In this comprehensive Malta travel guide, we unveil the marvels of Malta, providing essential tips, insights, and recommendations to make your journey an unforgettable one. Whether you’re an adventurer, a history enthusiast, or a food lover, Malta promises an array of experiences that will leave you enchanted.
Fast Facts About Malta
- Climate: Get ready to soak up the Mediterranean sun in Malta, where the climate is typically warm and sunny. Summers (June to August) are hot, with temperatures averaging around 30°C (86°F). Winters (December to February) are mild, hovering around 15°C (59°F). Spring and fall offer pleasant temperatures for exploring.
- Local Currency: The currency used in Malta is the Euro (€). You’ll find ATMs widely available across the islands for easy currency exchange.
- Power Voltage: Electrical outlets in Malta provide 230V power at 50Hz. Don’t forget to bring a suitable adapter for your devices, so you can keep your gadgets charged up.
- Language: English and Maltese are the official languages. English is widely spoken, making it convenient for you to communicate and get around.
- Religion: The predominant religion in Malta is Roman Catholicism. You’ll notice the influence of this faith in the stunning churches and religious festivals that dot the island.
- Safety: Malta is known for its safety and low crime rates. It’s still wise to exercise basic precautions like you would in any other destination – keep an eye on your belongings and stay aware of your surroundings.
- Cultural Etiquette: Maltese culture is warm and friendly. When visiting religious sites, it’s respectful to dress modestly. A simple “hello” and “thank you” in Maltese (“Bongu” and “Grazzi”) can go a long way in showing your appreciation for the local culture.
- Tipping: Tipping in Malta is generally appreciated but not obligatory. A 10% tip in restaurants is customary if a service charge isn’t included. Small tips for services like taxis and hotel staff are a nice gesture.
Best Time to Visit Malta: Seasons and Festivals
- Spring (March to May): Spring is a delightful time to explore Malta. The weather is comfortable, and nature comes alive with colorful blooms. The International Fireworks Festival in April lights up the skies with dazzling displays.
- Summer (June to August): If you’re a sunseeker, summer is your season. Dive into crystal-clear waters and bask in the sunshine on Malta’s beautiful beaches. The Malta International Arts Festival in July showcases a fusion of artistic talents.
- Fall (September to November): Fall brings mild temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor adventures. The Notte Bianca festival in October transforms the streets into a cultural extravaganza with performances and art installations.
- Winter (December to February): Even in winter, Malta boasts a mild climate. It’s a great time to explore historical sites without the crowds. The Carnival in February is a lively celebration with colorful parades and masquerade balls.
Top Attractions and Things to See and Do in Malta
- Valletta’s Grandeur: Explore the capital city of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at its stunning architecture, including the iconic St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Don’t miss the Upper Barrakka Gardens for breathtaking panoramic views.
- Azure Window: Witness nature’s masterpiece at the Azure Window in Gozo, a stunning limestone arch rising from the sea. While the original structure collapsed, the Inland Sea and Dwejra Bay continue to captivate.
- Mdina’s Charm: Step back in time in the medieval city of Mdina. Wander through its narrow streets and admire its timeless beauty, earning it the nickname “The Silent City.”
- Hypogeum of Ħal Saflieni: Delve into history at this underground burial site, believed to be one of the world’s oldest prehistoric temples. The intricate carvings and chambers are a testament to Malta’s ancient civilization.
- Blue Grotto: Embark on a boat tour to the Blue Grotto, a series of sea caves with crystal-clear waters. The interplay of light and water creates a magical spectacle.
- Popeye Village: Unleash your inner child at Popeye Village, the film set of the 1980 musical production. Enjoy family-friendly activities, interact with characters, and take in the charming coastal views.
- Comino’s Blue Lagoon: Relax on the pristine shores of the Blue Lagoon in Comino. Its turquoise waters make it a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and unwinding.
The Best Ways To Get Around Malta
- Public Transport: Malta’s efficient bus system covers most major attractions and towns. Buses are a cost-effective way to travel, with a single fare covering multiple journeys within a set time.
- Hiring a Car: For flexibility and convenience, consider renting a car. Driving is on the left side, and road signs are in English. Keep in mind that parking can be limited in popular areas.
- Ferries and Boats: Explore beyond Malta’s shores by taking ferries to Gozo and Comino. These short rides offer scenic views and access to unique experiences.
- Taxis and Ride-Sharing: Taxis are readily available and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance. Ride-sharing services like Bolt also operate in Malta, providing additional transportation options.
- Cycling and Walking: Embrace an eco-friendly approach by cycling or walking through picturesque areas. Dedicated paths and trails make it enjoyable to explore the islands at a leisurely pace.
Accommodation Tips: Malta
- Hotels and Resorts: Malta offers a range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to cozy boutique hotels. Consider staying in Valletta for easy access to attractions, or opt for beachfront properties for a relaxing getaway.
- Guesthouses and B&Bs: Experience local hospitality by staying in charming guesthouses and bed and breakfasts. These options provide a personalized touch and a chance to interact with locals.
- Rental Apartments: If you prefer a home-away-from-home experience, consider renting an apartment or villa. This option is great for families or groups looking for extra space and amenities.
- Hostels: Budget-conscious travelers can find hostels in popular areas. They’re a fantastic way to meet fellow adventurers and share travel experiences.
- Online Booking: Use reputable travel websites to compare prices and read reviews. Booking in advance can often save you money and secure your preferred accommodation.
Malta Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
- Free Museums: Immerse yourself in Malta’s history and culture by visiting free museums like the National Museum of Archaeology and the Grandmaster’s Palace Armoury on certain days of the week.
- Public Transportation: Opt for the ExplorePlus card, offering unlimited travel on buses and a ferry to Gozo. It’s a cost-effective way to get around and see the sights.
- Local Markets: Experience the local flavors and save on dining by exploring traditional markets like Marsaxlokk Fish Market. You’ll find fresh produce, seafood, and snacks at affordable prices.
- Picnics: Pack a picnic and enjoy a meal in the great outdoors. Malta’s scenic spots are perfect for an alfresco lunch or dinner.
- Free Festivals and Events: Check the local event calendar for free festivals and events happening during your visit. From cultural celebrations to music festivals, there’s always something exciting to attend.
Culinary Delights and Traditional Cuisine in Malta
- Pastizzi: Sink your teeth into these savory pastries filled with ricotta or mushy peas. Find them at local bakeries and street stalls.
- Ftira: Try Malta’s version of a sandwich, the ftira, filled with various toppings like tuna, olives, capers, and fresh veggies.
- Rabbit Stew: Indulge in a hearty dish of rabbit stew, a traditional Maltese delicacy prepared with garlic, wine, and fresh herbs.
- Seafood: Being surrounded by the sea, Malta offers a plethora of seafood dishes. Savor grilled fish, calamari, and octopus, prepared with Mediterranean flavors.
- Hobz biz-zejt: Taste the unique flavors of hobz biz-zejt, a traditional Maltese bread topped with tomato paste, olives, capers, and tuna.
Souvenir Ideas: Bringing a Piece of Malta Home
- Maltese Crafts: Purchase handcrafted souvenirs like intricate lacework, glassware, and pottery that reflect Malta’s rich artisanal heritage.
- Local Delicacies: Bring back a taste of Malta with you by packing traditional foods like pastizzi or Maltese honey.
- Maltese Jewelry: Adorn yourself with unique Maltese jewelry pieces, often inspired by the island’s history and symbols.
- Malta-themed Clothing: Show your love for Malta by picking up clothing items adorned with Maltese motifs or phrases.
- Local Art: Support local artists by purchasing paintings, prints, or sculptures inspired by Malta’s stunning landscapes and culture.