Is Malta Worth Visiting? (15 Reasons We Love Malta)
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Malta is a Mediterranean island that I found to be significantly overlooked when researching the country in advance of a trip I was taking there for a travel blogger conference.
Having spent six incredible nights in Malta, I believe the country is well worth visiting and one I plan to return to sooner, rather than later.
Home to three incredible UNESCO world heritage sites (the City of Valletta, the Megalithic Temples and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum) the island is a great place for culture and history buffs, while the nightlife and beautiful beaches make it a great choice for families and couples.
Reasons To Visit Malta
When it comes to holiday destinations, Malta is often overlooked. Having spent six nights on the island recently, I have absolutely no idea why as I found it to be a fantastic place to visit.
Despite being a small island, Malta is still a relatively affordable destination, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious travellers and those looking to enjoy a fantastic value-for-money break.
Accommodation, food, and transport are generally less expensive than in other European destinations, and visitors can enjoy a range of free or low-cost activities, such as visiting museums, hiking, or exploring historical sites.
As Malta is a relatively small island, the most convenient and cost-effective mode of transportation is often the public transport system. However, if you are looking for a quicker option, the Bolt taxi app (a viable alternative to Uber) is an excellent choice for getting around swiftly.
Malta boasts some of Europe’s finest beaches, complete with crystal-clear waters and awe-inspiring scenery. Some of my personal favourites include;
Located on the northwest coast of Malta, Golden Bay is one of the most popular beaches on the island, with beautiful golden sand and crystal-clear water.
Also known as Ghadira Bay, is the longest and most popular sandy beach in Malta with plenty of activities such as water sports and beach volleyball.
St. George’s Bay
Located in the bustling town of St. Julian’s, St. George’s Bay is known for its clear water and lively atmosphere, with plenty of bars and restaurants nearby.
3. History & Culture
Malta is a former British colony which boasts an incredibly rich history and culture that dates back over 7,000 years. As such the island is home to an array of impressive Megalithic temples, medieval cities, and stunning architecture.
Some of the island’s most popular sights include;
Valletta is Malta’s capital city and a must-see destination for any history or architecture buff. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts a stunning collection of buildings, museums, and historical landmarks.
The best way to explore Valletta is either on a food and culture walking tour or on a segway with Gozo Adventures.
The Ġgantija Temples are located on the island of Gozo (roughly a 20-minute ferry ride from Malta’s mainland).
These temples are one of Malta’s most important prehistoric sites dating back over 5,000 years, making them older than the Pyramids of Egypt and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Tarxien Temples are another important prehistoric site in Malta, dating back to around 3150 BC. The site consists of four interconnected temples that were used for various rituals and ceremonies.
Mdina, the Silent City
Mdina, also known as the Silent City, is a medieval city located in the central part of Malta. The city dates back over 4,000 years and is known for its narrow streets, ancient buildings, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Fort St. Angelo
Fort St. Angelo is a fortress located in the Grand Harbour of Valletta, Malta’s capital city. The fortress dates back to the 13th century and has played a significant role in Malta’s history, having been occupied by the Phoenicians, the Romans, and the Knights of St. John.
4. LGBTQ+ Inclusivity
LGBTQ+ rights in Malta rank among the highest in the world with the country recently ranking number one on the “Rainbow Europe” report for the seventh year in a row.
Malta’s legal protections, cultural events and education initiatives all contribute to creating a welcoming environment for the LGBTQ+ community.
The country hosts a gay pride event annually in September which in 2023 is actually going to be EuroPride (EuroPride is a pan-European international event dedicated to LGBT pride, hosted by a different European city each year).
5. Outdoor Activities
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure on your Malta holiday, you won’t be disappointed as there are plenty of activities to keep you active and engaged during your stay.
Malta may be a small island, but it is packed with scenic hiking trails that are perfect for exploring the island’s stunning countryside.
One of the most popular trails is the Victoria Lines Trail, which runs for over 12km and offers breathtaking views of the island. Another popular hiking trail is the Dingli Cliffs Trail, which offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Malta is one of the best places in Europe to go diving, with crystal-clear waters and a wide variety of marine life. The island has over 50 dive sites to explore, from caves and wrecks to reefs and underwater landscapes.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun and relaxing way to explore Malta’s coastline. The island has several SUP rental shops where you can rent a board and paddle for a few hours or a full day.
The calm waters of St. George’s Bay and Mellieha Bay are perfect for beginners, while more experienced paddlers can head to the open sea for a more challenging experience.
Malta’s nightlife scene is incredibly underrated and boasts an extensive number of bars, clubs and restaurants to keep you entertained.
Paceville, located in St. Julian’s, is the island’s party hub (where I found myself with friends most evenings) and is home to a wide range of nightclubs and bars. We never had to pay entry to any of the clubs and a spirit and mixer (such as a Jack Daniels and diet coke) was usually between €3.50 and €5.00 depending on the establishment.
Plenty of bars also hosted long happy hours with buy-one-get-one-free cocktails and discounted shot platters.
Those looking for a more laidback nightlife experience will be pleased to know that Malta also benefits from a wide range of live music venues and annual events including both the Malta Jazz Festival and the Malta International Arts Festival.
7. Family-Friendly Attractions
Malta is home to a vast number of tourist attractions making it an ideal destination for families looking for a fun-filled holiday with plenty of attractions to explore.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is an impressive landmark located in the heart of Mdina, the silent city. The cathedral has a fascinating history, having been built in the 17th century on the site of an earlier church that had been destroyed in an earthquake.
Popeye Village was originally built as a film set for the 1980 movie Popeye and has since been transformed into a fun-filled theme park that offers a range of activities, including boat rides, water trampolines, and a 4D cinema.
Malta National Aquarium
The Malta National Aquarium is a must-visit attraction for families, with over 41 tanks that showcase a wide range of marine life, from colourful tropical fish to exotic sharks and rays.
The Blue Grotto is one of Malta’s most popular attractions, known for its stunning turquoise waters and impressive rock formations. Visitors can take a boat ride through the grotto to explore its hidden caves and marvel at the beauty of its crystal-clear waters.
National War Museum
The National War Museum is a fascinating attraction that is sure to interest visitors of all ages. Located in Fort St. Elmo, the museum showcases Malta’s rich military history, with exhibits ranging from medieval armour and weapons to World War II aircraft and tanks.
With its warm climate and 300 days of sunshine on average Malta is the perfect destination for a holiday.
Temperatures typically range from 20°C to 30°C during the summer months which is perfect for enjoying outdoor activities or simply laying on a sun-lounger to get a tan.
Being a small island it’s worth noting that the wind can sometimes be higher than you might experience in mainland Spain, Italy or France for example. However don’t be fooled, the sunshine is still there and you will still get a tan (or burnt if you’re underprepared as I was).
English is one of the official languages of Malta, which makes it an easy and comfortable destination for tourists from English-speaking countries.
Many Maltese locals also speak Italian and/or Maltese therefore visitors who wish to do so can immerse themselves in the local culture by learning a few key phrases.
Maltese cuisine is a delicious fusion of Mediterranean, Arabic, and British influences, with plenty of fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables.
Visitors can sample traditional dishes such as rabbit stew, pastizzi, and timpana, as well as enjoy international cuisine at the island’s many restaurants.
However, if like me that doesn’t suit your fancy then don’t worry as even the more traditional establishments often also serve chicken, fries and in some cases pizza, pasta and burgers.
Malta is just a short flight away from many major European cities, with plenty of direct flights available. During my most recent trip, there were four flights from Manchester Airport to Malta on selected days.
Once you arrive, the island is compact and easy to navigate, making it an ideal destination for a short break or a longer holiday. Public transportation is also readily available and affordable, allowing visitors to explore the island at their leisure.
Malta is home to some of the most unique and spectacular festivals in the world. Some of my personal favourites include;
The Malta International Fireworks Festival
This festival was introduced in 2004 to celebrate Malta’s accession to the European Union, and it takes place over three nights in late April.
It features pyrotechnic displays from invited teams from other EU states, with the most spectacular show taking place over the Grand Harbour of the capital, Valletta.
The Carnival is one of the biggest and most popular festivals in Malta, celebrated annually in February, usually just before Lent. It is a vibrant and colourful celebration, with festivities held throughout the island, particularly in the capital city of Valletta and the nearby town of Floriana.
One of the highlights of the Carnival is the colourful and elaborate parade of floats and costumes, which takes place on the last weekend of the festival.
Malta International Arts Festival
The Malta International Arts Festival is an annual event showcasing various art disciplines, including theatre, dance, music, and visual arts.
It takes place in different venues across Malta in June and July, with a focus on interdisciplinary and site-specific works that incorporate the island’s cultural and historical heritage.
12. Game of Thrones Filming Location
Malta has been used as a filming location for several scenes in the popular TV series Game of Thrones.
The city of Mdina was used as the setting for King’s Landing in the first season, and the Azure Window on the island of Gozo was used as the backdrop for Daenerys Targaryen’s wedding to Khal Drogo.
Visitors can explore these locations and see where some of their favourite scenes were filmed, making it a must-visit destination for Game of Thrones fans.
Many tour operators offer Game of Thrones-themed tours, where visitors can see some of the most iconic locations from the series and learn more about the filming process.
13. Island Hopping
There are five islands that make up the Maltese archipelago with the most popular being Malta. From the mainland you can visit all of the islands, however, the two most popular for tourists are Gozo and Camino.
Gozo Island is the second-largest island of the Maltese archipelago and is reachable via a 30-minute ferry ride from Cirkewwa in the north of Malta to Mgarr Harbour on Gozo.
The Gozo Channel Ferry service runs every 45 minutes from 6am to 6pm, and approximately every hour through the night.
I personally opted to visit Gozo on a day trip (which is very much achievable depending on how much of the island you want to see). However, accommodation is also available on the island for those who want to spend longer exploring everything this incredible island has to offer.
Comino Island is nestled between Malta and Gozo and is perhaps best known for it’s famous Blue Lagoon, which draws visitors from all over the world.
There are plenty of boat tours departing from both Malta and Gozo that will take you to Camino and the Blue Lagoon (which is worth seeing during your trip). However, my personal favourite tour covers both islands and lasts around 8 hours.
Malta is a country that prides itself on being safe for travellers. The crime rate in Malta is very low, and the Maltese people are generally friendly and welcoming.
This makes Malta a great choice for those on a solo trip. Of course, you’ll still want to be aware of your surroundings but typically the likelihood of you being a victim of crime during your time here is less than in many other major European countries.
15. Ease of Navigation
Given that Malta is a small island, it’s very easy to navigate. The public transport system is excellent and covers the entire island regularly at an incredibly affordable price. That being said in certain cases you may want to upgrade from the public transport network to private taxis.
Both Uber and Bolt are available in Malta. I found that 99% of the time Bolt had better availability and cheaper prices so if you do plan on using taxis I recommend downloading the Bolt app over Wi-Fi in advance.
Malta is a densely populated island which can make parking a car difficult especially near major public attractions. Therefore unless you really plan to get off the beaten path during your trip to Malta I’d recommend sticking to public buses and taxis.
Best Time To Visit Malta
If you’re travelling to Malta on a budget then the cheapest time to visit is often during the shoulder seasons of March to May and September to October. The shoulder season offers fewer tourists, pleasant weather, and opportunities for active adventures and sports events.
Alternatively, if you prefer warmer temperatures then the best time of year to visit Malta during the summer months of June, July, or August is the best choice. During this period, average temperatures range between 70ºF and 80ºF (21ºC to 26ºC), and can occasionally reach up to 90ºF (32ºC).
Where To Stay In Malta
The Sliema and St. Julian’s area of Malta is very popular with tourists and holidaymakers and offers a variety of accommodations to suit all budgets alongside an extensive range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
Alternatively, consider staying in Malta’s capital Valletta. This region is ideal for culture-seekers interested in sightseeing and exploring the rich history of the area. However, it may not be the best choice for families or those primarily seeking beach activities.
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Thanks for stopping by! Do you have experience with this trip or want to share some of your own tips? We’d love to hear about it! Comment below and let’s chat!