The beautiful Għajn Tuffieħa Bay in Malta

How to Plan the Perfect Holiday in Malta

Now that I’ve (hopefully) made you interested in Malta, let me tell you how to plan the perfect holiday in this small Mediterranean island. An affordable destination, Malta is the perfect choice for travelers on a budget because you get a lot for your money. Planing a trip to a new country can be intimidating, but I’d like to save you from all that hassle and tell you everything you know: how to get to Malta, where to stay and how to travel around the island using public transportation.

How to get to Malta

How to get to Malta: by plane
View of the Bugibba bay from the plane window.

By ferry: Since it’s an island, there are only two options to get there and by ferry is one of them. There are daily ferries from Sicily and the round trip tickets vary from €85 to €160, depending on the month. The journey takes about 5 hours and if you ask me, it’s not worth if you are only thinking of a day trip. Also, cruise ships come to Valletta’s Grand Harbor every day, but they usually depart the same day, leaving you with only a few hours to explore the Maltese capital, which should be enough to stir your interest and make you plan a return.

By air: For a small island, Malta has great connections to all countries of Europe thanks to Air Malta and other major companies such as Air Berlin or Alitalia. There are many options for direct low cost flights as well, Wizz Air flies from Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, Easy Jet flies from UK (London, Manchester, Newcastle) and Italy (Rome, Milan), while Ryan Air flies from Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and UK. I chose Wizz Air and paid €85 for return tickets bought three weeks in advance. Should I have decided earlier, the price would probably have been lower.

Where to stay in Malta

View of Valletta from Sliema, Malta
View of Valletta from Sliema

Accommodation in Malta is fairly affordable and you can find a nice place even if you are on a budget. Resort towns are very popular among travelers and if you chose to stay in St Julian’s, you can book a room for as little as €15 per night per person. I had booked a hotel in Sliema, right next to St Julian’s (you can easily walk from one city to another), but the prices there were higher, both for accommodation and food. Both towns however have one huge advantage: they have excellent bus connections to the rest of the island.

Another hot spot destination is Buggiba, in the north of the island and this is where you should book accommodation if you’re only looking for a beach holiday. Otherwise, you would have to wait quite a lot for a bus or make a few connections to get from Buggiba to another destination you’re interested in.

All roads lead to Rome, but in Malta all buses lead to Valletta. Right before the entrance of the city is a bus stop where you’ll find the final stop for 27 of the bus routes. So even though it is pricier, booking a hotel in Valletta sure has its advantages. Besides, you can never get tired of wandering on the streets of Valletta.

Keep in mind when choosing your accommodation that you probably won’t spend that much time in the room, since you’re there to see everything Malta has to offer, not what the hotel has to offer 😉 . Also, I have found that a lot of hotels charge for wireless internet, the one I stayed at had 10 cumulative (not on the clock) hours  of internet access for €10 and it lasted me for a whole week. However, all restaurants will have wifi and there are hotspots in every major town.

If it’s not your first time in Malta or you’re only interested in the beach, you might want to consider booking accommodation on the island of Gozo, the apartments are cheaper and nicer and there are plenty of interesting sights and beautiful beaches. However, from Gozo to the south of the main island (Valletta, Marsaxlokk or the Blue Grotto) it is a two hour journey, by ferry and bus so it’s not something you’d want to do two times a day.

What to pack for Malta

Snorkeling at the Blue Lagoon, Malta
Snorkeling at the Blue Lagoon is a great experience, but if you forget your gear, you can buy it at a shop on the island.

Now that the plane tickets are bought, the accommodation is booked and the departure date is approaching, it’s time for that dreadful (for some) moment: packing. First things first, you’ll need a three pin outlet adapter, otherwise you won’t be able to charge your phone or camera after a long day of exploring. If you don’t have one and don’t have friends to lend you one (thanks, girls!), don’t worry, you can find them in any store in Malta.

Secondly and I cannot stress this enough, sunscreen should not miss from your bag. You may say “oh, there are 25 degrees outside, it’s not that hot, I don’t need it” and then you’ll find yourself wondering where has that farmer’s tan come from. I was happy that I rarely get tanned but after four hours on the beach and a whole week of walking in sun, I had a tan like never before. Any tips on how to get rid of it faster? 🙂 An after sun lotion with aloe vera is just as important and in case you do get a sunburn, you should know what you need to do.

For summer, it’s best to pack lightweight clothes. Sundresses are a popular choice for women, while the jeans are good all year round. Also consider packing a sweater or a light jacket, as in the evening it can be a bit chilly (it was like this when I visited, in May). Swimwear, sunglasses, flip flops and beach shoes shouldn’t miss from your bag if you are visiting during summer.

Should you choose to visit during winter, keep in mind that it can be rainy so pack accordingly, jackets and an umbrella will come in handy.

How to get around in Malta

Once you get to Malta, you need to decide how you want to get around: rent a car or use the buses? You should consider that in Malta they drive on the left side (just like in the UK) and a lot of roads aren’t good or even closed for repairs. The public transportation however is cheap (a 7 day ticket costs €6.5) and it will take you to every place you want to see. In Malta, the buses come at least once an hour and you can easily plan an itinerary around their schedule.

July 2015 update: the public transportation fares have been changed, as paper tickets were removed. A single journey ticket for 2 hours now costs €2, while a card with unlimited trips for 7 days costs €21. You can check out here the full list of prices.

Would you like to visit Malta?

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Would you like to visit Malta but planning the trip is giving you a headache? Find out everything you need to know to have the perfect holiday in Malta. Read how to get to Malta, where to stay and how to get around the island

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  • Oh man, that water looks divine. This is a good step-by-step. Of course, in no universe ever will my tickets cost this little…

    • Maybe you will find some discount tickets, who knows? 😀

  • Kavitha @ redbohemia

    Great, Vlad! Now you’ve made me add Malta to my list of must-sees. Haha :p

    • That was my secret plan all along! 😀

  • PERFECT guide Vlad!!! SAVED on my list!!
    I didn’t know they drive on the left side… and how cheap is a bus tickets for 6,5 Euros for 7 days? WOW, that is impressive! Did you like your hotel?

    • The bus transportation is great!! 😀 Right now the tickets are small pieces of paper, but they’re going to change the fares and add some transport cards from July, though I heard this is only for the locals, I’m not sure what this means for tourists.

      • That is great!! I am really impressed by the price, so nice. Did you like the food there? 😀

        • Yes, it was so delicious! I had escargot for the first time (which I loved!!) and octopus, something I’ve fallen in love with since Portugal, haha. One of their traditional dishes is rabbit stew, and though I don’t eat rabbit, my parents said it was delicious, they ordered twice, haha.

          • Ohhhhh I am mouth watering now!! I love octopus too 😀
            I also never had rabbit.. I feel so sorry for them 🙁 though I heard is tastes really good!

          • I can’t eat rabbit because I had a cute one as a pet when I was little, hahaha.

  • Great tips! We almost visit Malta this June for scuba diving holiday (also include Gozo in our trip plan) but after knowing the water temperature is too cold (20-23 degree) then we decided to visit Cape Verde instead. I will certainly return to your post again if we visit Malta in the future 🙂

    • You should consider going in late August or September, the weather and the water should be perfect! 😀

  • I wish I could go to Malta. Looks like a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving, but that would be up my husband’s alley. For me the history and architecture of this place would be interesting to see. Great tips.

    • You would love Malta, Anda, there are so many things you can do that you won’t get bored at all in a week. 🙂

  • I haven’t been to Malta yet – this is a very handy round up, especially the tips of what to pack. I’d particularly like to visit Gozo, sounds very picturesque

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • I’ll have a post only about Gozo soon, I loved it there 🙂

  • Looks great! Good to know it is an affordable place. How many days would you recommend in Malta?

    • I’d say 10 days should be enough to see all the main attractions, I stayed for a week and there were still some places I didn’t have time for.

  • Hi Vlad, I definitely like to visit Malta! Thanks for this great practical tips. They’re certainly helpful. It’s great to know that it’s easy to get around by public transportation, which we prefer using when traveling. We meet a lot of locals that way.

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  • Sabina Quing

    Thank yoy for all the tips ,I cant wait for my 6 nights in Malta .

  • Tas D

    Ahhh thank you for the tips. My friend has been blasting out a lot of Malta pics on her Instagram lately and it does look amazing!

  • Great Guide! Most of the tips could be applied not only to Malta, but to almost any southern country 😉