Malta Guide 2017-09-29T19:10:32+00:00

Malta Travel Guide

Valletta, from Senglea Gardjola tower, Malta

A view of Malta’s capital city, Valletta, from Senglea Gardjola tower. Photo by Myriam Thyes.

Why holiday in Malta?

For a small archipelago in Southern Europe, Malta certainly bats above its station in terms of tourist interest. It has a resort for everyone; well known tourist traps filled with everything a package holidaymaker could want, to hidden gems which will whet the appetite of the solo traveller who wants to stray from the beaten path. Throw in beautiful beaches, clear blue seas perfect for scuba diving and almost year-round sunshine and you get an excellent place for a holiday.

Downsides

• Given it is such a popular place, Malta is often packed with tourists which can be frustrating

• It can get a little too hot for comfort in the peak periods around August, which might even be too much for the sun seekers out there

• It has a bit of a reputation as being a destination for the older generation and, whilst there is some truth in that, there is certainly plenty to keep younger visitors well entertained

Weather

Best season: May to July. Great weather and not too warm like August/September. Also excellent for festivals and fiestas.

OK: September to November – Still pleasant weather and the crowds usually die down a little.

Worst: January/February – this is the coldest period of the year and you can also expect some rain. Whether you’re here for some sunshine or to enjoy the outdoors, the rain has the potential to spoil it in this period.

Length of stay:
A week in Malta is long enough to relax, enjoy the sun and even get around a lot of the island’s attractions if you hire a car as the islands are so small. If you plan on doing a dive course or more extended activity then two weeks will give you plenty of time to do that, explore all the key areas of the islands and catch some sunshine hours.

Malta attractions

St Julian

St Julian’s harbour and varied hotels.
Photo by Myriam Thyes.

• Valletta – the island’s capital and a beautiful harbour port. If you’re looking for a bit more culture and history from your holiday then this is the place for you.

• Sliema – perfect for those wanting a cosmopolitan holiday with shopping, nice restaurants and a taste of real Malta.

• St Julian’s – Malta’s nightlife centre. With a host of bars, restaurants and clubs, this is the place for the younger visitors to come for a great party.

• Bugibba/Qawra – one of the hottest tourist areas of the islands. Those looking for sun, sea and sand will keep themselves happy here with the beautiful beaches and busy resorts.

• Gozo Island – a more rural escape for people who want to get off the beaten track and escape the tourist hubs. Also a fantastic spot for diving in Malta.

Best Malta Beaches

• Mellieha Bay – The largest sandy beach on the whole island and possibly one of the best beaches in the whole Mediterranean. It’s no surprise that it’s a popular one with the tourists and will often be extremely crowded in summer.

• Golden Bay – A quieter option due to it being a bus trip away from most places, though with a hotel nearby and restaurant for a break from the sun. It does have strong undercurrents in the water though so be aware when swimming.

•  Paradise Bay – a beautiful beach, tucked away in a quiet cove which tends to be popular with younger holidaymakers. It is also a great place for snorkelling and has a dive centre nearby if you want to learn to scuba dive.

Other Activities

ramla bay, gozo island, malta, europe

Ramla Bay on Gozo Island.

• Diving – Malta is one of the best places in the world to go scuba diving, so many holidaymakers come here for that reason alone. There is a raft of dive centres across the island, though Gozo and Comino are excellent areas to go diving as they are a little more rural and quieter.

• Hiking – the island is lined with fantastic, dramatic coastline which wraps around wonderful countryside. It really is a hiker’s dream, with relatively short distances between beaches and resorts, and plenty to see along the way. Sheer cliffs, rocky beaches, sandy stretches and clear blue sea stretching out the horizon, all covered in the glow of sunshine makes for a great walk!

• Cycling – Similar to the hiking above, those who prefer two wheels can explore the same glorious scenery at a slightly quicker pace and cover even more ground.

• Explore Ancient Wonders – Malta is packed with culture and history, both above and below water. From prehistoric labyrinths to explore under the sea to temples and ancient architecture in the towns and cities, those who like a bit of history to their holiday won’t be disappointed.

Money:
Malta uses the Euro and it is easy to find ATMs in all the main tourist areas. If you are travelling to some of the more rural areas in Gozo and Comino then make sure you take enough cash.

Visas:
European citizens with passports are freely permitted to enter Malta. Most other nationals, also with passports, do not need visas for visits up to 90 days.

Electricity:
Electric sockets are British-style three-pin plugs (rectangular holes) delivering 230v. Note that North American appliances are usually built to handle 110-120 volts and they will not survive being plugged into double the power.

Safety:
On the most part Malta travel is extremely safe. However, take care around the St Julian’s/Paceville area later in the evenings as, being the centre of the island’s nightlife, it can get a little rowdy later on.

Language:
English and Maltese are the two official languages in Malta, so for UK holidaymakers there won’t be a language issue as nearly all residents are bilingual. If you want to get along especially well with locals then a few Maltese phrases certainly won’t go amiss.

Food:
Maltese cuisine has a lot of influences from English and Sicilian food though it does have touches of other Mediterranean places. There are also regional and seasonal variations, despite its small size. Gozo in particular has some dishes which are particular to the area.
The national dish is fenkata, which is a kind of rabbit stew. Pork is also extremely popular, possibly as a way of distinguishing itself form Muslim countries and their influences as it was on the edge of the Christian world.

Map of Malta

Malta Map

Transport:

Being fairly small, it is pretty easy to get around Malta using your own or public transport. The new Arriva bus system provides regular buses between all the main resorts, though if you want to get to some of the more rural areas then you will have to hire a car or take a taxi or water taxi.

This guide was provided by Tom for Malta Holidays – a guide to the best things to see and do in Malta.

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