When it comes to deciding the best citizenship by investment program in Europe, there are undoubtedly many subjects that must be considered before taking the first step; The Governments of Malta and Cyprus run similar citizenship by investment programs, so we decided to take a look at some of the most sensitive topics for investors and expatriates looking to invest in economic citizenship in Europe.
Cyprus offers a high standard of living in a clean, safe and healthy environment. It provides first-class healthcare and education, has an ideal Mediterranean climate, fresh cuisine, beautiful scenery, clean beaches and hospitable people. English is widely spoken making integration very simple.
Malta, on the other hand, has a vibrant history with a significant number of historic sites. The island of Malta lies in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, between Europe and Africa. The country is a constitutional republic and parliamentary democracy in the EU, in which the Prime Minister is the head of the government.
After all, there are many similarities between Malta and Cyprus – at first glance. The two countries are very different in many regards.
Both Malta and Cyprus lie in the Mediterranean. So as such, they are quite similar regarding weather.
Being a notch closer to the equator, Cyprus has more land mass—this makes it somehow warmer than Malta—it’s not a whole lot, however.
There's only one difference between the two countries which is in the number of rainy days per year.
Annual rainfall in Malta is nearly double that of Cyprus. Thus, Malta tends to get a lot windier, especially during winter.
Even though rain and wind can be a bad thing sometimes, it also means more greenery and more local fruits and vegetables. People can head to the top of the Troodos mountain in Cyprus and even experience thick snow while being able to swim and sunbathe down in Limassol.
Thus, Cyprus is one of few places in the world where people can usually swim and ski in the sea at the same time of the year!
Cost of Living
The daily cost of living is considered to be comparatively cheaper in Malta, especially when it comes to “everyday convenience” items and dining out. In Malta, one can still find cafes that fix you a cappuccino for $1.31. In Cyprus – it’s not uncommon to pay up to $5.26 for a cup of Nescafe.
Buying a car is significantly more expensive in Malta, due to the heavy taxation. Similarly, rental accommodation tends to be more expensive in Malta’s “prime areas” when compared to the sought-after towns of Cyprus.
In the centre of Limassol, one can find a two- bedroom flat in decent condition for around $660.427 a month.
This is something that’s hard to beat in Sliema or St. Julian’s. As such, unless you’re partying every weekend or drinking 10 cups of coffee per day, your general monthly expenses will likely be a bit lower in Cyprus.
Both Cyprus and Malta have one “primary” party area – Paceville in Malta and Ayia Napa in Cyprus, respectively. These areas are very similar to each other in many different criteria.
What Malta excels at is the proximity of the party area to most urban centres. Paceville is a 10-minute drive away from Sliema and approximately 30 minutes (without traffic) away from everywhere else.
On the other hand, Ayia Napa, is a 112km drive from Limassol, 61km from Larnaca and 178km from Paphos. This area has a permanent population of only 3,000 and little to no establishments other than hotels, bars, restaurants and nightclubs, so moving there is not an option, either.
There are many bars and clubs in all major towns of Cyprus. Hence, one doesn’t need to go all the way to Ayia Napa. However, party options are more plentiful in Malta, compared to Cyprus.
With the beaches in Cyprus being generally larger –Cyprus itself is a lot larger than Malta. There are many more sandy beaches to explore.
In most towns of Cyprus, there’s a long (several kilometres or more) stretch of sandy beach running from the town centre to the outskirts—these beaches don’t usually get overly crowded. This is something that Malta, unfortunately, can’t compete with, as even though there are beaches nearly everywhere, the ones in key population centres are usually small, and mostly rocky.
While there are beautiful sandy beaches in Malta as well, most of these are away from the main population centres, making them difficult to reach for expats who lack transportation options, and unviable for a quick dip.
Due to Malta and Cyprus both being iGaming and Finance hubs, as well as popular tourist destinations, both have a significant expat community.
According to proficient surveys, there are close to 23,000 foreigners living in Malta. On the other hand, there are around 150,000 in Cyprus (if you exclude the 31,000 Greek nationals), of which about 26,000 are from the UK and approximately 54,000 whose origins are from other EU countries.
Cars & Roads
Both are, after all, Southern European nations with a similar overall temperament and mentality. Since they are British colonies, both countries also drive on the left.
That said, Cyprus does have a significantly more advanced road infrastructure, with most roads generally in excellent condition, and most major towns linked with motorways.
Being Mediterranean countries, the overall “looks” of Malta and Cyprus would be quite similar. However, apart from having a multitude of palm trees, one couldn’t be more wrong.
Malta usually gets a lot more water, which allows for a far greener “overall feel”—at least during the winter and spring months. But on the flipside, due to the small size of Malta and the extreme overdevelopment, secluded areas where one can enjoy nature are few and far between.
As with many things, it comes down to what one prefers, and there’s, therefore, no clear winner.
Although both Malta and Cyprus being former British colonies and English is widely spoken in both countries. In Malta, English enjoys the status of an official language, alongside Maltese. Whilst in Cyprus, the official languages are Greek and Turkish – the latter rarely used since the division of the country. However, this makes no significant difference, since the overall English proficiency in Cyprus is exceptionally good—probably at the same level as Malta.
English is an official language in Malta. This means that nearly all official communication – be it with banks, the government, or any other sector– can always be done in English. Also, most instructions and forms are provided either in English or both English and Maltese.
However, it's widespread In Cyprus to find forms that are purely in Greek, requiring someone to help translate, and sometimes leading to signing documents that one has no idea what they are even saying.
In this sense, unless you speak Greek, Malta makes for a much more comfortable life.
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