I’ll start with admitting that I had some mixed feelings about Malta before going on this trip;
- reading up before my trip, it seemed like a love or hate it kind of place
- Ine had already been and her feelings towards Malta were mèh; don’t hate it, but don’t love it either
- It wasn’t on my must go places, but when a friend asks to go somewhere we haven’t been before. She also came up with Malta and cheap flights to go there… a good reason to check it out, or at least in my books!
Where to stay
We stayed in St. Julian. This is a super busy / party area. When we arrived the first night, we were surprised and felt old :-). The streets were packed with youngsters drinking and partying. The bars were packed, so much that there were at least 20 to 30 people outside of the bar. And at what I would call an early hour (12pm) these teenagers were wobbling the streets in a drunken state.
However, we stayed at the edge of St. Julian’s and Sliema. This area was a lot quieter, and just a short walk to the excitement of St. Julian’s.
How to get around
We opted to not rent a car. Research showed that everything is perfectly accessible by bus. However what it didn’t mention was that these busses are packed. And when I say packed, I mean you’ll figure out how sardines feel in a tinned can. Note that I travelled to Malta in March, so it wasn’t even high season!
To give you another anecdote; On our way back from Gozo, after getting off the ferry, people were running towards the bus stop. It was a bit mad. Again everyone squeezing on the bus trying to get a spot and preferably a place to sit. When unlucky, you are standing the at least 45 min drive back.
It’s difficult to distinguish who the locals actually are. They speak Maltese, but actually most of them speak English. Even among themselves.
Malta also attracts a lot of internationals (South Americans) that want to learn how to speak English and stay in Malta for a longer time.
Malta used to be ruled by the English. You can notice this by the pubs and fish & chips places scattered around the island. The fact that they drive on the left and most importantly; they have an English socket! So don’t forget to take your international charger! Don’t stress to much when you forget, hotels and hostels are used to the fact that most people are unaware about this and have a supply of English converters for sale.
Malta in 3 days
We only booked a short trip; Friday evening to Monday afternoon. On Friday we just had enough time to have a short walk around st Julian’s.
The next day we explored Valletta. Half a day was sufficient for us. However we didn’t enter any of the museums. Most are 10€ entrance, so look out for a package deal and plan a full day if you want to stop at all Musea.
Leaving us with another half day to fill, we hopped on the bus to Mdina. A lovely old town. After a short walk in the town we ended up at the famous Fontanella Tea Garden. Notorious for their cakes and views, a must when in Mdina!
The evening brought us back to st Julian’s. Of course we had to have a little taste of the party live the city has to offer! What started as a quiet evening in a calm cocktail bar “ the thirsty barber” ended up in a fun party night with live music and more cocktails. Definitely worth checking out. The crowd is a mix of internationals and Maltese. And don’t worry, it’s not the party place where you feel old and wondered if you behaved like that when you were 18.
We spent our Sunday, honestly sleeping in a bit and after the cocktail night had a tougher time getting out and about (some more than others). Since this was our last full day at Malta, it was the best time to go to Gozo. A 45 min bus ride and a ferry later, landed us on the island. Here we got talked into taking a taxi to drive us around the island. A good choice for us at the time. But next time I would rather rent a car in the first place to get to the island and to explore the island. Just before the ferry stop there are a few places to see. But with public transport this would be time consuming.
Gozo was nice, but perhaps we rushed it. For a relaxing holiday I’m sure you can spend more time here. And those that have more time can visit the nearby island Comino with the blue lagoon!
Our last day, rather I should say half a day, left us little time before our flights. That’s why we chose to go to Sliema, very close to our stay, but we hadn’t explored it yet! It was a lovely relaxing place, with carved our pools that would have been amazing with just a little bit more sun. The weather was nice, but not nice enough to jump in the cold ocean!
So in the end, how do I feel about Malta?
I liked it, but I wouldn’t necessarily come back anytime soon. It’s a lovely place to visit. With a bit warmer temperatures I’m sure I would love it even more. But I’m afraid it would be packed even more and that would make the experience less appealing. On top of that, I feel like I saw most of the highlights. For sure I didn’t see everything. But all the places I didn’t visit, don’t seem worth while traveling back for soon.