In recent years Malta has become one of the most popular summer destination among Poles (and especially among Polish travel bloggers). There are direct cheap flights from couple of Polish cities, it’s not difficult to find tickets in the decent price therefore lots and lots of people headed to these small islands in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. I was one of them, in autumn I’ve spent 5 days in Malta.
5 days in Malta – practical information
Before I share my itinerary with you here’s a bunch of information you might need to plan your days in Malta better and to give you the background of my trip.
Where to stay in Malta
I based myself in Sliema – a town located just across the bay from Valletta, the capital of Malta. It just seemed like the best location with really good bus connections all over the island, quick ferries to Valletta and various accommodation options to choose from – no wonder it’s the place where most of the tourists in Malta choose to stay in. The hostel were I slept was located just up the street from the main bus and ferry stops, in the heart of Sliema. It took me no more than 5 minutes to get there and leave Sliema to explore the country, there’s also a direct bus to/from the airport. I think Sliema is the best base in Malta you can choose and the views across the bay to Valletta are just the prettiest!
Public transport in Malta
The best way to travel around Malta is by public transport. The extensive bus network covers islands of Malta and Gozo and helps you get just about everywhere. However some bus lines don’t run very often, there’re places where you need to wait up to one hour for the next connection. After arriving to the new place the best would be to check when is the bus to your next destination and plan your visit with that in mind. There’re schedules listed on every stop.
Day 1 in Malta: Sliema
I arrived to Malta airport shortly after noon. I stopped at the tourist info to get the map of the country, got my public transport ticket and was ready to go and see what the country has to offer. Bus X2 took me from the airport directly to Sliema, the journey time was around 1 hour. I took things easy on that day. After checking in to the hostel I went for a lunch and walked around until early evening hours. The views of Valletta were really amazing and I spent way too much time just sitting on the rocks and enjoying the place. Also the walk along the shore was really pleasant. I even managed to discovered some decent street art around the beach – it was a nice surprise as somehow I never connected Malta with street art.
Day 2 in Malta: Valletta, Marsaxlokk and Mdina
I started my day with taking the ferry to Valletta . The journey takes some 15 minutes, the ticket costs 1.50€ one way/2.80€ return and the boats depart every 30 minutes from early morning till late evening (here you can find the schedule). The ferry will take you right to the entrance of the UNESCO listed old town – you just need to climb steep streets to get there. Immediately you’re transformed to another world, so different than busy and modern Sliema. It feels like the time has stopped there: store windows look vintage, life goes slow and the whole old town (except of the main pedestrian street) was a tranquil place. I loved it from the very beginning but I kind of expected that – for years every time when I saw pictures from Valletta my heart beat faster. I hid the map and let myself take random streets around, get lost in this charming and picturesque place. My steps took me to Lower Barrakka Gardens, a quiet place with stunning views – for me it was the most picturesque point in Valletta and I was so surprised there were hardly any people around, unlike in Upper Barrakka Gardens. Before I got to the second one I also took some random streets and found myself in the Middle Eastern quarter with Turkish, Armenian or Persian shops (signs, flags etc). It was the only place I’ve seen so far where Turkey and Armenia neighbor peacefully. From there it was a short walk up to Upper Barrakka Gardens that also offer amazing views but was a much busier place.
I’ve decided to leave Valletta and go to the next destination I really wanted to visit – Marsaxlokk. It’s a small village in the south-east corner of Malta and from the pictures I’ve seen online it looked just perfect. And it was just like that! The bay around the village was full of colorful fisherman boats, typical of the place. Some of them have so called „Osiris eyes” – they’re supposed to see everything around and protect boats from sinking. On Sundays the village is busy with its famous fish market but on the random weekday it’s just a sleepy place with beautiful views. I’ve stayed there for lunch – numerous restaurants serving local specialties fringe along the waterside – eating in such a delightful scenery was a pure pleasure!
It was around 2pm when I left Marsaxlokk and headed to Mdina (with a quick change of buses in Valletta) – a fortified little town with picturesque narrow streets, known also as „silent city”. It’s perfect to wander around but one hour is enough to see every single corner of Mdina. Unfortunately when I got to one end to admire the breathtaking view of half of Malta I could see a massive storm coming. I was still hoping I will manage to see the rest of the town before it starts raining but less than 5 minutes later the sky opened. I haven’t seen such a huge rain in ages! It was impossible to walk on the slippery cobblestones, the lanes were flooded in a moment. I managed to find a little corner to hide but I was literally terrified when the sound of thunders was ringing between the walls… I don’t know how long I’ve stayed there but when the rain abated I ran to the nearest bus stop to catch the bus back to Sliema. The second half of my day didn’t go as planned: Mdina looked really lovely but I’ve seen maybe half of it, I also had to skip nearby Dingli Cliffs that were still in my agenda. But sometimes things don’t go as planned.
Day 4 in Malta: Daytrip to Gozo
When visiting this small Mediterranean country it’s a must to spend at least a day in Gozo. For me it was the fourth day of my 5 days in Malta. Gozo is one of the 3 islands that Malta consists of (the 3rd one is Comino) yet the overall vibe is so much different. I must say I enjoyed Gozo much more than the main island! I left Sliema in the morning, had a quick change for a ferry and then for the bus to the capital of Gozo – Victoria. I was there before 11 am so my timing was very good. My first thought was to start sightseeing there, in the city, but in the end I left it for the afternoon. As it turned out it was a mistake – Citadella, the most interesting part of Victoria, closes down at 5 pm (and I arrived there shortly after).
From Azure Window I went to the other side of Gozo – a small village Marsalforn. At first sight it looks like a cute little Mediterranean place and nothing more but it actually hides a really unique spot – salt pans! They are located a little bit behind the town and to get there I had to pass one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. OK, the beach itself maybe wasn’t so great but the water was insanely clear and the massive rocks around made the place look incredible! It’s hard to impress me these days but this place certainly did so! Only few steps away I found the salt pans and these were amazing too, and so picturesque! I was surprised how come there’s no one around, I had the place all to myself. It was the first time I’ve ever seen salt pans, until then I had no idea how the whole process looks like! My advise – if you visit Gozo don’t miss the salt pans!
I also had Ramla Beach very high on my list of places to visit in Gozo but I wasn’t sure if I can make it there in such a short time. To my great surprise I found there’s a direct bus from Marsalforn and headed to Ramla Beach right away. It was the right decision! The place looked even better than on the pictures, the color of the sand was so intense! I climbed up higher to see the beach in all its glory – what a spectacular scenery! Too bad I didn’t know that a little bit higher there’s an abandoned hotel! Exploring it would have made the whole visit in Gozo just perfect! But still Ramla Bay was just as I imagined, the prettiest!
After returning to Victoria I was hoping to see the Citadelle but – as I mentioned above – it was unfortunately closed. But I still had a chance to wander around the city and I found it surprisingly pleasant. Before heading back to Malta I had a dinner at one of the town’s squares – the place was getting ready for the local festival, kids were playing, older people were chatting over coffee and I was the only tourist around. I just looked around, trying to remember all the details, it was one of these perfect moments I wanted to remember forever. Too bad it was getting late, I could have easily stay there longer and just enjoy the place. There was something I really liked about Gozo, probably the laid-back vibe. If I ever return to Malta I could spend all my time in Gozo, that’s for sure!
Day 5 in Malta: Valletta, Victoriosa
My flight back home was late in the afternoon, almost at 6 pm, so I had big plans to use my last day as much as I could. I was also lucky that on that very night the time had change and I woke up really early, giving me even more time for sightseeing. I arrived to Valletta just after 8 am, the city felt abandoned and I couldn’t be happier to have it all to myself. I wandered aimlessly around, taking random streets here and there or finding one of the best street art pieces – 3D gummy bears (so good someone mentioned them at my Facebook page!). Valletta really might be one of the most charming and picturesque capitals in Europe! When I was done with sightseeing the streets were slowly filling up with people yet I was ready to move to my next destination.
Before visiting Malta I’ve heard from many people that Victoriosa is the most beautiful town in the island hence I couldn’t skip it. And it was indeed really lovely but it didn’t charm me as much as I expected. It could have been also because I was slowly starting to feel really bad and from that moment things went terribly wrong. My last day in Malta turned into the worst day in my traveling history (you can read all about it in my post „When solo female travel sucks”) and I had to ditch all my plans for my last hours of the trip. I was even close to missing my flight but at the end everything was fine…
To be honest I didn’t fall for Malta. When looking at beautiful pictures of the islands I had expected I’m gonna love it but it was just fine. The views were amazing, that’s for sure, but I just didn’t feel the place and I might be the first person who said that out loud. I had the impression that the country is perfect either for families with kids or retired people so maybe my time to fully enjoy Malta hasn’t come yet? I also felt I might be the only (or one of the very few) solo travelers there, it’s just not the kind of destinations for people who travel on their own. But still I believe it’s worth visiting and 5 days in Malta seem to be just right time to explore the country.
Would you like to visit Malta? Was there any place that has disappointed you?
In Malta I stayed in Two Pillows Hostel in Sliema and I can definitely recommend it. The dorm room was clean and spacious, every bed had their own shelf and light and the location was the best I could ask for, only few steps away from the bus and ferry stop! Here you can book your stay there and if that’s not what you’re looking for here’s the list of more accommodation options in Sliema
I haven’t written all that much about Malta but you might be interested in other destinations I’ve covered on the blog. If you look for posts about any place in particular this map might be useful for you.
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