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Malta Holiday Review: Is it worth a visit?

Malta holiday - golden bay

Back in June 2019, I visited Malta for the first time. I will be honest and say that my expectations weren't overly high because I had always thought of Malta as somewhere Brits visit on a budget. However last summer we were (and still are) very much 'Brits on a reasonable budget' so maybe that is why we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! There is way more to Malta than you would expect and I will write a separate post about some of the more cultural adventures we had on the island.

If you are looking at somewhere to visit for a budget break this summer I wanted to give you the lowdown on what to expect, and why I would definitely say Malta is worth a visit for a holiday from the UK. It isn't a place with fancy hotels, expensive shops and luxurious promenades, but it's so easy to visit from the UK and makes a great budget holiday or even just a long weekend break for a bit of sun.

Malta holiday - st juliens bay

Malta Holiday Review: Getting There and Getting Around

At the time of writing this post, 21 UK airports offer direct flights to Malta with low-cost carriers. For this reason I think Malta is a great choice for booking your own separate flight and accommodation. We flew from Venice as part of a twin-centre holiday, but flying back to Newcastle was very easy and convenient with Jet 2. Of course there are many package holidays available if that is more your thing, but to keep costs low I'd definitely suggest booking your own separate itinerary.

The buses in Malta are very cheap and easy to use. You pay for a two-hour ticket which is €1.50 in Winter, €2.50 in Summer and €3.50 at night (prices correct in Feb 2020). This makes it very affordable to get around the island and we managed to go to a beach which was quite far away from our hotel without spending a fortune on transport at all.

Malta holiday - is it worth a visit bus travel

Malta Holiday Review: Where To Stay

We stayed just outside of Sliema and whilst our hotel, Palazzo Violetta, was beautiful with the nicest pool (pictured below) with hindsight I wouldn't stay in this exact location again as it was a good 15 minute walk to get to the places we wanted to go for food and drinks. The pool was absolutely beautiful though, just look at it! The hotel may appeal to you (as it did to me) for the beautiful buildings surrounding it, and nothing was wrong with our stay, but I would probably choose to stay somewhere more convenient in future.

Malta holiday - is it worth a visit - palazzo violetta hotel swimming pool
I would recommend staying near the Sliema promenade particularly as some of the hotels have gorgeous beach clubs / bars which we only spotted on our last day! Definitely a reason to go back. St Julian's Bay is another good location if you are looking for more night life, and the nearby island of Gozo looks fantastic but sadly we didn't get to visit on our short trip.

There was a fair amount of construction going on when we visited, so whilst the photos have been taken from good angles and try not to include cranes in the shots, there were many cranes and other equipment visible when walking along the promenade. If this is a deal-breaker for you then I'd suggest checking out the Sliema / St Julian's Bay location tags on Instagram and vetting the most recently posted photos to see what the harbour looks like now.

Malta holiday - Sliema beach

Malta Holiday Review: Food

I was so pleasantly surprised by the food in Malta. Whilst there was definitely a British influence and we indulged in a full English breakie or two (sorry!) there was local cuisine to devour as well.

Our absolute favourite restaurant was called Ta' Kris and I would highly recommend a visit if you are in the area of Sliema. It was very inexpensive, with delicious wine and amazing food. I don't have good quality photos to share here as it was dark, but if you check out my Instagram story highlight for Malta you can see some of our amazing food. If you only take one thing away from this post then let it be a visit to this restaurant. Outstanding!

Malta holiday - pretty Maltese buildings

Malta Holiday Review: The Beaches

We didn't really know what to expect from Sliema but when we got there we knew straight away the beach wasn't somewhere we particularly wanted to relax. The great thing about Malta, however, is the variety of places to get to by bus and the number of different beaches available to spend the day at. We decided to go to Golden Bay, pictured below, and it was really nice. 

It still had a bit of a British vibe and was packed with families, but it was really nice to spend a day sunbathing and it had beautiful views from the top. We just hopped on the bus and paid a couple of euros to get there and back. The stop is right at the top of the bay so it is very easy. If I had longer to explore Malta I'd definitely visit Gozo, or one of the other beaches from this excellent list of Maltese beaches which is where we got the idea to visit Golden Bay from.

Malta holiday - view of golden bay

Malta Holiday Review: History and Culture

History and culture are the aspects of Malta which really stood out for me. If (when) I go back, I would definitely stay in Valletta, the beautiful and historic capital city. It was very easy to get the boat over to this part of the island from the harbour in Sliema so I would recommend doing this if you are staying in that area. 

In one day we managed to wander the golden streets of Valletta as well as taking a day-trip to Mdina which was the highlight of our holiday. Very much a place for Game of Thrones fans. I have never seen it but could still appreciate the fantastic filming locations.
Malta holiday - girl in navy dress outside historical Maltese building

I am going to write a full separate blog post about Valletta as I think it is a hugely underrated city break, so watch out for that coming soon.

If you are a culture vulture looking to do one day trip whilst you are in Malta then it has to be the Mdina. I had first seen photos of this surreal place on one of my favourite travel blogs, While I'm Young, and it was fantastic seeing it for real.

Malta holiday Mdina streets

Verdict: Is Malta Worth a Visit?

Absolutely, hands-down yes. Malta is worth a visit and appeals to everyone! There is something to satisfy a huge range of ages and interests. If you are looking for an inexpensive, easy, guaranteed sunshine break from the UK then Malta is a winner. It is probably not the ideal place for a completely chilled beach break and I think I would personally go elsewhere for that. 

However, the huge plus points of Maltese weather, friendly locals, great prices and varied things to do make it a real summer holiday winner for me. Have you been to Malta? Let me know in the comments!

8 comments

  1. We did the same with a day trip to Mdina but we did a crazy trip around as well and yes, Malta is totally worth it! Great article!

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    1. Thanks Karina, it's such a gorgeous island isn't it! Melis x

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  2. I've been dying to head to Malta. I've always seen it as the Med on a budget. Do you think a long weekend would be enough to enjoy Valetta?

    Thanks for your post 😊
    Vanessa / ShyGirlGlobal.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Vanessa. Absolutely, I will be writing a post very soon about exactly that - why Valletta makes the perfect city break! Melis x

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  3. I loved my trip to Malta last year - such a gorgeous place and definitely a great destination to enjoy some sunshine on a budget! :)

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    1. I'm glad you loved it too, Maja. It would definitely be my go-to in future for an affordable sunny break! Melis x

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  4. Malta is not really somewhere I know a lot about and it is not somewhere I had ever thought of visiting, however Jet2 have some super cheap summer family holiday's there that I was tempted to book xx

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    Replies
    1. Yes it's so good on a budget, it is going to be my go-to now when wanting an affordable sunny break! Melis x

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