Malta was honestly a place I had never considered visiting until about two years ago when I met someone from the Maltese Tourism Board at an event in Dublin. There, I was given a borchure that did exactly what it was created to do and showed me the country in a whole new light. Ever since then, it’s been at the back of my mind until finally my friends and I decided to arrange a holiday there. (We were meant to go there last year, but ended up in Inis Mor instead!). The flights were a really decent price at around €80 direct with RyanAir, and between four of us our Air BnB was an absolute steal too. As far as the country goes, it’s really affordable across the board. Food, drink and activities are all much cheaper than any you would find in Ireland so a weekend here really doesn’t break the bank by any means, making it a perfect little break.
Arriving late on a Thursday we arranged a drop off to our location in Mellieha with Taxi2Airport. It was a decent shuttle service, but we got a regular Taxi on the way home and it was more or less the same price to be dropped door to door. Our Air BnB was the perfect place to stay. While the interiors weren’t groundbreaking, we had a pool with an amazing view and more space than four people would have needed! Along with this, our host was more than amazing in making us feel welcome which is what you want. As we arrived late, we spent the evening getting our bearings and planned for the day ahead.
Our first day was spend exploring Mellieha. We walked from our apartment down to the sand beach known as Mellieha Bay or ‘Ghadira’, giving us the opportunity to also see the town and what it had to offer. The beach is gorgeous and in May, not too overcrowded. We rented beds for €3, but if you wanted they also offer a range of water activities here too such as kayaking! Once we were finished at the beach, we walked to Popeyes Village, a film set from the 1980s musical Popeye. It’s a really fun place to visit, and if you are in the area of Mellieha I would definitely recommend it! Tickets are €11, but if you don’t want to pay to enter you can simply view the village from the cliffs to the left hand side. We visited in low season, close to closing time so there was not much to see or do at the village, but we did take a swim in the crystal clear waters which I highly recommend!
Other things to see in Mellieha are:
- The Red Tower: You can visit here and climb to the top to view Melliehe, Comino, Gozo and more. The attraction is open from 10am-4pm daily, and costs €4 for entry.
- Golden Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha and Paradise Bay. These are the beaches in the surrounding area of Mellieha and are all meant to be stunning. If you have more time on the Island, I suggest visiting these beaches.
- Places to have a quiet drink are Billys Music Club, or Noras Pub. We ate in Blu Beach Club on our first night which was also really nice, and quite upmarket.
On our second day, we decided to visit some of the towns that Malta had to offer. Getting around Malta with public transport is an absolute dream! All of the places that we wanted to visit were connected by bus, and each trip only cost €1.50. We started in Valletta, the capital city. Valletta is walled city which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, established in the 1500s. Honestly I have never seen a capital city like it! The stonework, architecture, narrow alleys and tumbling steps are really something to behold. Some of the things that you can do in Valletta are:
- Visit the Upper & Lower Barrakka Gardens. We only managed to find time to visit the Upper Gardens. These are free to visit and give stunning views of the harbour and beyond. Visiting in May, the gardens were in full bloom.
- St.Johns Cathedral. This was closed during our visit for renovations, but is tipped as one of the best things to see in the city.
- National War Museum. Situated on Fort St. Elmo, this museum consists of a range of collections from the first and second world wars.
In the same day that we went to Valletta, we hopped on a bus to go to Mdina. The 51/52/53/56 buses all take 30 minutes from Valletta to Mdina and only cost €1.50 also. Mdina is a fortified city in the Northern Region of Malta, and served as the countrys capital during the Medival Period. Valletta has such a beautiful, historic air to it but Mdina surpasses this by a mile in my opinion. The city reminds me of an older, more authentic version of Dubrovnik and wasn’t half as crowded. Once you enter the gate and into the walls of Mdina, there are narrow streets at every corner leading you along your way. To get the most of your time in Mdina, don’t make a plan and just wander the streets as you see fit, taking everything in along the way. I wouldn’t say that there is anything overly specific to visit apart from St. Pauls Cathedral as the city itself is so beautiful.
On day three we decided to spend our time with a mix of sight seeing and relaxing. We took a bus to Cirkewwa where you can get on ferries to both Comino and Gozo. We decided to visit Gozo first and found that the ferry there is FREE! and you only pay to return back to Malta.
While on Gozo, since we had limited time we chose to do a hop on, hop off bus tour of the island. Our first stop was Ramala Bay, the best beach to visit on Gozo Island and from there made our way on foot to the Caylpso Caves. From the caves, you can hop on the bus again and make your journey to your next stop. We were keen to visit Comino as well as Gozo so we left our sight seeing here – but Gozo is so large you could spend a night or two here alone visiting the different towns and places that it has to offer.
From the harbour that we arrived on, we found a small boat company that brought us from Gozo to Comino and would then take us from Comino back to Cirkewwa. Since it was low season we managed to haggle the tickets down to €9 each which is essentially the only price that we paid for our whole water travel between the mainland and islands. Comino is pretty small especially compared to Gozo and there is only one family who reside on the island all year around. Comino is where you will find the famous ‘Blue Lagoon’. This ‘Lagoon’ just refers to the crystal clear waters off the coast of the island from what I could tell and this is the only place that we stayed during our time on the island. During the low season it was a really pleasant place to stay for the day and go for a dip, but I could see how crowds might be an issue in the height of summer as there aren’t many places to leave your things while you go for a swim. Across the water is another small island called ‘Cominotto’ where there is a beach you can relax on, and there is also a reef that you can snorkel at the other side. The islands are so close that if you are a strong swimmer, you could make your way over not a problem – we saw a large group swimming over and back while we were there!
Our last full day was a Sunday, so when were back from the islands we opted to visited the famous ‘Cafe Del Mar‘ for Cafe Del Mar Sundays (CDM Sundays) and it was definitely the place to be! There are sun loungers and an infinity pool should you want to get there early in the day, and the restaurant attached is really good too. From there, we hopped in a taxi down to St.Julians where we were wow-ed by the nightlife! Mellieha where we were staying is quiet enough for nightlife, so if you are looking for something a bit more exciting then St.Julians is the place to go and taxis seemed more than happy to bring us, and drop us home.
Having visited once, I would gladly go back to Malta! I think it has something for everyone, be it for a quiet break or a mad weekend away. Have you ever been to Malta? Or do you think it is somewhere you would like to visit?