Malta

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WorldMediterraneanMalta
Malta
35°53.000'N, 014°30.000'E Chart icon.png
Maltamap.png
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Map
Maltaflag.png
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Flag
Capital Valletta
Language Maltese
Currency Euro € (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1) , DST: CEST (UTC+2)
Calling code +356

The country of Malta consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Malta's total area is 316 km2 (121mi2).

Charts

A Typical Maltese Boat
BA - British Admiralty
2123 - 1:300,000 Capo Granitola to Capo Passero (Does not cover SE part of Malta)
2124 - 1:300,000 Isola di Lampedusa to Capo Passero including Malta
194 - 1:100,000 Approaches to Malta and Ghawdex (Gozo)
2537 - 1:50,000 Ghawdex (Gozo), Kemmuna (Comino) and the northern part of Malta
2538 - 1:50,000 Malta
211 - 1:25,000 Plans in the Maltese Islands
NIMA - US National Imagery and Mapping Agency
53200 - Malta to Stretto di Messina
53203 - Islanda of Malta and Ghawdex (Gozo)
53204 - Northwest Malta
53205 - Approaches to Valletta Harbors and Marsaxlokk
53206 - Valletta and Marsaxlokk

Weather

The climate of the Malta islands is Mediterranean, which means mild rainy winters and hot dry summers. Snow is very rare but in winter high winds are common. The worst wind is the dreaded Gregale, a NE wind bringing big seas. The average high temperature is 21° C (71°F) reaching into the low 30's in July and August, while the average low temperature is 15° C (60° F) reaching 9° C in January and February.

Weather links

Passages

See Mediterranean.

Islands

Key to symbols: |Port of entry icon – port of entry |Harbour icon – harbour |Anchorage icon – anchorage ||
  • Malta Malta /wiki/Malta Port of entry icon – port of entry |Harbour icon – harbour |Anchorage icon – anchorage |
  • Gozo Gozo /wiki/Gozo Port of entry icon – port of entry |Harbour icon – harbour |Anchorage icon – anchorage |
  • Comino Comino /wiki/Comino Anchorage icon – anchorage |

Communication

  • Valletta Port Control - VHF channels 12 & 16,
  • Valletta Radio - VHF Channel 12 transmits weather forecasts every 4 hours starting at 0903
  • Malta Radio - Channel VHF 04 transmits weather forecasts every 4 hours, one hour ahead of Valletta Radio.

Also see World Cruiser's Nets.

Navigation

Refer to official charts and pilots.

Entrance

Maltese Boat Detail

Arrival

The first port of call for non-EU visiting yachts MUST be at an official Port of Entry (Mgarr, Gozo or Valletta, Malta). Contact "Valletta Port Control" on VHF 12 or 16 whan about 5 miles off. EU visiting yachts coming from EU do not need to contact Port Authority. Pets (must be in compliance with the "Pet Passport") must be cleared by the Health Department vet before the vessel is allowed to berth.

Departure

Check with the marina offices for current requirements.

Customs and Immigration

Customs

Yachts may remain for an indefinite period of time in Malta - crew stays are governed by the immigration allowances. Firearms and ammunition MUST be declared on arrival and be will be held in custody.

PETS: Dogs and Cats fall under the European Regulations on non-commercial movement of pet animals (Pet Travel Scheme) and the usual conditions requiring a "Pet's Passport", microchip, current Rabies Vacination and Health Certificate apply in Malta.

Immigration

Malta is a member of the Schengen Agreement. Visas are not required for nationals of all European Union countries, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong (SAR), Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea (Rep), Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA, UK Overseas Territories, Vatican City and Venezuela. Visas are required by all other nationalities, obtainable from Maltese or British diplomatic missions abroad. Nationals from countries needing a visa and arriving aboard a yacht are usually granted a short-stay visa on arrival.

Sattelite View of Valletta

Health and Security

Health

Submit any health warnings/information here.

Security

Generally considered to be a relatively safe environment. Beware of pickpockets especially in the crowded tourist areas of Valletta, Sliema, etc. Boat owners should take care to secure outboards etc. and lock up when leaving their vessels unattended. There have been cases of theft reported from boats in Msida marina and on the Msida breakwater.

Berthing

The following are the main ports in Malta. Click on the appropriate heading for details.

Valletta

Marsamxett Harbour

Marsamxett Harbour is a large natural harbour lying on the NW side of Valletta. Manoel Island lies pretty much in the middle of this harbour. To the north of Manoel Island is the the Sliema waterfront, a major tourist area with numerous hotels, bars, etc. Many day tripper and harbour tour boats operate from here. Manoel Island Boat Yard is also located here. To the south of Manoel Island is Lazaretto Creek. Manoel Island Marina and Sandy Yacht Marina are located here in Lazaretto Creek. Further to the SE is Msida Creek where Msida Marina lies behind it's own protective breakwater.

Grand Harbour

A large natural harbour on the SE side of Valletta. Primarily a commercial harbour used by cruise ships and other commercial traffic. Grand Harbour is also home to Grand Harbour Marina (most expensive) and Kalkara Marina (medium priced). The harbour is well protected by a detached breakwater off the entrance on the NW side. The first bay on the left is the only one in Valetta which is not developped, thus one can also anchor here.

Marsaxlokk

A fishing port on the SE side of Malta. Attractive for its colourfully painted fishing boats.

Birzebugga

A large bay overshadowed by a large container port on the southern side. Baldacchino Boat Yard is located here.

Gzira

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

Royal Malta Yacht Club
  • Msida Marina - Although a bit far from everything, the largest, best protected and best valued marina on the Maltese Islands is located in Msida Creek, deep into Marsamxett Harbour on the West side of Valletta.
  • Mgarr Marina - The only harbour of Gozo. It is used by the ferries linking Gozo to the island of Malta as well as local fishing boats. There are floating pontoons for visiting yachts.
  • Portomaso Marina - Part of a residential complex approximately 1.5 miles NW of Valletta.
  • Royal Malta Yacht Club - Located near the entrance to Msida Creek, the RMYC is host to the internationally renowned annual Middle Sea Race.
  • Malta Cruising Club
  • Kalkara Marina - Good location to visit Vittoriosa, but far from Valetta

Anchorages

  • St Julians
  • Rinella Bay in Valetta's Grand Harbour (very small)
  • L-Ghadira bay on the NE end of Malta island (excellent holding) - This is also an excellent beach
  • Blue Lagoon on the W side of Comino island (very very busy)


Amenities

See each port or island above.

Services
Repairs Manoel Island Yacht Yard/wiki/Malta#.5Bhttp:.2F.2Fwww.yachtyard-malta.com_Manoel_Island_Yacht_Yard.5DService icon Manoel Island Yacht Yard [[Malta#Manoel Island Yacht Yard|Manoel Island Yacht Yard]] a full service boat yard on the N side of Manoel Island in Marsamxett Harbour.

Kalkara Boat Yard/wiki/Malta#.5Bhttp:.2F.2Fwww.kalkaraboatyard.com.mt_Kalkara_Boat_Yard.5DService icon Kalkara Boat Yard [[Malta#Kalkara Boat Yard|Kalkara Boat Yard]] a ssmaller boat yard in Kalkara creek, located in Grand Harbour.

A & J Baldacchino Boat Yard/wiki/Malta#.5Bhttp:.2F.2Fwww.ajbaldacchinoboatyard.com_A_.26_J_Baldacchino_Boat_Yard.5DService icon A & J Baldacchino Boat Yard [[Malta#A & J Baldacchino Boat Yard|A & J Baldacchino Boat Yard]] a small family run yard close to the container port at Birzebbuga in the SE corner of Malta.

Note: some Malta boat yards have restrictions on what work can be done by owners, what must be done by the yard, whether outside contractors may work in the yard, whether an owner may liveaboard in the yard, etc. These restrictions vary from year to year. Owners of yachts should check carefully before committing to a particular yard.

Internet See each port or island above.
Mobile connectivity ?
Vehicle rentals See each port or island above.

Provisioning

See each port or island above.

Eating out

See each port or island above.

Transportation

Malta has an extensive bus service with routes to most parts of the island. There are two main system of taxis: White Taxis, known as such because they are all white and have a taxi number written on their doors, and Mini-cab companies. Unlike many other places, the mini-cabs tend to be more reliable, offer a better service and are cheaper than the white taxis. Taxi companies have proliferated over recent years but the best known are eCabs and the Yellow Cabs, using yellow London taxis.

Malta International Airport (MLA) is well served by flights to a range of destinations including multiple flights per day to UK, Italian, German, French and Dutch airports as well as flights to a number of other European and Middle East cities. AirMalta is the national carrier but major airlines like British Airways (starting again March 2014), Lufthansa, Alitalia, Emirates, Air France etc are joined by Ryanair, Easyjet etc.

A fast catamaran service runs between Malta and Sicily, connecting Valletta with the port of Pozzallo. This is run by Virtu Ferries and operates daily if not twice daily, depending on the season. The catamaran takes both passengers and vehicles and takes 90 minutes for the trip. This is often used by cruisers based in Malta who might want to visit Sicily or cruisers who might be wintering their boat in the marina in the town of Marina di Ragusa on the southern coast of Sicily and make their flight connections through Malta.

Tourism

History

Malta has a long history. The islands were inhabited from neolithic times and have seen many conquerors —Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Crusaders. The last were the Knights of St. John who after they were chased away from Rhodes by the Ottomans moved to Malta in 1522. They built the very imposing Valletta overlooking the Grand Harbour. They were followed, in 1798, by the French under Napoleon and finally by the British in 1800. The harbours of Valletta (Grand Harbour and Marsamxett Harbour) were a major anchorage of the allied fleet during World War II. Following the war, the British left and Malta became an independent nation in 1964. Today, Malta is the most densely populated country (about 410,000 inhabitants) in Europe. In 2004 Malta became a member of the expanded European Union. As a result of all the innovations, the Maltese are a definitely Mediterranean mixture but, having been under the British, have a most un-Mediterranean industriousness and efficiency. They speak Maltese, which is an amalgam of Arabic, Italian, and French but everyone also speaks fluent English. In Malta you can get almost any conceivable repair for your boat. Because of this and because Malta is in the middle of the Mediterranean it is a very popular stop for many cruisers.

Places to Visit

In Malta the major points of interest can be divided into the prehistoric and the medieval.

Valletta
A Shop in Valletta

The best place to start sightseeing in Malta is to visit its capital Valletta, the city built by the Knights of Malta commencing on the 28 March 1566, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Go to the palace of the Magnus Magister (Grand Master), currently the President's Palace in St George's Square, and St. John's Cathedral, which is an amazingly decorated Baroque church which also houses two Caravaggio paintings: the Beheading of St. John and St. Jerome. The latter was stolen in 1987 but amazingly enough had been recovered. Caravaggio by the way, had lived in Malta for 4 years and had became a Knight of St. John. If you have only time to visit one site, St John's Cathedral would be the one. Details here.

Valletta is full of very good restaurants and other places to eat of a range of levels and prices. Valletta, is also worth a visit at night. Wandering through the well lit streets is a joy. Plan to go and eat their one night but get there as it gets dark and walk the streets before your dinner.

The Malta Experience, at the North Eastern tip of Valletta is also worth a visit. This is a slide show which encapsulates the millennia of history that you will see in Malta and puts it into perspective allowing you to understand the context of what else you visit.

Wandering in Valletta and seeing these most impressive fortifications one cannot help but think how much the native Maltese must had "loved" the knights who used them as labor. Also, some of the sculptural memorials of Grand Masters in the palace and in St. John's Cathedral, in particular the one to Nicolas Cottoner, largely responsible together with his brother Grand Master Rafael Cottoner in redecorating the Cathedral in the Baroque style, depict captive Turks and Blacks as lesser people. These were, of course, "infidels" and were fair game to be enslaved. For a very interesting account of the Knights of St John read the Alonso De Contreras chronicle.

The Grand Masters Palace
A Street in Valletta
A Knife Sharpener's Cart
The Main Street in Valletta
Paola
In the Hypogeion

Paola is the location of Hypogeion the fabulous underground prehistoric and UNESCO World Heritage site. This is very much worth a visit but because of the limited number of visitors allowed per day, I believe 80, you will need to make a reservation for the visit and, during the tourist season there may be a waiting list of up to 3 weeks. You may make reservations on-lin.

Next to the town is the site of Taxien, another UNESCO World Heritage site, is on the surface and while it is very confusing it is also very impressive. The megaliths here are very soft and the whole site ought to had been under a roof to protect it from the elements.

Monumental Figure of a Woman, Taxien
Taxien: the Megaliths
Mdina & Rabat

Mdina and Rabat are right next to each other. They are mediaeval towns from before the arrival of the knights. Mdina is a quaint fortified town and was the capital of Malta before the building of Valletta by the Knights of St. John. It is fantastic and in a very well preserved state. Everything is very clean. You can spent the best part of the day wandering through the old streets and admire the view from the ramparts.

Mdina is in the centre of the island of Malta and well worth a visit, both during the day to visit the sites that would be open, but also at night to soak in the atmosphere. There are a number of places where you can eat in Mdina and I would recommend planning a specific visit there. Mdina is a 30 minute bus ride from Valletta.

A Street in Mdina
The Cathidral of Mdina
Mosta Dome
The Mosta Dome

On the way to Mdina & Rabat you drive through the city of Mosta. Mosta has a famous Cathedra with a very large dome. During the war a German bomb fell and went right through the dome but did not explode. This, of course, was attributed to a miracle: Il-Miraklu Tal-Bomba.


Friends

Submit details/contacts of cruiser's "friends" that can be contacted in advance or on arrival - who can offer information and assistance to our cruising "family".

Forums

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

Links

References & Publications

Covers the coasts of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Sardinia, Sicily, the Ionian 'heel' and Malta

Comments

We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

  • I have visited Malta twice and both times I was not disappointed, in fact I loved it. It is one of the most "cruiser friendly" places I have been. The people here combine British efficiency with Mediterranean warmth and hospitality. And they love boats. --Istioploos Greece Icon.png
  • Malta has been a popular wintering spot for cruising yachts in years gone buy, with a buoyant social scene focused largely around Msida marina and breakwater. Uncertainties in the past year or so about the privatisation of Msida Marina, coupled with concerns over availabilty of berths, and loss of the shower and toilet facilities at Msida have perhaps been a part of the reason there has been a significant reduction in the number of yachts wintering afloat in Malta in the winter 2010/11. Unfavourable restrictions on yachtsmen working on their own boats in the yard has probably also been a contributing factor. It is hoped that with Msida Marina now privatised and the removal of some restrictions in the largest yard, that cruising yachtsmen may once again find Malta a good place to winter afloat. Having myself spent the winter of 2009/10 afloat at Msida breakwater I can say that Malta can be a good place to winter afloat with lots to see and do as well as many excellent facilities for carrying out winter maintenance of a yacht. --Wayward United Kingdom Icon.png
  • I have lived in Malta for most of my life and have been boating their since I can remember. It is well worth a visit but bays can get crowded on summer weekends. I would recommend that during July, August and early September you cruise during the week and return from the rush for the weekend. Although there is now quite a large amount of marina space, demand is high both from local and visiting yachts. There are of course lots of bays to anchor in and, given the islands' small size, you can always find shelter in such a bay while cruising. However if you are looking for marina space, I would recommend you get in contact and pre-book. Do not assume that you can arrive and be certain of a space. -- jdg500 Malta Icon.png

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This is a usable page of the cruising guide. However, please contribute if you can to help it grow further. Click on Comments to add your personal notes on this page or to discuss its contents. Alternatively, if you feel confident to edit the page, click on the edit tab at the top and enter your changes directly.


SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, Istioploos, TaoJones, Wayward, jdg500


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