The EuroBSDcon 2013 location is the town of St. Julian’s (San Ġiljan in Maltese) on Malta’s east coast to the north of its capital Valletta. The conference is held at the Hilton Conference Centre at the Portomaso Marina Development. Malta is best reached by airplane from all major European cities or by rail and ferry.
- General Information
- Visa Requirements
- Air Travel
- Rail and Ferry
- Transport on Malta
- Airport Transfer
- Hotels for attending EuroBSDcon
- Power plugs
- Internet and Mobile Coverage
Malta is an island of 316 km2 (122 sq mi) in the Mediterranean about 80 km (50 mi) south of Sicily and the southernmost EU member country. Before gaining independence in 1964 it was part of the British Empire and used as a way-station and fleet headquarters due to its large and deep natural harbors and strategic location. Official languages are Maltese and English. Italian is typically well understood too.
Malta has a very long history dating back to 5200 BC with many present day cultural and historic sites built by the medieval knights.
Malta has very low crime rates with little petty theft. Medical care is available through public and private hospitals. The quality of medical care is excellent.
Further general tourist information can be found on Visit Malta, the official Tourism Site for Malta, Gozo and Comino.
The climate at the end of September is sunny and warm at around 26 C (78 F) during day time and around 19 C (66 F) at night with little chance of rain or clouds. Humidity is around 77% rel. The water temperature is around 25 C (76 F).
Malta is member of the Euro zone has adopted the Euro € as its currency. All major credit cards brands are almost universally accepted. Euro notes can be obtained from any local ATM at low fees through the Maestro and VISA Electron debit systems. Cash currency exchanges carry a high fee through unfavorable exchange rates and are not recommended unless no other method is available.
Malta is member of the EU Schengen Area and has abolished passport and immigration control with all other Schengen members which includes the majority of the EU countries plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.
Visa-free entrance is granted to all other EU member citizen and many other countries, including the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentine, Chile, and others for stays up to 90 days.
Pre-arranged Visa are required for citizen of all other countries and regions including Russia, Ukraine, mid-East and far-East Asia, Africa for stays up to 90 days. If you come from one of those countries and want to attend EuroBSDcon you have to obtain a Schengen Visa prior to your departure. We recommend to start the Visa application early due to varying processing times at the EU member embassies. If you have registered for EuroBSDcon and need a letter of invitation please contact us via email at info at eurobsdcon dot org.
A number of airlines serve Malta International Airport (MLA) with Air Malta flying non-stop to many major destinations in Europe by itself or through code-sharing with other airlines. Ryanair, Easyjet, Lufthansa and Alitalia provide regular scheduled service to further destinations. A number of additional airlines operate on a seasonal schedule. Malta International Airport was awarded Best Airport in Europe in the 2011 ASQ Survey.
The typical flight time to/from most major European destinations is between 2 and 3 hours.
You may want to check for fares with your preferred airline or these fare comparison and booking providers: Air Malta (airline), Kayak (meta-search), Hipmunk (meta-search with agony factor for long distances), Orbitz (booking), Travelocity (booking) and Vayama (booking), Expedia (booking).
The IATA airport code is: MLA
Regular scheduled ferry services are provided between Valetta, Malta and Pozallo (Sicily, Italy), Catania (Sicily, Italy), or Civitavecchia (near Rome, Italy). Ferry service is available from Virtu Ferries and Grimaldi Lines.
Passenger Rail service in Europe is generally good with high speed lines between many major cities. Your national railway company typically provides online fare searches. Alternatively you can use the Eurail Train Pass. The Man in Seat 61 has described in detail his journey from London to Malta by rail and ferry.
Towns in Malta generally are easily walkable, often along the waterfront promenade.
Getting around for longer distances requires the use of a car, taxi or public bus transport. During morning and afternoon rush hours the streets are jammed causing delays for cars and buses. Parking is scarce and typically provided for a fee in underground garages. Access to the city of Valletta carries a congestion charge during daytime. Traffic moves on the left.
The public bus system generally works in a star-like fashion with the Valletta bus terminus being the central hub for all directions. These are the two digit numbered mainline routes. Further three digit numbered direct routes directly connect towns without going through the Valletta terminus first. The X numbered routes are express routes and the N numbered routes are night bus routes. An inofficial subway-style map of bus routes is available as well as the official time-table of Arriva, the bus operator. Most bus routes operate on an hourly or 30 minutes schedule running from sunrise to late evening.
A bus day pass costs €2.60 and a 7-day pass €12.00 and is valid on all routes on a given day except for the N numbered night bus routes. Tickets can be bought on ticket machines, while boarding the bus, at various retailers and online.
Unless you plan to stay longer and want to explore the island further on your own it is not recommended to hire / rent a car due to parking difficulties and rush hour delays.
Malta International Airport website provides good information on the available options.
Bus route X2 express route from the Airport to San Ġiljan Ross (St. Julian’s) departs every 30 minutes at .25 and .55 starting 05.55 to 22.55 (departure). The scheduled travel time is 42 minutes, however delays are not uncommon due to traffic jam, especially during rush hours. The bus stop of St. Julian’s is called San Ġiljan. The bus stop is in the upper part of St. Julian’s and most hotels are only a few minutes walk away. A bus day pass costs €2.60 (7-day pass €12.00) and can be bought from the Arriva Counter or Ticket Machine.
Shuttle service from and to the airport is available from Maltatransfer and costs about €8 one way and €16 both ways. It should be booked online in advance. It can also be booked at the transfer desk in the terminal. The ride time can be up to 1.5 hours due to multiple destinations in the same area being served.
White Taxi service is available from the Airport to any destination in Malta. Fixed rates apply and pre-paid tickets can be purchased from the ticket booth inside the Welcomers’ Hall on Arrivals. The fixed taxi fair from the airport to St. Julian’s is €20 one way. The typical ride time is about 30 minutes and about 50 minutes during rush hour.
Rental cars are available from all major rental car companies and can be booked through their systems or a rental car broker. The counters are next to the exit from the baggage reclaim. The typical rate for a small car is about €30 per day. Please note that traffic moves on the left (like in the UK). Traffic is dense at times and roads are narrow. Parking is difficult in most places. You should make sure that you have reserved parking with your hotel in advance. Unless you are familiar with driving in Malta or on the left it is not recommended to rent your own car.
Transportation for all organized social events during EuroBSDcon is pre-arranged and taken care of in advance.
It is recommended to book a hotel in the St. Julian’s (including Paceville, St. Georges Bay, St. Pauls Bay) area to be in short walking distance to the EuroBSDcon conference venue at the Hilton Conference Centre at Portomaso Marina, St. Julian’s.
We have pre-arranged a number of rooms for EuroBSDcon attendees at these hotels:
You may want to check with the Kayak hotel meta search engine or Tripadvisor meta search engine as well. Sometimes travel brokers have block deals and can offer an even better discount than the pre-arranged group rate. Make sure you select within 1 km/mile of St. Julian’s city center (upper left hand side) yielding about 80 hotels and sort by price. You should be able to find something nice close by at any price point. Tripadvisor features customer reviews of most hotels in the St. Julian’s area. Hotels in Sliema are an option too but require a 10 to 15 minute walk depending on exact location.
It is not recommended to stay in a hotel too far from the EuroBSDcon conference venue that requires the use of bus or car transport.
Malta has 230VAC mains using the bulky British three-prong standard plugs. Make sure to bring a suitable adapter when you’re coming from mainland Europe or other parts of the world. Otherwise you can buy one at the airport. Hotels typically have a couple of them available for loaning. If you have a number of devices you want to operate and charge it is easier to bring a small power strip of your preferred outlet type.
Internet Access generally is good and fast. Wireless access at the conference venue is provided free of charge to all EuroBSDcon attendees. Free wireless access is included at most hotels but may be spotty or unreliable in certain places. Obtaining a local 3G SIM card for tethered or personal hot-spot operation may be a better option at times. See below.
Full mobile coverage with GSM and 3G UMTS standards is provided by Vodafone and GO. Roaming agreements are in place with almost all international carriers. Depending on your contract additional roaming charges for voice, text and data communication may apply. Cheap pre-paid SIM cards can be easily bought at Vodafone and GO stores for €10-15 and topped up with 3G Internet access packages of 250MB/7-days for €3 at Vodafone or 350MB/10-days for €4 at GO Mobile. Pre-paid SIM cards are sold over the counter without any personal registration requirement.