Things You Need To Know Before Travelling To Malta
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
A typical Maltese door in Valletta
Things you need to know before travelling to Malta
1. Getting there – The international airport of Malta is situated to the south of Capital Valletta and is well connected by direct flights from major European hub airports, North Africa and Middle East. Most of the major and budget European airlines fly directly to Malta. We flew direct from London Heathrow in Malta’s national carrier Air Malta.
2. When to go – Any time is a good time to go to Malta! It is a year-round destination. Though avoiding July and August would be better as it is the peak tourist season in Malta-prices are high, crowds are bigger! March to June and September to November are more suitable months as there are less tourists, soothing climate and greenery and also time for many local festivals. December to February are the coldest months of the year (150C average temperature) but still a nice time to explore the island nation. October and November may sometime bring storm and heavy rain to the island. During our trip to Malta in October we had heavy rain and storm for most of the days though the showers were short-lived.
3. Getting around – The islands of Malta and Gozo are quite small and can be covered by a car. The main island of Malta is 27 Km long and end to end travel by car takes an hour depending on traffic near the capital city of Valletta. Malta and Gozo have well connected local bus services but in majority of the cases the frequency and need change buses from one stop to another can be challenging. Our recommendation would be to hire a car in Malta as it is the best way to see both the islands. There are many car-hire companies at the arrivals in the international airport or in and around the capital city of Valletta. Traffic in Malta is only moderately heavy during office hours around Valetta and the more you go away from the main city area the lighter the traffic is. The small island of Gozo has even less vehicles on the road. One important point to mention is that there are only few multi-lane roads in the island of Malta and Gozo and most of the roads are single lane. Finding a parking spot in and around Valletta, Sliema, Gzira or Birgu may be challenging and road-side parking is hard to find though there are many big public car parks situated in and around the city area. Finding a parking spot in small towns and villages in the main Island of Malta and Gozo is not an issue though. Unlike the rest of European Union Malta has left hand driving.
4. Where to stay – As the main island of Malta is fairly small in size it not necessary to stay in the capital city of Valletta or places like Sliema, Gzira or Birgu. The hotel and flat rental prices in the capital city and surrounding area is higher compared to the rest of the island. So if you have the access to a hire car, then staying in places like in the north or central island is more economical-Valletta is only about 30 min to 45 min drive.
Gozo Channel Line Ferry
5. Travel Between the island of Malta and Gozo – Malta and Gozo are well connected by a 24-hour ferry service run by Gozo Channel line – you can therefore take your the car in the ferry. The frequency of the service is quite good (one in every 45 min) between 6 am to 6 pm and rest of the time there is one ferry every 1.5 hours. For more details on ferry timetable, service and prices visit the Gozo Channel Line website https://www.gozochannel.com. In the ferry basic food and refreshments are available.
6. Staying comfortable – For most part of the year the weather of Malta allows comfortable and light outfits. Only during the winter months of December to February additional layering is needed to keep comfortable.
7. Day trip to Blue Lagoon – The island of Comino located between the island of Malta and Gozo is home to one of the top tourist attractions of Malta – the Blue Lagoon. This is one of the best places for snorkelling and scuba diving on a nice and clear day. There are many travel companies in Valletta and in other places in Malta which run daily full-day or half-day trips to the island of Comino. It is not possible to drive to this tiny island and the only way to reach there is by a boats or ferries run by the travel companies. Depending on your budget you can also hire private tours to the island for an exclusive experience. On a sunny day, a full day trip to the blue lagoon is highly recommended. Because it is one of the top attractions of Malta, blue lagoon gets very crowded during high season. Majority of the tours are inclusive of the price of transport to and from the blue lagoon and lunch. In some, sunset dinner is included as well. We missed out on the visit to blue lagoon as we were hit by a thunderstorm on the day we wanted to visit!
8. What to buy – Jewellery stores selling silver filigree is a common sight in Malta and Triq Santa Lucja behind Misrah ir-Republica is a good place to visit if you want to buy these. You can also buy glass artifacts, ceramics and laces. We however got a bagful of Maltese pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and biscuits.