For the perfect mini break, Malta is somewhere you should add to your 2017 bucket list.
The Malta minibreak.
Malta is somewhere that I’ve had on my radar for a while now. In fact, it was actually somewhere I had as a contender for if we moved abroad.
Even though I’d never been, I’d heard so many great things from people of all ages and I was intrigued.
The fact that English is spoken makes it a great place to emigrate and to visit.
I’ve been. I loved it. So, I’m going to tell you why all these reasons mean you should have a Malta minibreak or holiday on your bucket list.
- The weather
- The location
- The food and drink
- The shopping
- The cost
- The getting around
- The hotels and accommodation
- The festivals
- The European capital of culture 2018
- The Game of Thrones film sets
- The People
As Malta is located near the coast of North Africa and is neighbours with Sicily, it is the perfect location for mild to hot weather all year round, but you can check when are the best times to visit where in Malta here before you go.
We went in March and temperatures were around 20 degrees. Admittedly, the locals were wrapped up in hats and scarves because, apparently, that was cold for them!
We, however, enjoyed prancing about without tights (we obviously had other clothes on) and with light jackets. There was a pretty bracing wind at times and the temperatures do drop at night time, so it’s not the time really for skimpy tops.
Again, location makes Malta pretty easy to get to. Especially if you’re coming from Europe! We’re talking mini breaks here, but if you were staying for longer, you can always hop on a boat trip over to Sicily which is 1.5 hours away by catamaran.
The flight times to Malta from London are around 3.5hrs. I actually flew from Leeds and Michele from London, but our flights left and landed within 30 minutes of each other (both ways), so that was perfect for us.
Malta Food & Drink
I already wrote a post on the best places to eat and drink in Malta and there are some vegetarian and vegan suggestions in there too. So, be sure to check that out.
But, in short, if you love fresh food with a Mediterranean influence, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Malta’s location again means you can’t much fresher than locally caught that day fish, like what I had in Giovanni.
Eating out and traditional Maltese food
Eating out is really reasonable and enough to satisfy every type of diet. You must try the traditional pea cakes or pastizzi and also the local honey. The name Malta amongst other suggestions, has its roots in the Greek for honey, because of the abundance of it. Honey is one of Malta’s traditions and treasures, so you’d be rude not to try it!
The shops are set in the beautiful backdrop of meandering old streets and historical buildings, so it’s culture on so many levels! Alongside the modern and familiar shops, are traditional Maltese artisanal shops selling things like jewellery and you can find some really well priced, well, gems!
Malta uses the Euro and it’s a pretty affordable place to be! Economically-speaking, Malta does well for itself. Prices are definitely lower than some other similar European destinations. But, of course, you can really choose to spend as much or as little as you want. We splurged on things like going out for a slap up meal at Giannini. But, if I went during the summer, we’d definitely spend some cash on some water sports.
Speaking of which, something we didn’t do, but I’d like to try is some of the outdoor activities and particularly, the watersports and diving. The clear, calm waters around the Islands and the reef, wrecks, and sea life, make Malta a top diving destination.
There are lots of clean, sandy beaches to visit in Malta. One of the biggest draws is the Blue Lagoon, with its picture perfect clear waters, where there are #nofilters needed!
Getting around Malta
Malta is a relatively small island (316 km2) and so nowhere is particularly far away. We stayed in Attard and nothing we did was more than a 15 minute car ride away.
Speaking of cars, be warned, everyone drives in Malta, so traffic can be pretty bad. The buses are plentiful – and generally busy and hot in our experience! But, they are really cheap and a good cost-effective way to travel.
Where to stay in Malta
There are loads of places to stay. We always like a bit of glamour and luxe and so we chose the Corinthia Palace and Spa Hotel. It’s a 5* hotel in San Anton, which is part of the Corinthia chain and one of 2 in Malta. It was about 15 minutes from the airport and close to the major attractions.
It’s a classically styled hotel and the historical jewel in Malta’s hospitality crown. If you like uber modern, it won’t be for you. But, if you want some character and to be treated like royalty, it’s definitely for you!
The staff are proud and passionate to work there and that really makes the experience special. I think there are still offers available from the website we booked with – my secret for luxe travel for less!
I also know there are a lot of apartment rentals in Malta, and I love that as a self-catering home from home.
Malta Music Festivals
We didn’t get a chance to go to a festival, but Malta is firmly establishing itself as a festival front runner. Malta hosts huge festivals like the MTV Isle of Malta Festival and Annie Mac’s the Lost and Found Festival, with all night raves, boat parties, castle raves (!) and beach parties. For more sedate, traditional festivals, there are loads more.
European Capital of Culture 2018
In 2018, Valletta will be the European Capital of Culture and it’s not hard to see why. It is itself one of the 3 UNESCO sites in Malta. If you like churches, you will be spoilt for choice as I’m pretty sure Malta has more churches than people!
There really is something for everyone: Arts, history, tradition, sports, music, take your pick!
Whilst in Valletta, don’t forget to take in some of Malta’s best panoramic views from the Barrakka Gardens, or wander into some of the amazing bars and food stops along Strait Street, which is enjoying a real renaissance after it’s not so illustrious past.
Island hopping and Game of Thrones film sets
But, that’s not all, there are other film spots to check out like Popeye Village, which has gone beyond more than the set for the 1980s film with family-friendly activities and it’s even a wedding venue
Malta is an archipelago, so you can also visit the islands of Comino and Gozo.
Unfortunately, we didn’t make it there, but they’re on our list for next time!
Another Game of Thrones location and former home to the iconic Azure Window. It literally blew away the day we arrived.
It wasn’t me!
The stunning history and UNESCO sites.
If that doesn’t give your fill, there are also 2 other UNESCO sites: Hal Saflieni Hypogeum and the 7 Megalithic Temples, which are apparently some of the oldest free-standing structures on the planet!
There are just so many attractions to visit and experience in Malta, you’ll find it hard to narrow it down. To name a few, there’s the 16th century Grand Master’s Palace or the Ghar Dalam Cave, which is a bountiful archaeological site, not far from Valletta.
The Maltese People
The Maltese people are very warm and welcoming and very laid back in that typical Mediterranean style. Malta has a colourful history, with lots of influences which you can see everywhere. The official languages are Maltese and English, which means you can practice that Maltese, but if you get really stuck, you’ll probably be ok to revert to English.
All in all, Malta is a great place to visit, whatever type of minibreak or holiday you’re looking for. There’s something for everyone and that’s why I’ll definitely be back!