I’m sitting at my desk listening to Groove Armada, contemplating how from 19°C yesterday, I almost slipped on ice this morning. Ironic how Youtube just jumped to the next song – Inside my mind (blue skies). And for the past two weeks there have been blue skies on my mind… and on my Instagram account. I’ve been digging through my photo collection and decided to finally edit the photos I took in Malta. All those blue shades, the sun and the views from above drew me back to this amazing little island in the Mediterranean sea.
I’ve been trying to put up a post for a while now, but the inspiration for actual words just wasn’t there. I find it easier to just show you what I shoot. Somehow this gloomy day got my creative juices flowing and I decided to write a little travel guide to Malta based on my experience there.
What to expect in Malta?
The Maltese archipelago contains three islands: Malta, Comino an Gozo. The capital city is Valletta and it’s located on the main island, Malta.
The people are very friendly, and don’t worry if you can’t speak Maltese (the official language). 90% of the population speaks English and about half Italian. So no need to take a crash language course.
Currency: Malta is part of the European Union and the currency is Euro.
Climate: Being in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, the climate is pretty mild during winter, so you can expect an average low temp of 13°C, summers going up to 30-31°C and a handful of rainy days/year. However, since there are very little trees in Malta, it’s very windy, especially along the coast.
When to visit: the high season in Malta is from June to August, when everything is packed! But the friendly climate can give you good options in April-May and September-October.
Getting around Malta
Rent a car: this is probably the best option in terms of mobility. And if you want to reach all those amazing view points on the coast, it’s the way to go. But take in account that driving is on the left side (like in UK), so that might require some getting used to. The signs are a bit confusing (or scarce) and you can get lost even with a GPS. You can rent a car right at the airport, so be sure you explore your options and book in advance. Oh.. and go for a small car, the streets are narrow and finding parking will be challenging.
Taxi: Malta is a small island, so taking a taxi can be an option. Be sure you use the official white taxis and that the meter is turned on when you get in. From the airport you can purchase prepaid taxi fares to several destinations and you can check them out clicking here.
Buses: The public transportation will get you basically in every tourist spot there is. So it can be a cheap alternative to getting around the islands. Unlimited public transportation for 7 days is just 21€. For the transport routes and prices you can check out this link.
Ferries: To travel between the islands, you’ll need to take a ferry. The boat trip to Gozo takes about 30 minutes. If you rent a car, the ticket is 15.70€, but for more price options and time tables you need to go to this link.
Bike around: Malta is an amazing place to bike. The distances are not that big and it gives you more freedom to explore. I love biking so take in account that when I say the distances are not that big, for me 15-20 km biking is really nothing. Since safety should be first, I do recommend you get a local bike tour and not venture out on your own. But the safety rules apply everywhere – helmet on, lights and eyes wide open. Click here to find a bunch of options for bike-hire and tours.
Where to stay in Malta?
Well, I guess it all depends on what type of traveler you are. For me, usually, AirBnB is the main go-to option for any place I visit. Be sure to click this link and get some travel credit for your first trip.
I won’t reference any hotel, hostel or other accommodation, I will just give you some basic guide lines and you can decide for yourselves where to stay.
History and culture: If you more oriented towards this kind of trip, then the capital of Malta is the place for you. Valletta has a lot of museums and attractions and it’s the main transport hub. However there are no sandy beaches and the nightlife resumes to a few bars and restaurants.
Beach life: Mellieħa is THE place to be if you want to have some fun in the sun. Mellieħa Bay is Malta’s largest sandy beach. Keep in mind that accommodation in this area is limited, so book in advance.
Night life: Party on your mind? Get busy in St. Julian’s and Paceville. This is the more modern part of Malta, and it’s where you’ll find all the trendy nightlife spots. There is one artificial sandy beach at St. George’s bay, but it can be a pretty crowded place during the high season.
Budget/affordable: The Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay have good options. There is an artificial sandy beach and a few rocky areas to have a quick dip. Being a more affordable area, it tends to get really busy during the high season. But it has a good public transport connection so you can just hop on a bus and try another less crowded place.
What to eat in Malta?
Don’t expect a Michelin star food guide from me, because you can only eat so much in a 4 day trip. What I can say is that you will find the Maltese cuisine to be a lot similar to the Italian one.
Best place to try some fresh seafood, fished that morning, is the little village of Marsaxlokk. You can enjoy the amazing harbor with the colorful Luzu boats following your every move and have a fresh lunch on the water front.
One of the most popular dishes in Malta, after fresh fish of course, is rabbit. I had rabbit before, so I kind of knew what to expect, but even so I was surprised. The rabbit strew is definitely one of the things you should try when you get to Malta. And the place I would recommend is Ta’ Kris restaurant. This little traditional Maltese bistro is located in Sliema and along with the cozy vibe and friendly staff comes an amazing array of delicious food.
I couldn’t end the “what to eat” part of the guide without recommending you a desert. Imqaret is a traditional Maltese deep fired pastry with dates filling, served with a side of chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water (and on vacation no one counts calories).
What to do in Malta?
Explore Valletta: It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1980 and even if it’s a small capital, it has a high concentration of historic sites. It’s a city to wander around.
Explore the fishing village of Marsaxlokk: This place wiggled its way into my heart. I just loved it and its surrounding areas. Check out my full post about it for some Jaunting Tips – Colorful Malta: Marsaxlokk fishing village.
Mountain biking: Yes! Rent a bike and join a two wheels tour of Malta.
Exploring the islands: The Blue Lagoon in Comino, the Blue Grotto in Malta, the Fungus Rock and the Salt Pans in Gozo are just a few of the stops you should add to your itinerary.
Check out the beaches: Sandy or rocky, Malta has some amazing places where you can catch the rays of the sun and enjoy a dip in the Mediterranean. My recommendations: St. Peter’s Pool near Marsaxlokk, Mellieħa Bay – largest sandy beach and Golden Bay.
Diving: Colorful marine life, ship and plane wrecks, caves, reefs and even a statue of Jesus make Malta a great place to dive. One recent addition to the Maltese underwater world is the Azure Window, that crushed into the sea last year in March.
Flying over Malta: If Malta is beautiful from the ground level and underwater, wait until you see it from above. Flying in a small Cessna 172 plane over a beautiful landscape is for sure one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
And last but not least…
Enjoy the sunsets: No need to add any more words… just enjoy the pictures.