Climate is one of nine categories that go in to calculating the countries with the best quality of life in the annualInternational Living index. Sharing top scores for climate in the 2011 index are Malta and Zimbabwe.
Of the two, Malta is our favorite, says International Living magazine Editor Eoin Bassett. “But with 5.2 hours of sunshine a day, a stable government and economy, Malta is a very strong draw for expats. And it’s English-speaking.”
Anchored almost in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, 60 miles from the Italian island of Sicily, frost and snow are mostly unknown in Malta, and the temperature nudges 70 degrees Fahrenheit even in November.
The five islands that make up Malta aren’t on everyone’s radar, and are mostly unheard of by Americans. About 500,000 Maltese live on the largest, more sophisticated main island, and most have a lively urban lifestyle. Homes and apartments here attract an international set as do the historic harbors and five-star hotels.
Crime hardly exists, the locals are hospitable and the health care is excellent. There aren’t any property taxes, and the U.S. expats who benefit most from living here are those who retain earnings from elsewhere that they then elect to get taxed in Malta, at 15%.
At roughly twice the size of Washington D.C., it’s easy to socialize with other expats. There’s regular 90-minute ferry service to Sicily and a modern airport at Luqa with flights to numerous other European countries, including Rome, just one hour away by plane.
Along with its top climate ranking, Malta’s many other virtues combined to earn it third place overall in the 2011 Quality of Life index, beaten only by New Zealand and the U.S.
For complete 2011 Quality of Life Index rankings and details on categories and how ratings were determined, see here.