When it comes to moving overseas, particularly for the Brits, it tends to be the same places that come up as potential destinations. The South of France and the Costa del Sol are always popular retirement destinations, while the likes of Singapore and New Zealand tend to be popular for those moving abroad for work.
One European destination that’s often overlooked as a potential retirement location is Malta. With 300 days of sunshine a year it’s ideal for those looking for a warmer climate, and the idyllic beaches and clear waters make it perfect for those looking for sun, sea and sand.
Language and Culture
English is widely spoken so it’s fairly easy for expats to acclimatise, and the various tourist destinations around the island more than cater to international visitors. The culture itself is tilted a little to the conservative side, but in general it’s a fairly relaxed place and it’s very welcoming to foreigners.
The locals can take a few liberties with time – if you book a taxi for 1pm it’s genuinely surprising for it to arrive on time – but once you adjust it’s easy to accommodate the more flexible approach to keeping appointments.
Officially the Maltese drive on the left hand side of the road like the UK, but in practice most drivers will look to drive where the road is smoothest rather than on the proper side. Your first couple of trips in a car can be white-knuckle experiences, but the locals are fairly liberal with their interpretation of driving laws so it’s best to just try and get used to it!
There are regular bus services run by Malta Public Transport, with timetables regularly updated on their website. Victoria Bus Station serves as the main hub for the service, and at present there are more than 80 routes covering the island.
There is no train service on the island, so public transport is limited to buses and taxis.
Property in Malta is relatively cheap when compared with other popular European expat destinations. There was a major property boom in the early 2000’s as a result of relaxed building regulations and low interest rates, however there has been a decline in the last few years following the financial crisis.
While it’s not the biggest of countries, most places have their own distinct feel so it’s best to pay a couple of visits to try and get an idea of which area will suit you. Short term accommodation is fairly affordable, with various hotels in Malta from Chevron offering good deals throughout the year.
Once you’ve chosen your location, your choice of property really comes down to the budget you have available. Bigger villas with private pools are still on the expensive side, however you can pick up a good sized apartment for a lot less than you’d imagine. A 3 bedroom apartment can go for between €140-300,000, while for a 3 bedroom house the cost can be around €400,000.
Some expats will be required to apply for a property permit in the Special Designated Areas if they’re looking to buy. There are various regulations around qualifying to buy property on the island, largely around residency time, so make sure you confirm everything with local government before making any big plans.
Malta has plenty to offer as a retirement destination. An excellent climate, affordable property and excellent scenery are just a few reasons to consider spending your golden years on the island.