The capital of Malta, Valletta, has been named “one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world” by UNESCO, but miraculously it remains far from a crowded tourist trap. Instead, fortunate visitors to this idyllic Mediterranean nation will find locals enjoying the many delights of their city, with live jazz a common feature of al fresco summer evenings and the atmospheric bars often spilling out onto narrow cobbled streets. There’s certainly no shortage of things to do on this small island, and with a picturesque backdrop of ancient architecture, gently sloping hills and glittering blue seas, it’s no surprise that visitors to Malta usually return more than once.
Although the country has most recently been in the spotlight as the setting for Brad Pitt’s latest epic, World War Z, the actor is certainly not the first celebrated person to fall for the island’s charms. Malta’s untouched beauty has made it a top choice for directors needing convincing locations for historical films, giving the island an impressive résumé that includes roles as Troy, Rome, Alexandria and more recently, the mystic land of Essos in TV series Game of Thrones.
Despite these Hollywood credentials, there are still plenty of secluded bays and quiet coves dedicated to sailing, swimming, sunbathing and other watersports. Marsaxlokk on the southeast of the island is a quintessential fishing village that remains largely untouched by tourism, while on the west coast you’ll find the spectacular Dingli Cliffs, a peaceful spot with fantastic views out to sea. When the temperature drops in the evening, head to the historic Manoel Theatre to enjoy one of their celebrated concerts or operas.
In February, Valletta is taken over by a vibrant carnival, complete with outrageous costumes, live music and gorgeously decorated floats. June brings the Mediterranean Folk Music Festival, followed by the Jazz Festival and Arts Festival in July and a nightlong celebration called Notte Bianca in the autumn, during which historic buildings throw open their doors to visitors and the squares become a playground for performance artists.
Malta’s thriving culture has been formed by a dramatic legacy of conquerors, with the time it spent under British, Arab, and Roman rule still evident in many traditions and customs today. The Maltese language draws on Italian, Sicilian and English along with its own idiosyncrasies, but as the majority of the population is bilingual or even trilingual, expatriates from across Europe will soon settle in.
The property market in Malta remains strong, thanks in large part to restricted supply and growing demand. The island has a notably high percentage of homeowners, and a recently introduced Residency scheme enables foreign investors to purchase highly sought-after properties and pay Maltese tax in exchange for resident status. Given the island’s numerous natural attractions and healthy economy, this is becoming an increasingly tempting option for many professionals looking to expand their portfolio.
If you’re interested in investing in Maltese property, the experts at Engel & Völkers are perfectly placed to help you every step of the way. With offices around the globe, including one in Malta’s desirable harbour town of Msida, it’s easy to get in touch and start building your property portfolio. For more information on Malta and how we could help you get there, just visit our official E&V website.