Boasting a temperate climate, a gentle pace of life and attractive tax incentives – it’s easy to see why Gozo is the top of the list for expats looking to retire to the sun.

With around 300 days of sunshine a year, the bijou sister-island of Malta presents a superior quality of life with a diverse selection of leisure and pleasure activities, fine cuisine with Mediterranean restaurants and cafes offering mouth-watering fare, not to mention a wonderful island topography with its rugged, green hinterland, vintage towns and villages, crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches.

All this, combined with an affordable cost of living, a stable property market with steady capital growth, as well as excellent residency conditions, means a charmed life is easily on the cards for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the working world and kick-back and enjoy their twilight years.

While Malta is already popular with expats - the inner harbour areas such as Sliema, St Julians, Valletta are real estate hotspots for high net worth individuals - Gozo comes with its unique characteristics, which some feel makes it more appealing. Around 31,000 people inhabit the island where the pace of life is considerably slower, perfect for retirees seeking a leisurely lifestyle.

“There’s something inexplicably magical about Gozo, so rich in history, home to one of the earliest civilizations, and exuding peace and tranquility,” says Sarah. “The urban landscape is much less dense than Malta, so the architectural gems peppered around the island really do stand out.”

She adds: “The island offers a totally relaxed lifestyle and delicious cuisine. Colourful traditional fishing boats bring in the catch of the day, literally, up to your table on the water’s edge. Fine dining is also an experience to savour on the island. It truly has earned itself the status of the ‘ideal quiet getaway’ all-year-round.”

It’s not all sun, sea and scenery that draw visitors however. There are financial incentives too – particularly for the retired. Introduced in 2012, the Malta Retirement Programme benefits EU, EEA or Swiss retirees with tax breaks. There’s also an attractive tax structure to entice expats.

Foreigners living in Malta are only taxed on their Maltese derived income and on overseas income that is remitted to Malta. They are not taxed on their worldwide income. To qualify, individuals must own or rent a property in Malta or Gozo, with a respective minimum value of €275,000 and €250,000. For rentals there is a minimum annual value of €9600 for Malta and €8750 for Gozo and a minimum term of 1 year.

Individuals seeking to benefit from MRP status must not live in any other country for more than 183 days a year and must also reside in Malta for a minimum of 90 days a year averaged over a 5 year period.

To top it all off, Malta and Gozo have been consistently rated one of the safest nations in the world, with extremely low crime rates and a very high standard of hospital care and medical services, both private and public.

“The Maltese Islands offer an unforgettable experience where total relaxation combines with rich cultural and artistic treasures making it a prime retirement destination both now, and in the future,” adds Sarah.

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