TOURIST INFORMATION

MALTA - General Information

Currency

The unit of currency is the Maltese lira (Lm), also sometimes rferred to 
as the pound. It is divided into 100 cents, and the cents are divided 
into 10 mils; but inrecent years the mils have dropped out of 
circulation. There are Lm 2, Lm 5, Lm 10, and Lm 20 bills; coins: 1, 2, 
5, 10, 25, 50 cents, and Lm 1 are bronze and silver. The exchange rate is
currently (Fall '95):

	US dollar	2.96
	UK sterling	1.82
	Deutsche mark	4.01
	Italian lira	4608
	Swiss franc	3.33
	French franc	13.9
	Canadian $	3.95
	Australian $	3.95
	ECU		2.14
	Norwegian kron	17.8
	Saudi riyal	10.8
	Finnish markka	12.1

For daily selling and buying rates of all transactions and buying rates 
of notes TEL: (+356) 495-475 or FAX: (+356) 222-667. Rates for Customs
purposes - FAX: (+356) 250-338.

How to get there

By AIR:

Malta's national airline, AIR MALTA operates regular schedule flights out of 27 major European airports. In addition, Air Malta also operates an extensive charter network, with 18 points in UK and 15 in mainland Europe. Air Malta has just announced the introduction of new direct flights between Malta and New york starting in November .

Major European airlines also operate schedule and charter flights into Malta.

BY SEA:

Passengers traveling to Malta by sea have a choice of three alternatives;

(a) The Gozo Channel co. operates a weekly service Malta and Catania in Sicily in April and May, increasing to twice a week from June till mid July and four times a week in the summer months. For more info: contact Multitours, 21 Sussex Street, London SWI V 4RR (Tel: 01-821-7000).

(b) Virtu Ferries operates a high speed passenger-only catamaran service fro Licata Catania and Pozzalo to Malta. For more info contact: Virtu Ferries Ltd., Ta' Xbiex, Malta (Tel: +356 317-088).

(c) The Italian line, "Tirrenia" offers service three times a week from Malta to Syracuse, Catania, and Reggio Calabria, and a weekly crossing from Naples. Agents for Tirrenia are: Serena Holiday, 40/42 Kenway Road, London SW5 ORA (Tel: 071-370-6293).

N.B. TIRRENIA ceased operating ferry service from Malta to Catania & Reggio Calabria. The service has been replaced by Island Seaway (Maresi) operating a tri-weekly service to and from Malta and Catania and Reggio Calabria.

CURRENCY

Malta's currency is decimal. The Lira (LM) is the unit of currency and is divided into 100 cents; each cent is again divided into 10 mils. One Malta Lira is equivalent to approximately $2.60 U.S. Dollars.

BANKS

Usually open 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Fridays, and up to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Foreign exchange facilities are available at the Airport on a 24 hour basis, year round and up to 4 p.m. at most banks. Available also are a number of Automate d Teller Machines situated in the major commercial and tourist areas.

SHOPPING

Shops are usually open between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. with a three hour lunch break in between. In commercial areas frequented by tourists, however, most shops remain open until approximately 10:00 p.m. Shops are not open on Sundays and public hol idays. There are open-air markets, one day a week in most towns and villages. The largest is the Valletta market on Sunday mornings. Major credit cards, travellers cheques and Eurocheques are accepted at most leading shops and restaurants.

ELECTRICITY

Electricity runs on 240 volts, single phase, 50 cycle. The square-fitting standard three pin British plugs are used.

WATER

Tap water is perfectly safe for drinking.

RELIGION

Malta is predominantly Roman Catholic, but the Maltese Constitution guarantees freedom of worship. There are also churches belonging to various other religious denominations.

Malta comprises one archdiocese and one diocese. There are currently over 356,000 Roman Catholic adherents in the country.

Bishop's Conference: Archbishop's Curia, POB 29, Valletta CMR 01; tel. 245350; fax. 242973

The Anglican Communion: Malta forms part of the diocese of Gibraltar in Europe. Church of England: Pro-Cathedral of St. Paul, Independence Square, Valletta VLT 12; tel. 225714.

LANGUAGE

The official languages of Malta are Maltese and English. Almost all Maltese residents speak English. Maltese is a semitic language written in the Roman script comprising a vast element of words of Italian, French and English origin. Italian is also widely spoken.

ACCOMODATION

The Maltese islands offer varied accomodation from hotels, guest houses, vacation complexes and condominium rentals and villas. These are all officially classified according to international standards and are expected to exhibit a certificate confirming t heir official classification. Any Malta Tourist Office can provide comprehensive information on accomodations in Malta.

CAMPING

There are no organized or official camping or recreational vehicle sites in Malta.

BEACH FACILITIES

There are a number of sandy beaches, especially in the northern part of the island, the best known being Mellieha Bay, Golden Sands and Armier. In the south, the best sandy beach is Birzebbuga. Ramla Bay in Gozo stands out for its beautiful red sand. Rock bathing is possible at most other beach sites.

Bathing is safe anywhere around the islands as there are no tides. Sea temperatures average 73 degree F (22.7 degree C) in summer. Beach facilities in the high season, between March and October, include bars, restaurants, changing rooms, showers and umbre llas. On some beaches, it is possible to rent speed boats, dinghies, row boats, water skis, surfboards, etc.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Malta's public transport system offers a very cheap and efficient way to tour the island. The main bus terminal is at Valletta where buses operate to all parts of Malta. The costs for a bus ride is generally between 8 and 12 cents. The average bus journey takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

MALTA-GOZO SERVICE

The Gozo Channel Company Ltd. operates a Ro Ro service between Cirkewwa Malta and Mgarr Gozo.

Journey time is approximately 20 minutes. Fares for the return journey are LM 1.50 per adult (LM 0.50 per child) and LM 5.00 per car including driver.

Additionally the company also runs a Hovermarine service between July and September. This service is operated between Gozo, Sliema and Sa Maison. Also available is a helicopter service operating seven times daily (in winter) between Malta International Ai rport and Xewkija Heliport, Gozo. A one-way flight costs LM 12 (LM 16 for a same day return flight) in the low season.

CAR RENTALS

Malta has the cheapest car rental rates in Europe. Prices start from LM 4.50 per day, excluding mileage and insurance. Weekly rates are the most favaorable. Driving is on the left. Ther is a speed limit of 40 miles (64 km) per hour on highways and 25 mile s (40 km) pre hour in residental areas.

TAXIS

Taxis can be identified by their all-white livery and red license plates and are all metered. Should you wish to know in advance how much a trip will cost, it is best to check with the driver beforehand.

TELEVISION AND RADIO

Malta television feature a number of American and British programa and cable TV (Melita Cable TV) daily news bulletin in English. Radio Malta transmits daily on two services: 998 KHz (medium wave) and 89.7 (MHzVHF/FM). Other Radio Companies operate 24 hou rs daily. VOA Europe is also transmitted. CNN is also received and advisable. Italian television is received in Malta over 14 channels.

LICENSING HOURS

Bars, restaurants and cafes are normally open between 9:00 a.m. and 1 a.m. and beyond. restaurants are not generally open before 11:30 a.m. and between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

DISCOS

There are a number of lively discos, particularly in St. Paul's Bay, Sliema, Paceville and St. George's areas. Several open-air discos operate only in summer.

CASINO

French and American Roulette, Baccarat (Chemin de Fer), Black Jack and Boule are played according to international rules at the palatial Casino, St.Julina.s

BEER & WINE

Maltese beer is excellent. Foreign beers are also available, but are more expensive.

There is a wide variety of good Maltese wines at very reasonable prices. Well known foreign wines are also available.

MEDICAL CARE

Malta enjoys a high standard of medical care. The general hospital, St. Luke's is in Guardamangia, but there are government health clinics in various towns.

Persons who are receiving medical treatment and who may need to carry medications into Malta or purchase fresh supplies locally would be well advised to arm themselves with a letter of introduction from their docttor.

Malta has special clinics for diabetic sufferers and pharmacies generally stock a wide variety of diabetic products.

DRESS

In summer, very light and informal clothing. In winter, some lightweight dress for the warm, sunny days, together with some warmer clothing for the cooler days and evenings as in other parts of Southern Europe.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

	January 1		New Year's Day
	February 10		St' Paul's Shipwreck
	March 19		Feast of St' Joseph
	March 31		Freedom Day
	Mobile			Good Friday
	May 1			Workers' Day
	June 7			Commemoration of June 7, 1919
	June 29			Feast of St' Peter and St' Paul
	August 15		Feast of the Assumption
	September 8		Feast of Our Lady of Victories
	September 21		Independence Day
	December 8		Feast of the Immaculate Conception
	December 13		Republic Day
	December 25		Christmas Day

On all public holidays, all shops in Malta and Gozo are closed except for bars and restaurants, pharmacies and petrol stations on roster basis (see local press) and the foreign exchange bureau at Luqa Airport.

(SOURCE: Malta fact Sheet, NTOM)

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