As mentioned in my post Why Iceland Should Be on Your Bucketlist Fall is the optimal time to either do a cold adventure trip to places like Iceland OR venture closer to the equator in search for sunshine. This time, for nice beach weather, the choice of destination landed on Malta. For those of you who, just like me, think that Malta belongs to Spain (like Mallorca or the Canara Islands), well..think again! Although it was a part of the Spanish empire back in the 15th Century, Malta is today its own island country and is a member of the European Union.
Malta consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. It is located in the Mediterranean Sea about 80 km south of Italy, which is somewhat a decent guarantee of great weather most of the year. We only had four days on Malta and didn’t manage to see Gozo or Comino, which we will save for next time. However, even though we only stayed in Malta, we saw enough to conclude that Malta is definitely worth visiting at least once!
What to do in Malta
Explore Valletta – The capital of Malta is the European Capital of Culture 2018. It means that this year is the perfect time to visit Valletta and attend the many cultural events that the city has to offer. If you are into beautiful architecture and museums, Valletta will not disappoint as it is the most concentrated in regards to UNESCO Heritage Sites.
Beach life – Not to anyone’s surprise, Malta offers some of the best beaches in Europe. We could make it to enjoy the sun on two beaches, Golden Bay and Mellieha Bay – both of which were family friendly and beautiful. Golden has the bonus of being on the west coast meaning that you can catch a stunning sunset there after a day of sunbathing. Tip: make sure to stop by the Radisson Blu restaurant located by the Golden Bay beach for a drink or meal. The restaurant has an idyllic setting with a great view.
Nightlife – To experience Malta’s nightlife, St. Julian’s is the perfect choice. You can either stay directly in St. Julian’s to be close to bars and restaurants or if you prefer some peace and quiet when you’re back in your hotel, then the city of Sliema could be a good option.
Where to Stay in Malta
St. Julians has a wide variety of known hotel chains including Hilton, Marina, Corinthia, Intercontinental etc. so if you’re looking for a party scene then finding accommodation in St. Julians should not be a challenge. We stayed in Valletta to discover this old city and wandered to Mellieha to catch some sun.
Valletta is not short of nice hotels, but in order to really step back in time and get a grasp of the history of city, The Coleridge Hotel on Old Bakery Street would be an ideal choice (more in the next post Malta x The Coleridge Hotel). We found the suites to be amazingly beautiful and unique, the service to be top, and the location to be more than perfect as it is located in the heart of Valletta. Mellieha is a good base to visit the surrounding beaches.
Here, the Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a luxury hotel that offers good value for the money. We got a Junior Suite and were surprised how big it actually was! The service was great and the hotel has free-to-use facilities such as outdoor/indoor pools, squash, and fitness.
What to eat in Malta
Radisson Blu, Golden Bay Beach – The restaurant in front of the Radisson Blu hotel provides guests with a lovely view of the beach as well as delicious food. The variety is what you know: Pasta, Burgers, Steaks etc. but nonetheless, worth it!
Merchant Street Market, Valletta – Valletta has quite a few fine dining restaurants but if you would like to get something more casual then step into the Merchant Street Market. It opens until late in the evening and you can grab a bite from various kitchens around the world.
Ocean Basket – This was my absolute favorite meal in Malta! Ocean Basket is a Seafood restaurant chain founded in South Africa. Its restaurant in Malta is located in St. Paul’s Bay, where we spent out last night. We wanted to have dinner there that night but unfortunately the restaurant was fully booked. We returned the day after before our flight home and enjoyed one of the best seafood meals that I’ve had in my life. Bread with their special dipping was offered as a starter, which was simply amazing – I definitely have to try to recreate their dipping! Other than that, we had oysters, mussels, calamari, and prawns which amounted to a great and reasonably priced meal before our flight.