50 miles south of Italy is the beautiful island of Malta, one of the world’s smallest but most densely populated countries. English is the national language although many locals speak Maltese.
Taking advantage of some great flight prices (£85 return for 2 adults from Bournemouth with Ryanair) we decided to pay Malta a visit, having never been before.
We booked transfers from the airport to our hotel with maltatransfer.com and a three night stay at Hotel Roma in Sliema. Granted this was not the most luxurious hotel we have ever stayed in – the walls were very thin, the lift was rickety and you had to leave your key at reception every time you went out! However we were on the top floor and at the front of the building so had fantastic views, the continental breakfast was nice and the stay very helpful. Best of all it only cost us 77 euros for the three nights, and was literally a base for us to explore Malta.
Malta dates back to 5200 BC but it is the form of Baroque architecture that developed in Malta during the 17th and 18th centuries which is still prominent today. Those interested in history will certainly not be disappointed with Malta. From the UNESCO World Heritage site of the capital ‘Valletta’ to the islands’ museums there’s plenty to see, although you may need longer than a weekend break to see it all!
That said we did our best to see as much as we could and luckily the weather was very pleasant for our stay. Our main method of transport was buses which are the primary method of public transport, however they can get very busy. We queued at a bus stop in Valletta one evening (as us Brits do) but when the bus arrived everyone just pushed their way through, queuing isn’t popular! At the time of our visit a bus journey cost €1.50 per person regardless of length of journey. However you could get off and back on within a 2 hour period on the same ticket. It is worth trying to carry the exact change, or as close to the cost as possible. We tried to board a bus at Cirkewwa (Gozo Ferry Boat Terminal) and pay with a €20 note for two passengers. The bus driver refused saying he didn’t have the time to count out change and told us to get off! Luckily for us a kind hearted passenger, a local who spoke no English, paid for us – so nice to see genuine kindness.
During our stay we explored Sliema, St Julian’s, Valletta, Buggiba and over to Gozo, a small island to the north-west of Malta. The ferry to Gozo cost us €4.65 (Dec 2016) each as foot passengers. You only pay this when you return from Gozo to Malta. The ferry crossing takes about 30 minutes and they run every 45 minutes. Once in Gozo we enjoyed a walk around the port of Mġarr before getting a bus to the capital Victoria. After a walk around and a spot of lunch we headed back to Malta.
One evening during our stay we enjoyed a walk from St Julian’s to Sliema along the promenade, highly recommended! The walk is mostly flat and takes around 45 minutes, although you may be tempted to stop at one of the many bars and restaurants that line the route so it may take you a lot longer!
One of the biggest highlights of Malta is the capital Valletta, a walled city full of 16th century architectural heritage and mostly surrounded by sea. We actually headed to Vittoriosa, one of the ‘Three Cities’ across the water from Valletta and took the ferry from here into Valletta. The trip takes less than 10 minutes and cost just €1.50 per person one way but is a great way to see some of the Grand Harbour, especially if you do not have time to do a full boat trip. Once you arrive take the Upper Barrakka lift up to the Upper Barrakka Gardens and Valletta city centre.
VIDEO: A weekend in Malta and Gozo
Please check out our short video of our trip which includes some of the above mentioned sights and don’t forget to subscribe to our You Tube channel for more videos of our travels!
Need some more inspiration? – Then check out www.visitmalta.com