Ultimate Guide to Malta – Travel Blog
This year, I have added so much new content to my Malta Travel Blog.
You can find in this guide all the essential information to make your trip to Malta a success. You will learn:
- How to get to and around the island
- How long does it take to visit Malta
- Which areas are most suitable for your trip type
- A collection of beautiful Airbnbs and hotels
- Beaches you should visit
- The best things to do and see in Malta
- Itineraries for Malta lasting up to 10 days
- The top restaurants in each town
But let’s get started.
Malta Travel Blog – In a nutshell
Arriving In Malta
Malta Airport is less than 10km south of Valletta, add another 3km for St Julian’s or Sliema
The Airport is very well connected by public buses to the main destinations.
You can catch:
- the X4 bus to go to Valletta or Birzebbuga, in the southern part of the island
- the X3 bus to St Paul’s Bay (Bugibba and Qawra)
- the X2 bus to St Julian’s and Sliema
- the X1 to Cirkewwa for the ferryboat to Gozo Island
You can read the complete time schedule on the MPT Website
Alternatively, you can pre-book a private transportation service for your peace of mind, or if the bus timetable does not match your arrival/departure time.
The last option, which is also the most expensive one, is to grab a taxi from the airport to your destination.
Budget around E20 to Valletta/St Julian, E25 to Mdina and E30 to St Paul’s Bay.
Are you already in Sicily/Italy?
Check out the Virtu Ferries that connect Malta to Sicily/Pozzallo twice a day.
Getting around Malta
Malta’s size is just perfect, not too big to get lost, not too small to get bored.
I wrote more extensively on how big is Malta and how to get around here.
Briefly, you have 3 possibilities to move around.
Renting a car is the most flexible option. There are easy-to-drive roads between the major destinations.
The streets and lanes can be quite narrow in the historic centre, so driving there can be challenging.
I usually hire my car from DiscoverCars.com, a comparative website that provides the best value options from all the major competitors.
You can also take the public bus that connects most of the destinations on the island.
This is your best option if you do not feel comfortable driving around Malta.
On my guide to get around Malta I also highlighted a Bus Travel Planner app that you can use to move between destinations
Lastly, you can catch a ferry.
You can go to Gozo and Comino Island from the ferry wharf of Cirkewwa (passengers and cars), on the Northwest side of the island or from Valletta itself (passengers only).
You can read all about the ferry to Gozo in my review.
There is also a regular ferry between
- Sliema and Valletta
- Birgu and Valletta.
They are both great also for sightseeing.
You can check here the timetable
How Many days in Malta
The easiest answer: the longer the better.
With 3 days I would suggest staying only in one destination and visit from there.
Valletta is one of the best options, especially if you do not want to rent a car, because it is really well connected by bus to most of the attractions on the island.
In my post on 3 days in Malta, you can read all you need to maximise your time with such a short stay.
In 5 days you can think to explore more about Malta.
You can even split your trip between two destinations, for example Valletta for the historical sites and Mellieha Bay for some beach time.
In my post on 5 days in Malta, I have suggested a few possibilities based on the type of trip you have in mind, relaxing or action, with kids or only the partner.
In 1 week in Malta you will be able to enjoy most of the island.
You can also think to spend 1 or 2 days in Gozo
It will be a bit of a rush but you will experience more of the “Malta as it used to be”, quieter and chilled out.
In my post on 7 days in Malta, I have organised a plan for 5 types of holidays (beaches, family, romantic couple, trekking and a secret option). Really, all you need to know.
With 10 days in Malta, you can think of experiencing all you want on the island.
You can also plan a more relaxed stay in Gozo, a beautiful and underrated part of this small country.
I have organised a full guide to one or two days in Gozo that surely will impress you for the many things to do and hidden gems.
Where to stay in Malta – Best Areas
The great thing about Malta is that you can find areas, towns and beaches for any kind of holiday.
Are you after the best beaches? Mellieha Bay and the Northwest of the island is what you are looking for.
Are you travelling with your partner and you are looking for a romantic stay? Birgu and Victoria in Gozo could be the best options for you.
If you are travelling with kids then Mellieha (small kids) and Bugibba/Qawra (grown-up) are awesome destinations, however, if you are after the best nightlife, then St Julian’s is the place to be.
I could keep listing any kind of holiday, this may be a lux/budget one or a trekking trip or one with plenty of relaxing time.
I wrote a full guide on where to stay in Malta, with a much deeper description of the best (and worst) areas based on your type of holiday and I included also a few suggested hotels/Airbnb, local restaurants and activities you could think to do once there.
Best Hotels & Airbnb in Malta
Many people have asked me whether Malta is a cheap destination.
I wrote a short guide on how expensive Malta is (accommodation, food, drinks, travel) that compares 3 towns, including also Valletta
The following is a short list of some suggested accommodations in Malta.
I have, however, outlined more options in my dedicated post.
8vilhena is one of the best value accommodations in Malta, located so close to the centre of Valletta and the bus station
The Holiday Inn Express in St Julian’s offers quite frequently special deals that make the hotel one of the best bargains in the island
Another great place is the Maria Townhouse, a beautiful guesthouse between old walls in Victoria, Gozo Island.
For the best beaches
If you are after a beach stay then you should book in the Mellieha area, in the northwest of the country.
This is where you will find the most spectacular ones.
The Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa is a great choice for couples who want to spend some quality time together.
The db Seabank is perfect for families with small children who want to take advantage of the pool and beach nearby, besides the very handy kids club
Another great option is to stay at the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa in one of the most spectacular beaches of Malta, Golden Beach.
For a romantic stay
Birgu is one of the most romantic places to stay in Malta.
The Locanda La Gelsomina is a great boutique accommodation that works fantastically well for a romantic stay
The Grand Hotel Excelsior in Valletta is another great option thanks to its beautiful views and swimming pool with access to a private beach too (unique in the capital).
Travelling with kids
The db Seabank in Mellieha is one of the best options on the island thanks to the kids’ club, the pool and the nearby beach
No questions asked here, St Julian’s has to be your destination.
The Hotel Valentina is one of the best accommodations, right in the middle of everything, but so well insulated that you won’t hear any noise.
Alternatively, you should check out the Holiday Inn Express, a great value for money hotel that offers special deals on a regular basis.
Another great option is the Hilton, which works very well if you want to stay close to the action of St Julian’s
For a secluded and boutique experience
The Duke Boutique Hotel in Victoria, the capital of Gozo, will give you a unique experience from the breakfast, made of locally sourced ingredients and delicatessen, to the Jacuzzi overlooking the Cittadella, so beautiful with the night lights. You can read my full review of the hotel here.
Spending a few days in Gozo is like stepping back in the past, to the Malta as it used to be.
Best Beaches in Malta
Malta is not worldwide famous for its quantity of beaches, however, it does have a few which are really spectacular.
This is my top 3 list:
- Paradise Bay Beach: a small beach that is not very crowded (except from mid-July to the end of August when it gets very crowded everywhere). Imagine turquoise-coloured water and a white sandy beach. You can also rent a sunbed to enjoy a relaxing day. Stunning view to Gozo, the second largest island in Malta
- Ghadira Bay Beach: the biggest and most popular beach on the island. It’s a sandy beach with shallow water, quite popular with families and children. It is easily accessible from Valletta or any nearby town. From Valletta, you can get a direct bus #42 and reach it in one hour
- Golden Bay Beach: a sandy, sheltered beach north of the island, a great spot to watch the sunset. Drinks and food are available at Pebbles Beach Bar. This is a popular during peak season. Make sure to drive there early in the morning so you can park your car easily. The direct bus #44 runs from Valletta (around one hour ride)
What to do, see & experience in Malta
There are so many things to experience and places to see in Malta.
We talked above about the beaches, try to visit at least two of them.
Malta is of course famous for its historical towns and here Valletta and Mdina should be on anyone’s mus-see list.
Another easily reachable destination is Birgu, with its beautiful waterfront. You can go there with a characteristic Maltese boat (2 Euro) from Valletta, so easy.
The Blue Lagoon is the most popular attraction in Malta, and for a good reason, it’s so spectacular!
And finally, you should not miss the island of Gozo, where you can spend 1 or 2 days, or even more for a quiet time.
For a day trip in Gozo, I suggest taking a tuk-tuk. I had such a blast on my last trip.
It’s a great resource that you can use to build your own must-visit list.
Best Itineraries in Malta
The length of your stay will drive the type of itineraries you will be able to do.
With 3/4 days base yourself in one accommodation (Valletta works great) and explore from there.
With 5/6 days you can already think to change two accommodations, Valletta/Birgu/St Julian’s for historical sites and nightlife, and Mellieha for beaches
With 7/10 days you can think to even build an itinerary to cover both Malta and Gozo Island
I wrote a dedicated post to possible itineraries in Malta that is the best starting point to build your own plan
Best restaurants in Malta
The choices in Malta are so wide that it is impossible to make any kind of specific recommendation.
Having said that, I have created my own list that I would like to share with you.
Obviously, it isn’t exhaustive. Come back to this post regularly for the latest findings on this list.
- Valletta: Dinner in the Sky Malta (the best view, literally in the air), Noni (Michelin star), Nenu The Artisan Baker (authentic Maltese cuisine), Sally Port (best and cheapest pizza in Malta)
- Birgu: Tal-Petut (a full Maltese experience), Main Square (great fresh food, value for money)
- St Julian’s: Santini Restaurant (Italian food), Hermanos Burgers (one of the best in Malta), Kuya Asian Pub (great value)
- St Paul’s Bay: Tarragon (great food, lovely view), Woodhut Pub & Diner (pub food and drinks), Kebab Factory (take away)
- Mdina: Coogi’s Restaurant (lovely courtyard), Don Mesquita (lovely boutique square, great value)
- Vittoria/Gozo: Kampnari (budget pizza and local food), Mojo’s (the best for breakfast and lunch), Pasta Republic (fresh hand made pasta)
Frequently Asked Questions on Malta
Is Malta worth visiting?
Totally, this is one of my favourite European destination because offers the best mix of attractions, historical sites, natural wonders and beautiful beaches.
How many days in Malta is enough?
Malta is always described as a small country, but, together with Gozo it offers so much. I personally suggest 7 days to visit the entire country, including the island of Comino.
Is 5 days enough in Malta?
It may be just enough to visit a good part of Malta and a day tour og Gozo. Rent a car to squeeze in even more things.
Where is the nicest place in Malta?
That is very subjective. For history and architecture I would say Valletta and Birgu. For beaches, the northern side of the main island (Ghadira beach is the highlight). For nature, Gozo.
What is the nicest part of Malta to visit?
I loved my time in Gozo, like stepping back in the past, with amazing natural wonders.
What should I avoid in Malta?
Driving like the Maltese, take it easy, they know the own roads. Also keep in mind the locals are very chilled out and service may be slower to what you are used to. Respect and wait, no complaining. After all you are on holiday.
What are the dangers in Malta?
The water current is the only one I can think of, especially on windy days. Don’t enter in the water swimming on those days.
Can you walk around Malta in a day?
No, you can hardly drive your car around in one day. So many narrow streets and unsealed roads.