Where you choose to live will depend on where your work is based and / or the children’s schools. Many foreigners start off in the Sliema area if they can afford it – nearby Swieqi, Gzira and Pembroke are a little cheaper and less busy. St Paul’s Bay is popular too, especially with older residents. Bugibba and Qawra were historically populated mostly by vacation homes, however this is shifting.
Central towns such as Balzan, Attard, Birkirkara, Mosta, Naxxar, Rabat and Lija are pleasant places to live and not too far from all the action. Rental prices here tend to be mid-ranged Madliena or Gharghur tend to be more expensive but are highly sought after. Mellieha is a beautiful town, but very far north if you have to commute to work every day. The same could be said for Marsascala and Marsaxlokk, which are situated at the other end of the island. An area that is increasing greatly in popularity is the Southern Harbour area of Birgu, Isla, Valletta and Kalkara being the most picturesque of all, with quaint narrow streets and architecture built on thousands of years of history. Other towns in the Southern region of Malta such as Tarxien, Fgura, Zabbar and Paola could be considered more affordable and more likely to find vacant property for renting.
Gozo is the island that time forgot, a glance back at how Malta used to be 50 years ago. Despite increasing development pressures, the Gozo Channel has ensured that the island retains its peaceful pace of life; however, unless you really love ferries, it’s simply not sustainable to live in Gozo if you have to work in Malta more than a couple of days a week.
Even if you can work from home, Gozo is not for everyone. There’s limited shopping and many of the shops are geared towards tourism (although we’ve seen a spike in retail shopping areas in recent years); the hospital is small and major incidents or severe conditions will be referred to the Mater Dei Hospital in Malta; the community is tight knit and while people are very friendly, it might take longer for you to fit in; there are more retirees or people with second homes; and travelling to and from Gozo can be taxing - links to the airport are dependent on the ferry, which makes any overseas trip longer and potentially more stressful.
That said, if you want to get out of the rat race and really slow down, Gozo is a charming place to do it. Property is much better value for money and you could find yourself renting or buying a truly lovely place with a view, a pool or bags of character for a fraction of what it would cost in Malta. The countryside, coastal walks, beautiful beaches and cool coves will keep you busy for months, and foodies can enjoy some of the best restaurants on the Islands.
If you are thinking of making Gozo your home, rent for a while first to make sure it’s the place for you. A possible compromise is the Mellieha area in the north of Malta, although it does get busy with tourists in the summer.
If you'd like to purchase property, here's what you need to know before going ahead.
In theory, yes, especially if you live in a hub, like somewhere in the Sliema or Birkirkara area, with access to shops, restaurants and entertainment. Most people who live outside the main urban areas do end up buying a car for the extra flexibility but given the current levels of traffic gridlock, sticking with public transport might be a better option – at least you can read a book in the traffic jams, rather than fuming behind the wheel.How much does the Gozo Ferry cost?
Gozo Channel operates the ferries to Malta’s sister island. They charge €15.70 for a car and driver return, and €4.65 for a passenger only. Gozo residents, retirees and children cost less. Find more details here about the Gozo ferry here.