Etiquette & Customs (in short)
The Maltese have a relaxed attitude to practices and are very friendly and hospitable.
Try to learn as much Maltese you can before you arrive, or at least so many simple words you can, like “Hello”: Ħellow (HEL-low) or Aw (AA-w), “Thank you”: Grazzi (GRUTS-ee), “Goodbye”: Saħħa (SAH-ha) or Ċaw (CHA-W)
This shows, that you are willing to learn their language and will be appreciated. You can learn more here.
- A quick, firm handshake is the traditional greeting as well as upon departure
- Maintain eye contact during the greeting
Gift Giving Etiquette:
- If invited to someone’s home, it is normal to take along a box of good chocolates or flowers
- Do not give chrysanthemums as they are used at funerals
- Do not give red roses as they indicate romance. Of course, if this is your intention, go ahead.
- If you are invited to a Maltese home for dinner, wear stylish clothes that are still rather formal
- Arrive on time. Punctuality is expected and appreciated
- Bring your hostess a small gift such as a box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers
- Remain standing until you are invited to sit
- Do not begin eating until your hostess does
- The host will offer the first toast and afterwards you may return it later in the meal
- Offer to help with cleaning up afterward
Should you leave a tip in restaurants or bars?
You can leave a tip, but you don’t have to.
As in many European countries, the bill includes a service charge. So make sure to check the bill itself; there is no need to leave any extra tip in addition to this amount. A service charge is not the same as a tip.
People sometimes give 10 to 15% of the bill as a tip or round up to an even number. It depends on how happy you were with the service.
Malta is generally a very peaceful country, but there can always happen thefts of mobile phones, cameras and other valuable things. Be aware of pickpockets around various sights – especially around cathedrals and other places where tourists gather.
Most travellers will not experience any issues or problems on their holiday in Malta. It can happen, but it can also be prevented by some simple precautions as:
- Do not “flash” cash or expensive items
- Visit only the cash machines during the day or early evening
- Do not leave expensive items visible in the car
Places you should avoid in Valletta:
- Paceville – Use caution in parts of this area, you do need to be careful after dark
Emergency numbers in Malta (free call)
In case of any emergency call:
- 112 – National emergency number
- 112 – Police
- 112 – Fire brigade
- 112 – Ambulance
The caller must:
- State the location where assistance is needed
- State their name and telephone number
- State what happened and if it is still happening
- State how many people need help
- State, if there are weapons involved