Malta is a beautiful country one that has plenty of things to do, especially in the summer and hidden gems. The best to see Malta is to do it by foot. There are bus tours, boat tours and other tours that try and get your money, but they only skim the surface of the beauty of the country.
Anywhere you go going by foot is always the best option. Malta is a very small island, so if you travel via other modes of transport, you’ll miss the small side street or places where vehicles can’t go. Recommended places to walk would be the capital Valletta and Sliema, as there are a lot of things going on in those areas such as bars, restaurants, shops and historical places to visit. But this doesn’t mean that other areas of the country are not beautiful to walk, they are.
By public transport, you can get to most places in Malta. In the winter the buses are €1.50 and in the summer €2.00. Depending on how many journeys you plan to take, you can buy a bus pass. There are several choices: €15 for 12 trips, €21 for 7 days pass unlimited trips. There is also a monthly pass. The passes can be bought at corner shops (convenience stores) and bus terminals. Check the Malta public transport website for more details. On the main island, Malta, buses are frequent however some parts of the island only one bus goes to these places and they only come every 30 minutes – every hour. On Gozo buses are every 30 – 45 minutes. The problem you will have is that all buses lead to Victoria, the capital, so if you want to get from one part of the island to the other, you’ll have to go to Victoria first. The solution to this is to plan where you want to go, the timings of the bus and hour many hours you have on the island.
With tour buses, you have the ability to hop on and off at a range of the locations. I took one in Barcelona and it was very easy to find the tourist attractions this way. You can buy a one day ticket and see a lot of sights in one day compared to the local buses, however at a greater cost. If you don’t want to get off the bus and ride around in it, you’ll be able to most the country in a day.
There are two main tourist bus companies in the Malta and Gozo:
City sightseeing – they operate all over the world and quite popular.
Malta sightseeing – also operates in Malta and Gozo. Although they are cheaper than city sightseeing, as they are a smaller company.
There are a lot of car rental companies in Malta and Gozo. You can book them online, at the airport or at tourist service shops. The minimum age to rent a car will depend on the car rental company, it’s about 21/25+. Prices start from €30 per day, it can be cheaper if the is rented for more than one day. For example, I rented a car in Gozo for €25 per day as I had it for 2 days. If you are able to share the cost with other people, a car is a great way to see the country. You have the freedom to go when you want and where you want and not be controlled by a bus schedule.
To rent a car you will need:
- Credit/debit card
- Driving license
- Passport/ ID card (EU citizens)
- Address of where you’re staying
Getting between the three islands, Malta, Comino, and Gozo, are very easy to do by ferry. Furthermore, there is a ferry service between Sliema and Valletta, in addition to the bus service. The ferry service within Malta is passenger only, whereas the ferries between the three islands are for passengers and vehicles.
Here are a few ferry services that are in Malta and it’s islands:
The ferry between Malta and Gozo – costs €4.65 return, a month return ticket. By car about €6. You get the ferry from the north of Malta.
The ferry between Malta and Comino – costs €10 return. This is a private company and for tourist, as no residents live on this island.
The ferry between Sliema and Valletta – Costs €1.50 one way, just like the buses.
The ferry between Sliema and the 3 cities – Costs €1.50 one way, just like the buses.
Most hostels are in Sliema and Valletta, as these are the tourist areas, but don’t be put off by this because the bus service is very good and you can visit all of the countries from these locations. Furthermore, you can find them in other parts of the country. Hostels start from €10 per night.
Unfortunately, the first hostel I stayed in I can’t recommend. The second one I stayed in was ok, but prices started from €14 per night with no breakfast and charged €5 for washing. Again no names will be mentioned. The hostel that I can recommend is called Calido Hogar in Gozo via Airbnb. It was a lovely hostel. It was chilled and the host was lovely as well. The room and bathroom were clean and it also had a pool, which would be great for the summer. Although I’m sure there are other great hostels in Malta.
Unfortunately, couchsurfing in Malta didn’t happen as there were a lot of creepy guys in Malta, but not all people in Malta are like this and the guys I was in contact with were not Maltese. But if you found a great host, it’s a great way to meet new people and sleep for free. I would advice to look at the host’s profile and read the feedback from other people who’ve stayed with the host.
Airbnb can be an alternative to hostels, while having the ability to feel more at home. On the other hand, if you check on room/house and the same owner appears more than once, in my opinion, stay away. Purely because these people appear to be similar to estate agents. Also, check the reviews of the place you’re interested in. This may be obvious advice but can be overlooked especially if you’re in a rush. I went to check out an Airbnb, but the host either didn’t give the correct address or was not organised, thus I didn’t use Airbnb in Malta.
Places to see
I recommend going to visit all three islands as they are all beautiful. Malta has a lot of history through invasions of the Arabs and the British, also with Italy, North Africa being very close by there is a mixture of culture and diversity in Malta. The two main cities are Sliema and Valletta with lots of life. Malta had been the location of many film sets for example Games of Thornes and Popeye. The best thing to do is to speak to the locals and ask them to recommend you places to see. Comino is a very small island thus no one lives there but it’s a good place to walk and swim. Gozo is the second biggest island of Malta and has a lot of things to discover. Most of the tourist attraction are on the coast of the island, and if you’re travelling the island by bus you will have to change buses in Victoria. Although the best very to see Gozo is by hiring a car, by doing this you’ll be able to drive to the places the tourists don’t go and you’ll see far more as taking the bus can take up to an hour to get from one sightseeing area to the other.