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Our Travel Expert Visits Malta! Her Tips & Tricks

Malta is a top-trending holiday destination that’s finally getting its due thanks to its stunning island vibes, rich history and unique culture. Our travel expert Sharon Harney visited Malta and had some tips to share.

Getting there

Located in the waters between Europe and North Africa Malta is a small island - just 316 square kilometres but packs a punch with a diversity of options available to the visitor.

We decided to take a 5 night city break in December. With 300 days of sunshine annually the island provides a year round opportunity for a interesting getaway.

With direct flights from Dublin with Ryan Air 3/4 times per week the islands of Malta have once again become accessible for us to visit as a year round city break option or an alternative sun destination. Flight time is just over 3 hours and navigating the airport is quick with the capital Valletta a mere 20 mins away in a taxi costing €17.

Staying there

The hotel was re built by the British in the 1930’s and is one of the Leading Hotels of the World, its set within large well tended gardens and has an amazing infinity pool. Its traditional in style and standard rooms tend to be a bit on the small size but have decent bathrooms, superior rooms have small French balconies with various views of city or gardens. Rooms have flat screen TV’s, crisp white linen sheets with minibar offering complimentary beer, water, juice which is stocked daily and tea/ coffee.

Valetta City - Malta

What to see & do

With 7,000 years of history documented and some of the worlds oldest free-standing structures from the Phoenicians to the Knights of St John the islands have endured endless rulers and contributors to their story. Valletta, the capital is one of Europe’s smallest cities and easily walkable (although there are some climbs) it’s a Unesco World Heritage site and within short distances are numerous seaside bays and the former capital Mdina (known as the silent city).

Valletta, was built by the Knights of Malta in the 16th century and is set on a narrow peninsular almost surrounded by sea, its a walled city perched high above sea level and surrounded by immense bastions/fortress like walls. At the centre of the city you will find the simply magnificent St John’s Co-Cathedral which houses Caravaggio’s The Martyrdom of St John the Baptist alongside other priceless works of art (€10 entrance) the Malta at War Museum recounts how the island has resisted would-be invaders from the Ottoman fleet through to the Nazis in WW2.

Valetta is a lively little city with a myriad of cobbled twisting narrow streets crammed with bars, restaurants and outdoor cafes. You will find some well known high street shops as well as more independent local retailers. Local cuisine embodies the local history with broad influences ranging from Italian, British and French and both rabbit and pasta feature heavily.

Malta has 365 churches and you see them everywhere, huge majestic domes, adorned with ornate sculptures.

Golden Beach - Malta

Getting around

Take a hop on hop off bus tour the red line covers the south of the island and stops right outside the Phoenicia Hotel as well as regular other spots and takes about 2 hours (€20) this gives you a real feel for the city and allows you to take lunch or shop in various places along the way such as Vittoriosa Waterfront, Blue Grotto and Selima for shopping. The blue line takes you into the countryside and explores Mdina the silent city and the sandy beaches of Bugibba and Golden Bay.

There are a few audio/visual experiences €16 to get an overview of the islands history and small mini train that circumvents Valetta to help you get bearings.

Public transport is particularly good. It’s fast, cheap and efficient (main bus terminal in front of the Phoenicia Hotel) covers the whole island and for only €1.20 you can use as many services as you wish within a 2 hour window for that price  All resorts and towns on the island are covered.

There are Segway Tours, sunset cruises, escorted walking tours and harbour boat rides (well worth it at €15 for 90 minutes) which takes you to the Three Cities.

Coffee is cheap with Cappuccino costing around €2. Main meals range €8-€15

Gozo is Malta’s little sister and separate from the mainland by a 5kms. Stretch of water so if you want something g more rustic and rural you can get here by ferry which takes 20 minutes.

More than just the city

If you’re looking for something different from a pure Valetta city break then Malta offers a variety of other alternatives – Bugibba and Qawra are located in St Paul’s Bay – lively resorts with bustling cafes, restaurants and bars. St Julian’s offers an abundance of nightclubs and is a great choice for those who want to be close to action. Selima is perfect for the shopaholics and has the largest shopping mall in Malta. Mellieha has a long white sandy beach with loads of water based activities. Scuba diving and snorkelling are particularly good in Malta due to the crystal clear waters and rocky coves. Gozo provides a real laid back vibe with idyllic landscapes stunning views and wildlife.

Where to eat

We came away from Malta with a few tips on great dining options:

Try a 2 centre

You don't have to stay in one spot! See more of Malta with a 2 centre trip. We split our stay with an overnight in Mdina for our final night and stayed at the Xara Palace  Relais & Chateaux a 17th century palazzo and the only hotel located within the walls of The Silent City. A great way to see more of your destination and get the most out of your holiday.


Planning a trip to magical Malta? See our deals on holidays to Malta on our site.

This blog is powered by Cassidy Travel, one of Ireland’s leading travel agencies. Our team of over 100 expert travel advisors send 1000s of Irish holidaymakers around the world every year. And we love doing it! Visit our website to start planning your next getaway. If you’re Dublin-based, drop into one of our stores. With 33 years of experience we’ve mastered the art of easy booking. Whether it’s a city escape, US adventure or family holiday we’d love to help you plan, book and dream.

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Sharon Harney - 10 February 2020

Destination

Departures Between

to

Number of Nights

7 to 14

Price Range

€50 to €3,000

Number of Adults

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