Living in Malta as a Digital Nomad: What's it Like?
In the third of our interviews with digital nomads who have experienced living in different countries around the world, we talk to Nick and Dariece from travel blog Goats on the Road. Full-time travellers and digital nomads, Nick and Dariece have been travelling for many years and have developed their blog to be one of the most popular in the travel niche. They have inspired thousands and thousands of like-minded travellers to quit their day jobs and travel the world.
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They spent two months living in Malta while working from their laptops, exploring the landscapes, culture and getting to know the people. We ask them 10 questions to hopefully help you decide if a move to Malta is right for you.
An Interview with Goats on the Road
What are the locals like?
Maltese people are some of the most hospitable and welcoming people we’ve come across. There are friendly people all over the world, sure, but the Maltese are very proud of their little island nation and want to ensure that visitors have a good time. We received a private message from one of our blog followers wanting to meet us. As soon as we met, we became friends and this couple invited us to all of their get-togethers with their friends!
The friendships forged in Malta are real, and there’s no “tourist” vs. “local” feel from what we experienced. If you’re visiting Malta, or living in Malta, expect to make friends for life.
How much does long-term accommodation cost? What options are there….apartments, villas, guesthouses?
Long-term accommodation ranges in price, depending on which part of the island you are living in, and how new your place is. We spent €980 / month ($1,100 USD), plus electricity for an apartment in a traditional style building, in the city of Sliema. The cheapest ones we found were €715 / month ($800USD).
We were looking initially on AirBnB, but found that the prices were too high. We then found a website called: ShortLetsMalta.com and were able to bargain our price down to €980 / month. Had we stayed longer than 2 months, the price would have been cheaper.
But, we had an excellent location, with numerous amenities nearby. We were just steps to the sea, with the gorgeous capital city of Valletta across the channel.
What’s the average cost of food and drink? What’s the food like?
Food at restaurants and snack stands costs $2 – $10, depending on where you are eating and what you are dining on. The style of food in Malta varies. The traditional dishes contain a lot of seafood and rabbit meat. Due to proximity, there is a large Italian influence in the cuisine as well. You’ll find international meals everywhere while living in Malta.
For snacks, pastries stuffed with mushy peas, meat or spinach and cheese (pastizzi) cost just $0.30. Middle Eastern and Turkish restaurants are popular and kebab meals go for around $6.50. A plate of food (pasta, burger, fish n’ chips, etc.) will cost around $11 – $15. Traditional Maltese platters (olives, meat, cheese, fruit, beans, bread) will cost around $15.
Fishmongers have the best prices, so if you’re looking for fresh seafood, head to Azzopardi Fish Shop. Fish goes for $11 – $25 / kg, king prawns $18 / kg and oysters are $10 / kg.
Keep in mind when eating out at restaurants that Maltese portions are huge, and can often be shared between two people. This could help lower your costs of living in Malta.
What options are there for working online? Is the Wi-Fi good? Is there co-working spaces/cafes etc?
For Digital Nomads living in Malta, you’ll be pleased to know that the wi-fi is extremely good, but this depends on where you’re staying. Make sure to do a wi-fi speed test before agreeing to stay.
At our apartment in Sliema, the speed was 30mbps, and we could download at a speed of 3.5 – 4 mbps!
There are cafes everywhere and we found 1 co-working spot in Sliema, but we chose to work at home while living in Malta because the wifi was solid.
What’s the visa situation like for Living in Malta?
Malta is in the Schengen Zone in Europe, meaning that you can stay for 90 days within a 180 day period.
Is there an expat/DN community?
We didn’t see a community to be honest. Malta is relatively offtrack when it comes to European destinations, which is something that we loved about it. Check out Facebook for groups, but also just Tweet or post on Facebook that you plan on living in Malta and I’m sure you’ll have people wanting to meet up!
We actually created an event on our Facebook Page for a meet-up in Valletta and had a bunch of people stop by! It was a great way to make new friends.
How did you spend your free time while living in Malta?
The options for activities in Malta are endless.
Scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming, yoga class, going to the gym, going kayaking, hiking one of the many “walks of Malta”, visiting the islands of Gozo and Comino, going to the bar, visiting different towns, etc. etc.
What are your three favourite things about living in Malta?
The people were our favourite aspect of living in Malta. We loved that there didn’t seem to be a separation between us and them and that they were so welcoming. Many Maltese people love wine, which meant that we were able to have many fun nights out..haha.
We also liked being so close to the sea, and the fact that there was affordable accommodation available with fast internet.
Is there anything you don’t like about living in Malta?
This one is easy. There aren’t that many green spaces. The proximity of Malta to the African deserts, plus the limestone foundation of the island means that there aren’t really any trees – just short shrubs.
What one thing from home do you wish you could have with you in Malta?
Trees and mountains 😉
Have you lived in Malta as a digital nomad or expat? Did you like it? Do you have any advice for digital nomads thinking of living there? Please share your experiences while living in Malta by commenting below.