Amid the travel surge an all-time high demand for Europe, Malta has now finally removed all of its Covid entry rules, which were among the strictest in the continent. Starting July 25, tourists will be able to visit the Mediterranean country without any health-related requirements, whether they have been vaccinated or not.
A tiny archipelago in the Mediterranean, Malta comprises two islands, the eponymous Malta, where the capital and several other sites of historical importance are located, and Gozo, famous for its unblemished beaches and water activities. Now, tourists will again be able to visit Malta – and Gozo – completely stress-free.
Malta Is The Latest In Europe To Lift All Entry Curbs
Throughout the crisis, Malta had enacted perhaps the harshest anti-Covid measures in Europe. Besides proof of vaccination, visitors were expected to have new doses of the vaccine every 3 months in order to continue enjoying freedom to travel, a move that went against the EU’s own 9-month validity period (now defunct).
Despite the clear directive, health authorities in Malta stood staunchly conservative and continued to enforce the most draconian entry conditions. When Europe began reopening, with countries like Iceland, the U.K., Ireland and Norway all removing curbs as early as February, Malta still kept the doors virtually shut to tourism.
Later, when it did bow down to the EU and increased the validity date for secondary doses to 9 months, it did so reluctantly. At the time, those who had been vaccinated longer than 270 days ago would not qualify for entry into Malta as fully vaccinated individuals, requiring an additional third dose. There were also restrictions facing the unvaccinated.
When unable to present a three-dose certificate, travelers were able to board planes to Malta by providing proof of a negative PCR test, issued no longer than 72 hours preceding arrival (with the time of the actual border crossing as reference), or a rapid antigen test not older than 24 hours before landing. Luckily, these have all been fully scrapped.
No Entry Requirements Starting July 25
On June 11, the Maltese Health Ministry decided it was time for Malta to align with its fellow EU members and embrace travel again. Not earlier than July 25, when the new guidelines will start being enforced by Maltese border authorities and airlines serving Malta, health regulations will cease applying to both tourists and returning residents.
To put it simply, from July 25 onward, you are no longer required to present any Covid documentation:
- No vaccine certificates required
- No proof of booster required
- No pre-departure testing regardless of immunization status
- No post-arrival testing
- No mandatory quarantine
It is worth noting the old rules remain in place until that date. This means that, if you’re traveling to Malta before July 25, you may still be required to fulfill the previous entry requirements, such as having your most recent vaccine dose dating less than 270 days, or taking a PCR or Rapid Antigen test ahead of travel.
Could Rules Tighten Again With The New Wave?
As for the new viral uptick that is seeing a number of countries in Europe, including Cyprus, tighten mandates once again, the Maltese Superintendent of Public Health Chamaine Gauci has promptly dismissed rumors the country would be following suit. Once the border measures are eased on July 25, it is unlikely they will ever return.
In Gauci’s statement, she concedes it is time to ‘adopt a stance of personal responsibility instead’, now that the European Centers of Disease Prevention and Control declared the current phase of the pandemic to be ‘post-acute’. This strongly suggests Malta may be close to declaring Covid an endemic virus.
Within the country, vaccine passes have ceased being a requirement for entry into indoors and cultural venues, and mask usage has not been mandatory since April 26. Since then, tourists have been free to travel the islands, including Gozo, mask-free. Indoors or outdoors, they will not get angry looks or be scolded for not wearing them.
- No masks inside municipal buses
- No masks inside intercity buses
- No masks on ferries
- No masks on indoor seating areas in restaurants
- No masks inside museums or other enclosed attractions
- No masks on flights*
*As of May 16, Maltese authorities have lifted the inflight mask mandate
Are There Direct Flights Between The U.S. And Malta?
There are currently no nonstop flights between the U.S. and Malta, but several American and European airlines operate on Malta routes that include a short layover in other European hubs. Once in the continent, Americans can also easily book low-cost tickets to Malta departing from Spain, France, Italy and countless others.
All commercial flights to Malta arrive at the Luqa International Airport, the country’s only entry point for those flying. Some of the main sights in the country include the medieval capital of Valletta, famously the smallest in the European Union at only 0.24 square miles, the picturesque walled city of Mdina, and Victoria, acting as a regional capital for the island of Gozo.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com