We, hopefully, are planning a trip to southwestern Sicily basing in Marina di Modica, thinking of a venture to Malta. Does anyone have an idea how long to dedicate to visit Malta, a day trip, overnight, a couple of days? Thank you. Hoping there will be an end to the coronavirus. Take care, be safe, be well.
Several nights at least. The huge fortress and walls of the old city offer plenty of history and backgrounds for knights-in-armour movies. For beach time the northerly island is the place. Good air transport in general.
Here's a 2019 video from Stephen Calder, respected travel columnist for the Independent newspaper in the UK.
A few of us went to Malta a couple of years ago with minimum planning. We're still telling stories of it and struggling, with our personal calendars, to get back. It was amazing in so many ways. We only stayed 3 nights which felt like we missed most of what Malta has to offer. Other friends who have been there since only make it worse! I did start a 'dream trip' file - I'm currently thinking a full week might be a good start. There is plenty to see, to experience, to eat. The multitude of cultures that make up Malta make exploring a series of discoveries - each with it's unique historical perspective. Thanks for reviving some great memories, and yearnings to go make more!
A week will just about be long enough to cover the island. One night there is pointless as you will spend longer in transit!
I would get the Bradt Malta guide (or Lonely Planet), read up on all the sites, and then base your number of days by what you're interested in. I was there for 4 full days and it was an incredibly fast-paced, stressful, and ultimately short-shrift experience (I was on my feet 12 hours and more a day and I move fast, but this was too much). I wanted to see more of Gozo and only was able to do a day trip there (on those awful hop-on, hop-off buses which I would never normally use). I would have liked at least a week to see Malta AND Gozo, and maybe even a bit more. I would recommend no less time than that unless you want to do just a drive-by type of trip. The buses were great from Valetta as the base, and it was easy to get around but there are a lot of interesting far-flung sites all over the island and they take time to get to. If you're interested in archeology, there are wonderful neolithic temples older than Stone Henge int he middle of nowhere.
If you can find flights from the smaller airport close to Ragusa to Malta, that would be ideal. I used Catania as the base to go from Sicily because the ferry schedule (Virtu Ferries) was not convenient for me. It may work for you since you'll be pretty far south of Sicily to begin with.
We returned from a 2.5 week trip to Malta in early February (2020). I'd allow as much time as you can spare as there is quite a lot to see and do - especially if you like WW II history or archaeological sites. We stayed at Pebbles Aparthotel in Sliema and had a nice, large apartment near the bus and ferry stop to Valletta. This worked really well for us but for a shorter trip, I'd opt to stay in Valletta. I agree that the Brandt Guidebook is an excellent resource for planning.
Here's a list of the things we enjoyed - you can research to see if any of these meet your interests - that may help you determine how much time to spend.
*Daytrip to Rabat and Mdina - the St. Paul's Cathedral and Museum were surprisingly interesting!
*Saint Anton Gardens
*Archaeological Museum - Valletta
*Concert - Manoel Theater
*Daytrip to Hypogeum and Tarxien Temples
*Sunday Market in Marsaxlokk
*Walk around Three Cities
*Co - Cathedral - Valletta
*Daytrip to Gozo
*Fort Saint Elmo
*The War Museum
At the end of our trip we took a 50-minute flight to Catania, Sicily to spend 4 nights in Ortigia - one of our favorite places in Sicily.
There is plenty to do in Malta, so it’s a matter of allocating your time. We were there for 2 weeks in late January and did not run out of things to go. We did much of what Sharon mentioned. We stayed in Valletta which was nice as a transportation hub. The bus system in Malta is extensive and easy to use. We spent 4 nights in Gozo which was very restful. There are fewer “big sites” in Gozo but you can pick up hiking/walk suggestions at the tourist office and see much of the island on foot. If you are going for the beach, don’t go in January. We had some rain but for the most part the weather was decent for sightseeing.
Thanks all for your informative posts! So helpful!!! We will basing in Marina di Modica in a little house on the water for 10 days, day trips around the area, to Agrigento and the mosaics at Villa di Casale. In that it doesn't seem a day trip will scratch the surface, I think we will be able extend our time to fit in 4 nights on Malta. Thank you again!!! Planning future travel and returning to places and friends feels good. Best to all.
Thank you Sharon. We will be starting our trip in Catania, then to Ortigia for 3 nights! We love Ortigia as well and this will be our 3rd trip! Then to the to the beach for 10 days and day tripping the area, then hopefully being able to add 4 nights Malta. Return to Catania for a couple of nights and back to US.
This was also our third trip to Ortigia! This time we stayed at Albergo Domus Mariae. We had a room with a sea view (Room 102) and had such a nice stay! A restaurant recommend by the hotel staff, "a Putia" delle delle cose buone was really great!
Your trip sounds perfect!
We only spent one day on Malta, and really didn't have time to soak in the entire place. It's an incredibly old society going back some 2500 years, and the era is well documented in museums there.
And the fortress when you come into the harbor has huge stones that were quarried in the Nile River Valley and brought over by ship. It's on the level of the pyramids in construction. I have no idea how they ever put together such a huge structure with mortal men.
A trip there and to Sicily would be wonderful with a week allotted to each.
And hopefully Italy will get over their virus problems which is centered in the industrial north--600 miles away from Sicily.
You'll have to research yourself and see if you are interested, but there is a large underground UNESCO WHS. It's frequently closed to protect it from visitor damage, and when it does schedule visits, they are tiny numbers of people, and sell out many months in advance.
but there is a large underground UNESCO WHS
Yes, the Hypogeum is amazing, but is limited to a small number of visitors at the same time (advanced booking is required). Here is the info:
Thanks! How would you get from the ferry port to the Hypogeum? Is a car necessary or public transport? Thanks!!!
No, a car is definitely not necessary (and you wouldn't want to drive there either - it's super congested and they drive on the other side like Brits).
You have to take a bus from Valetta bus depot to the Hypogeum (the bus depot is not super close to the port - I didn't walk to the port so I don't know exactly where it is but you can find it on Google). It is in a neighborhood called Paola, but it is hidden in between residential buildings and hard to find (signage is not very good either - at least not in 2015 when I visited).
The easiest way to see the Hypogeum is to buy tickets in advance. Tickets for two tours a day (at noon and at 4:00pm) are available the day before. You can buy these tickets at Ft Saint Elmo. These tickets are more expensive than the reserved tickets. Off season these tickets are not hard to get, but they still sell out. We were there in January. (Things change, so be sure to confirm this information). The Hypogeum is simply amazing.
You can find out details about the bus system on line. You can find the routes, look up the times, look at individual stops and see which bus stops there. Be sure to pick up a bus map when you arrive. We found the bus system very easy to use. No need for a car. You could also get a taxi from the port. It’s not far. As I remember, the ferry from Sicily docked in between Valletta and the Hypogeum. We didn’t take the ferry but I remember seeing it.
I agree, the signage isn’t real clear. The entrance is on a side street. You can easily walk from the Hypogeum to Tarxien. They’ll give you directions from the Hypogeum.
If you can even get to the island...traveling now is such a bad idea. Stay at home.
No worries, we are not traveling now! We have a house rented in September, hopefully the situation will improve and we will be able to make our trip.