Where's the best place to stay for you in Malta.

Where to Stay in Malta – What’s the best place for me?

Where to Stay in Malta – What’s the best place for me?
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Where to stay in Malta is probably the most important question to answer before booking your Malta holiday. You’ll come across different place names but which will suit you and yours best?

What the best place to stay is in Malta is different for everyone, so I’ll try help you make that decision by:

  1. Providing a few suggestions for different types of travellers and their general needs
  2. Giving you an idea of what it’s like to stay in different areas of Malta (and Gozo)

Where's the best place to stay for you in Malta.

Looking for a hotel in Malta? Have a look at my top Malta hotel recommendations!

Have any questions on where to stay in Malta that haven’t been answered in this article? Ask me a question by leaving a comment below!

 

Best places to stay in Malta for different types of travellers

Best places for couples

  • The Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay area is a good option for a regular holiday: You get  a good selection of hotels and other accommodation, a variety of restaurants and bars/pubs and a few places to swim (although mostly rocky). The area is well connected with several bus routes to the most popular places around. The downsides: Touristy and busy in summer, not practical if you’re renting a car (unless parking facilities are included with accommodation)
  • St. Julian’s and Paceville are good for dining and nightlife, with a decent choice of hotels although the only beach nearby (St. George’s Bay) isn’t the cleanest/nicest place to swim. Head over to nearby Sliema for swimming (rocky bathing areas and lidos with pools). The downside? Paceville is pretty noisy and busy (also thanks to a few big construction projects ongoing), particularly in summer and it’s not a great place to explore Malta from (or to stay at if you’re renting a car).
  • Sliema is a more modern place, with good hotels, dining options and bars/pubs around. Rocky beaches and lidos with pools are good for swimming and there are easy ways to get to Valletta and Comino/Gozo over sea. The downsides: Sliema is one of the busiest places in Malta with heavy traffic congestion and notoriously difficult to find a parking spot in. It’s not easy to reach the best sandy beaches from either.
  • If you’re looking to explore Malta and swimming/beaches are less important, consider staying at Malta’s capital city, Valletta. Drenched in culture and history, great restaurants and wine bars, good quality accommodation and well connected with other parts of Malta through public transport.
  • Another good option for exploring the country is Mellieha, where you’re far closer to the best sandy beaches, you’ll be staying in a genuine Maltese village, it’s easy to reach other parts of the island and it’s pretty peaceful there. The downside? For some might be too quiet. There are great restaurants around, as well as a few bars, but there isn’t much to do in terms of nightlife.

Best places for older couples

  • Although it’s Malta’s capital city, Valletta is not as busy as you’d expect and apart from good quality accommodation and great restaurants, there’s plenty to explore in terms of culture and history. All bus routes start and terminate in Valletta, meaning it’s an easy place to get around from.
  • Mellieha is a charming, quiet village in the North of Malta, with good options for hotels and restaurants and several smaller (sandy) beaches where it’s quieter to swim if Mellieha Bay (largest beach) is too busy for your liking. I recommend hiring a car if you’re considering staying here.
  • Mdina (old bastion city full of history) and Marsaxlokk (a quiet fishing village on the East coast of Malta) are alternatives to consider as well, although you’ll definitely need to hire a car if you decide to stay there.
  • Gozo (smaller island) is also an option to consider. Quiet, largely rural, yet offering several places to explore, it’s a charming place to stay. Although public transport is available, it’s recommended to hire a car here as well.

Most places listed recommend hiring a car. Since these areas are relatively quiet, driving won’t be nearly as challenging as in the busier parts of Malta.

Best places for families with kids

  • Without a doubt, Bugibba and Qawra are your best bet. There’s a good choice of hotels around with pool facilities, a good selection of family-friendly restaurants and it’s a safe area. Bathing areas (artificial sandy beach of Bugibba and Ta`Fra Ben at Qawra) are child-friendly and you can board hop on hop off buses and boat excursions in the area. There are also a large playground, the national aquarium, a cinema and other places of entertainment around.
  • If you’re looking for something a little quieter, there are a few all-inclusive resorts close to the beach at Mellieha you could also consider. Renting a car is recommended here, though.

Best place for nightlife and single people

If you’re looking for clubbing, pub crawls and nightlife, Paceville (St. Julian’s) is the place to be. If you feel adventurous or you’ve got your own transport, there are open air clubs located in the countryside (surroundings of Mdina and Rabat) that open during the summer months that are a must to party at.

One downside: Drunken brawls are not uncommon here, but as long as you stay out of trouble you’ll be fine.

Best place for beaches and sun/sea holidays

If hanging out on the beach and sunbathing are your top priorities, these are the options to consider:

  • Staying at Mellieha means you’ve got Malta’s largest beach at your doorstep and smaller (sandy) beaches further up North. It’ll also be easy to cross over to Gozo to check out beaches like the beautiful Ramla l-Hamra beach.
  • Want to combine a beach holiday with staying in a proper Maltese village? There are apartments rented out privately in Mġarr and Manikata that allow you to be close to some of the best beaches around and also give you a taste of Maltese village life. You’ll definitely want to rent a car, however.
  • Super lazy and have spare cash to burn? The Radisson Golden Sands hotel sits right on the edge of one of Malta’s best beaches: Golden Bay.

Popular places to stay in Malta

Mellieha

Mdina

Bugibba and Qawra

St. Paul's Bay

Sliema

St. Julian's and Paceville

Marsaxlokk

Valletta

Gozo

 

Buġibba and Qawra

Recommended for: 1) Family holidays and 2) couples of all ages
Not recommended for: Culture seekers

Buġibba and Qawra are located adjacent to each other and are considered to be one of the larger tourist resorts in Malta. Located on the North shoreline of the island, Buġibba and Qawra offer a variety of hotels and self-catering apartments (mostly privately rented) and host various bars, clubs and other places of entertainment like a cinema and a casino.

Buġibba and Qawra are a good compromise between staying in more central and busy places (such as St. Julian’s and Sliema) and spending your holiday in more remote places such as Mellieha, or Golden Bay. Having a bus terminus, Buġibba and Qawra are an easy holiday base to visit other parts of the island with public transport.

Pros:

  • Good for family holidays
  • Busy during summer months, quiet in winter
  • Good options for going out: (Sports) bars/pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, cinema and a casino
  • Choice of accommodation – Hotels but also self-catering apartments
  • Good public transport connections with direct bus routes to other parts of the island and major tourist hotspots.
  • Boat trip operators nearby for excursions to Comino (and the Blue Lagoon)

Cons:

  • Relatively few bathing areas. One (artificial) sandy beah
  • Very little culture and not really offering a feel of life in Malta
  • Busy during summer months

St. Paul’s Bay

Recommended for: Couples of all ages
Not recommended for: Culture seekers

St. Paul’s Bay is located adjacent to Bugibba and Qawra and is a relatively quiet alternative to those places. Nightlife is limited to quiet bars and restaurants, though Bugibba and Qawra’s pubs, clubs and restaurants lie within walking distance.

This place is far less touristy than its neighbouring villages, and although not exactly a typical Maltese village, you get a much more genuine feel of daily life in Malta.

St. Paul’s Bay offers a few places to swim along its rocky shoreline but doesn’t have any sandy beaches. However, the town is pretty close to an area of the island where most larger sandy beaches are found (Mellieha Bay, Golden Bay and Għajn Tuffieħa – my personal top 3 of best beaches in Malta). Having good public transport connections, it’s easy to get to these beaches and most can be reached in 30 minutes by bus.

The tricky bit about St. Paul’s Bay is that it’s a place of compromises. It’s a quiet place to stay and a good base to explore the country from. However, for nightlife and restaurants you’ll need to walk/drive, for sandy beaches you depend on public transport and although it’s not a very touristy place, it’s not a very cultural a place either. I’d recommend staying here if you’re renting a car AND you find a place that offers parking facilities.

Pros:

  • Relatively quiet, yet close to Bugibba/Qawra nightlife as well as beautiful sandy beaches
  • Easy to reach other parts of Malta, good public transport connections
  • More genuine feel of a Maltese village
  • Boat trip operators nearby for excursions to Comino (and the Blue Lagoon)
  • Good place for snorkeling and diving

Cons:

  • Hiring a car? It’s hard to find parking here in summer
  • Limited choice of hotels, best bet is privately rented apartments
  • Limited choice of bars and restaurants in the direct vicinity

St. Julian’s and Paceville

Recommended for: 1) Young couples, 2) Singles, 3) Club/Pub crawlers
Not recommended for: 1) Families with kids, 2) Mature/older couples, 3) Culture seekers

If nightlife should an important part of your holiday, St. Julian’s (and neighbouring Paceville, the island’s centre of nightlife) is your best bet. The area is jam-packed with pubs, bars and nightclubs which are easily accessible and offer relatively cheap nights out.

St. Julian’s isn’t just about nightlife, however. There are plenty of restaurants around, offering a mix of good value food but also some fine dining opportunities waiting to be discovered.

Moreover, the bustling nightlife is concentrated in Paceville, whereas the village of St. Julian’s (in the direction of Sliema) is quieter and can be enjoyed as a nice evening out with a stroll along the promenade which leads you into Sliema, an adjacent town (also popular among tourists).

It’s not a place that gives you a genuine feel of what Malta’s like, however. There are also no real places to swim, even though it’s a place that lies along Malta’s Northern coastline. Finally, much to the dismay of the locals as well, there’s a lot of activity in terms of construction projects in the area at the moment.

Pros:

  • Great place for dining and relaxed nights out – Varied selection of restaurants, bars and pubs and nightclubs
  • Good choice of hotels – from value to 5-star deluxe
  • Paceville is the place for nightlife in Malta
  • Central – easy to reach other parts of Malta

Cons:

  • Not suited for a peaceful and quiet holiday and not child-friendly, especially with construction works ongoing in the area.
  • One artificial sandy beach near Paceville (st. George’s Bay), but often not clean in summer (despite best efforts to clean up by the authorities) after having been littered by revelers the night before
  • Little culture/history, more modern part of Malta
  • The only place I’d recommend being conscious of your safety. Drunk brawls are not uncommon here.

Sliema

Recommended for: Couples of all ages
Not recommended for: 1) Culture seekers, 2) “Sun and sea” holiday goers

Sliema is one of Malta’s most popular locations for tourists, being located along the Northern coast of Malta, neighbouring St. Julian’s. With its central location, Sliema is a good option for those who wish to visit other parts of the island but at the same time be close to the sea and enjoying going out for dinner and drinks in the evening.

Possibilities for swimming are limited, though if you don’t mind rocky beaches (perfectly suitable for sunbathing) you can still enjoy bathing in the crystal clear waters along the shoreline of Sliema. There’s a good choice of bars and restaurants around, offering entertainment and inexpensive food and drinks for fun nights out.

Pros:

  • Good choice of hotels
  • Charming character, which British visitors in particular appreciate about Sliema
  • Easy to reach St. Julian’s and Valletta
  • Boat trip operators offer excursions around the Harbour area, to Comino (and its Blue Lagoon) and Gozo
  • Long promenade along he coastline for long walks and nice sea views
  • Good for shopping (although don’t expect to find bargains)

Cons:

  • Touristy, most parts of Sliema are modern and don’t offer a real feel of a genuine Maltese village
  • Direct bus routes to sandy beaches available, but expect longer bus trips (1+ hours)
  • Hiring a car? Expect traffic congestion and parking problems – Sliema is notorious for both
  • No sandy beaches, although easily accessible (rocky) bathing areas around
  • Not much culture/history around, although Valletta is easy to reach (regular ferry trips across the harbour).

Mellieha

Recommended for: 1) Couples of all ages, 2) Family holidays with kids, 3) “Sun and Sea” travellers, 4) Culture seekers – Maltese village feel

Mellieha is a relatively quiet village which offers more of a peaceful Malta holiday experience, with its slightly remote location in the North of Malta and giving almost instant access to Malta’s largest sandy beach at Mellieha Bay. The village has little nightlife with mostly bars and pubs around, though Mellieha is considered to be a destination for those seeking peace and quiet rather than the hustle and bustle of popular tourist locations.

Having good access to public transport, Mellieha is a good base for exploring the rest of Malta although travel times will be longer, with a bus ride to Valletta taking 1 hour and 15 minutes, for example. Renting a car is always quicker, obviously, but if you’d like to explore Malta above anything else there are more centrally situated locations that might be a better choice.

Nevertheless, Mellieha is an excellent choice for families with children and more adventurous couples who don’t like tourist resorts. It’s also a good place to hop over to Gozo and at Comino to explore those places.

Pros:

  • Great for beach holidays
  • Good choice of hotels (although not a large number to choose from)
  • Good selection of restaurants around
  • Easy access to Gozo and Comino
  • Good balance between tourism and village life in Malta
  • Not overly touristy

Cons:

  • Limited nightlife but several bars/pubs around
  • A little remote – not ideal for exploring the rest of Malta, unless you hire a car
  • Early booking required – limited accommodation. Alternatively look for privately rented apartments, which are available in the area

Valletta

Recommended for: 1) Mature and older couples and 2) Culture seekers
Not recommended for: “Sun and sea” holiday goers

Malta’s capital city Valletta was built by the Knights of Malta, who intended for it to be a “city for gentlemen” which becomes apparent in the intricate detail with which its buildings were adorned.

Many historical buildings still feature prominently in the streets of Valletta, giving the city a genuine feel of awe. Although relatively quiet in the evenings, Valletta is a great location for those who want to avoid a typical sun and sea holiday. Centrally located, other parts of Malta are easy to reach (especially considering the main bus terminus is located at its doorstep) and there is  plenty of history and culture to be soaked up.

Be sure to visit the Valletta Waterfront in the evenings. There are some good dining and nightlife options available here with beautiful views of the Grand Harbour. Inside Valletta, you’ll also find some great choices for restaurants and wine bars.

Read more here:

Pros:

  • Centrally located, full of character
  • Good holiday base to explore Malta’s history and culture, hub of public transport – all bus routes start/terminate in Valletta
  • Good quality and diversity of accommodation available
  • Good choice of restaurants and (wine) bars
  • Shopping

Cons:

  • Accommodation limited, so early booking is recommended
  • Limited nightlife, although renovation of the Valletta Waterfront (within walking distance) has improved this
  • No sandy beaches nearby – requires a trip by bus with pretty long travel times (1+ hours)

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Where to Stay in Malta – What’s the best place for me?
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Where to stay in Malta

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55 Comments

  1. paul

    I found this concise Guide to Malta a great help, never having stayed in Malta before. Thank you.I think Sliema would suit us best. Now to choose a hotel !

    Reply
  2. Jeff

    This is extraordinarily helpful information. Thank you very much!

    Reply
  3. Anthony Nagle

    This information is the difference between a really enjoyable family holiday or a 2 week nightmare. I really appreciate this, thank you very much

    Reply
    • Edward

      Glad it’s helpful to you, Anthony! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Dean

    Very good points to help choose a location
    Thanks

    Reply
  5. Jacqui Ralph

    My husband and I will be travelling in Spain then across to Malta for a 6 night stay this July.
    We have never been there before and we are thinking about hiring an apartment but not sure what area would be best for us.
    We do like to have some nightlife as in bar/restaurant but not really night clubs, we do like to walk every where we can especially out at night , have a choice of dining options and if possible be close to a beach where we can swim.
    We are 46/47 years old.
    What area would you recommend that we stay in please?

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Jacqui,
      St. Julian’s (The part adjacent to Sliema) as well as Sliema itself will be good options if you enjoy a little nightlife and good dining. Beaches, however, are limited to rocky bathing areas with. There are no sandy beaches around, but bathing areas in the area are still fine for swimming and sunbathing.
      If a sandy beach is important to you, you could consider Bugibba (which also offers decent options for dining and nightlife – although not as good – and there’s an artificial sandy beach) or Mellieha, which is closest to some of the best beaches on the island but then nightlife is pretty limited, despite there being some great options for dining. You’ll be better off hiring a car if you choose to stay here, however, as it is a little remote.
      You’ve also mentioned to me separately the wish for accommodation with character/history. Your best bet in that case is probably Valletta, which is also good for dining/nightlife, and although no sandy beaches are nearby you can reach any beach of your choice pretty easily with the main bus terminal sitting right outside the city. For accommodation, you’ll mostly find modern buildings in Sliema and St. Julian’s (also Bugibba/Qawra).
      I hope that helps!

      Reply
  6. rachel

    Hi Edward,

    Amazing website – thank you!

    Your help would be much appreciated – you seem to be the guru of Malta 🙂

    Myself and 2 of my girlfriends are planning on coming to Malta in August. We would like a destination which has good beaches and somewhere with a buzz in the evening.

    We would like somewhere with pretty restaurants to enjoy long dinners before heading out afterwards. we aren’t so fussed about big night clubs but would like to go somewhere we can go to lively bars after dinner, beach bars perhaps?

    We are all on our early 30’s, any recommendations on where to stay?

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Rachel, thanks – glad you like it 🙂

      So it sounds like nightlife is pretty important to you, in which case your best bet is St. Julians, and more specifically the Spinola/Balluta Bay area, NOT the area known as Paceville because you’ll be right in the middle of the busiest part with night clubs. There are plenty of bars and pubs around the area and some great restaurants to try as well.

      The only downside is the beaches – there’s no place I know of that offers both good nightlife AND sandy beaches in the same place unfortunately. The nearest bathing area is in the neighbouring town of Sliema (5-10 min bus ride) but it’s a rocky beach. Good for sun bathing, easy to get in and out of the sea, but no sand. The area is known as Exiles. Alternative 1: Go to a lido (there are a few good ones around in St. Julian’s and Sliema, alternative 2: Take a bus to Golden Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha (pron. aajn too-fee-hah) – two beautiful sandy beaches on the West coast of Malta. Bus route is 225 and trip is around 1 hour.

      As for timing – if you do plan to stay at St. Julian’s in August, I’d recommend going around 25-28 August. That weekend the local village feast is held – bit of culture, fireworks over the bay, food & drink – you get the picture. Another tip: Open air clubs like Gianpula (and particularly Marrakesh, part of the Gianpula complex) are worth going to. You’ll need to take a taxi, however – probably around 30 euro between the three of you, to and from St. Julians.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  7. Stephanie

    Hi Edward. We will be a party of 3 travelling to Malta for 10 days from around 19 July. All inclusive hotel but doesn’t have to be The Ritz just good location/facilities and pleasant food/drinks. My 13 year old son would like a large pool near beach with pool table/table tennis etc where he can make friends. Partner likes a good pool/good food/entertainment in the evening and a location with a few live bars/entertainment etc. Having never been Malta before I’m keen to explore – especially Gozo/Como and the Capital Valetta – hopefully our timing might coincide with a Fiesta? We plan to hire a car. Could you recommend anywhere in Malta which might suit everyone? Thanks, Steph

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Steph, thanks for your question. Let’s start with a location that meets most of your requirements. Based on what you’ve told me, St. Julian’s might be a good fit. There’s a good choice of hotels (with pool facilities), good restaurants and bars and around the weekend of the 24th of July you could experience a festa, in the Balluta area of St. Julian’s – a small, picturesque bay.

      A few things to mention: 1) It can get busy in the area and you’ll definitely need a car (and a confident driver) to make your way around. You can easily catch a ferry boat or tour to Gozo and Comino from nearby Sliema, though you’re better off catching a bus (it’s a nightmare to find a parking spot in that area) – Route 14. 2) Within St. Julian’s you’ll find an area called Paceville, which is Malta’s main nightlife centre. It doesn’t sound like that would be a good fit for you, so if you choose to stay at St. Julian’s, the Balluta area is a much better choice. 3) Since the festa will be held the weekend after your arrival there will be adjusted traffic arrangements with closed streets at times. I’m sure they’ll be able to guide you at the hotel of your choice though.

      “Not the Ritz” is a bit difficult to gauge your budget off, though have a look at these hotels in the area:
      1) Le Méridien St Julian’s Hotel and Spa – Great hotel and facilities, free parking, though not the largest pool perhaps.
      2) Golden Tulip Vivaldi Hotel – Close to the Paceville nightlife area, but you wouldn’t be in the middle of it all, good restaurants nearby and Balluta Bay is within walking distance. Parking is charged at 8 EUR/day, however.

      Suggested articles:
      Driving in Malta
      Gozo travel guide
      Comino travel guide

      I hope that helps!

      Reply
  8. Emma

    Hi, me and my boyfriend will be travelling to Malta during week 34 in August and are not sure where to stay. We don’t want to be among loads of tourists or the busiest place with nightclubs, however we do like to go on restaurants and have some choosing options where to eat. We enjoy going on adventures and travel around a bit to get that genuine feeling of the country we’re in. We also like to mix it up with some beachdays and relax. So a little bit of citylife and a little bit f the Maltese countryside I guess would suit us pretty good, or what do you think?

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi there Emma! Are you guys looking to rent a car during your stay? That makes a big difference as to what to suggest.

      Reply
  9. Claire

    Hi, the info on this page is absolutely brilliant. My fiance and I are going to Malta 13th May for 7 nights. We enjoy going out, beaches, water sports but want to have an authentic experience of the country. Trying to do it on a budget- but will probably splash out for the last night for fiances birthday. We won’t be driving. I’m considering staying in St Julians for 3 nights,-to go enjoy the nightlife and to visit the Blue Lagoon- is that easy to get to without a car? Might spend the fourth night in Gozo, and 3 nights at the beaches at Mellieha- is that where the nicest beaches are? Any recommendations for somewhere nice to stay there? Is there public transport from Mellieha to the airport..we’d be flying back on a Friday. Thanks in advance! Claire

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Claire – A couple of quick answers to point you in the right direction:
      1) St. Julian’s is great for a couple of days but there aren’t any beaches around, so it makes sense spending a few nights in Mellieha to enjoy the local beaches (and yes, that’s the part of Malta where you’ll find the nicest beaches). The largest sandy beach of Mellieha Bay will be in walking distance but you can also take a 5-min bus ride down towards the beach if you like. You can take a bus up North to Paradise Bay but if you only have a few days I’d recommend heading to Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay – two beaches next to each other on the East coast. You’ll have to take a 41, 42, 222 or 250 from Mellieha to Xemxija (15-20 min ride), get off at bus stop ‘Simar’ and take either the 223 or 225 to either of those bays. Ghajn Tuffieha comes up first, then final stop is Golden Bay
      2) You can get to the Blue Lagoon by getting a boat trip from Sliema, which is a town that neighbours St. Julians. You’ll need a 10-min bus ride (a bunch of routes pass on this stretch, e.g. routes 13, 14, 16, 110, 233) to take you to what’s referred to as the Sliema Ferries and you’ll find various boat operators there.
      3) Yes, there’s a direct route from Mellieha to the airport – the X1 (early morning till late afternoon): https://www.publictransport.com.mt/en/route/X1
      4) Hotel options – not sure what ‘budget’ means to you but considering you’re only three weeks away I’m assuming it’s up to 100 EUR / 80 GBP per night
      St. Julian’s – Spinola Hotel
      St. Julian’s – Golden Tulip
      For something decent in Mellieha at short notice you’ll probably need to fork out more than 100 eur/night – there’s limited accommodation outside of the tourist hotspot zones. Option 1: Try airbnb Option 2: Stay at St. Paul’s Bay, Bugibba and Qawra. The benefit is you’ll still be able to reach the nice beaches pretty easily, the downside is it’s a tourist hotspot and not the best places to experience the country.

      I hope that helps. Feel free to email at edward@maltauncovered.com if you have any follow up questions.

      Reply
  10. sarah

    Hi
    My friend and I are planning on visiting Malta from 11th June for a week, we are in our late 30’s. We would like different options, we would like to visit some of the traditional Maltese villages/towns and experience the authentic way of life and we also want the option on some days of good beaches and complete relaxation, we would like the option of some nightlife (good restaurants and bars with the option to stay out late if we choose too). We are not planning on hiring a car. We would like the option of boat trips and don’t mind a bus trip to a good beach. Can you please recommend the best resort and some good hotels with nice pools? We are looking for comfort but good value for money. Thanks.

    Great helpful website 🙂

    Reply
  11. burcu

    Hi,

    This is the best info I have seen about how to explore Malta and thanks for your patience for the questions as well. Tried to read all comments to see if the answer is hidden but still want to ask.
    We are at early 30’s and will visit at the first week of July for 6 nights with my husband. It is really hard to decide where to stay. Main goal is the best beaches, but would like to see what is to explore in city centre too. so was planning to stay in Mellieha bay or golden by( radisson) for a few days. Then mostly at st julian( corinthia may be) but you say st george bay not clean to swim? Raddison comments say there is not much options to eat out. Is that true? Because we dont plan to rent a car. So i decided on db seabank+spa but requires 5 nights stay. How are the options to go to the blue lagoon, golden or paradise bay from there? Also cruises schedule from mellieha? So we will have one more night to stay in centre, could be st julian for the best? What about masaxlokk side? Seems perfect clean for swimming

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Burcu, a few quick replies to your questions:
      * The issue with St. George’s Bay is that it’s right at the edge of Paceville, which is the country’s main nightlife area. That means that the beach gets dirty pretty quickly, especially during the night. So although the local authorities make a good effort to clean the beach in the early morning I wouldn’t recommend it as one of the best beaches on the island. Is it safe to swim and an option if you’re staying? Yes, it is. Is it the most beautiful/clean beach around? Not in my opinion, no.
      * The Radisson at Golden Bay is a great place to stay, though aside from the few restaurants the hotel has to offer there’s only one other restaurant on the beach. You’re a little isolated there if you’re not renting a car (which, if you’re staying in that part of the island or at Mellieha is perfectly doable – not very busy at all on the roads, apart from Sundays).
      * The Seabank was refurbished pretty recently and it’s a nice hotel to stay at, plus you’re right opposite the largest sandy beach. You can reach Paradise Bay and Golden Bay quite easily, although the latter requires a switch of routes at Xemxija and takes around 30 mins I’d say. Blue Lagoon and boat trips you can find at Cirkewwa, near the ferry to Gozo (also recommended) – which you can reach easily and quickly by bus from the Seabank hotel.
      * St. Julians is nice to stay at for hotel choice and restaurants, although Sliema makes it easier to find boat trips/cruises around the Grand Harbour and to Comino (Blue Lagoon) and Gozo. You also get a ferry connection to Valletta if you want to explore the capital city. Marsaxlokk is very quiet and you’ll be a little isolated without a car I’d say. It is clean for swimming but it’s not the most beautiful beach you’ll find in Malta.

      I hope that helps!

      Reply
  12. Amber

    Hi, We are planning a holiday to Malta between 30 May – 6th June .. and have kids aged 9, 4 and a 9 month old. From reading your very helpful article I have come to the conclusion that perhaps Valleta or Mellieha might suit us best as we aren’t going to be involved in the night life that most of the other places offer. We don’t want to be anywhere too crowded and don’t mind hiring a car get around to explore the rest of Malta. We have also looked at Gozo and are not entirely sure how rural this is and how easy it would be to get to Malta from here. We don’t want to be totally isolated either and /but the kids would love the beaches. I need your advise on what would be the best place to rent Villas / holiday homes as this would suit us best with a baby.

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Amber, since you’ll be travelling with the family and the kids will enjoy the beaches, I wouldn’t recommend staying in Valletta, especially not when hiring a car. It’s an amazing place to visit on a day trip but not the best place to stay with a family and with the idea of spending time on the beach, simply because of the commute and the traffic congestion in the area. With Mellieha as a home base and renting a car, you can easily reach different beaches and places like Mdina (a must-visit) are easy to reach by car as well.

      Gozo is much quieter than Malta and you would only stay there for the full duration of your trip if you’re not too interested in exploring the island of Malta. The ferry crossing to Malta takes 25 minutes alone so you’d have a pretty big commute every time and especially with kids that won’t be practical. The options I see are:
      1) Plan to spend a day in Gozo, which is easy to do from Mellieha (10 min drive to ferries at Cirkewwa in far North) – or multiple trips
      2) Split your stay between X days in Mellieha and X days in Gozo, although perhaps logistically that wouldn’t be practical for you either.

      Reply
  13. Joe

    Hi,

    What a wonderful website. Thank you. My wife and I are looking to come to Malta July 2-8. We like a hotel room where we can see the sea. Good restaurants, good strolling and shopping, seeing the cultural highlights. We will not be renting a car, but want to explore as much of Malta as we can on day-trips. Can you offer a recommendation on which town to stay in? We are not on a tight budget.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Joe, thank you – I’m happy you like the site!
      For sea view hotels, good restaurants and walks you’ll be happy to stay at St. Julians and Sliema (where you’ll find some of the better shops in Malta) I reckon. You’ll also be able to take day trips from the South side of Sliema to places like Gozo and Comino and you can take a ferry across Grand Harbour to get to Valletta. High-end hotel choice is limited at that time of year in Sliema and you’ll find there’s more choice in St. Julians. The downside there is that you’ll need a 10-15 minute bus ride to get to “The Ferries” in Sliema to take day tours and shop (various routes pass from this stretch). Restaurant choice is very good in St. Julians, however (although you’ll find good options just the same in Sliema).

      A few hotel options for Sliema:
      Preluna Hotel & Spa
      Fortina Spa Resort

      A few options for hotels in St. Julian’s:
      Corinthia Hotel St. George’s Bay
      The Westin Dragonara Resort
      Le Méridien St Julian’s Hotel and Spa (closer to Sliema)
      Hilton Malta (closer to Sliema)

      I would HIGHLY recommend booking as soon as possible as these hotels are in high demand at that time of year and will be fully booked soon.

      I hope that helps and I hope you enjoy your stay!

      Reply
  14. liliana stahr

    Hi there,
    I’m going to Malta next month, and even though we’ve booked a place in Sliema, we can cancel without a fee, and I’m really inclined to do that after reading this post! According to your post Mellieha is the place to be. My question is: is that difficult to go around by bus from there? We don’t have a driving license, so renting a car isn’t a option! But at the same time, all the nice beaches are close by, so I was wondering if taxis are very expensive for one beach or another that is not so accessible. We are staying 4 nights in Malta and 3 in Gozo. I would like to go to Valleta, and to some beaches around the island, but 90% of the beaches are on the north.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Liliana,
      If beaches are your #1 priority it’s either Mellieha (quieter) or Bugibba/Qawra/St. Paul’sBay (more touristy) you want to stay at. There are good connections to/from Mellieha but you’ll spend more time on buses to go around simply because it’s more remote. If, again, beaches are most important, you’re good there. If, however, you want to explore other parts of Malta, Mellieha will be quite remote, whereas you’ll get shorter trips from the Bugibba area – you’re kind of in between the beaches to the North and places like Valletta and Mdina to the South/East. In June it won’t yet be swarming completely with tourists in Bugibba, though you can opt to stay on the side of St. Paul’s Bay and you’ll avoid the very busy parts of the area. Taxis can be pretty pricey – think 25 euro for a one way trip from Mellieha to Valletta.
      Hope you enjoy your trip! 🙂

      Reply
      • liliana stahr

        Thanks, Edward! Beaches are my number 1 priority, for sure! I don’t plan to spend more than 1 day and a half sightseeing.I ended up cancelling the hotel in SIiema and booking another one in Mellieha. I saw there are couple of sightseeing buses in Malta that go to most historical places, and I could go to Bugibba to get it from that, and this would make the trip considerably shorter and quicker! As most beaches I plan to visit are not so far from Mellieha, I think it should be ok. I can use buses and take taxis to shorter trips. I’ll be staying just next to the beach in Xlendi for 3 nights as well, so it will be pretty much a beach holiday. By the way thank you very much for your tips, your website is a bible for whoever is planning to visit Malta!

      • Edward

        Sounds like you’re all set Liliana – Enjoy your stay and thank you for the compliment! 🙂

  15. Susan Q

    Hi Edward, this is a terrific site. I have read most of the information, and I am still unsure of where to go. My husband and myself have been to Malta twice now, and stayed at Quara. On the last trip we took my parents, and they had a fabulous time, and would like to go again. We are thinking more in November/December this time, a little cooler. My parents are elderly and very sprightly. There is no need to be near a beach, but would like to see more of the history of Malta. We like to eat out, and explore. Where do you advise us to stay. I await your reply, and Thank-you very much. x

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Susan,
      Thank you, glad you like the site. It sounds like you might want to stay in the capital of Valletta. It’s not nearly as busy as you’d expect from a capital city, you can get anywhere from there by bus, there’s a lot to discover within the city itself and plenty of choice for dinner.

      Reply
  16. Jacqui

    Fantastic website Edward! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. Myself and the partner are heading to Malta for 14 days in July. We are splitting it half n’half with a stay on Gozo. Intend on hiring a car on landing and exploring both islands. We’d love an area quiet and relaxing in the evenings, preferably with nice views…but can’t decide. Thanks for any help you can give! X

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Jacqui – thank you, happy to hear you like the site! The first place that comes to mind in Malta is Mellieha. In Gozo it’s a bit tougher to recommend a place because the whole island is pretty quiet and peaceful. The places that come to mind are Xlendi (overlooking a bay) and Marsalforn (both on the coast) or if you prefer something more inland Qala and Għasri.

      Reply
  17. JILL

    I find this webpage very very helpful. It gave me a whole map and great idea of Malta 🙂

    Reply
    • Edward

      Happy to hear that Jill, thanks for leaving a comment! 🙂

      Reply
  18. Christina

    Great website Edward! Just wondering if you know anything about camping. We are a party three; myself, my husband and our 8 year old daughter. We are interested in camping in beautiful spots near beaches that would be good for snorkelling. I have researched that I might need to apply for some kind of liscence to camp. Just wondering if you have any tips of advice in this area. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Edward

      Unfortunately I don’t have much advice to offer you on that myself, though if you use Facebook I’m sure you’ll be able to get expert advice from locals in this public group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/31987719059/.

      Reply
  19. Angela

    Hi Edward,
    Fantastic website! My girlfriends and I are a planning a trip to Malta at the end of March 2017. We are a youthful group in our mid-40’s to early 50’s. We would like to stay in a place that has access to some swimming (will it be warm enough at the end of March?) and it doesn’t have to be a sandy beach as I see that there are rocky bathing areas available. We would like to be in a location that has good dining and may have some nightlife (not a priority). Since we’ll likely be staying in the same hotel for the entire a week – a location where we can walk around as well as a nice hotel to hang out at (eg. poolside etc) would be ideal.
    We will likely not rent a car but could either take buses or hire a guide/take a tour to check out other places on the Island eg. Gozo, Blue Lagoon.

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Angela,

      In March it’s unlikely to be warm enough to swim in the sea I’m afraid. Usually, the earliest is May and the latest time of year October – not just because of the sea temperature but also from a safety point of view with undercurrents, etc.

      Based on what you’ve told me you’re probably best of staying in St. Julians or Sliema. Good choice of restaurants, pubs and other nightlife, long seaside promenade and (at Sliema Ferries) easy access to Valletta by ferry and a choice of boat tours to Comino, Gozo, etc.

      Reply
  20. Dee

    Hi there…. Great website. my husband and I have never been to Malta. we do a lot of walking ( just back from Madeira ). we will not be hiring a car so bus connections are vital. is Malta a good place for a walking holiday ? where would you recommend we stay. we do not do night life and adore peace and quiet, Beaches are not important. thankyou Dee

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Dee, thanks, glad you like the site! 🙂

      Is Malta a good place for a walking holiday? Generally, yes, and the area around Mellieha and Rabat would be my recommendation. Having said that, I’d also definitely consider staying at Gozo, which in general is much quieter (and less developed) than Malta. Bus connections to other parts of Malta are good, although transit times can be a little longer (say 1-1.5h from Mellieha to Valletta). In Gozo public transport isn’t the most reliable but if you’re not in a hurry or too fussy about punctuality it’ll do the job.

      Reply
  21. cathy govan

    Hi Edward we are thinking of going to Malta late September for 7 to 10 days and don’t really know where to base ourselves. Your advice is great for others so I hope you can advise us!
    We are in our mid 50’s, interested in culture, walking along the coast and in the countryside. We like eating out and going to bars but not interested in clubbing, beach life etc. We don’t intend hiring a car so it would be good to be able to start our walks from either a city/town without having to take a bus if possible, but it’s ok if we need to.
    We are also interested in a 2 centre stay between Malta and Gozo , but how do we get to the ferry departure points for Gozo, for example if we were in Valetta, is it a taxi ride away? Where would we locate ourselves in Gozo?
    We are probably looking at staying in 4 star hotels, but staying in an interesting, historical bed and breakfast setting would also do.
    Any advice welcome!
    Thank you, Cathy and Gordon

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Cathy and Gordon,

      This is a tricky one to answer, since you’ve listed quite a few requirements and no location meets all of them. 🙂 The options that come to mind (in order of preference and considering you’re not hiring a car) are:
      1) Valletta, since there’s a lot to explore inside the city and along both harbours and you can cross over to Sliema with a ferry quite easily, plus most bus routes start/terminate at the Valletta terminus. The downside is that there isn’t much countryside to explore as you’ll be located at the busier part of Malta.
      2) St. Julians/Sliema is a better location if you’d like to stay near the coast, with a long promenade and a variety of restaurants in the area. From Sliema you can take the ferry to Valletta
      3) Mellieha is a good location if countryside exploration is more important, plus you’d be staying in a village that’s less touristy

      Getting to Gozo is pretty easy with several bus routes taking you up to Cirkewwa (have a look at the journey planner of Transport Malta for routes from whatever place you’ll be staying at in Malta). I usually suggest hiring a car in Gozo to really explore the island and considering it’s much quieter than Malta I would reconsider, especially since local public transport (buses) isn’t very reliable. Stay at Marsalforn to be close to the coast and salt pans, etc, stay at or near Nadur, Xaghra or Qala for some of the better countryside walks, or stay at Victoria (the local capital a the centre of the island) if you prefer being close to restaurants, shops, etc.

      Reply
  22. Sinead Costello

    Hi Edward, some fantastic info on your site!

    Myself and my boyfriend are getting married in Malta in September next year and went over last April to check out venues etc. It’s such a beautiful country but we couldn’t get over the amount of building work in St. Julian’s. I’ve never seen so much in such a small place! It really put us off staying there. We were only in Malta for 3 days so didn’t get to see much. Are the other resorts like that as well? We would hate to recommend somewhere to our guests that has a building site outside the window.
    Beaches are not a huge priority but would love somewhere with some Maltese charm and not too quiet as it will be mid September.

    Any advise you can give would be great!
    Thank you,

    Sinead

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Sinead, first off – Big congrats! 🙂

      I get what you’re saying and agree. Both St. Julians and Sliema are unpredictable when it comes to construction at the moment. I’ve emailed you to get a better understanding of what you’re looking for meanwhile.

      Reply
  23. Mark James

    Hi, Heading to malta for the first time and was hoping for a bit of a clue as to where is best suited for us. We love Crete, Loutro, Paleochora, also places like Milos and Serifos are among our favourites. We love the small villages that have great swimming nearby, either sand or rocky. Some nice local restaurants would be great but full-on nightlife is not necessary. Quaint and quiet is fine. What would you suggest for us? We are mid-50s, active and will be in Malta end May for 8 days. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Mark,

      Based off the info you’ve provided as to your preferences, it sounds like Mellieha and surrounding area could be a good fit. You’ll find some of the largest and best beautiful (sandy) beaches within easy reach and Mellieha offers a few good restaurants as well. Considering accommodation options are a little limited I’d highly recommend booking that as soon as possible, however!

      Reply
  24. Fazlin

    This is a wonderful site, thank you!

    My husband and I are planning to go to Malta from April 21-29/2017. We are big foodies and prefer to be close to great restaurants and wine bars. We also want to be close to sandy beaches. We hate being in overly touristy areas, and want to find the perfect balance between restaurants, beaches, experiencing the local charm of the island without the tourist traps. We won’t have a car unfortunately so will need to stay in an area with easy transportation access. What area do you best recommend? Thanks

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Fazlin,
      April is a great time of year to visit although it’ll probably be a little early in the season to enjoy days at the beach. Usually that becomes much more doable towards the end of May. In any case, I don’t have a perfect solution for you. The St. Julians and Sliema area offer a good number of nice restaurants to try, but then it’s very touristy and busy. Valletta is probably a slightly better option for foodies (and for culture seekers), but then to get to the beach with public transport (buses) can take 1-1.5h and it can be tricky to find affordable accommodation. The Mellieha area is best for staying close to the beaches but there aren’t an awful lot of restaurants around (albeit there are some really great options to try) and not renting a car while staying there isn’t super practical. Feel free to email for more info – edward[at]maltauncovered[dot]com.

      Reply
  25. Erin

    Hello Edward,
    Wonderful website! Very helpful. My husband and I are going to Malta in January for two weeks. We are from a very cold part of Canada and I will be in Germany for work and we thought we would try and experience some warmer weather while we are in Europe. +15C in Malta is far better than -30C in Canada! We were attracted to Malta because of the warmer weather and the beautiful and diverse culture and nature. We are hoping to experience a little taste of everything Malta has to offer and are open to suggestions on where to stay. We aren’t into very touristy areas but would like a “pinch” of nightlife in the evening – for example go out for a nice dinner and a place for drinks and people watching. 🙂 I’m not opposed to splitting up our accommodation to broaden our experience. Based on my research I was thinking Valletta, Gozo and Mellieha and staying in Air B&Bs. What do you think? Thanks in advance for your help. Best Regards – Erin

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Erin,
      It’ll definitely be warmer than -30 C, and with a bit of luck you’ll get some good sunshine too! 🙂
      I think you’re on the right track with those places – Valletta is the first place that came to mind, particularly for culture. Although it’s the capital it’s not as touristy as you’d expect. Mellieha and Gozo are great to explore for nature more than culture.
      Enjoy your trip!

      Reply
  26. Andy

    What is the south of Malta like in the height of summer such as Birzebbuga

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Andy, it’ll be less busy than in the North/centre of Malta at that time of year, though with schools closed it’ll be pretty busy with locals. As a location, although I like Birzebbuga as a town, there may be better places to stay. I’d consider Marsaxlokk (http://www.maltauncovered.com/malta-island/marsaxlokk-fishing-village/) as well, which will definitely be quieter (assuming that’s what you’re after).

      Reply
  27. Coleen

    Hi Edward,
    So pleased I stumbled on your site, so much helpful advise. We are a couple of Aussies travelling to Malta in June and after reading your info I am tossing up with whether Valletta or Sliema area would suit us best. We usually prefer to stay in self contained accommodation and was wondering if you can recommend any reliable sites to book through ? We will have four days to explore. Thanks

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Coleen, I would definitely suggest staying in Valletta if exploration is important to you. Sliema isn’t the best place for that unfortunately.

      Reply
  28. Francesco

    Hi Edward,

    This website is very useful, thanks a lot! My girlfriend and I are going to Malta around mid-April for 8 days, we’re 27 and 30 years old, we love beaches, cycling and exploring nature and historical places. We don’t care too much about nightlife (we live in London!) although as Italians we love good food. We would also like to visit Gozo and Comino. What would you suggest for us? Also, Malta looks very small, do you think we can cycle around and vsit the island by bike?
    Many thanks again!
    Regards,
    Francesco

    Reply
    • Edward

      Hi Francesco, thank you – glad you like my site! 🙂
      It sounds like Mellieha or even Rabat/Mgarr might be a good area to stay (in which case an Airbnb stay could be a good option for you as hotels are limited in the area). It’s a quieter part of the country and both Comino and Gozo are within reach. You _CAN_ get around by bike though in Malta I would advise you to be careful and stick to the roads further up North since unfortunately the roads in Malta were never designed with cyclists in mind and the country isn’t known for its courteous drivers, to say the least.

      In fact, I would recommend spending a few days in Malta (to do some sightseeing at Valletta, Mdina and perhaps a few other places) and spend a few more days in Gozo. That’s a MUCH better place to go around on a bike and explore nature and some of the sights there. Some challenging mountain bike routes are documented (not very well at this point, admittedly) here, to give you an idea: http://www.maltauncovered.com/gozo-island/mountain-biking-routes/

      Reply

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