Malta is one of those countries in which whatever you are looking for in your trip, surely you will find there.
Famous for its good weather and pulsating nightlife, as well as being a key destination for English academies in its course offerings,… however Malta can offer you much more.
Prehistoric temples, infarctic cliffs and caves, wonderful sea bottoms with a great diversity and infinite visibility, hidden paradisiacal beaches, a tasty gastronomy… so as I said above, whatever you’re looking for in Malta, you’ll find it.
This trip was made with my best friend, so our idea was to take advantage of all that Malta could offer us.
- 1. A short tour of Malta
- 2. Practical information about Malta
- 3. 4-day itinerary in Malta
- DAY 1. VALLETTA
- DAY 2. SCUBA DIVING, BLUE LAGOON AND NORTHERN AREA OF THE ISLAND
- DAY 3. BLUE GROTTO, TEMPLES, MDINA AND DINGLI
- DAY 4. VISIT TO THE THREE FORTIFIED CITIES AND MARSAXLOKK
1. A short tour of Malta
Malta is an island country that is located in the center of the Mediterranean sea in southern Italy and with it forming the Maltese archipelago we also find Comino and Gozo.
La Valetta is its capital and in front of it you will find the so-called three fortified cities of Malta; Senglea, Vittorioa, Copiscua, also called La Cottonera. Practically obligatory is its visit if you are going to enjoy a few days in Malta and do not want to miss its history and its beauty.
Another important city to see in Malta is Mdina or city of Silence, a medieval town in which time seems not to have passed through it. You will love to miss out on its streets and if you are an amateur Game of Thrones, this city will be known to you, as it is one of the star locations of the series.
Following a brief tour of the island we have another location to highlight; Marsaxlokk, a small and picturesque fishing village famous for its colorful gondolas that locals use to fish, and its fisherman’s market.
And to name a few more of its tourist attractions, we can not forget the Blue Grotto where you can take a boat trip between its caves, the megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and Mndajar built 3000 years BC, Popeye´s Village which served as Stage to shoot the Popeye movie and now it has become a theme park, or the cliffs of Dingli.
2. Practical information about Malta
Language and currency
Malta was a British colony so its influence is seen by its corners as red cabins you can find in its streets…, and the Maltese official language is English, which preserved after its independence.
In Malta the currency they use is the euro.
How to move in Malta
To move around Malta you have a lot of options. One of them is by public transport, easy enough to move from one place to another with this option and very economical. The general rate depending on the time of year round between €1.5 and €2 the single ticket and you can find a night bus so it wouldn´t be a problem at night (from 11 pm) for about €3.
Remember that a single ticket (both day and night) only serves to make a trip and transfers within a period of 2 hours
Another way to move more independent is to rent a car. We opted for this option, but remember there because of its British influence, lead to the left.
If you want to get to the island of Gozo or Comino you can move by boat or ferry. The price of the boat from Malta to Gozo round the €4 and if you want to get the car will cost you about €21 round trip.
Other practical Tips
Electricity. Remember that due to its British influence the plugs and outlets are different.
Scuba Diving Malta is an incredible destination for scuba diving because of its good visibility and great marine diversity. If you want to dive or maybe try making a baptism, the guys at Bezz diving Malta I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
They are lovely, have very professional people and will get you to spend a great time. My friend was not very convinced to do a baptism due to a bad experience on another occasion, but finally I convinced her and she loved the experience, so much that I think I have almost convinced to take the course of Open Water!.
3. 4-day itinerary in Malta
In this article I propose an itinerary for Malta in 4 days, but if your getaway is less days sure you can adapt.
DAY 1. VALLETTA
It is the same day of our arrival in Malta, so after landing we went to the Goldcar counter to pick up our rental car and went to the Sliema area where we had our apartment.
We found an apartment in Sliema by Airbnb for €36 the night it was perfect. Sliema is a perfect location to stay for a few days, near San Julian and Paceville which is where you will find the nightlife and close to Valletta where you can do a little sightseeing.
That day we decided to visit La Valletta. On the seafront of Sliema we took a bus; Line 13, which left us at the Triton Fountain and the best option is to walk by its streets. (We decided to leave the car at home as it is not very easy to park around La Valletta area and the bus was comfortable to get from our location).
What you can see at La Valetta…:
- The fort of St. Elmo is one of the great constructions of the Knights of the Order of St. John to protect the port of Malta.
- At the Presindent´s Palace you will find the Palace Armoury Military Museum If you like the Baroque armour do not hesitate to make a visit (the entrance is €10) as they have a great exhibition, next to it is also the Grand Master’s degree Palace which currently houses the Presidency of the Maltese Republic.
- Castille Place and the Auberge Castille originally built in the 1570 to house the Knights of the Order of St. John of the language of Castile, Leon and Portugal.
- The Barakka elevator and the Mirador of the Salvos battery from the viewpoint you will be able to see one of the best views of Valletta. You can go up in your elevator, or wondering get to the Upper Barrakka Gardens Gardens.
- Upper Barrakka Gardens were built by the Knights of St. John in the 17TH century as the burial ground of the Italian knights.
- St John’s Co-Cathedral, dedicated to St. John the Baptist which houses one of his greatest treasures two paintings by Caravaggio: The decapitation of John the Baptist and St. Jerome and writing. From outside it doesn’t seem very impressive but from the inside it’s a baroque demonstration of grandeur. (Entrance costs €10).
- Casa Rocca Piccola A 16TH century palace in Malta and home of the noble family of Piro that you can visit every day for €9 adults and know how a Maltese noble family lived.
It was getting dark so we decided to stay there just to have some dinner and enjoy the night life.
DAY 2. SCUBA DIVING, BLUE LAGOON AND NORTHERN AREA OF THE ISLAND
I love diving and I´ll try to take any occasion to dive and also know the sea life of the area. That day we decided to join to Bezz diving guys to show it us and we had an amazing morning. We saw sunken ships, we passed through caves full of coral, we saw octopus, groupers, lots of goldfish… It was a fun morning.
From there we went up to CIRKEWWA Ferry Terminal to catch a ferry direction Blue Lagoon. It takes about 20 minutes to arrive and costs about €13. I’ll leave the schedules here.
Blue Lagoon is a small natural swimming pool of turquoise waters between the island of Comino and the islet of Cominotto. In summer it is almost impossible to find a hole as it is crowded, but it is worth going and take a dip.
Before come back home, we approached to the town of Popeye or Popeye´s Village. This town was built as the scene of Walt Disney film. Now you can visit every day of the week, and have fun because is a funny park for children and adults.
Recommendations San Julian and Paceville
That night we took a walk from Sliema to San Julian and Paceville and on our way we found a beautiful restaurant complex where we decided to have dinner. A terrace at Raffael Restaurant was chosen to enjoy beautiful views and a rich meal and then go to the Maltese night.
Between Triq streets San Gorg or St George´s Road and Triq Santu Wistin you will find a great deal of places to enjoy a while with all kinds of music. The first street has a little more youthful atmosphere (the average age is around 20-25), the second is a little older people (mean age 35).
DAY 3. BLUE GROTTO, TEMPLES, MDINA AND DINGLI
This day we got up early to be able to take advantage of the day. Our first stop BLUE GROTTO.
Blue Grotto is one of Malta’s main attractions, 6 sea caves located at the bottom of the cliffs near the village of Wied-iz-Zurrieq.
To get there by bus you can take the line 201 or 71 from La Valleta to Iz-Zurrieq, or you can drive to Wied-iz-Zurrieq following the road signs to the village and once you reach Wied-iz-Zurrieq, follow the “Grotto”. When you arrive, you will find a small hut to buy the tickets fot the boat and a small pier from where they leave. The boats come out as they fill up with people.
TRAVEL TIP: My particular opinion is although the caves are so beautiful, if you do not have much time to enjoy Malta and also you are in high season, you can do without this walk, it took an hour and charge you about €8 and you can see almost the same from above, because the boatmen the only think they want is to get back to the pier to sell the more tickets the better. so the visit becomes a rally between the boats, and the stay inside the caves is fleeting, so you do not allow yourself to enjoy a lot of the scenery, so maybe you’d better get up there and enjoy it from above.
Temples Ħaġar Qim and MNAJDRA.
Our next stop the temples of Ħaġar Qim and MNAJDRA.
We talked about two megalithic temples that were built between the years 5,000 b.C. and 2,500 b.C. Two large architectural construction maded with large blocks of stones and constituting a manifestation of the singular megalithic culture. They are part of the set of 7 temples distributed between Gozo and Malta declared World Heritage Site.
The entrance costs €10 and you can visit them from 9 to 17horas.
Mdina is a medieval city that once you cross its wall seems to transport you to another era. Cobbled streets, horse-carriages, typical handicraft shops. City of nobles that has received several names throughout its history among them that of the city of silence. A small town of few inhabitants and stealthy streets where all you hear will be the hoofs of the horses crossing their cobblestones.
Mdina and Rabat in their day were a single city, Mdina inhabited by the nobles and Rabat that means Arrabal was where the town was level. Today they are two separate cities as different populations fruit of the passage of the Normans by them.
Dingli Cliffs was our next and last destination of the day. The afternoon began to fall, so we took the time to rest watching on this wonderful cliff a beautiful sunset of Malta.
DAY 4. VISIT TO THE THREE FORTIFIED CITIES AND MARSAXLOKK
And for the last day and that we were lucky for us that it was Sunday, we left the visit to the three fortified cities and the fisherman’s market of Marsaxlokk which is done on Sundays in the morning.
Again we got up early to give us time to do everything, the reason that same afternoon our flight was going out. What we did was to go through the cities first. In the city of Senglea a nice spot to get close to is Gnien il-Gardjola, from there you can see the port of Malta and a view of the spectacular Valletta. In the city of Vittorioa it is worth mentioning the fort of San Ángel, a great fortification and it was the main fortification for the Knights of the Order of Malta. And in the last of the three cities of the Cottona, Copiscua will find the collegiate Church of the Immaculate Conception.
Although definitely as I recommended in Valletta, it is best to get lost on its streets and enjoy its nooks and crannies.
Marsaxlokk and its fisherman’s market
From there we went to Marsaxlokk and we took a tour of the fisherman’s market there every Sunday.
Along the pier on Sundays in the morning its locals take their places out on the street to sell their catches. We had lunch time so we took advantage to enjoy in one of its many restaurants a grilled fish and seafood that was to suck your fingers. The truth is that we could not choose much because it was up to people and we entered the first one we found table, although we were lucky and got a table on the first line of port in the restaurant Mr Fitz.