I’m here in the beautiful Melleiha Bay hotel of Malta, overlooking the bay, with Catholic Churches and historical forts in the near distance. With the currency being Euros, the plug sockets being British and English being widely spoken, I nominated Malta as one of my top places for solo female travel. Travel in Malta is easy and rewarded for solo travellers and couples or groups alike. It’s one of the smallest countries in the world!
It’s amazing to learn how this small island (just 27km long) has so many cultural influences due to being an island, and consequently numerous invasions. The food and languages combine Anglo Saxon, French and Arabic influences to name a few.
Limestone is the main rock of Malta and their main resource, so the architecture is predominantly a soft yellow colour which beautifully compliments the lush green countryside in the rainy months.
Tourism is a big industry here in Malta and the Maltese are absolutely used to travellers and also immigration.
Travel in Malta – Basic Facts
Currency? Euro €
Language? Maltese but English widely spoken.
Drinkable tap water? Yes, but tastes metallic, so I buy bottled!
Cost of a coffee? Approx
Disabled friendly? Buses drop and discounts available at attractions if you take proof of disability. Main attractions are not always wheelchair friendly, but many are – check before you go.
When to go to Malta
If you are travelling for the weather, go between late April and early October. However, going slightly off season may mean that your holiday is cheaper and that the interesting sites are not over crowded. If you are going out of season (November to March), be sure to pack a waterproof and wind proof jacket – the island can get rather wet and windy!
Bus Travel in Malta
As the island is so small, it is very well served with a decent bus system and you can get anywhere on the island on public transport. Bus travel in Malta is easy and regular, the buses also run on Sundays despite it being a predominantly Catholic country. Bus journeys costs between 1.50€ and 3€, but make sure that you have the correct change where possible. Some drivers will give you change for a 5€ or 10€ note, but not all, and most will refuse to change a 20€.
The airport bus routes are indicated by an ‘X’. Popular bus routes include:
Valetta to Mosta 43
Valetta to Mdina 50
Bus to Gozo Ferry 42
Melleiha Bay to Buggiba (and Aquarium) 221
You can download an up to date route map from here:
There are also plenty of tours and trips around Malta. You can book online with GetYourGuide and most hotels offer trips that are bookable when you arrive.
Ferry and Boat Travel in Malta
For the ferry to Gozo, take the bus to CIRKEWWA (Malta main island) where the ferries go to MGARR (Gozo island) around every hour and a half (summer). Ferries can be less frequent during low season – make sure that you check times before you leave and don’t miss the last ferry back if you are staying on Malta’s main island!
From Valetta, there are ferries to SLEIMA and BURGU (Three Cities area) for 1.50€ per adult or 0.50€ per child each way and discounts for senior citizens and Blue Badge holders.
Best Places to visit in Malta in 2 Weeks
Two weeks will give you more history and a more relaxed timetable. For a two week Malta itinerary, I suggest…
Day 1-3 Valetta
Day 4 Trip on the Three cities ferry to Vittoriosa
Day 5 Mdina (with catacombs or Cathedral tour plus Museum)
Day 6 Mosta Rotunda
Day 7 One of the prehistoric temple complexes such as Tarxien or Hagar Qim
Day 8-9 Melleiha Bay for resting and re-cooperation including Melleiha Bay beach. Possible afternoon in the Aquarium in Bugibba.
Day 10-13 Three days on Gozo
Day 14 Return to airport to fly home
Cheap All-Inclusive Holidays Malta
Most hotels offer an all inclusive option, which as a backpacker on a budget, I don’t often recommend. However, we got a particularly good deal for just under £90 extra for all inclusive, which meant all breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and snacks. So it actually worked out at around £12 extra per day for ALL of my food.
Where to Stay in Malta
Valetta – Capital City for Culture, history, museums and architecture. Don’t miss the Co-Cathedral.
Mosta – For history from WW2 and an easy visit to Mdina (the silent city)
St Juliens – For restaurants, nightlife and bars.
Bugibba – For the Aquarium and Classic Car collection! Also restaurants and bars.
Melleiha Bay – For beach, relaxation, water sports and it’s close proximity to Gozo.
Gozo – For limestone caves and the spot where the Azure window once was! Includes Citadel, oldest prehistoric megalithic temples and a more peaceful environment than the main island.
Valetta – The Capital of Malta
The fortress city of Valetta is the current capital of Malta and the home of administrative, commercial and political activity.
Don’t miss the Co-Cathedral, one of the most beautifully decorated interiors that I have ever seen. The Oratory contains two Caravaggio paintings – the beheading of John the Baptist and Saint Jerome. It’s one of the top things to do in Valletta.
In Valetta, you might also want to check out the first Church of Valetta (Our Lady of Victories) and the Anglican Cathedral.
The Knights Hospitallers Museum is also worth a visit – set up by the Knights of St. John, it was at one time the best hospital in the world.
Don’t miss the Midday gun salute, which you can see from the Upper Barrakka Gardens at noon daily.
Mdina – The Ancient Capital
The ancient walled city of Mdina demonstrates Malta’s Arabic influences as the streets are as winding as some of the ancient cities of Morocco. There was a city on this site since the 8th Century when Phoenician (ancient Greek) settlers built a city called Maleth on the highest central point of Malta. Mdina is hands down one of the best places to visit in Malta.
In Mdina, make sure that you look out for the intricate doors and door knobs on the beautiful buildings. Stop off at don’t miss St. Paul’s Cathedral, the National Museum and Natural History and the catacombs!
Mosta is one of the best places to visit in Malta if you are interested in Church architecture. Visit Mosta to go inside the Mosta Rotunda to see the third largest unsupported Church dome in the world (after St Peter’s Church in Rome and St Paul’s in London).
Prehistoric Temples of Malta
There are 13 prehistoric temple sites on Malta, 6 of which are recognised as UNESCO world heritage sites. I recommend visiting some of the best preserved temples such as Hagar Qim or Tarxien. If you are heading over to Gozo, visit Ggantija, the oldest of the temple complexes of Malta.
Head over to the island of Gozo by ferry and head to the capital (Victoria) trek to the Citadel and St George’s Basilica. If you are interested in religious architecture and archaeology, you might want to also visit the Xewkija Rotunda and The museum of Archeology (inside the Citadel).
Top tours in Malta and Gozo
As I’ve mentioned, both Malta and Gozo are very tourist friendly. If you’re looking for an easier option that taking local buses, and you’d like to get more historical and archaeological information from a guide, there are several excellent tours that you can book either through your hotel or online with Viator or GetYourGuide.
Malta is a Hollywood of the Mediterranean and has featured in Gladiator and World War Z. If you are a Game of Thrones travel fan go for the Private Game of Thrones tour of Malta – one of the best rated Valetta tours on Viator!
It is great to take a day to visit Malta’s three fortress cities – Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea. You can combine this with wine tasting on the GetYourGuide 3 cities tour.
If you enjoyed this blog on the best places to visit in Malta, you might also enjoy reading about things to do in Valletta.