Home Living Abroad Cost of Living in Malta

Cost of Living in Malta

2 September, 2010 24 comments

On the Ex-pat Blog there’s a forum post asking people a few cost of living related questions. Quite a few people seem under the impression that Malta is an expensive place to live. I think it’s entirely up to where you are coming from, what you are expecting when you get here and your general view on life.

However, here is my personal response based on my life in England and my life in Malta.

1. Accommodation prices (how much does it cost to rent or to buy an accommodation in Malta?)

England- I was paying the equivalent of over €650 rent plus over €100 council tax on a one bedroom flat, no heating and with mould and ancient furnishings. Toilet didn’t flush properly, shower broke, my water tank exploded twice (I had two, both went) and all my clothes got ruined from the damp.

Malta- We rent a two bedroom, fully and stylishly furnished flat with a very long balcony in a nice area and its €450 (approx £370) a month. It’s all done out in black and white, everything works, huge flat screen TV, double bed in the main bedroom, two single beds in the guest room. Lots of drawers and wardrobe space. Aircon/heating.

Therefore rent over here in my experience is SO much cheaper and you get so much for your money

2. Public transportation fares (tube, bus etc …).

England- I had to get the train to work when I lived in another town (no buses) and it cost me 7.50GBP a day or 140GBP a month. The train journey was only about 20 minutes and this is a massive expense (over €160). When I moved to the town I worked in the bus would have cost me between 3-5GBP a day.

Malta- I pay 47c (about 30p!) a day to get to work and the most I’ve ever paid on a bus (one side of the island to the other) was 1.16EUR. I work Mon-Fri so for simplicity sake say 4 weeks in a month, 20 working days- that’s about €9.40 a month.

3. Food prices (per month, how much does it cost you?)

England- I used to shop mainly at Tesco and I would spent about £100 on each visit and go at least twice a month. Then I would undoubtedly have little trips to the (extortionate) local shop for bread, ham, bacon, sausages etc whenever I ran out. Definitely in excess of £200 (over €240) a month.

Malta- Some people on this thread quoted €400 a month for two people which absolutely shocked me. If I ate out everyday I am not sure it would even amount to that! If you buy local products rather than just the ones you recognise from home it’s no more expensive than the UK and I find it cheaper. I live with my partner, we stock the fridge with cola, fizzy orange drinks, squash, fresh juice, fruit and veg, fresh meat, breaded chicken, burgers, frozen chips, crisps, bread, noodles and all manner of pastas and sauces and treats like chocolate, ice lollys, croissants etc and we pay about €150 a month maybe pushing €200.

4. Health prices (for those who need medical insurance)

I got one quote online for private medical insurance which was just over €60 a month. This sounds like a lot to me but I have no idea what it cost in England as I got it free through work. Depending on your job you may also get it free in Malta. It’s free to go see a public doctor or you can pay a fee to see a private doctor (even if you dont have insurance) can be 10-30EUR depending on the appointment. Prescriptions and over the counter medicines are a lot more expensive than England however.

5. Eduction prices (if you need to pay)

Not applicable!

6. Energy prices (oil, electricity)

England- two of us living in a one bedroom flat, only had electric, no gas. We always had the lights off and used candles in the evenings, watched the TV, had to turn on a boost for over 30 mins to get any hot water and I think there may have been a problem with my economy7 but we were paying £40/50 a WEEK most weeks in just electricity.

Malta- our cooker is gas, the canister was full when we moved in and we’ve been advised that we shouldn’t need to change it in the six month lease, however its only been a month so that remains to be seen and I’m not sure how much these cost to top up. We use our aircon freely without thought to cost really, watch tv quite a lot and use a laptop and we pay an extra €60 a month on top of rent to cover these things. This for me is brilliant for the two of us!

7. Common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)

England- I was paying £35 a month for a fairly decent TV package plus the internet. No landline as I could not afford it. My contract on my mobile was £40 a month but generally cost me between £60-80 (no idea how or why!). I was always getting cut off and our electricity ran out frequently, so more than once I was stuck in the flat of a night, no electricity (no lights, no tv, no music, freezer thawing out) and unable to call anyone. The shops selling top up where no where near me and all shut around 6pm)

Malta- C’s work will pay for our internet once he’s been there 3 months but from what I see its about €50 a month for a package worth having. I have no idea about TV as we just stream online all the English TV shows that we miss! Project Free-TV is brilliant as it has so much and streams like a dream most of the time.

Home phones I think are great, get an easyline phone as they are like pay as you go, you buy a top up as if for a payphone so can keep absolute tabs on how much you spend.

Mobiles we had a bit of a problem with, to buy they are very expensive and we couldn’t get a contract as we are not maltese. However I just bought the cheapest phone I found- €39 at vodafone (the same mobile costs £9.97 in Tesco in UK!) and use pay as you go.

8. Prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant

I would say no different to the UK really and there are some amazing restaurants here.

9. Prices of a beer or a coffee in a regular pub

Malta- Local beers are incredibly cheap, some less than or not much more than €1 which you would never find in the UK. Other things are fairly expensive, vodka redbull can be near on €6 but this is only the equivalent of about £4 which is exactly the same as a pub in England.

So over all from my emigration I have found general living so much cheaper. I’ve had no problems with being over charged for anything. Food, rent and travel are so cheap its incredible, it is only really the internet that is more expensive.

My partner and I both took large pay cuts to move here and we are still in a much better position than we were, and ever would have been, in the UK.

24 comments

Dimitri 28 March, 2012 - 9:48 pm

Hi Harri!

Found your blog through ExpatBlog. I’m moving to Malta in very beginning of May (in a month basically) from Estonia. Job related movement for at least 6-12 months. As you are foreign-guru living in Malta I thought you could help me out a bit with some suggestions!
I’m planning to find a flat as soon as possible, it’s for one person (for 2 during summer) and my max budget is 450 to 500 EUR (super max!!). Office is in Gzira district.
I’m OK with walking 15-20 minutes or taking a bus. In which districts would you recommend to look for an apartment? Is it possible to get nice 1 bedroom or even a big nice semi-studio for this budget somewhere close to Gzira where the office is?
Where is it better to rent when it comes to stuff around the place, like grocery shops, etc?

Sorry for so many questions (I have like 1500 more) I hope you can answer some!

Thanks a lot!
Dimitri

Reply
Harri 28 March, 2012 - 11:26 pm

Hi :) That sounds so exciting, are you looking forward to coming to the island? I like the idea of being a guru haha that made me smile! I would absolutely recommend either Gzira or Msida/Pieta if you’re going to be working in Gzira. Sliema is close too although slightly more expensive, and St Julians is a bus ride (or 30 minute walk) but quite a bit more expensive to live.

Msida is a 15 minute walk (maybe even less depending on where exactly your office and flat are!) and is very cheap, I lived there for six months and we had a very nice 2 bedroom flat for 450. Gzira is nice to live too and on a similar price range to Msida, maybe a touch higher, but you could certainly find a nice flat for your budget. A friend of mine rents a one bedroom flat right on the seafront for 450, its a little older inside but the view is amazing. But in Gzira/Msida you will certainly find a nice one or two bedroom flat for your budget. Also every street pretty much has a number of shops for groceries, veg, chemists and such. We have about 4 grocery shops within a 3 minute walk of our Gzira apartment!

I absolutely 100% recommend you contact Niki at Belair. Their website is http://www.belair-malta.com/en/ and specifically ask for Niki, he has sorted out all our rentals (3 now) and is a diamond- tell him this blog recommended you too!

If you have any other questions just shoot :) I don’t know everything but I can help as much as possible!

xx

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Dimitri 8 April, 2012 - 9:43 pm

Hi Harri,

many thanks for your comment! Sorry for such a slow reply from my side, I thought I would get a notification on my email when you reply…stupid me :)

After your comment I’m quite sure about renting in Gzira. When it comes to Niki – my company has already suggested him and I got in touch with Niki several weeks ago to book an appointment. I was quite surprised when you mentioned his name. Malta is definitely a small place :)

If you could help me a bit more (thank you very much for your time!) with this short list of questions:

Utilities – water, electricity (with AC), gas. What is an average total/month for 1 or for people?
Internet bill?
An average cost of lunch in Gzira (not a fancy place)
Weekly cost of groceries for 1 or for 2 people (not eating caviar of course :))

I’m looking forward for my one-way flight on the 2nd of May but at this point am a bit confused with all the different information on costs I get from many forums about Malta. One day I feel like a rich man and another I see myself living on a street :)

Many thanks for your help!

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Harri 9 April, 2012 - 11:16 am

Hey :) I had assumed it would email you too, otherwise the point of ‘reply’ button seems odd! Haha that’s funny that you already had a recommendation for Niki- very small island indeed and word of mouth is the best advert here!

Utilities are more expensive here than the UK (thats the only place I know so the only place I can compare it to, sorry!). On our last apartment there were two of us and we paid 100 a month for bills on top of rent but when the bills actually came in, we were using more like 150 a month! But we were not careful and often had guests who were careless with lights etc. As long as you are careful and dont sit with all lights and appliances on at all times then I’d recommend it’d be between 50-80 a month. Much more if the AC is used a lot.

Internet is reasonable we are with melita and have a package for about 15 euro a month, they also do TV and phone packages too. I’d personally recommend melita over ‘Go’ as we had a lot of problems with connectivity with ‘Go’ and they ask for a much higher deposit. You can google melita malta and go malta though and compare packages :)

And my boyfriend and I generally spend between 50-80 a week on groceries. It’s only nearer 80 if we have to get cleaning products that week, so its generally about 50 a week on food and that really stocks up on frozen stuff, fruit and veg, meat etc. We find its cheaper to go to a butcher, a veg shop and do bread/eggs/milk at supermarket, rather than getting everything at the supermarket.

I really hope this helps! The average wage here is about 13,000 euro which I’d consider quite low and people manage so I don’t think you’ll have too many problems :)

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Dimitri 10 April, 2012 - 8:56 am

HI Harri,

Thank you for your answer! Overall it seems quite OK with the rent and costs of water and electricity. As it seems I will be sharing apartment with my colleague from Tallinn office who is also moving over to Malta, so our budget is higher and I hope we can find a good and big place with 2-3 bedrooms.

What are those small and big things a rookie as me should pay attention to when looking at possible apartment? :)

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Harri 10 April, 2012 - 10:19 am

Just sort of the usual- check for mould or mould stains, always do an inventory once moved in otherwise they’ll try and claim false items when moving out… I have a lot of renting info on here so take a look there for more details! http://joeandharryabroad.wordpress.com/category/renting-info/

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Dimitri 12 April, 2012 - 7:41 pm

Thanks Harri! My congrats to your 2 years aniversary with Malta :)

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Cinzia pilbeam 18 June, 2013 - 7:43 pm

Hello,
Di you have an email I could contact you on have a few questions about moving to Malta.

Thank you x

Reply
Harri 18 June, 2013 - 8:41 pm Reply
char8391 17 July, 2013 - 1:57 am

Hey! Love you blog, very informative.
We are a couple from Australia, I’m 1/4 Maltese and we spent a good amount of time around Birgu last year.
My partners a tattooist and they were obsessed with our tattoos, it was quite cute and unexpected on our behalf.
What’s your opinion, considering you have tattoos too, what would the work for my partners line of work be like? As in, would he be busy and make a decent amount of cash?
I’m a hairdresser, self qualified cook at home (I go alright I think haha) and can work hospitality jobs easy done.
I miss Malta so much. We have spoken about moving there in a few years (hopefully)
But will be back next year for a few days chilling. Thanks for your help!

Reply
Harri 17 July, 2013 - 10:31 am

Hey :) so glad you’re enjoying the blog! The younger generation here, and holiday makers, do enjoy tattoos so there is definitely demand but there are quite a few artists already on the island so at first it may be hard to build up trade.

Maybe you could set up a facebook page of his work and circulate it around Malta based groups online such as forums (expat-blog.com for example) and facebook groups about malta / tattoos (malta shopping for example).

If you drop me an email I could also possibly arrange a little post for you, link up to the facebook group to spread the word.

Or if he doesn’t mind working for a studio, he could google tattooist’s in malta and email his details and some examples of his work to various studios and see if they have any openings.

Then once people can see your work and you build up a fan base I’ve no doubt he could get plenty of work, its just a case of the time it takes to get your name out there. its a small island though so word travels! I hope this has given some ideas anyway, certainly I think there is demand for artists, you just have to be prepared for a slow start. xxx

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Bianca 5 September, 2013 - 5:17 pm

Hi Harry,

Nice reading your blog. I find it so fun to read and your openness is beautiful to see!

I am wondering how you manage to keep your costs so low? My husband and I currently live in Swansea, UK and we pay £80 on electricity (that includes heating as we have no gas) and our weekly grocery budget is £80. We try to eat healthy and we cook everything from scratch (no pizzas, pastas, breads, ready made meals, alcohol, sparkly drinks, sauces, not too many frozen things, etc). I wonder if you could advise me how much should we budget for our weekly meal shopping since we eat gluten free, sugar free, soy and dairy free (goat and sheep products are okay though). We also use coconut oil, free range eggs etc on daily basis and other similar healthy things. Would 100 euros a week be enough for two?

Another thing…we will be moving in December. Do you think 7 days would be enough to find a place in Zabbar and move in? What do you know about Zabbar?
We can live anywhere on the island since we work from home but we prefer to live in an area that doesn’t have too many tourists and high prices. Also we like a quieter area (not too quiet though). We don’t want to live in Gozo though, not for now.
Since we’re not party people and we don’t eat out due to my food restrictions the area just needs to have shops, to be safe and not too expansive. We can afford more but we wouldn’t want to pay more than 350 euros for a 3 bedroom apartment in Zabbar. It can be a 2 bedroom also. Do you think it’s a reasonable budget?
Do people in the south really dislike tourists?

Also what kind of deposits do we need to cover upfront. Internet, rent, 1/2 rent to agency, electricity, phone? We are trying to make a budget for our move. Thanks.

Sorry for asking so many questions.

Have a great day and happy belated!

Greetings from sunny Swansea,
Bianca

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Bianca 5 September, 2013 - 5:19 pm

Sorry for writing your name with a “y”. It’s Harri, I know. :-)

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Harri 20 September, 2013 - 11:36 am

Hi Bianca, Sorry its taken me so long to get back to you. I wanted to make sure I had time to sit down and write a proper reply! So glad you’re enjoying the blog, its always so nice to hear :)

When it comes to groceries we keep costs low by going with a lot of the local brands, and also spreading the shopping out. We’ll get fruit and veg from one place (the fuit and veg shops are usually cheaper than the supermarkets), meat from a butcher (again, usually cheaper than supermarket) and then things like bread, milk etc from the supermarket and we are quite frugal, comparing prices so shopping can take ages!

I think you might struggle to find everything you want if you have specific dairy requirements- gluten free, soy etc- I don’t often see things like this about but at the same time I’m not looking so I’m sure they are here somewhere! They may be more expensive but if you’re making from scratch then you should be ok as you can just buy the base ingredients. I think €100 a week for two people should be more than enough, as long as you do take the time to see which supermarkets are cheaper, and spread out the shop like we do (rather than doing it all in one place). Once you’re in a routine it’s no hassle at all!

I don’t know much about the South at all I’m afraid, I’m located in the centre and tend not to venture down south much. I think 7 days is enough time to find a place and move in providing you’re not too fussy and have the time to be visiting 5+ places per day. Also make sure you contact the agent well in advance so s/he can set up lots of viewings so as soon as you land you’re ready to go. I believe the South is pretty cheap for rent so I think 350 for 3 bedrooms could be possible (I have family up in the north who pay 350 for a 3 bed place) but don’t expect anything too modern!

For rent you have to pay a deposit (usually equal to a months rent), a month up front and the agency fee. These vary but are generally equivalent to half a months rent. Internet is pretty easy to get set up, you may have to pay an installation fee and a deposit but I don’t think it’s much. Ours is on our landlords account so I’m not sure exactly but check go.com.mt and melita.com as they’ll have all the info you need about internet phone and mobile :)

I hope this has been somewhat helpful but if you need anything more or want me to expand or anything just pop me an email :) movingonupaway@gmail.com Best of luck! xx

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Mike 5 May, 2015 - 6:37 am

Hi, have been reading all your stuff about Malta. Very helpful, I was stationed there at St Andrews about 50 years ago. I am ex UK living in Tasmania.I have decided to try and come and live in Malta, as there is nothing to keep me here. I am a pensioner and would have about 1800 euro a month to live on. Do you think that would be enough to live on there rent etc. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
Cheers Mike

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Rhi 5 May, 2015 - 9:28 am

Hey Mike, wow, what a life of travel! I absolutely think 1800 would be plenty to live on. The very far north and very far south of the island (places such as Bugibba and Marsaxlokk) have apartments available to rent at very low prices. For example you could get a 3 bedroom flat in Bugibba for €350 per month. It wouldn’t be super modern but still nice. Then things like transport are cheap (I think it might be 50c for a day ticket for people over a certain age!), food and drink is reasonable if you stick to local brands (British brands are available but can be much more expensive). If you want to drop me an email with any other specific questions you might have I’d be more than happy to help! movingonupaway@gmail.com.

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Ayo 12 September, 2015 - 3:34 pm

Hello
My husband a Doctor by profession just obtained a license to practice in Malta. And he is moving to Malta very soon as soon as he gets a job opening in any of the hospitals he has applied and I ‘ll be joining him much later.
I ‘ll like to know if Malta is a safe place for children to grow up. Also generally how are foreign Doctors in Malta. Also it ‘ll be our first Europe experience as we r moving from Africa I am hoping Malta ‘ll be worthwhile.
I like all that I ‘ve read via your blog about the island so far.
This is a very lovely blog pls keep it up.

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Rhi 15 September, 2015 - 10:29 am

Hi Ayo, I hope you are well! Happy to hear you like the blog, that always makes me happy! Malta is very safe in general and perfect for bringing up children. As you’re not from the EU I don’t know how hard or easy it will be to get things like school sorted but so long as your husband has a job here, it should be a little easier to get those things sorted. Most doctors I’ve come across in Malta have been Maltese so that’s a hard one for me to answer. Where abouts in Africa are you coming from? Whilst Malta is great and safe there are a few down sides. For example, I’m from the EU and a few times I’ve been told to ‘go back to my country’ from Maltese people but 2 or 3 times in 5 years isn’t so bad, but I know it can be worse for some. A thick skin might be needed but I don’t want to paint the country in a bad light, in general, as I say they’re very safe and accepting!

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Ayo 16 September, 2015 - 10:46 am

Hi, thanks for your swift reply that’s one of the advantages of your blog. Ur doing a great job.
Pls I will like to know what is the Salary Package for Doctors (GP)in Malta. We are moving from Nigeria to Malta as you ve asked earlier.
Pls if there I any other information that you think will help me and my family kindly forward to me.
Thank U so much

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Rhi 16 September, 2015 - 12:18 pm

I can’t give a real idea of salary I’m afraid, it’s pretty complicated here and no one I’ve spoken to really knows. There are the government GPs and also private ones and those who do a mix of the two. If you’re not from the EU then actually getting a job will be much more complicated so unless your husband already has offers he might struggle. Good luck though!

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Hannah Taylor 1 March, 2017 - 7:14 pm

Hey Harri!

Just reading your blog and you come across as so helpful and kind. Gozo has me by the heart strings I’m afraid as I’m rather anti social and like a quiet life. The rustic, character filled houses have woven a spell on me and I can’t wait to see them. Incidentally, my Kerry Blue is called Harr(y) and he’s an angel. Thank you for all the advice. Hannan

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Vivek 8 April, 2017 - 10:34 am

Hi Rhi,

I’m from Mauritius (non-eu) and i got a job in Mriehel Malta and the salary will be roughly between 1300-1500 eur per month.

I’ve been looking for a place to stay but all i’m getting are apartments costing over 650EUR. Can you suggest me a website where i can find an appropriate place to stay with a rent of 300-400eur monthly? Also, i will be on my own over there. Do you think 1300EUR monthly will meet all my basic necessities? Will i be able to make some savings also?

I found this interesting blog and felt like this was like a blessing in disguise. Many thanks for all your help.

Looking forward to hear from you.

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Goran Omar Bockman 5 May, 2017 - 4:10 am

Hey Harri
Nice blog! I’m a Swedish Pensioner, currently in Nicaragua, but will have to relocate as Swedish Pension services will only allow me 6 mths./ year out of the country. I’d rather not live there more than a month or 2 to visit my family. My pension is around EUR 1100/month and I wonder would that cover the expenses for a single guy? If so I may move to Malta Permanently. :)

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Lucie 11 July, 2018 - 5:00 pm

Hi Goran, it would only cover your expenses if you shared an apartment with others. Average price for a room is 400 EUR.

Reply

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