Malta

Last updated: October 24, 2015

Malta is a beautiful Island Country in the Mediterranean sea, just south of Sicily. It’s population is around 450,000 and the official languages are Maltese and English. Malta has a subtropical mediterranean climate with very mild winters and warm to hot summers. Occasional rain occurs in winters and summers are generally dry. Some argue Malta is the country with the best climate in the world.

Despite being such a small country there are quite a few tourist attractions to see on Malta. With that said with everything being so close together and easily accessible you can easily see most of the attractions in just a two-day span.

Airports -> The City Center

Everything on Malta is relatively close by as it is a very small island. A taxi to Sliema or St. Julians should be around €20 and take approximately 16-20 minutes. Anywhere else you might be going should also be somewhere in the same ballpark. For taxis you prepay a fixed fare at the Taxi stand in the airport. They will give you a voucher and tell you where to go to meet your driver. There are buses you can look into taking from the airport but it’s only recommended if you have very little luggage (have exact change as well)

Transportation:

You will be able to walk to most destinations within an area. In order to hop from one area to another you’ll need to use any of the folowing:

Taxis:  There are two types of Taxis, White Taxis and Black Taxis. White taxis are the most prevalent and operate using a meter but possibly a fixed price if you prepay from he airport or shipyard. The rates they charge are fairly standard. Black Taxis are operated by private companies with a fleet of taxis. They are not allowed to roam around to pick up fairs of the street, they must be ordered by phone or email. Black taxis have a fixed price based on starting and end location (and can often be cheaper than White Taxis). Though White Taxi pricing is fairly standard, Black Taxis can differ in price since they are private companies so make sure you ask for or shop around for the rate before hand. In general taxis in Malta are pretty reliable and complaints are rare. (You can also hire White or Black taxis to tour you around the island at an hourly rate)

Public transportation: Buses can get you to all of the main destinations on the island within 30 minutes and operate from 5:30 to 23:00hrs. They are known to be quite crammed and have delays at times so account for extra time. Prices include any transfers within a two hour period: 1 way during summer: €2.00, during winter €1.50. One way night journey €3.00. Change might be possible but its ideal to have exact change. If you will be using the buses daily over the course of a week or longer it’ll be cost effective for you to look into purchasing a “Tallinja Card” This site here provides Bus time tables, as well as a convenient “Journey Planner” (buses with the letter X signify an express bus)

Ferries & Water Taxi: The quickest and most enjoyable way to get to and from Valette (Malta’s capital) and Silema is by ferry. The journey takes about 5-10 minutes. Tickets are only €1.50 or €2.80 if you include a return). You can find the time table here. (Keep in mind the ferry is weather permitting). You can also get to Gozo via a different Ferry here:

Water Taxis do exist although I’m still unsure what the optimal trip to use them for would be. If anyone has info on these feel free to share int he comments section below 🙂

Driving and Biking: There are a lot of mixed reviews as to how easy or safe driving in Malta is. Its pretty agreed-upon that the quality and location of signs is amongst the worst. The roads aren’t in the greatest shape but aren’t the worst either. Some people may find that the other drivers can be a bit aggressive. Long story short if you are pretty comfortable driving in different countries you’ll be fine but if you are the least bit hesitant it might be better to avoid.

Biking seems like it can be difficult if you are in the congested areas with bad roads and cars that aren’t used to bikers. If you planning on biking in some of the more relaxed areas it will be a little more doable. Biking as a sport is also growing in Malta. Best to do some research if you plan on biking in Malta as there are a lot of mixed reviews on this as well.

Accommodations:

Malta_Map2(click to enlarge)

If you are looking to stay right in the midst of the busy city life you’ll want to look for accommodations in Sliema, St Julians, or Bugibba. If you are looking for something more relaxed and quiet try Valetta, Xemxija, or Mellieha. The best beaches of Malta are located on the North part of the island which is a bit more quiet than in the center. St Pauls Bay is an ideal location if you are looking for an are close to the main sandy beaches but still only a 15-20 min walk away from the liveliness of Bugibba.

If you want to try something more traditional, tranquil, and less touristy, consider staying in some of the local villages: Naxxar, Żurrieq, Ħad-dingli , Ħal Balzan and Ħal Għargħur just to name a few. These areas won’t have hotels but you can find plenty of bed and breakfast lodgings

Great Eats

Peppino’s 

Address: 31 St. Georges Road, St. Julian,Spinola Bay
Type of Food: Italian, Mediterranean, Soups, Seafood
Price: $$$
Attire: Business Casual

This place is perfect if you are looking for a nice romantic atmosphere thats a little more on the casual side and isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg. I wouldn’t say the prices are cheap but you’ll pay a reasonable €18- 23 for the main courses and about €10-14 for appetizers. You’l find a lot of your classic Italian dishes here, a lot of fresh seafood, and a great wine selection. You can find pictures of their dishes here.

If you want to ensure you get a nice table with a good view i’d recommend calling in advance and asking for a table upstairs with a view of the water. The table in the picture below is the one you should try to describe to them over the phone.

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Restaurant 2: COMING SOON!

 

Fine Dining:

Caviar & Bull

Address: St. George’s Bay, Saint Julian’s, Island of Malta STJ 3301, Malta
Type of Food: Modern Mediteranean (Molecular Cocktails)
Price: $$$$
Attire: Cocktail attire

From the quality of the food to the service and views, Caviar & Bull sets the bar pretty high when it comes to standards. You can enjoy quite a bit of seafood dishes here along with some pastas, poultry and meats as well. You can check out some pictures of the food here

cb1

 

Luna the Restaurant at Palazzo Parisio

Address: Palazzo Parisio | 29, Victory SquareNaxxar, Island of Malta,
Type of Food: Italian, French, Mediterranean, Contemperary
Price: $$$
Attire:  Casual Elegant / Cocktail Attire

Beautiful setting for an outdoor meal and opportunity to take a stroll through the garden after your meal. Also a very good place for lunch or a romantic dinner as well. Despite enjoying the food some of the reviews have complaints about their staff being rude or un attentive. There are also many reviews stating everything was great as well though. My first experience here was pleasant with quite a variety of different types of foods that all tasted great.

luna-the-restaurant-at

 

More Restaurants:

Zest: International fusion, sushi, Asian, european, contemperary  (St. Julians) (fine dining)
restaurant 2: Coming Soon
restaurant 3: Coming Soon
restaurant 4: Coming Soon

Tourism:

Mnajdra and Hagar Qim: 

tmple1

Beautiful temples dating back from 3600-3200 BC (Older than pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge) standing on a hilltop overlooking the sea and islet of Filfla. You’ll be amazed trying to figure out how they built the temples, what they were thinking, and what there lifestyles were like. A cool 4D movie about the site is included in the 10€ entrance fee. Bring some water with you as there are no shops at the bottom and it can get quite hot on the walk up. Once you get to the top there is a restaurant

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours: There are two companies that provide these tours, CitySightseeing Malta and Maltasightseeing.com. Buying these tickets online isn’t always the cheapest option. You’ll find people selling tickets on the Sliema Waterfront. Try to talk with them and see if they can give you a better deal than what the competitor company is offering. Many of the things below that I will mention can be visited on the bus tour.

Valletta: 

valleta

Valletta, Malta’s capital, is one of the main attractions to see when visiting Malta. Here you’ll find everything from museums, monuments, cathedral’s (St John’s Co-Catherdral), shopping, restaurants, and a stunning view of Malta’s Grand Harbor which some argue is the most beautiful view of the Mediterranean. Valletta is quite busy and lively during the day and dies down quite a bit in the evening. Valetta will be the European Capital of Culture in 2018.

 Gozo & Comino: Coming soon

Mdina: 

Mdina - Gate

Also known as the “Old City” Mdina was the original capital of Malta. It’s a bit of a walking museum as the history speaks itself from the buildings and surroundings as you enjoy a stroll through the city. The city was used to film several scenes of Game of Thrones.  Stop by Pjazza Tas-Sur (Bastion Square) to see gorgeous views of central Malta as you stop for tea and cake at Fonteanella’s Cafe(Be sure to set on the terrace to see the view).  St Paul’s Catherdral & Museum, Mdina Dungeon, and The Knights of Malta audio video show, are just a handful out of about a dozen attractions you can see in Mdina.

For a fine dining experience visit the Xara Palace hotel’s award winning “de Mondion Restaurant” or “Trattoria AD 1530” for a more casual meal on the piazza. The hotel was a historic palace thats been converted into a luxurious five star boutique hotel.

Luscaris War Rooms:

war2

Set of complex underground tunnels that housed War Headquarters for the defense of Malta during the Second World War. In later years became headquarters of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet and by the 1960’s was taken over by Nato as a strategic communication center. Here is a link to their official sites for directions, hours, and other info.

Rock Climbing & Adventure Sports: Malta is known as an up and coming adventure sport destinations as they offer many rock climbing routes, scuba diving, snorkeling, kite surfing, abseiling, and more.

More Tourism:

Grand Harbor boat tour:

Malta at War Museum: ( €10 entry fee)

Here is a link to Trip Advisors highest rated things to do in Malta with over 10’s of thousands of reviews for each activity.

Off The Beaten Path:

COMING SOON!

Nightlife:

Malta is definitely known for its club scene. Paceville is the main vibrant area where clubs and restaurants are plentiful. One thing thats cool about the clubs in this area is that they aren’t these giant mega clubs with lines out the door charging ridiculous amounts of entry free. They are small mini clubs (with no entry fee) that you can hop in and out of pretty easily as they are all side by side. Drinks at bars/lounges are also quite cheap: €2 for a beer,  €2.50 for spirits and €6 for longer drinks or cocktails. At the clubs the prices are slightly higher. Most of the venues here close at 4am. The music scene here is predominately House-Techno club. Keep in mind the average age at these clubs are 17-25 and the streets can get a bit crazy. Depending on what you’re into this might or might not be your jam. There are also many lounges and outdoor seated restaurant/bars in this area where the average age might be slightly higher. There are literally tons of venues to choose from this area so you can really just show up and have at it. Below i’ll mention both a reliable club option and more laid back lounge option so you have a solid starting point.

Havana

havana

Picture from http://clubclass.com/blog/5-bars-and-nightclubs-you-should-visit-in-malta/

 

Address: Havana, Saint George’s Road, Saint Julian’s, Malta

This is going to be one of your larger and packed dance clubs in the area as its quite a popular spot thats stands the test of time. It’s a two floor venue that plays hip hop, R&B, and is pretty much bumping any day of the week.. I’d recommend hopping around some of the smaller venues along the street to start out, and eventually making your way to Havana when you are ready to step it up a notch.

 

Shisha Rooftop Bar: Alexandra Hotel

alexandra-hotel-malta

Address: Schreiber StreetSaint Julian’s, Island of Malta

If you’re looking for somewhere to start the night or even just spend the night hanging out and chatting on lounge chairs then this is the perfect spot. As the name implies its basically a roof top bar that serves Hookah/Shisha along with drinks as well.

 

More Nightlife:

Numero Uno and Gianpula Fields: 2 Big open air clubs in Rabat area (20 min taxi from Paceville)

Fuego Nightclub: Outdoor nightclub with Latin and salsa music to dance to. Located in St. Julians Bay/ Paceville

Muddy Waters: Medium size bar that plays 60’s and 70’s rock and roll. Located in St. Julians Bay/ Paceville

 

Shopping:

COMING SOON!

 

Other Tips:

COMING SOON!

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