The Republic of Malta, often called “Malta”, is an independent nation on islands, located in the Mediterrean Sea, near southern Italy. The larger island is named Malta and the smaller island is named Gozo. Malta has been ruled by several countries, including the Romans, the Moors, the Knights of St. John, the French and the British. The British governed Malta from 1814 until 1964 and maintained a presence in Malta until 1979.
The Republic is a member of the European Union, has a population of approximately 500,000 people and has a capitol, named Valletta. English, Italian, Arabic, and the native Maltese language are spoken widely in Malta.
During the month of October, northern Europe is often cold, windy, and grey with low hanging black clouds. The newspapers and other media discuss “red zones”, which have high death rates due to Covid-19 and high numbers of Covid-19 cases. Such news makes many potential travelers think that traveling anywhere outside their home is life-threatening. Sometimes, staying in your own town is more dangerous than traveling to another place.
We decided we definitely wanted to go someplace warm to escape the poor weather and find someplace where we could renew our energy levels with warm weather and sunshine. But, where can we go during this pandemic? Perhaps, we could go to Malta.
Traveling during a pandemic requires planning. Often, regulations change frequently without much advance notice. Every country and often areas within countries have their own unique regulations regarding travel into and out of the area.
Switzerland placed Malta on the Swiss list of “red zones”. Travelers arriving in Switzerland from Malta had to self-quarantine at home for ten days. Additionally, at this time, no airline flew directly from Switzerland to Malta. In contrast, Germany did NOT place Malta on their German list of “red zones”. Lufthansa flew directly from Frankfurt am Main to the Maltese airport, Luqa. Similar to many Swiss, we flew from Switzerland to Frankfurt am Main and then, onward directly to Malta.
The three airports were relatively empty, compared to their crowded conditions prior to this pandemic. Because of the absence of long lines, we quickly checked-in and quickly passed through customs controls and security checks.
Our experience is that the airports and airlines we used have implemented measures to protect their travelers. Masks are required everywhere in the airport and in the airplane. Announcements constantly remind you that masks must be worn on your face. Sanitizers for your hands are available in many places. Lines on the floor show you where to stand to ensure that you follow “safe distancing” guidelines.
Staff at the check-in counter wears masks and gloves. A transparent barrier protects them from the travelers.
When we arrived in Malta, the staff checked our temperature. The staff did not require us to be tested for Covid-19 and did not require us to quarantine.
We returned to Switzerland, via Frankfurt am Main. Since we had visited Malta, we had to self-quarantine at home for ten days.
OUR EXPERIENCE AS A TOURIST IN MALTA
To summarize, we had a good travel experience in Malta.
The weather was perfect with a warm temperature of 27 deg C and with a comfortable humidity of 65%. There was a refreshing sea breeze on the entire island.
We rented a car at the airport. The staff reminded us that in Malta, you drive on the left side of the road and that the driver sits on the right side of the car. We found that after some intense thinking for several minutes, “keep left, keep left”, driving on the left side of the road did not present a problem. The Maltese frequently see tourists struggling to drive on the left-side of the road. Naturally, all drivers must respect speed limits and other traffic signs on the roads.
We drove through lovely scenery to our pre-booked hotel, which was our first hotel in Malta.
We decided to stay in a hotel away from the normal touristic attractions or potentially crowded cities because we wanted to be “safe”. Our second hotel was five minutes away from the most spectacular town on the island, Mdina. Previously, this hotel had been a luxury villa, which was located in front of the Presidential Palace. The villa had been transformed into a five star hotel with magnificent gardens. The local football team (soccer to our USA readers) had chosen this hotel as the safest place to stay in Malta during this pandemic.
Malta is a small island so it was easy to reach the interesting sites or the various beaches in a few minutes.
Every day was an adventure, because, every day, we explored new places on Malta. For details about the places we visited, please go to our Instagram page or our Facebook page.
All the Maltese people were extremely friendly and helpful. They wanted us to explore their island and discover their long and remarkable history. They told us about places that we MUST visit. They told us about their cuisine, which combines the heritage of their many different governing countries. Every Maltese is a Professor, specialized in their country.
Do we want to return to the Republic of Malta in the future? The answer is “most definitely”.
For more details about the places that we have visited in Malta, please check our Instagram or Facebook pages.