Prior to adopting the euro Malta used the Maltese lira. Now it is one of the many European countries to use the euro as its official currency.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
Malta uses the same euro coins and banknotes that are available throughout the Eurozone. The only subtle difference you might notice is in the design of the so-called ‘country’ side of the coins. Other than this, the denominations of coins are identical. You can use one and two euro coins as well as cents in the denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. Officially they are known as euro cent coins but most people say cents for simplicity.
As for the banknotes you’ll find several of these as well. The most common are the €5, €10, €20 and €50 notes, although there are also €100, €200 and €500 notes in circulation. It is usually best to steer clear of these as you may find it difficult to exchange them and get change in return, especially in smaller outlets, shops and cafes.
From past to present – the history of the Malta euro
While a fairly large group of countries in Europe met the conditions to adopt the euro back in 1999, Malta was not among them. Instead it started using the new currency on 1st January 2008. While the euro is therefore a relatively new currency in the country most of the people who live there seem to have adopted it with few problems.
How to get hold of Malta euros
Since the various country designs of the euro are legal tender throughout all the member countries that use the currency, it doesn’t matter if you have euros left over from other foreign holidays. You can take these with you as well if you wish. If you need more before you go you can find a bureau de change to get them from. You shouldn’t have to order them in advance unless you want a significant amount but it depends on the rules of the specific outlet you go to.
Once you are in Malta you can visit a local bank to get more euros. The best way to do this is to use a cash machine. Make sure the cards you are going to take with you will be accepted abroad, and ensure you have a rough idea of the charges too. Stick to debit cards as credit cards incur higher fees for cash withdrawals (this pretty much applies in any country including your own).
VISA cards and Mastercards can be used to make payment for goods and services in many different outlets and locations. Always check to see whether a particular outlet will accept the card you have prior to buying anything, especially in the case of meals.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Malta euro
Simply use a currency converter to get the calculation you want. You will typically be prompted to enter your own home currency first, followed by the destination currency which in this case will be the euro. You can either opt to get the one unit conversion or convert a specific amount. The latter might be useful if you know how much you want to take with you to Malta.
If you have a trip planned to Malta in the near future, take a look at the official website for the Malta High Commission in the United Kingdom. This has a lot of information and news available that might be of use. You can find it at http://www.foreign.gov.mt/Default.aspx?MDIS=403.
Travelling safely with Malta euros
Nearly half a million people head to Malta every year and for the most part tourists have no problems at all. It is actually quite rare for a tourist to be the victim of a robbery of any kind. More recently the main threat has been pickpocketing. This has been particularly prevalent on main routes where tourists travel by bus so bear this in mind.
Aside from this the basic safety rules still apply. Don’t carry more cash than you really need to and try and split it between different pockets and bags if you can. Keep your bag closed and close to you and never leave anything unattended. Make sure no one is around you when you use cash machines either – sometimes people can try to look over your shoulder to see your PIN or distract you to see it before picking your pocket to retrieve your card.
Where to spend your euros in Malta – and what to spend them on
Malta is a relatively small island just to the south of Sicily. Its capital is Valletta, which can be found along the north eastern coast of the country. If you have a thing for Baroque architecture you will love what you find here, although there are buildings that are much older as well. The more you discover about Valletta the more you will understand why it is now recognised to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is colloquially known as The City of the Knights – a dramatic but rather fitting name in many respects.
One of the best things you can do in Valletta actually doesn’t involve spending any euros at all. Simply wander around its streets and take in the many great buildings that surround you. The National Museum of Fine Arts is worth a look both inside and out, especially if you have a penchant for art. If you would prefer to stay outdoors and soak up the atmosphere though, there is no better place to do it than in the Lower Barrakka Gardens. This is a stunning and calming place that provides many places to sit and observe your surroundings, not least the Grand Harbour. You can also visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens, where you can find a number of statues among other things. The Grand Harbour is naturally occurring and many have made the most of it over the years, since Phoenician times in fact.
But what of the rest of Malta? It doesn’t just have a great capital to share with you – there is much else to see and do here as well. For example many people who come to Malta do so to make the most of its beaches. There are many places that offer wonderfully sandy beaches, most of which fall on the north eastern areas of the island. These include St Thomas Bay, Peter’s Pool, St Paul’s Bay and Golden Bay. Some are better for swimming than others so take care to choose wisely depending on whether you want to indulge in water sports or not.
The island also has more than its fair share of historical sites. These include Mdina, the so-called Silent City and former capital of the island. It is rather unusual because it is a walled city and people still live within its walls today. It is well worth going to as a tourist if only to appreciate what life can be like without a plethora of cars. The city is very strict about the number of cars that are allowed – you are not necessarily allowed one even if you live there! This makes it a wonderful place to wander round.
The island also boasts some Roman baths, not to mention various towers dotted around the island. Many of these are located towards the coastline and wherever you are staying you are bound to be fairly close to at least one that you can visit.
Regardless of whether you are going to Malta with kids or not, you’ll find some great attractions to visit as well. Great for the whole family is the famous Splash and Fun Park. As the name would suggest this offers various water-based activities to keep the whole family happy. There is also a dinosaur park here to enjoy. Elsewhere you can find Popeye Village which is actually a film set built many years ago that is still used to entertain visitors today.
As you can see, Malta provides a sensational number of possibilities if you are thinking of going there on holiday. You can spend your euros visiting attractions and destinations on days out, or simply head to the best beaches every day to top up your tan.
There are many ways to spend your euros in Malta. However you can see there are also many things you can do that don’t involve spending any money at all. This means you can visit the island on a budget holiday if you would prefer – it’s up to you.
The good news is you can enjoy a great time on the island and explore its many sights and destinations while you are there. Its size means you can always get a hire car to travel further than you may otherwise do. Where would you go when you head to Malta and how many euros would you take with you? One thing is certain – you’ll never be bored while you are there.