The beautiful archipelago of Malta is an affordable retirement destination option for an increasing number of discerning South Africans. Sunny Malta sparkles like a gem in the midst of the Mediterranean Sea, its convenient location giving easy access to Europe’s major cities.
Ask any expat what attracted them to the Maltese lifestyle, and like me, you’re likely to hear the same common answers: fantastic weather with lots of healthy outdoor activities, an abundance of fresh fish, fruit, veggies and good wine, world-class health care, low taxes, an excellent educational system and reliable utilities services. All of this, in addition to the fact that the cost of living here is very reasonable, compared with most other European countries.
As I walk through fields of verdant clover and colourful wild flowers, or thread my way through ancient narrow streets, the sound of the ocean reaches me –waves, beating against rocks; or gently lapping sun-drenched shores. As I sip my macchiato at a pavement café, or shop for fresh produce at market stalls, the industrious locals cheerfully greet me by name and we stop for a chat. It hasn’t taken me long to feel very much at home, here in Malta.
After a couple of holiday visits, the decision to move my life to Malta from South Africa, was a simple one to take, as the country has so much to offer. As a newbie, I was welcomed with genuine warmth by the kindly, helpful Maltese, and communication posed no problem, as everyone here speaks English.
After deciding to settle in Malta, I opted to rent an apartment for a while first, before buying. This gave me time to find my feet and investigate the property market in all the different localities of Malta. There are plenty of flats and houses to rent, mostly furnished, at reasonable prices. I finally decided to make the city of Sliema my permanent home. A hive of activity, Sliema ticked all my boxes – good shopping, a plethora of restaurants, seafront walks and a great night life.
Of the three main islands that make up the Maltese archipelago, Gozo is the most popular retreat for retired folk. Its pastoral landscape and tranquil atmosphere all contribute to an enviable ‘laid back’ lifestyle. Yet Gozo is just a short ferry ride away from the bustling capital city of Valletta, and easily accessible to Malta’s international airport.
Gozo is also a water sport playground, renowned for being one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean. Its impressive range of shore and boat dives –including reefs, caves, wrecks and tunnel dives – ensures every dive is a memorable one. Gozo’s glorious beaches are surrounded by some of the most pristine waters in the Mediterranean; perfect for swimming, snorkelling, or simply lazing in the sun.
There are a variety of property styles on offer in Gozo, ranging from renovated old village farmhouses, to contemporary style properties, as well as simple but comfortable accommodation. Many homes have stunning views of the island and sea. Current property prices on Gozo island range from €70,000 for a one bedroom apartment, to around €330,000 for a fully restored authentic farmhouse with three double bedrooms and pool.
Gozo boasts some of the best eateries in Malta, with a vast variety of local traditional foods and good wines on offer – all at a reasonable cost. In fact Gozo has the lowest cost of living in Malta. A bus ticket for the day is just over $1—and only 50 cents for residents over 60. A round trip on the ferry costs $5 for visitors, $2 for permanent residents, and its free for senior residents. Grocery costs are reasonable too, with milk and bread under $1, eggs about $2, and a mid-range bottle of wine at about $6. Expats report living expenses here of between $1,800 and $2,400 a month, depending on their lifestyle.
Sounds like the perfect spot to retire, don’t you think?
Do contact me if you need any further information on retiring to Malta. As an expat from South Africa, I know the ropes and have made all the right connections which will enable me to assist other South Africans who are considering moving to Malta.
I will be visiting South Africa in October this year and would love to meet up with you to advise and assist you in whatever way I can.
With love from sunny Malta!