Malta is a small country, with an area of just 316 square kilometres. Whether one chooses to live on the main island, Malta, or the sister island of Gozo, everywhere is within easy reach. Consequently, the main consideration a would-be Malta resident would have, is to choose which island is best suited to their needs and requirements.

See also: Job opportunities in Malta

Gozo comes with its own characteristics, which may make it more appealing or less so than Malta, depending on what one is looking for. Home to less than 10 percent of the country’s population, its pace of life is considerably slower than that of the mainland, especially in the winter months. This reality, in fact, has made it appealing to an increasing number of retirees seeking a leisurely lifestyle in a warmer, sunnier climate. But non-retirees seeking a Gozo move, face a particular challenge, as job opportunities are much fewer than in Malta. The daily reality for many Gozitans is a long commute over land and sea to Malta for work. Nevertheless, one may still find a number of opportunities in private organisations which have set up shop on the island, ranging from software development to hospitality.

For prospective Gozo residents, its various localities can perhaps be grouped in three broad categories, including the capital Victoria, which houses 6,000 people and which is the island’s hub of activity and shopping. While Gozitan settlements are typically located on high ground, the two exceptions to the rule – the fishing villages of Xlendi and Marsalforn – are popular choices, and have witnessed considerable development in recent years. The rest of Gozo may be ideal for those seeking an idyllic rural setting, with many restored farmhouses and houses of character available to those seeking rustic charm.

In contrast to Gozo, Malta is far more urban, with much of the population living – and working – in a conurbation radiating from the capital, Valletta. Valletta itself, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with the neighbouring Three Cities, have become one of Malta’s most sought-after areas, with property prices skyrocketing in recent years. A short distance to the north, the neighbouring seafront towns of Sliema and St Julians are also highly sought after by foreign nationals; as is the case with Valletta, they are both popular entertainment hubs. These areas are also considered to be hubs of economic activity, particularly for online gaming companies.

Those seeking to live in a central location may find more affordable alternatives elsewhere within the conurbation such as Birkirkara, Attard and Mosta. More rural settings are also available in Malta if one wanders outside the densely populated central area, not least in the sparsely populated west, where one is never too far from extensive countryside.

Malta’s north is also largely rural, but in contrast to the west, most of its inhabitants live in close proximity to the sea. St Paul’s Bay, with its suburbs of Buġibba and Qawra, has become one of Malta’s most populous – and most multi-ethnic – localities in recent years, while nearby Mellieħa includes the lion’s share of Malta’s sandy beaches.

The south of Malta, on the other hand, hosts a mixture of rural settlements, more sizeable towns as well as seaside localities, and property is typically more affordable. Marsaxlokk is arguably Malta’s most picturesque fishing village, while nearby Marsascala offers a livelier seaside alternative.

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