FAST FACTS about MALTA


CURRENCY

Malta's currency is decimal. The Lira (LM) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents; each cent is again divided into 10 mils. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency visitors may bring into Malta, providing it is declared upon arrival. However, the maximum amount of Maltese currency that may be brought into Malta is LM50.

Visitors may take any unspent foreign currency out of Malta, but no more than LM25 in Maltese currency.


BANKS

Usually open 8.30am to 12.30pm, Mondays through Fridays, and up to 11.30am on Saturdays. Foreign exchange facilities are available at the Airport on a 24 hour basis, year round and up to 4pm at most banks. Automated Teller Machines (ATM's) are situated in the major commercial and touristic areas.


TIME

Malta follows Central European Time (CET) which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and six hours ahead of North American Eastern Standard Time (EST).


ELECTRICITY

Electricity runs on 240 volts, single phase, 50Hz cycle. The square-fitting standard three pin British-style plugs and sockets are used and visitors should obtain conversion plugs at their local hardware, electrical, or travel goods stores.


WATER

Tap water is perfectly safe for drinking.


RELIGION

Malta is predominantly Roman Catholic, but the Maltese Constitution guarantees freedom of worship. There are also churches belonging to various other religious denominations.


LANGUAGE

The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English. Almost all Maltese residents speak English. Maltese is a semitic language written in the Roman script compromising a vast element of words of Italian, French and English origin. Italian is also widely spoken.


BEACH FACILITIES

There are numerous sandy beaches, especially in the northern part of the island, the best known being Mellieha Bay, Golden Sands and Armier. In the south, the best sandy beach is a Birzebbugia. beach (malta) Ramla Bay in Gozo stands out for its beautiful red sand. Rock bathing is possible at most other beach sites.

Bathing is safe anywhere around the island as there are no tides. Sea temperatures average 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer. Beach facilities in the high season, between March and October, include bars, restaurants, changing rooms, showers and umbrellas. On some beaches, it is possible to rent speed boats, dinghies, row boats, water skis, surfboards, etc.

Topless bathing is not permitted on public beaches and vacationers are kindly urged to respect the feelings of the Maltese people.


TELEPHONES

International calls may be made from Malta to nearly all parts of the world. Calls may be made either from your hotel or from Telemalta's offices at St George's, Qawra, Bugibba and Valletta.

Card phones are located all around the island. Mobile phones are available for rental. Malta will form part of the GSM network from January 1997


TELEVISION AND RADIO

Maltese television features a number of American and British programs, daily news bulletins in English and cable TV (Melita Cable TV). Radio Malta transmits daily on two services: 998KHz (medium wave) and 89.7 MHz (VHF/FM). Other (commercial) radio stations operate 24 hours daily. Voice Of America Europe is also transmitted. CNN is also received. Over 14 Italian channels are received in Malta.

MEDICAL CARE

Malta enjoys a high standard of medical care. The general hospital, St Luke's, is in Guardamangia, but there are government health clinics in various towns.

Persons who are receiving medical treatment and who may need to carry medicines into Malta or purchase fresh supplies locally would be well advised to arm themselves with a letter of introduction from their doctor.

Malta has special clinics for diabetes sufferers and pharmacies generally stock a wide range of diabetic products.


DRESS

In summer, very light and informal clothing. In winter, some lightweight dress for the warm, sunny days, together with some warmer clothing for the cooler days and evenings as in other parts of Southern Europe.


ACCOMMODATION

The Maltese islands offer varies accommodation from hotels, guest houses, vacation complexes and condominium rentals and villas. These are all officially classified according to international standards and are expected to exhibit a certificate confirming their official classification.

The National Tourism Organisation can provide comprehensive information on accommodations in Malta.
National Tourism Organisation
280, Republic Street
Valletta CMR 02, Malta
Tel: (+ 356) 223595
Fax: (+ 356) 220401


CAMPING

There are no organized or official camping or recreational vehicle sites in Malta.


SHOPPING

Shops are usually open between the hours of 9am and 7pm with a three hour lunch break in between. In commercial areas frequented by tourists, however, most shops remain open until approximately 10.00pm. Shops are not normally open on Sundays and public holidays. There are open-air markets, one day a week in most towns and villages. The largest is the Valletta market on Sunday mornings.

Major credit cards, travellers cheques and Eurocheques are accepted at most leading shops and restaurants.


BABY SUPPLIES

All well-known brands of formula, diapers, medicines and other baby products are available from pharmacies in Malta.


CUSTOMES

Personal belongings and clothing intended for personal use are not liable to duty. The duty-free allowance for adults is 200 cigarettes or the equivalent in cigars or tobacco, one bottle of spirits and one bottle of wine and reasonable quantity of perfume and toilet water.


QUARANTINE AND IMPORTATION OF ANIMALS

Importation of healthy pets is allowed after approval from the competent authorities. The pets may however first be kept in quarantine for a short period.



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