Tips To Kickstart Your Trip to Malta

Malta Upper Barrakka Gardens

So you want to visit Malta huh? But how long should you go for and where should you stay? Keep reading because I’m about to cover that all for you in a hopefully concise way.

How long should I plan to visit Malta?

The husband and I did a 3 night and day trip in Malta. We flew out Friday afternoon and flew back Monday afternoon. I will say if you have the time, four days would be ideal to really space things out and have some relaxing time. We did a more relaxed trip so on our day 3 we just relaxed by the pool instead of exploring Gozo.

Malta itinerary example

Where To Stay

We decided to set up our base at the Phoenicia Hotel right outside the walls of Valletta. It’s a quick walk into the city and there are a bunch of restaurants inside for convenience. And also, they have the BEST pool views with a perfect view of sunset. Although I will say that if you’re visiting in August a lot of the shops may be closed. Whether it was for summer holiday or COVID I can’t be sure, but a lot of signs said back in September. But don’t worry there were enough restaurants that were open so it didn’t really make a difference to us.

However, if you don’t mind switching hotels, I would split my time between a hotel near Valletta and a hotel near the port area so it’s easier to take the ferry to Gozo etc. We decided against because the car sharing app Bolt is pretty affordable to us and worth it to not pack and move. Which leads me to my next point…

Phoenica Hotel pool sunset Malta

How to get around Malta

Odds are you may be from a country that drives on the right side of the road, so you might think twice about renting a car because they drive on the left side! This is because Malta used to be a British colony. Which is also why you’ll notice a lot of old out of order red phone booths that are so iconic London. So if you are comfortable driving on the left side, then it would be worth it for you to rent your own vehicle.

If you’re American like me (drives on right side and doesn’t know how to drive manual T.T) then you’ll be better of with public transportation or ride sharing like we did. There is NO UBER there, so instead be sure to download the Bolt app for your trip. The prices we found were pretty reasonable. (A 50 minute ride across the island for 30 Euros). If you stay at the Phoenicia – all the bus stops are also right in front of the hotel.

What to do in Malta

In Valletta

Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens – a peaceful oasis in the middle of a crowded city. The Lower Gardens are a bit smaller but a lot less busy. The Upper Gardens gets more visitors for sure but it’s larger and has a little cafe stand inside. Pictures below are from Upper!

Catch sunset on the walls of Valletta

If you want to get an awesome viewpoint and chill spot for sunset, I recommend sitting up on the walls. If you enter Valletta from the entrance by the Phoenicia, turn left immediately and go up the stairs. You’ll see an area with stairs to look over the walls on the left at the top. We hopped up on the wall and brought some dessert to enjoy the view.

Wander the streets, they’re so pretty!
Catch a boat tour to see the islands from the water

We booked a boat tour with Outdoor Explorers Malta and Kevin really enjoyed it! It was a perfect combo of relaxing and swimming, as well as sight seeing. Our guide Josef was super cool and was trying to teach us how proper dive form. And I know for a fact I sucked at it but he was super encouraging haha. We did a half day and it was perfect for us, but I could’ve gone a couple hours longer as well.

Malta boat tour
In Gozo

I wasn’t able to visit the island and explore more myself but this is a list from our boat tour guide Josef!

Gozo Malta points of interest

What to eat in Malta

We mostly ate in Valletta just for the convenience and there are so many options within the walls anyways you won’t really need to go anywhere else.

Pastizzi – A traditional Maltese food, you can get these at any of the Pastizzeria’s around town. (The most common one we saw was Sphinx, I think it’s a chain)

Lot Sixty One Coffee – When I saw they had a location in Valletta I told Kevin we were going to go everyday, and we did. They have a location in Amsterdam and their coffee is GOOD! They also have a variety of ice tea options too!

Valletta Food Market – In Kevin’s research he discovered that there’s actually a significant Filipino population in Malta and our first stop was a Filipino restaurant in the Food Market, THEY ALSO HAD BOBA THERE! Definitely worth a stop to take a look. It is also a supermarket downstairs.

Sit down restaurants

Nenu Restaurant – Our friends recommended this resto and it did not disappoint. It really felt like authentic homestyle Maltese fare. (Try the rabbit ravioli, and if you dare – the tripe soup)

Trattoria Romana Zero Sei – You should definitely make a reservation for this restaurant. We originally wanted to come here for lunch but they had no room. So we ended up coming here for dinner right when they opened and snagged a seat. Super cheesy pastas with great wine

Palazzo Preca – A more upscale restaurant, you should also make reservations. They have fresh seafood you can pick yourself! (get the octopus appetizer)

And there you go! All you need for a solid holiday in Malta! I tried to keep it short and to the point 🙂 Hope that it inspires you to visit Malta soon. For other European travel inspiration check out my other destinations here.

And as always, safe travels!

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