Holiday season in Malta is a year-long affair, with people from all over the world visiting the island for a Mediterranean getaway with friends, family, or alone. With the island being such a touristic hot spot, it can be easy to get lost amongst all the online holiday recommendations and fall for the clichés.
Lovin Malta has put together a travel guide for anyone planning on visiting that will show you the *real* Malta in all its natural and rural glory.
1. Don’t rent in Sliema or St Julian’s
There are hotels all over the island, but using Air BnB or renting an apartment/house is quite a good shout in Malta. Most sites will suggest staying in St Julian’s or Sliema because they’re central and close to the beach, shops, and restaurants. And Sliema and St Julian’s are often more expensive because of this. Plus, they’re super busy.
But the truth is, everywhere in Malta is close to the beach, shops, and restaurants.
You can find loads of affordable apartments and houses in villages like Ħamrun, Qormi, Żebbuġ and Għargħur. Public transport is easily available from all these localities, and it’s easy to get around the island by car too.
2. Explore Valletta on your own
Visiting the capital city is a must-do, but we suggest doing it on your own. That is, not joining a pre-planned tour. The quieter, lesser known streets of Valletta are a sight in themselves. Valletta’s side streets are also home to many small and independent eateries, shops and museums that are definitely worth a visit.
And if you stop by the more ‘typical’ spots, such as St John’s Co-Cathedral or the Male Theater, you can still do this alone and take your time go around and take in the history beauty.
3. Choose Birgu over Mdina
Part of Malta’s iconic ‘Three Cities’, Birgu is often over-looked by many and over-shadowed by Mdina. But Birgu is another walled-city that is just as full of history as Mdina. There are museums like the Inquisitor’s Palace and the Malta Maritime Museum that will give you a glimpse at the island’s past, and the narrow stepped streets are full of history.
They’ve also got a selection of restaurants over by the sea-front, and sometimes you’ll find bands playing live music at night.
4. Pastizzi aren’t the only real Maltese snack worth a try
We admit we’re pretty guilty of raving about pastizzi here at Lovin, but they’re not the only Maltese foods worth a try. Ħobż biż-żejt, bigilla, galletti, lampuki… they’re all classic and all deserve a try.
From Maltese platters to a ħobża from a każin, they’re all quintessentially Maltese.
5. And if you want pastizzi, Serkin isn’t the only place to get them
Serkin may be described as the god of pastizzi, but it’s not the be all and end all. Roger’s in Żejtun will serve you a pretty tasty pastizz and te fit-tazza too. And this will also give you a closer look at Maltese village life and the characters that inhabit it.
6. Mellieħa isn’t a summer-only village
Mellieħa is a great place to visit in the summer-time because of all the beaches and outdoor eateries, but that’s not all there is. The village of Mellieħa is a very quaint village full of churches, cafes and restaurants. There are loads of quiet streets and rural areas that you can walk through and explore.
Mellieħa is also a good place to consider when look for accommodation – both in terms of renting and for a hotel.
7. Seafood is a better choice than rabbit
Rabbit is often suggested as a traditional Maltese meal to try out, and while this may be true, we suggest heading out for a fishy meal.
Pop on down to Marsaxlokk or Qawra and order up a plate of fritto misto or grilled octopus.
8. But if you want rabbit, eat it somewhere in Mġarr
Mġarr is another example of a super-traditional Maltese village that is a great place for exploration, and for eating. They’ve got loads of restaurants where you can feast on a full-on fenkata including rabbit and horse meat, quail, and snails.
9. Picnic-ing and hiking in Malta is highly suggested
We may constantly complain about how Malta’s become one big construction site, but TBH we still have some beautiful open spaces left. Dingli, Manikata and Marsaxlokk are just three localities that make for great hike spots. When it comes to picnic-ing you can check out Buskett, Binġemma and Pembroke.
BONUS: Go to Gozo instead of Malta
Honestly, its like Malta but better. And greener. Just go there.