Malta has the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, a warm and sunny climate, and a peaceful lifestyle waiting to be lived. Anchored almost in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, 60 miles from the Italian island of Sicily, Malta isn’t a mainstream destination for North American tourists. In fact, it’s probably no exaggeration to say that few of your friends and colleagues will have an inkling as to where this little island is.
For discerning travelers with a love of culture, history, and excellent weather, that’s good news. It’s a treat to come across places that haven’t had all the charm and identity crushed out of them by the hoards of visitors who have landed on their shores.
First-World standards of service and infrastructure, a wealth of historical and architectural treasures (including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites), world-class golf courses, and the sparkling Mediterranean—all in a country one-tenth the size of Rhode Island—ensures that this tiny island will keep you occupied.
English-Speaking and Great Healthcare
Owing to its time as a British colony, locals speak fluent English—which, together with their warm and welcoming attitude, makes for easy integration. Malta enjoys plentiful sunshine year-round, on top of world-class health care (consistently ranked among the top five in the world by the World Health Organization) and tasty Mediterranean cuisine. The island also has one of the lowest crime rates to be found anywhere.
Malta may be one of the more expensive locations on our list in terms of real estate, but bargains can be found if you’re willing to shop shrewdly.
Enjoy a Great Climate
Winters are mild and rainy, and summers are hot and dry. Spring begins in late February and it is October before summer ends. Frost and snow are weather conditions here. Winter rainfall tends to come in heavy bursts over short periods of time. In the winter (November to April) temperatures average 57 F and there is 6.5 hours of daylight. During the summer the average is 73 F and daylight increases to 10.5 hours. The waters are blue and cool, and the sun almost always shines.
Malta’s location means delightful, relatively warm winters. This is a great location for getting away from winter snow! You can walk around in shirt sleeves to stroll the streets and explore the countryside. High summer can be hot and muggy, but that’s when folks head to the many beaches. On an island this small (122 square miles), you’re never too far from one.
Due to its small size and excellent public transport network, getting around and seeing the sights is easy. Malta also makes an excellent base from which to explore the wider Mediterranean region.
These are just some of the advantages to living in the Republic of Malta.
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- Population: 411,277
- Capital City: Valletta
- Climate: Mediterranean; mild, rainy winters; hot, dry summers.
- Time Zone: UTC+1
- Language: Maltese (official), English (official)
- Country Code: 356
According to the latest figures from the U.S. Social Security Administration, U.S. retirees overseas received more than $3 billion in social security payments in 2013. That number shows an increase of $160 million since 2012—and has nearly doubled since 2013. In total, 373,224 U.S. retirees received their social security payments as residents of a foreign country in 2013. Europe is home to the most U.S. retirees drawing their social security payments abroad (154,238), followed by Canada and Mexico (95,767), and Asia (70,586).
When it comes to taking your life and assets offshore, few tools are more valuable than a second passport. I have one, and it makes my life easier in many ways. For example, I am able to enter Brazil and several other countries on my second passport (South African) visa-free, since Brazil requires visas for U.S. passport holders. And when I go to certain countries—ones that aren’t big fans of the U.S.—using my second passport helps me avoid attention.
Retirees interested in spending time in Europe should put the English-speaking Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo at the top of their “go-there” list, according to a new report from the overseas-retirement experts at InternationalLiving.com. These islands offer retirees a high quality, Mediterranean lifestyle with sandy beaches, warm weather, ancient cities, a rich cultural tradition, and low costs.
When I ﬁrst stepped foot on the pink-brick promenades that line the coast here, I immediately understood their love for this place. It’s a little closer to nature than the capital, but it’s still lively and popular, with sunny seaside walkways, busy bay-view restaurants, and distant views of fortresses, churches, and islands. More central and to the west, the walled town of Mdina and the larger city of Rabat that surrounds it are another popular spot with tourists—though the expats don’t seem to have caught on yet. Mdina is quiet and tiny, with under 300 full-time inhabitants, and Rabat is busy and lively, colorful and lived-in, with about 7,000 full-time residents, mostly Maltese.
Despite its year-round warmth, Malta still manages to have distinct seasons. Winter is mild and the days are often sunny. But it’s also decidedly green—with fields of clover and other plant life spreading out, emerald, across the cliffs and between the towns, dotted by bunches of bright white chamomile and other small flowers. In summer, the hot days drive everyone to the water, where Malta is known as a diver’s paradise.
Not surprisingly, Europe delivers strongly on healthcare; in each of our five picks, you’ll find healthcare professionals and facilities of a world-class standard. But perhaps more surprisingly, the care on offer in these countries won’t leave you counting pennies. Many of these nations benefit from universal coverage and strong public healthcare systems, and even their private healthcare can be accessed for a sliver of the cost in the U.S. Doctors’ visits, for instance, can run well under $100, and other services are similarly reasonable.
For too many of us, daily life means paying mounting bills, commuting to work, staying there far longer than is healthy, and worrying about…well…everything. It’s what folks call the rat race. The futile grind. It’s stressful, it’s bad for your health, and it feels like it will never end. But freeing yourself from it is easier than you think. In this issue of International Living we hear from expats who have already escaped and taken advantage of low costs overseas to free themselves. They are living in beautiful locations around the world, enjoying lives that are a far cry from their experiences back in the States.
When I think about my time on Malta, I think of bright blue skies, ﬁelds of richly green clover, the sound of the ocean smashing against the cliffs, all only steps away from the well-worn stone streets of ancient cities and the chatty and perpetually kind people. And all of it—cities, coastal walks—warmed and cheered by the seemingly endless sunshine, even at the height of winter.
Imagine the smell of freshly-baked croissants wafting through the air, or the satisfying swallow of wine made from grapes grown just down the road. Perhaps you muse about living on a sun-drenched Mediterranean beach or tucked down a cobbled lane savoring the cosmopolitan delights of a history-rich city… A retirement in Europe is a dream for many folks. And it can easily be a reality. If it’s culture, history, and variety you’re after, Europe has it all, and at a cost much lower than you may think… Over the next few pages we explore the five best low-cost options for enjoying your perfect European retirement.
It was the middle of January and I was on a beautiful coastal walk with the sun warming my skin and a gentle breeze cooling my face. To my left, fields of bright green clover, patches of fresh thyme and chamomile, and small stone goat sheds made from pinkish-white stones stretched up a hill. To my right, sheer cliffs dropped into the ocean, which stretched into the horizon. Behind me, a small ancient fort stood watch over the coastline. And ahead, a dusty, but well-kept path led over rocky beaches, deserted swimming areas, and clay mudslides, now dried in the sunshine. When I describe this January scene, where do you picture me? In South America, where January is summertime? In Ecuador or Hawaii, with their year-round mild climates?
“When looking at great retirement destinations overseas, low costs and affordable real estate may be well and good, but you need to feel at home,” says InternationalLiving.com editor Steenie Harvey. “How easy is it for expats to integrate into each country? Do the locals speak good English or do you need to speak the local language? Are the locals welcoming and friendly toward expats, and is there an existing expat community with lots of groups and clubs to join?” InternationalLiving.com’s just-released annual Global Retirement Index ranks and rates the best retirement havens in the world today in eight categories and Ireland, New Zealand, Malta and Belize each receive a perfect score of 100 in the Index’s “Fitting in” category.
Sitting right at the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta blends the best of southern-European graciousness with one of the best qualities of life to be found in Europe. First-World standards of service and infrastructure, a wealth of historical and architectural treasures (including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites), world-class golf courses, and the sparkling Mediterranean—all in a country one-tenth the size of Rhode Island—ensures that this tiny island will keep you occupied.
When looking at great retirement destinations overseas, low costs and cheap real estate may be well and good, but you need to feel at home. How easy it is for expats to integrate into each country? Do the locals speak good English or do you need to speak the local language? Are the locals welcoming and friendly toward expats, and is there an existing expat community with lots of groups and clubs to join? Whether it’s through shared passions, shared learning experiences or volunteering, the easiest way to become part of a community or acquire a friendship network is to get involved in an outside-the-home activity. This will help tremendously with integrating.
From the quaint town of Cotacachi to the vibrant capital, Quito, from Salinas by the sea to the peaks of the Andes, Ecuador’s diversity is a key part of the massive appeal that sees it regain the coveted top spot on this year’s retirement index. Although prices have risen slightly in recent years, Ecuador’s real estate is still the best value you’ll find anywhere. This is bolstered by the generous array of benefits the government has afforded to retirees. Over-65s get discounts on flights originating in Ecuador, as well as up to 50% off entry to movies and sporting events. Discounts are also available on public transport (50%) and utilities, with the option of a free landline if you purchase a property.
With spiraling costs compelling more and more North Americans to retire overseas, retiring abroad has never been more attractive. But finding the right location among the myriad options available can be daunting. That’s what our Annual Global Retirement Index does. Using input from our team of correspondents on the ground all over the world, we combine real-world insights about climate, health care, cost of living, and much more to draw up a comprehensive list of the best bang-for-your buck retirement destinations on the planet. Keep in mind that, even though only 25 countries feature on our list, all of them are worth your attention. We selected them from among all the countries in the world for their qualities as retirement hot-spots, so even the lowest-ranked nation on our index is still very much an option worth considering.
The spread of the British Empire through trade, colonization, and conquest brought the English language to far-flung corners of the globe. But even as that empire declined and shrank, the language was left behind. And with English becoming the language of business and diplomacy, that influence is in no danger of going away.
Malta is a safe place to put your real estate dollars, reports InternationalLiving.com’s property expert, Ronan McMahon. Though economic crisis has plagued much of Europe over the last six years, this stable and peaceful haven in the Mediterranean has escaped untouched.
Do you like the idea of a life at sea…but only in short doses? Sunset cruises, fishing excursions, day trips, and the occasional long weekend jaunts to anchor off a remote island…? The ocean can be your playground.
Malta is a safe place to put your real estate dollars. During the last six years of economic crisis this stable and peaceful haven was left untouched. That comes as no surprise to the international business community that knows this Mediterranean island nation well. For the past five centuries, Malta has managed to negotiate its way out of troubles that have crushed empires.
I live on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean. The weather is great, the income tax is low, and the Internet is fast. There are daily flights to hubs like Rome, Frankfurt, London, and Dubai. So it’s convenient for dipping into the art and culture of Europe…or taking more adventurous trips to the Middle East and Africa.
InternationalLiving.com’s annual Global Retirement Index names Ecuador, Uruguay and Malta as the best three countries in the world when it comes to climate. Their temperate weather throughout the year, moderate rainfall and little risk of natural disaster saw them rise to the top of the Climate category, one of eight categories in the Index, which details the top countries in the world for retirement in 2014.
In December 2012, I was sitting in my beautiful waterfront apartment in Malta, a small, hidden gem of an island in the Mediterranean, drinking coffee while soaking up the stunning views. The turquoise waters were glistening from the warm, morning sun, pleasure boats everywhere. That view was also my office view.
Integration into your new community is very important. When you move overseas, you want to know that you will be accepted into the community and make new friends quickly, which will in turn make the transition between countries and cultures easier.
For more than 30 years, International Living has been researching the best retirement havens in the world…and every January the Annual Global Retirement Index is released—highlighting the best places for you to retire. This Index ranks the top 24 countries in the world for retirement in 8 categories. The top 10 countries that feature on the list this year each bring spectacular benefits for retirees living overseas—from great health care and ideal climates to a low cost of living and financial perks for retirees. Starting with number 10, here are our top retirement havens for 2014.
Tired of shoveling snow, braving the torrential rain or wrapping up against the bitter cold? If so, check out these top three places to retire for a better climate as ranked in International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014. With a perfect score of 100 and for the second year in a row, Ecuador comes out top in the Climate category and is the overall runner up in this year’s Global Retirement Index. Lying directly on the equator, it enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial daylight 365 days a year.
The number of U.S. taxpayers renouncing their American citizenship or permanent-resident status is accelerating. For many, the benefits of U.S. citizenship no longer outweigh the costs. Whether you are a high-net-worth individual or a young entrepreneur with a lifetime of earnings ahead of you, renouncing your U.S. citizenship is the only way to end your U.S. tax obligations.
The Maltese government had planned to sell citizenship to foreign investors, as part of an Individual Investor Programme. The fact that the government have had to postpone these plans highlights the risks of a program like this and the fact that many of these programs have not stood the test of time. However, the idea of “selling” a passport is not a new concept. Many countries have implemented a similar program to attract foreign investors.
Real estate bubbles send all prices too high. When they pop, they bring everything down with them. Sometimes too far. The same irrational views that drove the prices up help push them down, and for a short time quality properties become very cheap. That’s when you should buy: before the fear subsides and prices go up once again.
Living on an island conjures up images of white sandy beaches, sparkling blue water and no rush hour traffic.We all dream of one day retiring to a tropical paradise, buying a second home in a quaint beach town where its summer all year round, or relocating our lives to an island in the sun. But it can be more than just a dream…your tropical island or beach life can be a reality. There are tropical destinations around the world where you can be by the beach…
Malta is the smallest country in the European Union (just 122 square miles), but it has long been a vacation spot for sun-starved northern Europeans and a tax haven for the wealthy. Multi-million-dollar yachts fill Malta’s marinas. Yet you’ll find great bang for your buck here. A couple could live well on a budget of $2,000 a month.
Six weeks ago, I left my luxurious, sea-view condo in Costa Rica (my second home) to return to my first home—Malta, a Mediterranean island, surrounded by turquoise waters. Relaxing with a glass of champagne in First Class on the way over to London, I knew I was going to miss the long, sandy beaches, stunning sunsets each night after playing beach volleyball, and the amazing wildlife and postcard-perfect scenery.
I’m in Valletta, capital of the small island nation of Malta. The smallest country in the European Union (just 122 square miles), Malta has long been a vacation spot for sun-starved northern Europeans and a tax haven for the wealthy. Multi-million-dollar yachts fill Malta’s marinas. Yet you’ll find great bang for your buck here.
The Mediterranean Sea, a warm and sunny climate, a peaceful lifestyle waiting to be lived…where are we talking about?
They may not have the tropical vibe or clear blue waters of the Caribbean or the Far East, but the islands of Europe do exude their own brand of natural beauty…and are infused with history.
In the last few years, Valletta, Malta’s capital city, has thrown off its reputation as a musty, dusty destination where there is little to do but go to museums. Today Valletta offers concerts, films, open-air exhibitions, yummy dining, and more. Those living here—both Maltese and locals—are eager to welcome new faces.
Everybody has heard of Paris, Florence, Barcelona and the like. But then you have the rest of a vast continent—a treasure trove of time-worn towns and affable villages…secret islands and dramatic landscapes
Gourmet dining may not spring to mind when you think of Nicaragua. But top-class restaurants serving international cuisine as well as the best of Nicaraguan food are growing in number.
Figures released by the IMF reveal that the three least-affordable cities to buy a home in are Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen in Mainland China. And the fourth least-affordable city is Hong Kong!
It’s a sunny summer’s day, and a man in a bathing suit is climbing a ladder out of the sea. He clambers onto the cream-colored stone, grabs his towel, and throws it over his shoulders.