Malta is a beautiful little island. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is the perfect getaway destination for any traveller who wants to experience one of the most idyllic islands the region has to offer; Malta is a fine choice.
One of the most enticing things about Malta is the amount of history and culture packed into this tiny island. The capital city, Valletta, is a goldmine of culture, blending modern amenities with the traditional way of life that pervades Malta.
Tiny villages and hamlets are dotted across the Maltese landscape, some nestled in its rolling emerald-green hills, others perched atop its chalk-white hills. Wherever they are found, these villages each retain large elements of the traditional Maltese way of life.
This guide to the best areas and hotels will arm you with all the information that you need to plan the perfect Mediterranean getaway.
As for accommodation, I found HotelsCombined to provide the most comprehensive, unbiased comparison of different hotel sites. 🙂 Airbnb is another reliable one for accommodation. Use this link to get $62 off!
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Best Places to Stay in Malta
Malta’s capital city feels much like any other western European capital, for the most part. The history of Malta and the various factions who have held sovereignty over it is a fascinating subject and well worth researching before you go. The key point is that, owing to its location and its switching between Arab Muslim and European Christian rulers, the architecture in Valletta is unlike the rest of Europe.
The fusion of Arabic, European, Muslim, Christian, and African influences can be seen throughout the island. Napoleon seized Malta from the Knights of Malta on his way to conquering Egypt. Malta’s French Period lasted from 1798, when Napoleon’s ships first reached the shoreline, and ended in 1814, with Napoleon’s defeat on the continent. Malta remained a largely independent UK territory, before transitioning to a sovereign state and, ultimately, a republic in 1974.
Where to stay in Valletta, Malta
You can Airbnb it in Valletta quite easily these days, and if you aren’t opposed to Airbnb, then it is worth checking their list of reasonable priced accommodation in Malta. The biggest advantage of this is that you get to experience what it’s like to live there.
If you have a slightly bigger budget, we recommend you stay in one of the traditional, yet luxurious boutique hotels in the city. Most of these boutique hotels were old palaces or grand homes, renovated to their former glory with characterful interiors, eclectic design, original limestone walls and more.
What’s great about staying in Valletta as opposed to more commercial towns like Sliema, is that you get to experience what it’s like to live there. In terms of hotels, the Excelsior stands out as an all-bells-and-whistles option. Luxurious and modern, if you want total relaxation while in Valletta, this is the hotel to choose.
Birgu is one of the oldest settlements on the entire island – which is saying something! Birgu sits opposite Valletta, staring at one another across the Grand Harbour. Walking the ancient, narrow streets of the town, exploring every nook and alleyway, is an absolute must while you’re in Malta. Given its proximity to the capital, Birgu is convenient to visit.
Where to stay in Birgu, Malta
If you want to stay in style, the Locanda La Gelsomina is a 4-star hotel with all the modern luxuries and amenities you could want in a hotel. However, it does sit at the higher end of the price spectrum.
If you’re looking to economise and need to travel on a budget, then consider 6. And yes, that is its name – 6. At just USD43 a night, 6 offers guests free Wi-Fi, access to BBQ facilities and a rooftop pool. Considering the price, this represents excellent value.
After Valletta, the capital city, Sliema is probably the busiest and one of the most active places on the island. The ancestry of the locals here is a mix of Maltese and British. Sliema was a small fishing village until the UK put apartment blocks up everywhere. Coupled with a smattering of British-style pubs, being in Sliema feels a lot like being in the UK.
Where to stay in Sliema, Malta
The Waterfront Hotel offers you a peaceful coastal retreat. There’s a pool available for the rare occasions when the sea is best avoided. Generally, the conditions around the Slieman coast are calm and ideal for swimmers of all ages.
More inland, Hostel Jones provides an excellent option for budget travellers. For a little bit more money (USD59 per night instead of USD42), the Corner Hostel is slightly more luxurious. Finally, the Sliema Marina Hotel provides an excellent balance – it’s affordable and good quality.
Gozo is known as Malta’s sister island. It is a much more rural place; it doesn’t have a population centre like Valletta. If you want a quiet retreat away from other tourists, Gozo offers you lots of options. There’s no nightlife here to speak of, but there are plenty of beautiful deserted beaches to explore.
Where to stay in Gozo, Malta
The Duke Boutique Hotel stands out as an affordable yet reasonably luxurious option. There’s free Wi-Fi and breakfast is included in the price. If you value your morning meal, we’d recommend The Duke.
At the higher end of the spectrum is the Quaint Hotel Nadur. While this hotel is on the costlier side, it is still one of the best value options on Malta.
One of the best things about Malta is that it is small enough to explore over a couple of weeks. You won’t see everything, but you can certainly cram in a lot. Choosing the right accommodation is an important part of the overall experience.