Useful Information

Language
The official languages are Maltese and English.  Maltese is a language of Semitic origin written in the Latin script.  Over the centuries, it has incorporated many words derived from English, Italian and French.  More on the origins of the Maltese Language.  If you are interested in learning English in Gozo, we can recommend you a local English Language School.

The Maltese Flag
The Maltese Islands national flag is reputed to be one of the oldest in the world.  As a reward to the Maltese who helped him vanquish the Arabs in 1090, Count Roger the Norman, is said to have torn a strip of his red-and-white chequered flag and given it to the Maltese Islanders.  The George Cross, awarded to the people of Gozo and Malta in 1942 for wartime bravery, was added when the Islands became independent in September 1964.

Currency and Exchange Services
Malta's Currency is the euro. One euro is divided into 100 euro cents. Notes in circulation come in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 denominations and there are €0.01, €0.02, €0.05, €0.10, €0.20, €0.50, €1 and €2 coins. There are four banks in Victoria, APS Bank in Main Gate Street, Bank of Valletta and HSBC in Republic Street and Lombard Bank in Ninu Cremona Street, All have an ATM service and there are other ATMs and automatic exchange in Marsalforn and Xlendi. Banks in Gozo open from Monday to Saturday between 08.30 and 13.30 hrs. The major credit cards – Visa, Master Card, American Express are widely accepted in most outlets. For daily exchange rates dail-a-rate Tel: +356 21493123.

Useful Phone Numbers

 
Emergency 112
Ambulance 196
Gozo Hospital  2156 1600
Police 191
Fire Emergency 199
Gozo Channel 2155 6114
Gozo Heliport 2155 7905
Malta International Airport 2124 9600
Flight Enquires 5004 3333
Government Information Service 153
Overseas Operators 1152
Time Check 195
Weather Forecast 5004 3848
Yellow Pages helpline 8007 2237
Directory Enquires 1182
Vodafone Enquires 1189
Go Mobile Enquires 1187
Wardens 2156 5599

Climate
Gozo's climate is strongly influenced by the sea and is typical of the Mediterranean. The Maltese Islands have a very sunny climate with a daily average of five or six hours sunshine in mid-winter to more than twelve hours in summer.

Winters are mild, with the occasional short chilly period brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe.

Summers area hot, dry and very sunny. Day-time temperatures in summer are often mitigated by cooling sea breezes, but in spring and autumn a very hot wind from Africa occasionally brings unseasonally high temperatures and humidity. This is known as Sirocco – this wind effects Greece and Italy as well; in Gozo the air is generally drier because of the short sea track from the African coast.

Annual rainfall is low, averaging 578mm a year and the length of the dry season is longer than in neighbouring Italy. Sea bathing is quite possible well in the 'winter' months, and the peak beach season can last until late October.

Gozo Weather –Daily Averages

Month

Hours of
Bright Sunshine

Rainfall
mm

Temperature

Sea

Max.

Min.

C

F

C

F

C

F

January

5.02

95.5

15.5

59

9.6

49.3

15.3

59.5

February

6.28

62.9

15.7

60.3

9.4

48.9

14.9

58.8

March

7.14

42.4

17

62.6

10.3

50.5

15.1

59.2

April

8.28

26.6

19.3

66.7

11.9

53.4

15.8

60.4

May

9.53

9.7

23.8

74.8

15

59

17.6

63.7

June

10.92

0.8

28.1

82.6

18.8

65.8

21.1

70

July

11.71

0.4

31.1

88

21.1

70

24

75.2

August

10.82

5.3

31.5

88.7

22.1

71.8

25.7

78.3

September

8.51

49.9

28.4

83.1

20.4

68.7

25

77

October

6.99

82.1

24.6

76.3

18.1

64.6

23.1

73.6

November

5.89

93.7

20.3

68.5

14.5

58.1

20.4

68.7

December

5.05

98.4

17

62.6

11.1

52

17.2

63

Yearly Average

8

567.7 *

22.7

72.9

15.2

59.4

19.6

67.3

* Data collected and supplied by the Meteorological Office, Malta International Airport plc.

 

Electricity
The electrical supply is 240 volts, single phase, 50 cycles. The 13-amp, three pin, rectangular plug system is used in Malta and Gozo.  Adapters are easy to find.

Water
Tap water is perfectly safe for drinking. There is also a wide range of local and imported still and sparkling waters.

Chemists
Chemists are found throughout the island and are open during normal shopping hours. On Sundays chemists open on a roster from 07.30 until 11.00 hrs. Check the local Saturday and Sunday Papers for details of the roster.

Lauretana Pharmacy Għajnsielem - 36 Mgarr Road 21563017
Tony's Pharmacy Marsalforn – Qbajjar Road 21563617
Nadur Pharmacy Nadur – 28th April 1688 Square 21563589
St. Joseph Pharmacy Qala – 28 St. Joseph Square 21555348
Abela's Pharmacy Victoria – 42 De Soldanis Street 21556170
Azzopardi Pharmacy Victoria – Capuchin's Street 21563233
Batu Pharmacy Victoria – 38 Palm Street 21551814
Castle Pharmacy Victoria – 2 Independence Square 21556970
Palm Pharmacy Victoria – 2 Palm Street 21558388
Taċ-Ċawla Pharmacy Victoria – 'Marga' Dr. A. Tabone Street 21557819
Joyce's Pharmacy Xaghra – 8th September Avenue 21561486
St. John's Pharmacy Xewkija – 85 Independence Street 21563052

Baby Requisites
All well-known brands of milk formulae, nappies, medicines and other baby products are available from chemists and supermarkets throughout Gozo. All locally produced dairy products are safe for consumption. Milk is pasteurised and available daily in cartoons.

Libraries and Archives
The Public Library in Vajringa Street, Victoria is a reference library with a good collection of melitensia, that is books on Malta and Gozo and other local publications (Tel: +356 21556200). Material is partly catalogued according to the Dewey Decimal Classification,

The Lending Library at St. Francis Square, Victoria issues temporary readers' tickets to visitors (Tel: +356 21559451).

Public Holidays
Malta and Gozo have fourteen public holidays. On these days museums and most shops are closed.

1st January New Year's Day
10th February St. Paul's Shipwreck
19th March St. Joseph's Day
March / April Good Friday
31st March Freedom Day
1st May Labour Day
7th June Sette Giugno
29th June St. Peter & St. Paul
15th August The Assumption (St. Mary)
8th September Victory Day (Nativity of the Virgin Mary)
21st September Independence Day
8th December Immaculate Conception
13th December Republic Day
25th December Christmas Day

Souvenirs
The most authentic "Gozitan" souvenir is definitely Gozo lace. Knitted jackets are also on sale everywhere, small ornamental objects made of Gozo limestone are also available in shops, as are glass and clay ornaments. The Gozo Heritage souvenir shop is open all week Monday to Saturday from 09.00 to 16.15 hrs.

Public Transport
In Gozo the main bus terminus is in Main Gate Street, Victoria. Buses in Gozo are grey with a central red band and show the route number on the front.

Gozo buses operate along circular routes, leaving from and returning to Victoria without scheduled stops at termini. A regular service runs to and from Mgarr Harbour, route 25 and it is timed to coincide with the ferry timetable.

Bus Number Passes Through
2 Għarb – St. Lawrence
14 Santa Lucia – Kercem
25 Għajnsielem – Mġarr
42 Xewkija – Għajnsielem – Qala – Ramla – Nadur
43 Xewkija – Għajnsielem – Qala – Nadur
50 Munxar – Sannat
61 Ta' Pinu Church
64 Xagħra
87 Xlendi
90 Żebbuġ – Għasri
91 Żebbuġ – Għasri – Ta' Pinu – Għarb – St. Lawrence

Pet Importation
Dogs and cats may not be imported into Malta, without authorisation from the Director of Veterinary Services. This should be requested at least 6 weeks prior to departure.  Dogs and cats need a government certificate, stating that their country of origin was free from rabies in the six-month period prior the animal's departure and that the country in question follows strict rules, where animal imports are concerned.  A period of quarantine applies.  This varies according to the country of origin.


Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)
The Pet Travel Scheme allows pet dogs and cats from certain countries to enter Malta without quarantine as long as they meet certain rules.
Pets that come from one of the following countries and have been resident in any of them for at least six months can also enter Malta under PETS as long as they are accompanied by the appropriate official certification. Pets resident in Malta can also go to one or more of the countries listed below and return to Malta under the Pet Travel Scheme.
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France (except Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, La Reunion, French Polynesia, Wallis and Fortuna, Moyette, St Pierre and Niquelon and New Caledonia), Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway (except for Svalbard), Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), San Marino, Spain (including the Canary Islands but excluding Ceuta and Melilla), Sweden, Switzerland, U.K., Vatican City, Ascension Island, Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Hawaii, Japan, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, St Helena, Singapore, Vanuatu

Further information may be obtained from the Veterinary Service Department of the Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries on (00356) 21239968.  You could also contact:

The Director of Veterinary Service,
Albertown, Marsa.
Tel: (00356) 21225638 or (00356) 21225930
Fax: (00356) 21238105

Residency
The permanent residents scheme allows individuals who were not born on the Maltese Islands to live here, if they fulfill certain criteria.  Prospective applicants must be able to provide proof that they have a worldwide income in excess of Lm10,000, or a worldwide capital in excess of Lm150,000 and that they are able to remit into Malta a minimum annual income of Lm6000 plus Lm1000 per dependant.  Within twelve months of obtaining a permit of residency, they must fulfil three conditions:

Either:
(a) purchase a flat in Malta worth at least Lm 30,000, or (b) purchase of a house in Malta worth at least Lm50,000 or (c) rent or lease a property for at least Lm1,800 per annum.

A permanent resident is liable for income tax in Malta on a remittance basis. Income remitted to Malta is chargeable to income tax at a flat rate of 15% with a minimum liability of Lm1000 per year.  A permanent resident may be eligible for double tax relief, although his annual income tax liability may never be less than Lm1000.

There are no death duties in Malta and a permanent resident is exempt from the taxation of capital gains arising outside Malta even if the gain is remitted to Malta. 

A permanent resident may import free of duty furniture and other personal effects as well as a motor vehicle provided this is done within six months of taking up residency in Malta.

Swimming
The Maltese coastal waters are generally clean and safe for swimming as there are no tides.  Some bays are exposed to north and north-easterly winds which do produce some strong undercurrents at times. The sea temperature averages around 22.8 degrees centigrade in summer.

Sun Bathing
The Maltese Archipelago lies virtually at the centre of the Mediterranean and has a latitude more southerly than that of northern Tunisia.  You are therefore advised to take precautions to ensure you avoid over exposure to the sun.  Even in winter it is advisable to wear a suitable factor sunscreen for your skin type. 

This is all the more important if you are out walking, or taking part in water sports.  A sun hat of some sort is a must. Children and especially babies need extra protection from the sun.  If you are sunbathing, it is advisable to avoid the strongest sunlight between the hours of 11am and 3pm in peak summer months.

Tipping
Gratuities are usually in the region of 10 – 15%, as in most European countries

 
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