9 Things to Consider Before Retiring Abroad

Retiring abroad is a goal shared by many people around the world — the thought of beautiful sunshine and sitting on a sandy beach listening to the sea crash against the shore. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it! However, before you pack your bags and move to your dream location, it’s worth considering these nine factors before you do:

  1. Lifestyle and culture
  2. Climate
  3. Language
  4. Travel connections
  5. Affordability of property
  6. Access to healthcare
  7. Cost of living
  8. Tax, pension and other financial implications
  9. How to make the move


The Maltese are by and large known for their friendliness and hospitality. Malta’s islands are home to a growing expat community that adds to the internationalised feel of the island, while also maintaining a beating heart of Maltese culture.

The Maltese love dining and follow a typical Mediterranean diet that contains a lot of olive oil, tomatoes, fresh seafood, and pasta. You can find lots of events and activities happening all year round, including jazz, opera and rock festivals, dance shows, art exhibitions, plays, museums, and much more. During summer the islands come to life with regular village feasts and spectacular fireworks displays. So, if you’re retiring abroad in Malta, there are plenty of activities and events to visit and be amazed by.


Malta’s climate is one of the reasons expats retire to this beautiful island.

  • Days of sunshine: 300 days (3,000 hours)
  • Average Temperature: 23°C
  • Rainfall per year: 595 mm per year
  • Average Sea Temperature: 20°C

Summers are hot, dry and very sunny. During summer, the cooling sea breezes often mitigate day-time temperatures in summer. As a result, the average temperature of 28°C to 34°C.

Spring and autumn are not as hot as summer, except when the occasional Sirocco wind from Africa that brings unseasonably high temperatures and humidity. Therefore, expect the average temperature of 16°C to 22°C.

Winters are mild, with the occasional short cold spells brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe. So, the average temperature of 12°C to 20°C.


The primary language for the native population is Maltese. However, for some 150 years, Malta was ruled by Great Britain. Therefore the English language is a significant part of what the British left behind and is spoken throughout Malta. Likewise, this solves a large problems experienced by Europeans when retiring abroad, as you need to communicate with the locals.


Malta’s position in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea is ideal for reaching key airports around Europe with daily non-stop flights:

  • London: 3 hours and 10 minutes
  • Paris: 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • Frankfurt: 2 hours and 40 minutes
  • Rome: 1 hour and 25 minutes
  • Barcelona: 2 hours and 10 minutes
  • Copenhagen: 3 hours and 15 minutes
  • Helsinki: 4 hours
  • Vienna: 2 hours and 10 minutes
  • Amsterdam: 3 hours

Malta International Airport is Malta’s only airport. However in 2018 it saw 3.4 million passengers arrive in Malta.


Using Re-Maxx (one of Malta’s leading real estate companies) blogs to help with this. “Although the high quality of the lifestyle found in Malta is internationally renowned, rental prices locally are still cheaper when compared to the rest of Europe. However, this comfortable lifestyle, when combined with higher quality, larger and enviably-located properties becoming increasingly available across Malta. This inflation is also contributing to a gradual rise in rental prices to reflect demand. At present, the average rental price for a comfortable two-bedroom apartment in a popular central area is €800 to €900 per month.” – ReMax Blog, 2019

Malta is home to narrow streets with a unique and stunning look showing their colourful doors and windows


The Maltese government provides comprehensive health care that is free at the point of delivery for all Maltese residents. Therefore, EU citizens who are visiting are eligible to use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and receive medical attention from public hospitals and clinics at no cost.


Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. However, the list below shows the average prices in 2019. In addition, visit Numbeo for a great cost compaision and compare the cost of living of cities around the world.


Any non-Maltese national who is a national of an EU Member State, EEA Member State or Switzerland are eligible to apply for the Malta Retirement Programme. However, an authorised mandatory must handle your case when requesting special tax status and consequently qualify for the 15% flat tax rate on any foreign income received in Malta. Likewise, you can find more information about the Malta Retirment Programme below. So, if you’re retiring abroad, you need to consider if you’re as tax effective as you can be.


Retirees with a guaranteed minimum income and health insurance coverage can move to Malta without much hassle. Retired nationals of any EU country are usually entitled to their state pension and public healthcare coverage, no matter in which EU country they live. Most importantly, your pension should be sufficient to provide for a comfortable retirement abroad. However, it’s essential to talk to your national pension office, your bank, and your health insurance provider about a planned move.

As soon as an expat from another EU country has settled in Malta, you need to get an official registration certificate/ID within three months after arrival. In addition, get in touch with the Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs in Valletta.

A spectacular view of Valletta from Tigne Point.


As Malta Residence specialists, we can assist you with relocating to Malta, providing you with holistic and comprehensive residency advice. Moreover, a favoured residence scheme aimed at those of retirement age who are looking to retiring abroad in Malta is the Malta Retirement Programme.

Any national of an EU Member State, EEA Member State or Switzerland (apart from Maltese nationals) are eligible to apply for the Malta Retirement Programme, through an authorised mandatory, for special tax status (and consequently qualify for the 15% flat tax rate outlined above) if he/she:

  • Receives pension income in Malta, supported by documentary evidence. This pension must constitute at least 75% of the beneficiary’s chargeable income.
  • Is not in an employment relationship
  • Holds a “qualifying property holding.”
    • Purchase a property of €275,000
    • Rent a property of €9,600 per annum
  • Receives stable and regular resources which are sufficient to maintain himself/herself and his/her dependents without recourse to the social assistance system in Malta
  • Has a valid travel document
  • EU covered health insurance
  • Isn’t’ presently domiciled in Malta. The applicant cannot apply for domicile within five years from the application.


Firstly, candidates must submit their applications for the Malta Retirement Programme through the services of an authorised registered mandatory such as Papilio Services Limited. Secondly, a non-refundable application fee of €2,500 is payable to the authorities upon application. Finally, you will be granted special tax status if you meet all the conditions.


If you are considering retiring abroad in Malta, Papilio Services holistic and comprehensive residency advice. We pride ourselves on client retention and quality service, offering bespoke and tax-efficient solutions for international companies and individuals.

So, if you would like to get started with Malta’s Retirement Programme, contact us through email enquiries@papilioservices.com or call us directly +356 2122 7553. We look forward to hearing from you.

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