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The Cost of Living

Online since: 09. April 2013


The cost of living is higher in Malta than in many other European countries. The reason is that more than 2/3 of all products in Malta have to be imported. Furthermore, in many areas, there is only one provider. For example, until a few years ago, Vodafone was the only mobile phone provider, but now GoMobile, Melita and many others have established themselves as well. The government is in the process of preventing the monopoly of many providers and has already proven successfully (see GoMobile and Vodafone) that more competition in the market is possible.

Since the financial crisis that started in 2008, the cost of living has even doubled in some cases. From 2008 to 2011, the cost of eating out rose considerably each year. Particularly dramatic was the price increase in basic foods such as pasta, rice and flour. Petrol prices sometimes increased from one week to the next.

It is difficult to directly compare Malta’s cost of living to that of other European countries. We have learnt from many tourists and immigrants that life in Malta is more expensive than in some European countries, while others have told us that the cost of living is similar to that of their home country. Even though Malta’s monthly income per person is far lower than the average income in Central Europe, life in Malta is most certainly not cheaper. At the moment, the average gross annual income in Malta is about 17.000 Euros per person.

How You Can Save Money:

  • Buy food in large discount supermarkets such as Lidl. In the small village shops, outside high-population areas, the prices for the same products are sometimes considerably lower than in Sliema or Valletta.
  • Buy fruit and vegetables at the small street vendors, who come to different towns with their trucks on a weekly basis (Wednesdays in Swieqi, Thursdays in Sliema etc.). You can also shop directly at the farms on the island.
  • Buy certain products, such as frozen goods, in special shops. Miracle Food, for example, beats the price of frozen goods of every supermarket on the island.
  • Buy products such as pet food or other products with a long shelf life in large quantities and ask for a discount.
  • Buy small electronic products in your home country and have them transported to Malta. The transport costs are still lower than buying the product directly in Malta.

There Are Three Different Types of Supermarkets

  1. Small shops/snack bars at central points often frequented by many tourist and locals. These shops are usually open from 7 am to 7 pm; in Paceville and some other areas, they are open 24 hours. The prices in these shops are normally slightly higher and the assortment is similar to the small range of petrol stations.
  2. Small shops outside central points e.g. in residential or industrial areas. These shops are normally open from 7 am to 7 pm. The prices are usually 10 – 20 % higher than in the large supermarkets. The owners, however, try to balance out that price difference by offering a good, friendly service. The assortment in these shops is not very large, but a basic range of beverages, pasta, tins and a small selection of daily fresh dairy products and bread can be found.
  3. Large supermarkets: The size of these supermarkets cannot be compared to that of leading supermarkets in Europe such as Wal-Mart, Metro or Real that offer popular brands. The assortment is not particularly large, but the prices are very cheap compared to the smaller shops. You can save up to 20 % when buying in large supermarkets rather than the small shops in residential areas.

    Most supermarkets also have special offers for customers spending a certain amount. When buying goods for a total of approximately 93 Euros, for example, you’ll receive a crate of Cola/Fanta/Sprite and 6 bottles of water for free!

    Many supermarkets deliver the goods directly to your house when a certain amount is spent, e.g. 35 Euros. Caution! Dairy products and frozen goods are normally excluded from that offer.

    Here you can find a list of local large supermarkets.

  4. Other shops: Additionally, there are special shops that sell, for example, only frozen goods (e.g. Miracle Food), and farm stalls where you can buy your fruit and vegetables directly from the farmer.

During the week, you’ll find many fruit and vegetable vendors in the streets, who drive around in their small trucks. They sell their excess seasonal and harvest-fresh fruit and vegetable at low prices. Prices are not displayed; it is expected of you to bargain over them.

* All information is subject to change.

S. Wagner

Further reading on this subject (from our online bookshop):
TOP Expats Package
The TOP Expats Package exists of ...
- The MAZE - Street Atlas from Malta and Gozo
- Vodafone PrePaid-Card
- Tou ... mehr
Tourist maps with street index (9th edition)
This is the most updated & userfriendly Map of the Maltese Islands. Open the map to see for yourself that the large scale Malta and Gozo map is ea ... mehr
Learn Maltese - Why not? (Workbook)
This Workbook is intended to complement the original Learn Maltes; Why not? Like its predecessor, it is divided into 24 lessons, each of which concent ... mehr

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