For more than 10 years, ILGA-Europe (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) has been developing a ranking of European countries based on some 60 criteria for the respect of LGBTQ+ people’s equal rights. In 2020, Malta takes the top spot in this ranking, a title won every year since 2016! Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily, the archipelago is made up of several islands, the two most important being the island of Malta and the island of Gozo. You can visit many monuments and its capital Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The population of Malta is just over 510,000. Its climate is Mediterranean with mild winters and hot, dry summers. The Maltese people are very friendly and the best way to visit the island is with the locals. You can visit the historic capital Valletta, discover the old temples of Hagar Qim, visit the Three Cities, have a party in the Paceville area, enjoy one of the beautiful beaches in the northwest of the island or even go to the islands of Gozo or Comino. Malta has been inhabited since prehistoric times, so 7000 years of history await you. The archipelago also has a strategic military position for the European continent.
Malta is one of the few tourist destinations to openly include LGBTQ+ customers in its communications and on its website. Over the past few years, the government has deployed a solid legal framework for equal rights among all individuals, resulting in Malta becoming one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the world. For more information, feel free to view the video below.
We can describe the rights for LGBTQ+ people as very advanced in Malta. A great deal of work has been done in recent years to achieve this result. Since 2012, discrimination based on sexual orientation has been severely punished. Same-sex civil unions and adoption have been possible since 2014 and gay marriage was legalised in 2017. Gender reassignment with surgery is allowed. Furthermore, while many advanced LGBTQ+ countries do not have a specific law on the subject, conversion therapies in Malta have been banned by law since 2016.
Malta is a member of the European Union and its currency is the Euro. All credit cards are accepted on site to pay for hotels or car rentals. In bars and some restaurants you can only pay in cash, so remember to withdraw money before you leave for the evening.
For citizens of the European Union, Switzerland or a member country of the European Economic Area, a national identity card or passport is sufficient, as Malta is a member of the Schengen Area.
For travellers coming from Canada, the USA or Australia, there is an agreement with the EU which allows you to be exempted from visa requirements for stays not exceeding 90 days. However, please note that during 2022, you will have to get your ETIAS before any departure. This is an electronic travel authorisation that must be done online before the trip, which will cost €7 and will give access to the Schengen area. Here is the link for more information: ETIAS.
Café del Mar (St Paul’s Bay) Very nice gay friendly chic day club with infinity pool by the sea. Relax in the sun on a deckchair or with friends in one of the lounge areas. The on-site restaurant is excellent. Evening parties. Upscale location.
Michelangelo Gay Club (St Julian’s) Bar club in Malta. Dance floor and parties with shows.
The Birdcage Lounge (Triq il-Kbira, Ir-Rabat). Friendly gay bar with a good atmosphere, reasonable prices and theme nights.
Cheeky Monkey GastroClub (175 Merchants St, Valletta). Friendly pub-style brasserie with a wide choice of dishes and excellent cocktails.
Also follow the gay nights Lollipop and S2S Events (Station2Station) that take place at different locations.
All the beaches in Malta are gay friendly. Here are the most popular beaches for LGBTQ+ customers:
Riviera Bay – Ghajn Tuffieha Bay. Head to the small secluded beach to the left of the cove for a nudist spot.
Gnejna Bay Beach (our illustration photo). Very popular with gays. Go to the right along the limestone hills. A boat or a good walk can also take you to “Il-blata”, a beautiful place where the rock is at sea level.
Qarraba Bay. Very rocky place but ideal if you are looking for peace and quiet.
Fomm ir-Rih Bay. Access is difficult (you have to walk and be fit) but the place is worth the effort.
Imgiebah Bay. Superb sandy beach, with difficult access, but like the previous one, it is worth the effort.
All these beaches are beautiful natural places so take your equipment and protections (creams, umbrellas, cool drinks, etc.) because there is no shop on site. Of course, please respect nature and leave your spot in the same condition as when you arrived.
From Friday 2nd to Sunday 10 September 2022.
ARC(Allied Rainbow Communities) is the local organisation that coordinates the LGBTQ+ community and therefore the Gay Pride in Malta. The opening party will take place on Friday, September 2nd. The Pride Parade will be held on Saturday 10 September in the capital city of Valletta and will be followed by the Malta Pride Concert event. The march will start at Castille Square and go to Triton Square. More information here.
Grindr and Tinder are the most used gay dating apps in Malta. Dating at the beach is also very successful.
Video Source: You Tube – VisitMalta Official – November 20, 2019. Photo credit: under license Shutterstock.com / photographer: ZGPhotography.