some dos and don'ts for when in
The topography of Malta feels like it was sketched to seduce travelers with its charm. Right from the gorgeous landscape to the deep blue waters, from the enigmatic history to the beautiful architecture, there's something special about the shores of Malta.
Here's some dos and don'ts as a traveler in Malta:
DO visit all the places on offer in Malta – Valetta, Silema, Rabat, Dingli, Gozo and Comino. Each of them are unique in their own way and offer slightly different experiences that I encourage you to try out for yourself!
DON’T stay more than five days in you’re planning on just sightseeing. Malta is tiny and you can tick off most things in each city in a few hours. Unless you plan on scuba diving or visiting family, then I’d keep your trip short and sweet.
DO go to Malta if you’re on a budget! Malta is very kind to the pockets.
Typical costs of things include:
Public bus tickets: 2 EUR
Ferry from Valletta to Sliema: 1.50 EUR single or 2.80 EUR return
Ferry from Malta to Gozo is 4.65 EUR each way
Lunch at a café is usually around 8-10 EUR
Main meals range anywhere from 10-15 EUR
Beers are typically 3 EUR and bottles of water just 1 EUR
You can easily live on a daily budget of 30-45 EUR if you stay at a hostel/share an Airbnb with a friend, use public transport, make your own meals or eat out occasionally.
DON’T expect cafes and restaurants to be open early. One thing I have learnt about the European lifestyle is that they love their slow mornings (and sometimes sneaky afternoon siestas). And hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! ;)
DO try a pastizzi: these flaky-filled pastries are both delicious and dirt cheap (at 50 cents a pop). There are two traditional fillings – ricotta and mushy peas. My favourite was the mushy peas variety and it soon became a staple snack (and sometimes an impromptu breakfast food) during our time in Malta. I’ll be honest, there’s no elegant way to eat a pastizzi. It won’t be long until you have pastry flakes everywhere when you consume them. But, once you brush off these flakes and brush off the embarrassment of people seeing you leave a trail of pastry behind, you’ll become addicted and it’ll be hard to imagine life without pastizzis.
DON’T go to Malta and just eat ‘safe’: don’t get me wrong, I am a sucker for a reliable burger and fries option. That being said, there is a time for that when you get back home, and Malta has some seriously good seafood dishes out there if you’re daring enough to spice up your cuisine choices.
DO stay in an Airbnb: We stayed in this AMAZING place during our time in Gozo. Though houses appeared deceivingly humble on the outside, their interiors were extremely spacious. My friend and I stayed in a room with a private bathroom and the host was more than happy for us to use the kitchen to make meals. She worked night-duty both nights we stayed there so we basically had the whole place to ourselves!
DON’T stay in the hostels if you like your sleep. Though I think this is a general rule wherever you go, I feel it applies more so in Malta because there aren’t many hostels around. This means that party goers tend to gravitate towards and overpopulate the ones that do exist. The resulting product is a mix of drunken humans and an insurmountable amount of dorm room noise during the early hours of the morning when these wonky beings attempt to stumble back to bed. Also, I’m not sure if it was just our misfortune, but we had the weirdest guy in our room who would just stare at you forever and walked about in his bright red undies … ALL. THE. TIME.
DO use public transport! Buses cost around 1.5-2 EUR for a two-hour ticket and 21 EUR for a weekly pass. Just make sure you have cash because (unsurprisingly) they don’t have card capable technology available on the buses in Malta. Also, one other thing to note is that the buses are infrequent and fill up fast. We got on one bus, only to have him pull over, kick us all off and put us on another bus that waited around 20 minutes to move.
DON’T rent a car: We were so lucky because my friend had the most beautiful Aunty and cousins who drove us around the island on a few of the days we were there. Through this experience we witnessed first-hand how Maltese drivers do not obey road rules, drive rather erratically and favour using their car horns as a rather loud form of driver expression. Plus, some of the roads are less than roads and I’d hate to be driving on them knowing that the car rental companies usually look for any reason to charge you extra when you return the car.
DO explore the unknowns: some of the best places we went to were ones we literally stumbled across when we were wandering around. Take the Red Tower for example. St. Agatha’s Tower in Mellieha, is more known as the Red Tower because of the colour that it was painted in when it was restored. It was built in 1647 by Grandmaster Lascaris and, at that time, it was the farthest fortification from Valletta, serving as a good communication medium to Gozo. It was a little odd to be honest but made for a pretty cool photo opportunity!
DON’T take my word for it. Go and see Malta for yourself!