beach activities, cultural events, and more will captivate your interest and entertain you, whatever your holiday mood. It will serve you to open up with curiosity to the variety of things to do in Malta; allow us to help you have the best learning holiday ever.
For tourist information related to English courses in Malta, write to us at [email protected].