The small island country of Malta is an oasis of culture, history, cuisine, and incredible beaches in the midst of the Mediterranean. Situated between the coastlines of Sicily and North Africa, Malta’s strategic positioning has created quite the medley of cultural influences. As a result, the culinary tradition has become an incredible fusion of Sicilian food, Middle Eastern flavors, and traditional Maltese menu items like honey and rabbit. This tiny island also has the highest density of historical sites in the world. Most fascinating being the range of 5,000-year-old, prehistoric, megalithic temples. Lastly, Malta and its’ northern islands of Gozo and Comino are home to some of the most outstanding beaches, turquoise waters, and hidden grottos and sea caves that are a paradise for both beachgoers and divers alike.
Malta Travel Tips –
Getting Around –
Malta’s public transportation and ferry system is very efficient, so it’s great option for navigating the island inexpensively. Official white taxis are also very reasonable in price if you want a more efficient and private route.
Festivals & Celebrations –
Malta’s festival season is in full swing during the summer months. To get in on the fun either check the schedule ahead of time, or simply ask locals or your hotel concierge where and when the next celebration is.
MALTA TRAVEL GUIDE
Incredible Boutique Hotels –
As a part of the restoration of Malta’s historical center, Valletta, a number of boutique hotels, many of which are restored historic buildings, are opening up. Some of my favorites that have incredible charm, within walking distance of most sites and eateries, and maintain incredible historic value are as follows.
Domus Zamittello, 7 Republic St, Valletta –
This 17th Century palazzo, now a boutique hotel, emulates the historical and baroque charm of Valletta. The careful preservation of the buildings’ architectural beauty is not unnoticed and adds to the chic luxury of the property. The location is perfectly situated in the heart of Valetta’s historical center, while also being well connected to the main bus terminal and taxi stand. Be sure to also take advantage of their outdoor terrace to enjoy a morning coffee or evening glass of champagne, while overlooking the open air Pjazza Theater.
The Vincent, 84, Old Hospital Street, Valletta –
This contemporary boutique hotel houses only 8 rooms and suites and an additional loft style apartment. The style is unique to each room’s theme, tying into the hotel’s modern and eclectic decor. Just a short walk to the peninsula, the location is walking distance to the main sites. Breakfast is served every morning in the open air courtyard, with a range of fresh pastries, homemade greek style yogurt with compote, fresh fruit, and a selection of meats and cheeses.
66 Saint Paul’s, 66 St. Pauls Street, Valletta –
A newly restored 17th-century palace that not only maintains the traditional charm of the building but also offers modern luxuries for their guests. Rooms are equipped with all amenities necessary for a comfortable stay, including a Nespresso, divinely comfortable beds, and Molton Brown toiletries. The best part of the hotel is by far the rooftop terrace and pool that overlooks the city’s harbor.
Culturally Infused Cuisine –
Due to Malta’s central location in the Mediterranean, situated between Italy and North Africa, in addition to French, Spanish and English influences, Maltese cuisine is a medley of these traditions. You can expect fresh seasonal ingredients, daily caught seafood, and a perfectly blended fusion of local and international fare. Malta’s unique mixture of culinary influences makes for an incredibly interesting and mouthwatering foodie experience. As you tour through Malta, be sure to also pick up the local favorite, Pastizz, a savory pastry filled with ricotta or mashed peas.
Art & History –
Valletta in and of itself is a gem filled with inspiring Baroque architecture, home to original Caravaggio paintings, as well as the location of a WWII top secret military operations. Though, one of the most impressive sites in Malta is the plethora of prehistoric, megalithic temples scattered throughout the island. Of these, the Hypogeum is by far the most extraordinary. What makes this so impressive is not just the sheer beauty of this 6,000-year-old temple, but that it was carved into the living rock completely underground. Ticket booking for this is recommended months in advance as admission is limited due to preservation efforts.
Charming & Coastal Towns –
Throughout the island are astonishingly charming towns perfect for day trip outings. Stroll along fishing town’s promenade, explore the historical center of the neighboring island of Gozo and definitely be sure to check with locals for upcoming festivals and events.
Natural Beauty & Crystalline Waters –
Although the famed Azure Window collapsed in 2017, the remaining immense natural beauty on the island is baffling. From impressive beachfront, aqua waters, and coastal islands, it is no wonder Malta has become a hotspot among scuba divers and beachgoers alike.