Is Malta safe?
Yes, in general, Malta is a very safe country. However, there are some dangers you need to watch out for – including street crime, common road hazards you may face while driving in Malta, as well as potential risks of swimming and hiking in Malta.
Which is why I decided to write this guide to staying safe in Malta. My aim is not to paint a scary picture of Malta. On the contrary, I want to help you plan a safe and enjoyable trip by highlighting potential dangers – many of which tend to be overlooked by tourists.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about safety in Malta, feel free to get in touch.
The emergency number in Malta for medical, fire and police services is 112. You can also download the 112MT mobile app (Android and iOS) which allows you to send your GPS location to emergency services.
Street crime in Malta
While many muggers in Malta tend to target elderly people, you should still exercise some caution, especially when walking alone at night. Most places in Malta are very safe during the day. However, try to avoid walking alone late at night. Mugging is more common in large towns like Sliema, St. Julian’s and St. Paul’s Bay.
Street harassment in the form of cat-calling is quite common in Malta. However, sexual harassment can take more serious forms in nightlife spots like Paceville and St. Julian’s. I highly advise against walking alone at night in Paceville and surrounding areas.
Pickpocketing in Malta is common, but it’s nowhere near as prevalent as it is in many other European countries. Make sure you keep your money and valuables safe when walking through the busy streets of Valletta and travelling on crowded buses. Be extra careful when attending crowded events, like festivals and parties.
Malta boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, but unfortunately beach theft is very common during the busy summer months. Avoid leaving your stuff unattended when swimming in crowded beaches.
Road safety in Malta
Planning to drive in Malta?
Be warned: reckless driving is very common in Malta. Moreover, many roads across the island have seen better days. Drive slowly and carefully, and remember to keep to the left!
Malta is not exactly a bike-friendly country, so cycling may not be the safest way to explore the country.
Staying healthy in Malta
If you’re visiting Malta in summer, make sure to stay hydrated and avoid spending long hours in the sun. Drink plenty of water (preferably bottled) and wear sun protection. The summer heat can be very unrelenting – in fact, I do not recommend visiting Malta in summer.
Malta is also very dusty and polluted – there are too many cars on the island and construction is an ever-growing industry. If you suffer from respiratory diseases, make sure to carry your medicine with you at all times.
Important: Travelling to Malta with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare should you need it. However, I strongly advise you to take out comprehensive travel insurance when travelling to Malta and other countries.
Outdoor safety in Malta
If you’re afraid of sharks, I’ve got some good news for you – shark attacks are very, very rare in Malta.
However, there is something far more dangerous than sharks, and that’s strong undercurrents. Pay attention to beach safety flags and avoid coastal areas when the sea is rough. The waves can be very spectacular on some days, but no Instagram-worthy photo is worth the risk.
Another thing to be wary of is jellyfish. While the jellyfish species found in Maltese waters are not very dangerous, their sting can be very painful.
Want to capture the perfect cliff jump on your phone? DON’T! Serious injuries resulting from cliff dives are very common.
The WhichBeach app is a great local tool that recommends the perfect beaches to swim at based on the day’s weather conditions.
I always urge people to get off the beaten path when visiting Malta. Exploring rural Malta is a great way to get to know the country beyond the main attractions.
Hiking in Malta is very safe. There are no dangerous wildlife species, although the Maltese islands are home to some venomous insects. You may, however, encounter some stray dogs while hiking in Malta, or dogs who are allowed to roam freely by local farmers. Sometimes dogs can be found roaming in packs. Stray dogs tend to be friendly, but those owned by farmers may have been trained as guard dogs and can get a bit aggressive towards strangers. If you’re worried about this, try not to stray too far from main paths.
Another thing to watch out for when hiking in Malta is ‘private land’, which is normally marked with makeshift signs that read ‘RTO’ (reserved to owner) or ‘private’. You may find this written on slabs of rock, too. Unfortunately, many of these signs and barriers are not legitimate. Some ‘land owners’ privatise public land and close off public paths, and they can be hostile towards trespassers.
Recommended safety essentials for Malta
Vigilante Personal Alarm: Stay safe when travelling solo by carrying this very loud personal alarm to attract attention if you’re in danger. It also comes with a bright flashlight.
Waterproof pouch bag and phone case: Want to keep your personal belongings safe at the beach? Put them in this watertight pouch bag and take them into the water with you.
Lightweight scarf with secret pocket: Keep your phone, money and other valuables safe when attending crowded places by storing them in your scarf. This lightweight scarf comes with a secret hidden zipper.
Tank top with secret pocket: Too hot for scarves? Hide your valuable items in your top instead!
Anti-theft travel handbag: Explore busy places safely and with style, thanks to this cool, anti-theft messenger bag.
Check out my Malta packing list for more essential items.
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