Just finished 5 days in Malta and thought I would pass along some thoughts and comments (since everyone on the forum is helpful on questions, trying to pay it forward). I won't try to recap the obvious things/sights to see (all the stuff that is ranked high on Tripadvisor is great, but so much more in addition to that), so I'll try to be brief. We stayed the entire time in Valetta (great hotel there this time of year with really good rates) and think Valetta is a great home base to work from. (1) Ecabs worked great (very easy and works just like Uber, since Uber doesn't work in Malta) and fairly inexpensive, although you can walk or take a boat taxi so easily we rarely used cab, (2) get the Heritage Malta Card if you are staying multiple days (as it works easy and pays for itself), (3) the Valetta Lounge in the airport is probably one of the nicest we have ever been in (great food, great friendly folks, definitely if you have access use it), (4) found it impossible to find a walking tour in Valetta (maybe because of the time of the year, and Color my Travel could never get them to respond), (5) private guide we had one day for tour around the island (Marthese Saliba) was very good, (6) prices pretty middle of the road (not crazy cheap but not crazy expensive either), (7) try to take a water taxi just for the fun of spending 2 euros with some interesting guy rowing and motoring you across the harbor (might was quite a salty old sailor!) (8) they have a food market that is a lot like the Time Out market in Lisbon (which was a really good place to sample a lot of foods) (9) Ryan Air flight here was so cheap (and the one we took out also to get to Sicily) and had no hassles there (first time flying Ryan Air). So much to see here (history, architecture, food, wine, etc) was overall awesome place. Would definitely come back because still lots to see, and would be fun to see and compare in summer (although we had great weather this time of year and with the less crowds hard to beat). Just my impressions
Did you ever take a bus to any outlying areas? They are cheap, modern and go everywhere (I bought a multi-use card right at the airport). I definitely want to put in a plug for their public transport. When I went (in 2015), they overhauled their buses and routes and everything felt brand new (their old buses were really "old school" in every way, at least based on the photos). It was so blazing hot in September that the air conditioned bus provided a welcome relief. Valetta is indeed a great base because the transport network radiates from there all over the island.
Did you make it to Comino or Gozo?
On question on the bus, no we didn't take (nothing against it, but was just so easy to get around by walking normally). Ecab was so easy to get to and from airport, and one other trip (so was just giving a plug for them).
we stayed in a boutique hotel in Valetta (found on either Expedia or Agoda). Was really cheap for a great room (probably just off season) right in the middle of historic area. That is where I would recommend anyone to stay (because you can walk to so many places easy). Palais le Brun was the name. Breakfast was included, we had balcony also overlooking the ocean with a hottub, and the price was something like $125 euro a night (which seemed a great deal for what we got)
I'm surprised it doesn't get more mention on here. I wouldn't go for
two weeks, but for four or five days it's great, with so much to see
and so much variety in such a small area.
That's exactly why it makes for a more viable trip when one is coming to visit from another European country. If coming from the US (the largest audience of this forum), 4-5 days typically suggests a side trip "from somewhere else close by". I visited Malta in combination with Sicily, and I suspect many folks learn about Malta once they discover how close it is (but you have to remember that even Sicily is a novelty for many folks, maybe less so now). I could have stayed in Malta longer than I did but, unfortunately, I spread myself too thin between Malta and Sicily. Short answer is Malta doesn't command much attention and you can barely find it on a map since it's so small, but it is a great place to visit for those who seek it out. I had no issues with finding a good guidebook for it, several in fact. I think it's a great idea not to limit yourself to Valetta but it seems like you need at least a week for that since Valetta easily can take up 4-5 days on its own.
Thank you for your report. It may not get a lot of American press but I understand that the Brits take over. My sister went there a couple of years ago and LOVED it. Had to put it on my long but getting longer list.
thinking of going to Malta for 10 days. Any highlights not to miss? Tours you enjoyed? Would love a hotel that is around $100\night...