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Malta Travel Guide: What to Do & See in Malta

Let's travel to: Malta

Rich with culture and tradition, breathtaking landscapes, and dazzling beaches - this underrated archipelago is simply beyond expectations. With all the gorgeous people, delectable foods and hidden gems, I promise you will fall in love with Malta, just as I did!

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Maltese Archipelago (a country made up of a cluster of islands) is comprised of Malta, Gozo, and Comino
  • You can drive from one side of the country to the other within 20-30 minutes depending on traffic
  • Traditional Maltese cuisine is influenced by Sicilian and Middle Eastern flavours
  • The Maltese are very friendly, Malta is rated one of the top youngest European countries: during the summer months, you will often find students from all over Europe come here to study English. 
  • There are 359 churches in Malta, each with its’ own history and story to tell
  • Popeye’s Village, the original set from the 1980 film Popeye, is still preserved and open as a theme park, located in Mellieha (the wood used to built the set was actually brought in from the Netherlands and Canada)
  • It’s historic landmarks has made it an attractive film set for productions including, Gladiator, Troy and HBO series Game of Thrones
  • 300 days out of the year is full of sunshine (the best getaway!)
  • Malta has maintained its artefacts and heritage over decades, if you ever take a tour around the entire country, you will be able to see the fortresses that surround it

TIP: There are endless activities to do and sites to see and because the country is small in size, you are able to check off a lot in a day!

USEFUL INFORMATION

  • Language: English, Maltese, Italian, Arabic
  • Currency: Euro (since 2008)
  • Tipping:
    • 5-10% Servers
    • 10% Taxi Drivers
  • Transportation: 
    • Walk! Explore the city, all the little streets, the rocky beaches and hidden caves will always surprise you.
    • From town to town there are buses that are very convenient - again, once you’re there (whether in Sliema, Velletta, etc. walk!)
    • Ferries run throughout the day to take you to Gozo or Comino, you can sign up for boat tours that will take you to all the islands and grottos
    • Cars ar e ONLY suggested if you have driven in Europe before (they drive on the left and they do not necessarily follow the rules) - roads are narrow, steep and often unpredictable
  • Weather: 300/365 days are sunny, average temperate around 18
  • What to expect: Best way to experience Malta, is explore like you know where you’re going, become a local. Don’t hesitate to take the long way, you’ll be glad you did. 
  • Best time to visit: Year-round; but if you are not a fan of humidity & heat, November to March are usually the cooler months.  

LOCAL SPECIALTIES

  • Pastizzi: a freshly made diamond shaped traditional Maltese pastry, folded and stuffed with ricotta cheese, mushy peas or some sort of meat (you have to try it fresh out of the oven!)
  • Any Bakery & Patisserie
  • Seafood: you are in for a treat - visit the Sunday market, Marsaxlokk, where you can find fresh from the sea seafoods and have them prepared for you!
  • Kannoli (Cannoli): influenced by Sicily, the Maltese make a crispy fried pastry filled with ricotta dipped with chocolate or fresh almonds (they often have channels stands, where they fill it fresh for you!
  • but of course, plenty of wines & pastas, with unique Maltese flavours, a blend of Europe & the Mediterranean

TIP: There are so many fantastics restaurants in Malta, I recommend going where the locals go, you’ll be able to tell. Try seafood at least once, they grill and debone the fish right in front of you!

WHAT DO & SEE

  • I would suggest staying in Saint Julian’s (or Sliema) busy with people and allows you easy access to transportation to the neighbouring towns/islands you’ll be exploring
    • You would also be walking distance of some beach clubs, but pretty central to where the nightlife is, there is a strip (Paceville) with all the clubs and bars (with plenty of restaurants within the vicinity).
    • There of course, are clubs located all over the island (Mellieha, Qawra)
  • Sliema (right beside St. Julian’s) where a lot of boat tours/cruises dock from and is also a great location to stay, they often have apartments you can book.
    • There is a small shopping centre, lots of restaurants and also has a few beach clubs are easily accessible, with live DJs - I personally went to MedAsia, but you’ll have options!
  • Visit their capital Valletta, where St. John’s Church is, explore the ruins and fortresses that create the beautiful skyline. 
  • Visit at least one church or cathedral, if you can, take in the baroque architecture. Remember to be respectful, they often provide you with coverups before entering. 
  • Lay on the rocky beaches scattered throughout Malta and soak up the sun, don’t be afraid to tip your toes in the ocean! Be careful while climbing down the rocks, but there are often steps that lead you right down to the edge of the waters. 
  • Sign up for a boat tour (Captain Morgan Cruises is a pretty popular one) that will show you the astounding caves, coves and exquisite limestones that encompass Malta. While on the islands, small speedboats can take you out and show you all the secret spots you would have otherwise missed. 
    • Beaches in Malta:
      • Sliema Bay (rocky beaches)
      • Meliha Bay (water sports/activities)
      • Saint Peterburg’s Pool (hidden gem)
    • Beaches in Gozo
      • Rambla Bay (red-gold ‘cinnamon' sand)
      • Azure Window (incredible)
    • Beachs in Comino
      • The Blue Lagoon (crystal clear, all shades of turquoise *you really do have to see it to believe it)

TIP: I know it’s a lot to cover, if you could only do a few, these are a must: The Blue Lagoon (Comino), Azure Window (Gozo), and Saint Peterburg’s Pool (Malta) (allows you to cover the entirety of The Maltese Archipelago)

  • Dive into the thrilling deep blue waters of the Mediterranean, discover the wrecks beneath this little country
  • The Sunday Fish Market, Marsaxlokk is also highly recommended, see your fresh catch before it is served to you, there are of course restaurants running up and down the harbour. You will still be able to find plenty of souvenirs and nicnacs to take home with you!
  • The sunsets are to die for *I highly recommend doing a sunset cruise if you get the chance!

List by: Jessica Tse

Having studied aboard in the Netherlands, travelled Europe for 6 months, and briefly explored Asia - Jessica believes there is too much to experience in the world to stay in one place for too long. Never stop wandering or getting lost, it’s the only way to appreciate and embrace each city and country to its fullest. Follow my travels on Instagram: @jessstse

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