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Country Guides for Europe

Malta

Malta

Situated south of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is a wondrous place of beauty and history. The 16th century walled city of Valletta with its cobblestone streets, squares ringed with baroque and Norman architecture and deep blue harbor is delightful to explore on foot. The nearby pre-historic temples at Hagar Qim date back to 3800 BC and are the oldest-known human structures, affording travelers a look at life in the Copper Age. Gozo is home to Calypso's Cave where Ulysses spent seven years, the 11th century Sicula-Norman Cathedral, and several good museums. The walled hilltop town of Mdina has beautiful St Paul's Cathedral, along with preserved dungeons that attest to the horrors of the Inquisition. When it's time to relax, the warm Mediterranean water is clear and inviting.

Language: Maltese, English

Major International Airport:

City

Airport
Airport
Code
Distance
From City
VallettaMalta Int'lMLA4 miles S

The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in Western Europe depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. For most areas of this region, you should observe health precautions similar to those that would apply while traveling in the United States.

Diseases found in Western Europe (risk can vary by country and region within a country; quality of in-country surveillance also varies)

Food and Waterborne Diseases
Make sure your food and drinking water are safe. Food and waterborne diseases are the primary cause of illness in travelers. Travelers' diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found throughout Western Europe and can contaminate food or water.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob (in animals bovine spongiform encephalopathy/mad-cow disease) cases have been reported primarily from the United Kingdom, though a small number of cases have been reported from other countries. Large outbreaks of trichinosis have occurred; outbreaks in France have been linked to horsemeat.

Disease Risks
In 2004-2005 there has been a marked increase in reported cases of mumps in the United Kingdom. Tickborne encephalitis, a viral infection of the central nervous system, occurs in Austria, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark (only on the island of Bornholm); a few cases have also been reported from Italy, Norway, and France. Travelers are at risk who visit or work in forested areas during the summer months and who consume unpasteurized dairy products. The vaccine for this disease is not available in the United States at this time. To prevent tickborne encephalitis, as well as Lyme disease, travelers should take precautions to prevent tick bites.

Leishmaniasis (cutaneous and visceral) is found in countries bordering the Mediterranean, with the highest number of cases from Spain, where it is an important opportunistic infection in HIV-infected persons.

Yellow Fever
There is no risk for yellow fever in Western Europe. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into the Azores, Madeira, and Malta if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa where yellow fever is endemic. For detailed information, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

Other Health Risks

Injuries
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers. Protect yourself from motor vehicle injuries: avoid drinking and driving; wear your safety belt and place children in age-appropriate restraints in the back seat; follow the local customs and laws regarding pedestrian safety and vehicle speed; obey the rules of the road; and use helmets on bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes. Avoid boarding an overloaded bus or mini-bus. Where possible, hire a local driver.

Vaccinations

Routine Vaccinations
Check with your healthcare provider: you and your family may need routine as well as recommended vaccinations.

Before travel, be sure you and your children are up to date on all routine immunizations according to schedules approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). See the schedule for adults and the schedule for infants and children. Some schedules can be accelerated for travel.

See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect. If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. It might not be too late to get your shots or medications as well as other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

Recommended Vaccinations
The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Western Europe. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

  • hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling. You are not at increased risk in Northern, Western, and Southern Europe, including the Mediterranean regions of Italy and Greece.
  • hepatitis B, especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria.

Required Vaccinations

  • None.

Staying Healthy

All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:

  • When using repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub them on your child. Avoid children's eyes and mouth and use it sparingly around their ears.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or, if hands are not visibly soiled, use a waterless, alcohol-based hand rub to remove potentially infectious materials from your skin and help prevent disease transmission.
  • In developing countries, drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, learn how to make water safer to drink.
  • Take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your health care provider for a prescription.)
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, even on beaches.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito and insect bites.
  • Do not eat food purchased from street vendors or food that is not well cooked to reduce risk of infection (i.e., hepatitis A and typhoid fever).
  • Do not drink beverages with ice.
  • Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.
  • Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as schistosomiasis.
  • Do not handle animals, especially monkeys, dogs, and cats, to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague). Consider pre-exposure rabies vaccination if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas.
  • Do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing or injections to prevent infections such as HIV and hepatitis B.

After You Return Home

If you become ill after your trip-even as long as a year after you return-tell your doctor where you have traveled.



Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Insect-borne diseases are not typically a problem in Malta

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

With the exception of first class resort hotels and restaurants, the water supply in Malta can be contaminated with viruses, bacteria and protozoa. Travelers should treat water before drinking to avoid potentially serious health problems.

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

No indigenous terrorist or extremist groups are known to be active in Malta, and no foreign terrorist organizations have carried out an attack against U.S. interests in Malta in recent years.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

CRIME: Malta has a low rate of violent crime. Property crime is also relatively low but on the rise in recent years. Theft of unattended personal property and car stereos from vehicles is a common problem. Visitors are strongly encouraged to secure their valuables, and be aware of pickpockets and purse snatches. Such criminals focus on areas and establishments frequented by tourist. Caution is particularly urged in the Paceville nightclub area, where excessive drinking and poor crowd control have led to instances of violent behavior. Poverty, homelessness and panhandling are almost non-existent in Malta. All visitors to Malta should practice the same good, common sense personal security practices that are part of everyday life in urban areas within the U.S., particularly when spending time in areas frequented by tourists.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.



Source: U.S. Department of State

Malta enjoys a Mediterranean climate of long, warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Hot summer days are usually moderated by cool, northwesterly sea breezes, although the hot, humid sirocco winds occasionally blow in from Africa and raise the temperature dramatically. The rainy season is typically from October to February, and autumn and winter thunderstorms are very common.


City
Annual
Precip. Days
Annual
Precip. Totals
Luqa8422"
Valletta5221"

Malta's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

A passport is required. A visa is not required for U.S. citizens for up to 90 days. Visit the Embassy of Malta web site at http://usembassy.state.gov/malta/ for the most current visa information.

Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Malta is 1 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Malta would be 6:00 pm

The unit of currency in Malta is the Maltese lira (MTL).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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Other Travelers' Experiences in Malta

"Firstly what a great site! Secondly I am Maltese and i would like to assure all people visiting Malta that the tap water is safe to drink. The taste might need getting used to in some parts of the country but it is still perfectly acceptable. I hope you enjoy your stay in Malta!"