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Shopping in Malta

Grocery Shopping

There are many one-stop grocery stores/supermarkets in Malta where all food items and some household items can be purchased. Some of the largest and most popular grocery stores include Pavi, Lidl, Smart, The Tower, Carrefour, Chain, and Marks and Spencer Food.

You must insert a €0.50, €1 or €2 deposit in shopping carts/trolleys in Malta. Shopping bags in Malta are available to purchase at most grocery stores, otherwise the use of reusable bags, paper bags, or cardboard boxes is encouraged.

Many grocery stores in Malta offer free delivery. Larger grocery stores also offer free parking.

You can purchase alcohol at grocery stores in Malta.

The availability of produce in Malta is highly influenced by seasonality. Most produce in Malta is imported, but cheap, high quality produce is readily available at most stores.

Most dairy products in Malta are local.

The Butcher, The Baker, and The Fishmonger

High quality local and imported meats are available from your local butcher, who will also cut and prepare your meat upon request. Knife sharpening services are also available through butchers. Halal and kosher butchers also have a presence in Malta.

Maltese bread is legendary, and the best place to buy authentic Maltese breads is at your local bakery. Local specialties include hobz – a crusty loaf with a moist, spongy texture - and ftira – flat rolls used for sandwiches. Similar breads are also available to purchase at supermarkets.

Local and imported seafood is available to purchase from your local fishmonger, who can filet and clean your purchase, and advise you on preparation and recipes. Fresh seafood is not available to purchase at most supermarkets.

It is often cheaper to purchase baked goods, meat and seafood from these sellers than from larger supermarkets.

Roadside Carts/Stalls

Fresh produce, seafood, and flowers can be purchased at roadside carts or stalls throughout Malta for excellent prices. These stalls are normally located on the back of vans, which drive through villages, stopping at pre-determined locations throughout the day. Check with your neighbours or your local cart as to when and where they will be.

Produce is priced per kilo.

Markets

There is no large, daily food market in Malta. Shopping for food is done at a grocery store/supermarket or a produce cart/stall.

The open-air market on Merchant Street in Valletta sells household goods, clothing, and tourist items during the morning Monday to Saturday.

An open-air seaside market is held daily in Marsaxlokk. Throughout the week, household and tourist items are available to purchase. On Sundays fresh produce and seafood are on offer, straight from the hands that grew and caught them. This is also a great place to buy Maltese lace, bread, sweets, honey, and artwork. Go early to avoid crowds.

A market is also held on weekends in Ta Qali National Park. A market is held daily in Independence Square, Victoria, Gozo. A market is also held on Tuesday mornings in Cospicua.

Permanent craft markets are also held in Ta Qali National Park, in the fomer WWII military airfield, and at Ta’Dbiegi in Goz, where you can purchase blown glass, knit sweaters, lace, silver filigree jewelry, leather goods, art, and other artisanal items.

An artisan market is held occasionally in the Suq in Valletta on Merchant Street and in Birgu.

Markets in Malta are generally cash only.

Household goods and clothes

Ironmongery

Household goods (hardware, electrical, plumbing, etc.) are available to purchase at small ironmongeries. There is generally one ironmongery per village in Malta.

Electronics

Electronics are generally most expensive in Malta compared to the rest of Europe and North America, and are available to purchase at small, local electronics shops.

Some mobile phone brands are less expensive in Malta compared to the rest of Europe and North America (Nokia, Samsung, Vodafone) and more expensive (Apple, Blackberry).

Clothing & Shoes

Clothing sizes in Malta vary and include British, Continental European, and American sizes. Shoes come in standard European sizes.

Shopping Malls

The concept of a shopping mall is a recent addition to the retail landscape in Malta. However, there are now several shopping malls throughout the islands. The largest is The Point in Sliema. Others include the Embassy Complex in Valletta, the Plaza in Sliema, the Bay Street Shopping Complex in Paceville, the Arcadia Shopping Center in Victoria, Gozo, The Duke Shopping Complex in Victoria, Gozo, the Daniels Shopping Complex in Hamrun,

Used Goods

While used good shopping is not as popular in Malta as in other countries, there are several ways to buy and sell used goods.

Charity shops operate throughout the island and offer a variety of used goods – mainly clothing and household items – at fair prices. Be sure to ask what charity the shop is sponsoring and how much of their profits go to that charity. High quality charity shops include the SPCA Malta charity shop in Sliema, where all proceeds benefit this not-for-profit directly.

Used goods are also bought and sold online through web sites such as Malta Park and Izjed.com. Goods offered on such sites include flats, houses, cars, motorcycles, clothing, jewelry, electronics, etc.

Used goods are sometimes advertised in local newspapers, such as the Times of Malta or Malta Today.

Online Shopping

The popularity of online shopping is quickly growing in Malta, where many international brands have yet to establish a presence on the ground. As such, locals and expats alike are apt to order goods online. Many shops now offer delivery to Malta, and you can avoid high import fees by ordering from shops within the EEA (e.g. amazon.co.uk vs. amazon.com).

For online shops that do not offer delivery to Malta, you can consider using a package forwarding service, such as Malta Post’s Send On. Similar private services are also available.

You can also purchase cinemas, theatre, and concert tickets online in Malta.

You can also purchase groceries online in Malta, through select grocery store web sites, such as Smart or through third-party services such as Ooii and Malta Supermarket.

By Jess Gerrow, who traded city life in Canada for island life in the Mediterranean two years ago. She is a postgraduate marketing student, blogger, and freelance writer.