Do’s and Don’ts for a safe trip
You don’t need to worry as Malta has a reputation for being one of the safest countries in the world. That said, there are a few words of wisdom that you may want to share with your guests to ensure they enjoy an incident-free holiday in the Mediterranean.
1. The Sun
It can get really hot in Malta in the summer months, often soaring well into the 40 degree zone in August. While it can be humid, there is also a deceptive sea breeze in Malta that makes you think it isn’t as hot as it is. Don’t mess about with low factor suncreams in summer months, factor 30 will still result in a great tan and consider beach suits for kids as sun stroke is always a risk in such a hot country.
2. Drinking Water
It is best not to drink the water directly from the taps in Malta to avoid getting an upset stomach. While the locals have no problems, the water does have higher levels of salt due to the fact that it’s supplied from the sea via desalination plants. Visitors stomachs tend not to be used to this so it can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It can be used for washing up, teeth brushing and so on, but it’s best to opt for bottled water for drinking. Handy Tip: If you are spending over €100 in the supermarket, you are often offered three 2 litre six-packs of water free, great if you are self-catering and stocking up at the start of the holiday!
Towards the beginning and the end of summer, like many places in the Med, Malta can fall prey to swarms of jellyfish. Don’t let this put you off as they tend to collect in certain bays depending on currents and can be avoided by going to a different beach, but do look before you leap. The jellyfish aren’t poisonous but the stings do hurt. Most restaurants and beach bars can help you out if you do get stung and most of the beaches have signs with instruction for avoiding and dealing with stings. Read more on jellyfish in Malta.
4. Cover Up
As Malta is a very religious nation, it is prohibited to sunbathe topless on the beaches. Likewise, if you are roaming the streets in a bikini or swimming trunks you can expect to be taken to task by the disapproving older generation of Malta, particularly if you stray from the tourist trail. When visiting churches and cathedrals, ladies should cover their shoulders. In many cases there will be a person handing out shawls to those who are deemed under-dressed. While it doesn’t feel that reserved in general, it is polite to have some respect for Malta’s culture and tow the line.
Crime is really low in Malta so you shouldn’t feel scared, indeed, the feeling is one of warmth and safety even in the early hours. However, where there are lots of tourists there is always an element of pick-pocketing. Just exercise the usual level of caution when out in late night bars or crowded clubs and keep bags and wallets close to you.
6. Kids at the Beach
Many of Malta’s bays descend immediately into deep water so be sure to watch kids if you’re visiting such an area. There are a number of very long, shallow sandy beaches which are perfect for playing in, but again, be aware that there are generally no lifeguards so it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your children at all times.
7. Driving in Malta
Driving in Malta is the same as in the UK where you drive on the left-hand side. However, you will find drivers generally far less disciplined on the islands. Round-a-bout rules are debatable with people just going when they feel like it, dodgy overtaking is commonplace and the roads themselves are fairly well full of holes. Just keep your eyes open so you can anticipate odd maneuvers from other drivers and you’ll be fine!
By observing the rules of common sense, you’re sure to have a perfectly enjoyable holiday in the Maltese Islands. You’ll find the locals very friendly and helpful, the island very easy to get around and the climate as warm as the hospitality.