This is the most popular island in the Mediterranean but don’t ask me why, we hadn’t visited yet. In winter, we are always chasing sunshine at awesome holiday destinations. Malta topped that list this year for us and off we went on a short weekend break. This place isn’t just beautiful and a stone’s throw from Sicily but also packed with art, history, character and beautiful architecture. Very fascinating.
Here are some tips and tricks if you are planning a trip to beautiful Malta:
Best time to visit Malta is April to June. The weather is great and its not too crowded.
Getting around: We hired a car after reading many blog articles, but after our trip there, we recommend not hiring a car if you there just for the weekend. We used an app for taxi’s called Taxify. And it was super, the drivers came by in minutes. They were super nice and friendly, not too expensive, gave us history and local recommendations – and we didn’t have to worry about over paying or parking 🙂 Don’t use Maltese white taxi’s. If you stay longer and outside the main cities, then renting a car might be a good idea.
We recommend using Taxify (taxi app) instead of white taxi’s in Malta.
Valletta: This capital city is stunning and absolutely packed with art, history, culture, great food and very nice people. Grand Masters had a field day here and left so much to see behind 🙂 It has been named European Capital of Culture and easily one of the most historic places we have ever seen. Here is your list for Valletta:
- St. John’s Co-Cathedral: This Cathedral dates back to 1533 and is the most spectacular church we have ever seen. The art donated by Grand Masters and Knights took our breath away. Go early so that you can skip the crowds. The highlights to us were the paintings on the ceiling and the-much-talked-about painting of the beheading of St. John the Baptist – this is the largest and only signed painting of Carvaggio in the world. Every painting is a masterpiece.
- Upper Barraca Gardens: a public garden with panoramic views of the Grand Harbor
- The streets of Valletta: Walk the streets or take the tourist train to take in the city, the waterfront, its beauty, culture. Pause to take a picture of the cities famous colored doors and balconies.
- Stop at a local cafe: Stop for a nice glass of wine with lunch or a famous Maltese pastizzi at a local cafe. We liked and recommend Cafe Cordina. We also absolutely loved our local Maltese dinner (complete with grandmother style cooking) at Legligin which came highly recommended by locals.
Food: Maltese food is a direct reflection of its history, showing very strong influences of Italian, English, Spanish, French and other Mediterranean cuisines. Don’t miss Maltese pastizzi, gelato’s, Italian food. The 2 places I mentioned above are good starting points. If you go for dinner, make a reservation in advance.
Mdina: We saw Valletta in the first half of the day, had lunch at Cafe Cordina and then took a taxi to Mdina. This fortified city is majestic, serene and beautiful. This is known as the silent city, and there are boards everywhere to remind visitors to keep it down. Cars and bikes aren’t allowed into the city except for residents. We walked through the street in awe.
Marsaxlokk: This tiny fishing village is very well known especially for its picturesque views. If you go on a Sunday morning, get a nice coffee (may be with a Cannoli or 2), and then walk down the Sunday Market. We bought fresh capers for home and some beautiful colorful glass wear. The colorful traditional Maltese fishing boats seen here, are one of the symbols of Malta.
Blue Grotto: This place is not too far from Marsaxlokk and is known for its beautiful unusual rock formation and bright blue water if its sunny. This place also has a number of sea caverns. If the weather is good, you can take a boat ride into these caves. Unfortunately a storm was coming in and we couldn’t go. But this is definitely on our list for next time.
St. Julian’s: This place is alive all day and all night. We stayed here and absolutely loved it.
Due to lack of time this trip, we didn’t get a chance to visit Gozo, Comino, Hagar Qim temples, and Popeye’s village. We heard so much about it from the locals, so we plan to go back again and see them. Don’t miss these 4 places.
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