Even though the Maltese islands are relatively small, staying in the right town or part of the island is important. Below is an overview of the main areas which will help you decide where to stay.
These parts of Malta offers the largest selection of dining and entertainment on the island. Most of the 5 star hotels are also located in St. Julians and Sliema. These are all-year-round locations and highly recommended in all seasons.
This was once a quiet fishing village that has been transformed into a hub of activity filled with restaurants of all types. It is within walking distance to Paceville where all the nightlife is based, it is a high-density tourist area, which offers the largest selection of dining and entertainment on the island. Similar to Sliema this is a favourite location for stays in both winter and summer months. Most of the 5 star hotels are also located in St. Julians. Renting a car is not necessary if staying in this area.
Sliema is the heart of shopping in Malta. It is a mixture of residential and commercial properties. There is a great walking promenade that runs for several kilometres, that takes you all the way from Gzira to St Julians. It is central to most places and is easy to get to with public transport. There is movement in both winter and summer months and one does not need to rent a car to get by.
Built at the time of the Knights, the Capital City Valletta has plenty of historical value, and is a World Heritage City. It is famous for it’s St John’s Co-Cathedral where the Knights of Malta were buried. The City is not as busy at night as other capital cities but things are changing slowly. Infact, not many hotels are located in Valletta as it’s mainly busy due to offices and shops before 7pm. Most of the museums are found here and it is full of cafes. Valletta is only 15 minutes drive from Sliema and St. Julians and it’s the main hub for all public transport, hence staying in a hotel in any of the 2 listed towns should be fine if you want to be centrally located.
THE NORTH OF MALTA
This refers to the northern tip of the island and includes a number of hotels in the village of Mellieha but also on the outskirts of this village. Mellieha is primarily busy in Summer yet is also ideal in winter for those that want to be completely detached and enjoy a tranquil break and escape. Qawra and Buggibba are mostly popular in summer when busy with locals and tourists alike. These towns are all in close proximity and hence staying in any should provide you with relatively the same accessibility and location factors.
Mellieha is to the North of the Island and offers the largest beach on Malta. It is a very popular area during summer. It is worth renting a car if you are planning to stay there as it is about 45 minutes by car from St Julians & Valletta.
Most of the large & low price hotels are situated in Qawra. It is very busy, and is mostly populated by tourists however it is quieter that it’s neighbouring Bugibba. It is within walking distance of Bugibba where you can find a number of bars and restaurants. It offers various types of accommodation that are within walking distance from the various beach lidos. It is relatively quiet & detached in winter.
Buggibba is one of Malta’s largest seaside resort towns. The coastline promenade stretches from Salina Bay to St Paul’s Bay taking in some of the Islands’ best open sea views and a vista over to St Paul’s Island. The shore is rocky, but that has not prevented the resorts’ appeal. The flat rocks provide places for sun bathing and there are access points every so often for swimmers. The water is deep, but generally clean, clear and safe for bathing. Very busy and full of tourists in summer… Very large variety of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Salina Bay takes its name from the salt pans cut in the inner segment of this sea inlet. The water on both verges of the bay is not deep but is quite suitable for swimming off the rocks. One ideally rents a car if staying at a hotel in this area.
MALTA VILLAGE CORE
We have defined these two towns as Village Core even though they are really and truly located in the centre of the island. Yet, their physical central presence does not mean that they are ‘centrally located’ to the island’s hub and activity from a visitor point of view.
Attard is well known for being the home of the President’s Palace. It is a mostly residential area, which makes it a relatively peaceful place. It is situated between Mdina and Valletta and public transport is easy. San Anton Gardens surround the President’s Palace and are open to visitors. During the summer months you will often find performances being held there.
Mdina is the old capital of Malta. It is a medieval town, with narrow quiet streets, situated in the centre of the island. It is also known as the «Silent City» and commands a magnificent view of the Island. Today, no cars (other than those of a limited number of residents) are allowed in Mdina and there is a calming atmosphere as one walks along its narrow streets and ways. The city displays an unusual mix of Norman and Baroque architecture, including several palaces, most of which serve as private homes. The Cathedral is worth visiting and is fronted by a large square. Public transport is easily accessible but hiring a car is also recommended.
Malta’s sister island is Gozo and just 25 minutes away by ferry. This island is significantly calmer, less populated and more tranquil than the main island of Malta. If you have the time, 2 days in Gozo is worth the trip. We highly recommend that you rent a car in Gozo as public transport can be a lengthy wait and will give you access to explore & enjoy the island and what it has to offer. Staying in any of the villages listed below would make no tangible difference to your stay and accessibility.
The tiny fishing village of Marsalforn on the north coast of Gozo has become the island’s most popular summer resort. It offers various spots for swimming and water sports, and is well supplied with restaurants, bars and accommodation establishments. Renting a car in Gozo is recommended.
Mgarr overlooks Mgarr Harbpour which hosts the berth for the Malta-Gozo ferry. The harbour is also dominated by a neo-gothic monument, the Lourdes Church, built in 1888. Mgarr harbour is a quaint fishing port and also hosts a number of pontoons for private yachts. Located within the harbour at the water’s edge are also a number of bars and restaurants. There is one hotel, overlooking the harbour and conveniently located at the top of the hill just 10 minutes walk from the harbour.
Sannat is well known for it’s carved stone balconies that are all handcrafted. It is an agricultural village that is also famous for it’s traditional lace making. It is not far from the cliffs of Ta Cenc that makes a wonderful walking area. Renting a car in Gozo is recommended.
This village, one of the largest on the island, is built on a hill. The famous beach of Ramla Hamra with it’s red sand, is within its vicinity and must be made a part of your trip. Ggantija temples are also on the outskirts of the village. They are one of the Oldest Prehistoric Temples in the World. For a small fee you can actually walk around and in the Temple. Renting a car in Gozo is recommended.
Xlendi is a small fishing port that is a great spot for seafood restaurants. There is a small pebble beach where one can swim and snorkel. There is a good walk across the rocks where one can look down on the village. Driving down to Xlendi you can stop and have a look at the old washing waterhole that is still in use today. It is a peaceful area, although the main Gozitan nightclub is situated half way up the hill. Renting a car in Gozo is recommended.
As the Capital City of Gozo, is the heart of shopping in Gozo with a number of cafes worth trying out. The Citadel in Victoria is surrounded by huge bastions built to protect the city. It is filled with narrow winding streets that have many local shops. You can sample some of the local produce as well as make purchases to take home with you. Renting a car in Gozo is recommended.
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