The question of whether Malta is a safe holiday destination isn’t uncommon.
Is Malta really safe to travel to?
The short answer: Yes, it is. Crime rates are low, there is no threat of terror attacks and no unusual safety concerns.
(Last updated: May 2023)
With tension and conflict in North Africa and the Middle East, it seems Malta’s geographical location may be uncomfortably close to all of the unrest in the area but the risk of terror attacks is relatively low in Malta, and no major warnings have been issued.
Crime rates in Malta have historically been low compared to other EU member states and tourist destinations. However, reports of crimes have increased in recent years. With a growing population and increasing number of visitors, that upward trend is likely to continue in the coming years gradually.
The more common threats to traveller safety are:
Although Malta is a safe country in general, in this guide, I’ve collected a few items to be aware of to ensure your and your loved one’s safety and security while travelling to Malta.
If any of your questions are not answered here, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article, and I’ll be happy to help!
Since Malta is a relatively neutral state with few (if any) enemies internationally, it’s unlikely the threat of terrorist attacks will increase in the foreseeable future.
Relatively seen, crime rates in Malta are low and the police are statistically successful in catching criminals. Having said that, as a tourist you need to be aware of your surroundings in busier areas as crime reports have increased in recent years.
Crimes like pickpocketing, handbag-snatching and muggings are more common tourist hotspots, particularly in:
Often crime reports increase with the arrival of gangs causing a temporary increase in crimes until they’re caught.
That makes it difficult to predict how much at risk you are in tourist areas. Knowing such incidents take place; my advice is to be vigilant as you would in any other tourist destination but to travel to Malta with relative peace of mind. It’s far from a lawless jungle, yet it’s no longer the peaceful and safe place it was 10-15 years ago.
More detailed data on crime rates in Malta can be found here: Crime Malta observatory.
Is it safe to walk outside in the evening/during the night?
Walking outside at night is perfectly safe in most parts of the country, definitely in the more touristy areas.
There are a few exceptions, however.
I wouldn’t say there are particular places to avoid in Malta, though there are a few areas of concern when it comes to crime.
Paceville (the centre of nightlife in Malta, which is part of St. Julian’s), Sliema, Valletta and the outskirts of the harbour-side village of Marsa are places to be vigilant The last is an unlikely place to visit as a tourist, and crimes are still rare, so I won’t go into much detail.
When it comes to Paceville, unfortunately, security has been lacking here in recent years. Although the area isn’t considered a “high-risk” location, it pays to be vigilant and to stay out of trouble.
Although there is a small police presence, they haven’t proven effective in preventing and remediating crime in the area on weekend nights. Bouncers provide private security for nightclubs but don’t have the best reputation for being correct in their dealings, unfortunately.
If you decide to go clubbing at Paceville, stick to these recommendations, and you should be fine:
St. Julian’s and Sliema are tourist hotspots, and Gżira (next to Sliema) is inhabited and frequented by foreigners employed by iGaming companies in the area. That means there are plenty of targets for muggers looking for a quick score.
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There are few big threats or surprises to safety at sea if you use common sense. These are a few things to keep in mind to keep yourself away from harm:
Malta is one of the few countries in Europe where spring hunting is still allowed. The season is usually open around mid-April and ends around the first week of May. Hunting is allowed from two hours before sunrise until two hours after sunrise.
If you decide to go for walks in the countryside, that means you’ll want to be aware of your surroundings, not so much because of the risk of getting hit by gunshot fire, but more for trespassing into fields owned (or claimed to be owned) by hunters. These privately owned fields are usually marked with RTO (Restricted To Outsiders). Incidents are rare, but be aware of your surroundings when you’re out and about in the countryside.
Road safety in Malta in a nutshell: Maltese drivers aren’t very courteous in general, and speeding isn’t uncommon. Anticipate and be aware of your surroundings, and you should do fine. More detailed info: Driving in Malta: Top tips, facts and FAQs.
A few statistics from a 2022 Road safety report published by the European Commission:
The weather in Malta rarely poses a serious threat. The only exceptions are:
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