“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”– Anonymous.
The country of Malta is an archipelago of three islands in Europe, located in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily – Italy, and north of the African countries of Libya and Tunisia.
This nation of islands is one gorgeous place you should visit, especially for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Stunning fishing villages and natural beauty.
The best part of Malta is the diversity of things that you get to see here.
Malta is one of the smallest countries in the European Union. Currency used is Euro. You can visit Malta with your Schengen visa. Good to see that a large majority of people in Malta speak English, which is very helpful for the tourists.
Malta is made up of 3 main islands; Malta, Gozo and Comino. Gozo, a smaller version of the mainland Malta can be reached in 20 minutes by ferry and Comino which is largely visited for its famous Blue Lagoon, is virtually uninhabited with only one hotel.
Before we proceed, let me inform you that this is a full packed itinerary with limited time to relax.
If you are looking for something like a relaxed vacation in Malta, this itinerary might not be the right fit for you.
Day 1: Take a Hop on Hop Off City Tour (I personally would suggest Blue Line)
Day 2: Plan a day trip to Gozo and Comino
Day 3: Harbour Cruise (3 Cities) in the Morning and Plan a Walking tour in Valetta old Town (Post Lunch)
Day 4: A full day tip to Sicily Islands, Italy
Day 5: Popeye Village in the First Half of the day and Marsaxlokk Village and Blue Grotto during the next half.
On Day 1, we took the Hop on Hop Off Blue Line (North Route). The ticket price was 20 Euros / Adult (for one day trip)
Basically, there are 2 Hop on Hop Off Sightseeing routes in Malta:
The 2 routes together have around 37 Stops. You can travel in both the routes with the same ticket.
You can also choose between two options – 1day ticket (which is valid only for that day) and a 2 day ticket (valid for 2 days)
More details can be found here –> https://www.hop-on-hop-off-bus.com/malta/malta-hop-on-hop-off-tour_23364
Buses start at 8:00am – 2:30pm, every 30 minutes
First Tour: 8:00am to 2:30pm, every 30 minutes
First Tour: 9:45am to 3:45pm, every 45 minutes
I have seen a lot of people booking ‘Topaz Hotel’ as the preferred hotel as the North Route Starts in front of this hotel. I also booked this hotel because of the very same reason.
After experiencing the stay, I personally suggest you take some other accommodation option. This hotel is highly overrated in many of the travel websites. I was completely disappointed with my stay over there. Please look for some better options nearby (if you really want to stay in Bugibba) or else look for some other places.
In the North Route Blue Line tour, we only got down at the ‘National Aquarium’. We had taken a Family ticket (2 Adults and 1 child) worth 32 Euros. There is a discount of 10% if you book online, which would make the ticket price as 28.80 Euros.
More Details Here –> https://www.aquarium.com.mt/buy-tickets/
If you don’t have any kids in your trip, I would personally suggest you skip this destination.
Day 2: Gozo and Comino needs a special mention. So I will try to add those details in a separate blog
Day 3: In the Morning, we booked the Captain Morgan Harbour cruise. It’s a 1.5 hours cruise journey which provides you a fantastic view of Malta from the sea (especially the 3 cities).
You can get the ticket for Captain Morgan cruise from Sliema Terminal. There are many 3rd party counters that sells the tickets. There is a high level of bargaining possible in these counters.
The online price for adults was 16/ Person and I managed to get the ticket for 10 Euros/Person. So, don’t miss a chance here. You could save some bucks here.
This is the trip that you should never miss when you are in Malta. Its worth the money that is paid for.
After coming back from the Harbour cruise, we took the Sliema – Valetta ferry service to reach Valetta. The adult ticket price is around 1.5 Euros /person (One side)
Such a beautiful city, I’d certainly love to go back one day!
Valletta is the Limestone capital of Malta and was built by the Knights of St. John in the 16th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an interesting place to walk around with countless architectural sight seeing’s. To see and experience the Maltese Charm, this is the place that you need to visit. Valletta was selected as “European Capital of Culture” in 2018.
Some Important Places here:
1) John’s Co-Cathedral:
I was told that there are around 365 churches in Malta, which means that you can easily visit different churches each day throughout the year.
More than a church, this is a Magnificent piece of art and is without a doubt, one of the most ornate churches in the world. Built in the 16th century for the Knights of St. John, every inch of St. John’s Co-Cathedral is covered in marble, gold, paint, or relief. Even the multi-coloured floors take the attention.
a) Multi coloured balconies of Malta:
There are so many stories about the colours and landscape of Malta and one such things is the coloured Balconies. The enclosed balconies are painted in different colours.
I was told that Government doesn’t allow the house owners to change the external structures especially the Balconies and Government even pays some fixed amount every year for the maintenance of the same.
There is a Tuk-Tuk service that is available to see the sightseeing in Valetta. The asking price was 8 Euros/person. I managed to get a discounted rate of 5 euros/person. If there is someone in your group who is having difficulties in walking, then this Tuk-Tuk service will be a good option.
Else, I would strongly suggest doing a walking tour of Valletta. There is a bus stand within Valletta old town, from where you can take a bus back to your hotel after exploring the beautiful historical capital city.
We had booked a day trip package to Sicily islands (Italy) on Day 4. We were picked up from the hotel in a Cab at around 5:30AM in the morning and dropped at the Malta Terminal. The departure time of Virtu ferries was at 6:30 AM, which took around 1.5 Hours one side to reach Sicily (Pozzallo Terminal).
Further, the plan was to do a bus trip to Mt Etna & Modica and return back to Pozzallo and further back to Hotel in Malta by night.
For Booking the Virtu express ferry and to know more details –> http://www.virtuferries.com/
(Note: Please note that this a fully packed day trip starting at 5:30 AM in the Morning from the hotel and return back to hotel by around 11PM. I have read a lot of reviews mentioning that the trip is too tiring)
Just before reaching Pozzallo terminal, we got the unfortunate information that the excursion was cancelled due to extreme bad weather that was predicted for the rest of the day.
In the interest of the tourist’s security, Virtu ferry management decided to return to Malta after offloading the trucks and so on. This was quite unfortunate, as we missed a golden opportunity to view the Sicily islands (slip between cup and the lip).
After reaching Malta, Virtu management had arranged a luxury sedan to take us back to the hotel.
I would certainly take this opportunity to thank Virtu ferries for their professional service commitment. The entire amount of 300 + euros was transferred to my bank account within 3-4 days. They did not charge anything, even for the cabs or the cruise.
Hopefully we would be able to visit Sicily islands sometime in future.
Morning Half to Popeye Village:
The area itself is picturesque and the water colour of the sea is beautiful!
Now, you’ll need to pay an entry fee to gain access to the town (film set) but if that’s not your thing, just drive up to the top of the bay and take in the gorgeous view of Popeye Village itself (free of cost)
Afternoon session, I had booked a tour package.
I had booked a half day tour to Blue Grotto and Marsaxlokk through Trip advisor. For 2 Adults and 1 child, it costs me around 71 Euros. (Tour Operator: S Mifsud & Sons Ltd.).
Even though the service was good, I personally would suggest you not to take this tour package as it is not worth the money.
They simply take you from the hotel to the destination which you could anyway do using a Public Transport (with little more research and effort)
Marsaxklokk (pronounced marsa-schlock) is a fishing village with lots of charm. The blue waters of this cute fishing village are filled with traditional Maltese boats called luzzus.
This is a place for the Photographers. You won’t be disappointed for sure.
On Sundays (9:00am – 2:00pm), Marsaxlokk is one of the best places to visit in Malta. Check out the open-air fish market selling the morning’s catch, including swordfish, tuna and so on. To get there, take bus #83 or #82 from Valletta.
The Blue lagoon in Comino and Blue Grotto in Malta are 2 different destinations. So please don’t get confused between these names.
Blue Grotto is a stunning mix of sea caves that have naturally formed in this part of Malta.
This complex comprises of a massive (and very impressive) main arch, which is approximately 30m in height, as well as a system of 6 other caves, in which you will find the Honeymoon Cave, the Cat’s Cave and the beautiful Reflection Cave.
If you are going to visit the Blue Grotto, a boat trip to the caves is the best way to experience the true beauty of the area. Boat trips are usually available daily (weather permitting) with the duration of each trip being around 20 minutes.
During our visit, the Boat service was not operational due to bad weather.
In case if you have an Extra day in Hand, try visiting Dingli Cliffs, Mdina / Mellieha/ Sliema or Rabat.
Some other options would be 3 Cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua.
In case if you want to spend time in beaches, you can look for Ghadira bay or Ghajin Tuffieha.
When to Visit:
November or December are the months when it rains the most in the island. Summer months will be overcrowded and hot! March was the month I visited Malta and I must say, that was a very good decision (even though there was rain on 1 day in our trip)!
So, consider going between March – April or from September to October.
Please also note that many of the sight seeing’s have a direct impact on the weather. So its always good to see the weather predictions before planning the trip. Always have a alternate plan in mind.
How to Travel:
Local Bus: The best way to travel around Malta is by public transport. The extensive bus network covers islands of Malta and Gozo and helps you get just about everywhere. However some bus lines don’t run very often, there’re places where you need to wait up to one hour for the next connection. After arriving at the new place, the best would be to check when is the bus to your next destination and plan your visit with that in mind. There’re schedules listed on every stop. You can buy tickets on board.
Rent a car: I had personally not taken any car for rent, so not sure about this option.
Taxi: I have not tried even a single taxi in my whole trip. So not pretty sure about the charges
Ferry: You can also use Ferry to travel to different places within Malta.
Where to Stay:
Even though I had stayed in Bugibba and Cirkewwa, my personal recommendation will be to stay somehere near St.Julian’s (Commutation to all destinations become easy).
St. Julian’s is a popular area with lots of restaurants, cafes, shops and hotels.
Malta feels very safe to travel in and indeed, there have been little or no instances of violence against tourists. The locals will help you every step of the way and the country feels very secure and easy to travel in.