It’s grey, cold and boring. That can be winter in Europe. So where to go to get a bit of sun in January?
Looking at the European map, searching for a place in the south not too far away for a weekend getaway. Malta comes up as being a small but rich country in nature and history. Let’s go check it out!
Getting around Malta
To fly on the island I used Ryanair flights as there are plenty of destinations with direct connections. I also met my mom there as there was a direct flight from Vilnius and Luxembourg on the same days – how convenient?
The island has a lot of busses so from the airport you can grab a bus or Bolt (similar to Uber). It’s cheaper than the white taxis you can find all around the island.
To rent a car is possible and advisable, especially during the peak season, as the busses can get stuck in traffic or be too full. Just remember that they used to be a British colony so they drive on the left side of the road.
Where to stay in Malta
Logically thinking Valetta should be your first choice for staying as it is a capital. But in reality, I would not suggest doing so, as Valetta is a fortified city with not so many hotels yet. The most touristic and developed areas talking about busses, restaurants, pubs are Sliema, St George Bay, Bugibba, and in general east side of the island.
Malta attractions: History, Nature or Adventure?
It’s a tiny island but doesn’t get mixed up – it has more to offer than you think!
First of all, check out the capital Valetta, with its small cozy streets, vintage boutique shops and views of the Mediterranean. For the historical part, you will enjoy the “silent city” of Mdina – the old capital of the island. It is located more in the middle, on the hill. Once there, make sure to visit the coffee/cake place Fontanella – the view and cakes are amazing!
For even older history – you must check the megalithic stone structures! Hagar Qim and Mnaidra were the ones I have visited. There are 7 sites in total, dating 5000 years and there is not much explanation who or why built them! Some stones weigh more than 20 tones and are standing until today. The sites were first discovered only in the XIX century. It’s truly breathtaking when you stop to think about it.
For nature – the western part of the island is full of hikes and these historical sights. Blue grotto is beautiful and can be reached by boat when the sea is calm, but even during the winter, it was beautiful to see it from above.
For more hikes and nature – get ready for a day trip to Gozo!
Gozo island in Malta
Gozo can be your day trip destination or 1-2 days trip too. It can be easily reached by a ferry that leaves from the north of the main Malta island. Costs around 5eur round trip (you pay on the way back). In Gozo, there is also a bus system that goes to the capital Victoria and then from there to all corners of the island. Meaning you always have to come back to the capital to change bus. This is time consuming so think wisely what you want to visit. The capital itself is pretty with the citadel.
I also chose to visit a small fisherman town called Xlendi – it’s in a beautiful location next to the rocks and has a small harbor.
Ggantija temples are also impressive, as they date to 5000 years and are older than Egyptian Pyramides.
So in general Malta is a very interesting country and has a unique language! It’s the only Arabic language written in Latin letters (even though they have an interesting alphabet themselves). So even though English is one of the official languages, people speak Maltese at home, schools and with each other. People are friendly and in general, it is safe. But always take care of yourself and be aware of pickpockets especially in peak seasons. No matter where you are, some people just want to take advantage of tourists.
For the best time to go, I would suggest autumn – September, October as water is still warm, the sun is shining but the crowds are smaller.
Enjoy your time and let me know your experiences in Malta!