Traveling and discovering new countries is always a different kind of fun than discovering your own, because you get to experience life in a different way; in different languages, cultures, cuisines, and styles. In Malta, you are guaranteed to find lots of fun things to do: enrich your palate’s range with unique Maltese foods, enjoy the wonderful underground music scene, explore the country’s incredibly diverse and rich history, go shopping, and soak up the magnificent outdoors.
If you are planning to visit this beautiful island, Choice Holidays is a Malta travel specialist that can offer you custom Malta trip packages at great values. And while one week is basically enough to enjoy a lot of great things, before you pack and go, please allow us to let you in on ten pieces of information that you may find rather helpful during your journey.
1. Preparing for the Weather
Malta enjoys amazing weather almost all year long, however, the wind can be a little too strong. That said, don’t forget that the sun in Malta is also very strong, so make sure to pack your own trusty sunblock (you don’t want to pay a premium for that when you arrive!)
2. Spending in Malta
The Euro is used in Malta, and cash is usually preferred to credit cards – so make sure to carry enough cash on you. Don’t ignore the coins, as they’re just as valuable as the bills. Although currency exchange offices are easily found, using the ATM may give you the best value. That said, ATM’s can be scarce in smaller towns, so plan to get your cash ready before leaving bigger cities and going into smaller ones.
The prices are generally very reasonable in Malta, so if you happen to be traveling on a budget, this is a great idea. Whether you are going out to eat, drink, party, or do some shopping, Malta is more than affordable. So have your fun and take advantage of the great food and drinks at low prices.
3. Communicating in English
Although Malta’s official local language is Maltese, English remains its widely spoken second language, thanks to the presence of many expats. This means that you generally won’t face difficulty communicating with locals and tourists alike.
4. Experiencing Valletta
The walled city of Valletta is considered the historic capital of Malta, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is a must-visit when you’re in Malta, for it boasts marvelous historic sites to see during the day, and some exciting nightlife options from glamorous bistros and rooftop cocktail bars, to fun whiskey bars in hidden nooks to be discovered.
5. Island Hopping
Going from one island to another, make a point to visit Gozo and Comino; these sister mini-islands are an absolute treat and not to be missed! While Gozo is gorgeous with its bright blue skies and crystal-clear waters, pristine coastal landscape, and pure countryside vistas, the Blue Lagoon at Comino is not to be missed.
6. Beach Day and Sunbathing
Include Mellieħa in your itinerary, for it is one of the largest villages in Malta, overlooking Ghadira (or Mellieħa Bay), which is the country’s largest sandy beach, perfect for a relaxing day of sunbathing, reading, and tanning.
7. Enjoying Your Meals
Generally speaking, lunch is usually served between 12 and 2 p.m., so plan your lunch stops accordingly. In the evenings, dinner starts at around 7:30 p.m. which will give you ample time to enjoy the outdoors and go sightseeing in between. It’s good to remember that many restaurants don’t open before dinner time, so plan to carry water and snacks throughout the day if you’re going to be on the move.
While in Malta, you shouldn’t miss the pastizzi – a Maltese snack comprising of either seasoned pea mush or ricotta cheese in puff pastry with a glaze of oil. It is baked and served with a glass of tea with condensed milk. On the other hand, some prefer to enjoy it with a Kinnie – a fizzy drink flavored with oranges and local herbs. You can find pastizerrias in almost every town and village.
Tipping in Malta depends totally on the quality of service, so if you happen to experience great service, leave a 10-15% tip; if it was just alright, then 5-10% should be enough; and if it was bad, you don’t have to leave any tip at all.
8. Drinking Water
Although tap water is generally safe to drink in Malta, you might want to test it out first before chugging away, as some people find it a little hard to stomach.
9. Hitting the Shops
If shopping is on your list while visiting Malta, it’s good to keep in mind that most stores usually close between 6 and 8 p.m., so it would be best to place your shopping slot before dinner time. It’s always great to get your shopping over with during the day, and enjoy the various beach bars and restaurants at night.
Don’t forget to check out The Point if you’re visiting Mdina, for it is the biggest shopping mall on the island, with a rather impressive variety of outlets that promise to satisfy all tastes.
10. Safety in Malta
Malta is a very safe place that you will even see children playing outside until as late as midnight during the summer months. That being said – and just like you would in any new city – you have to be generally careful while moving around; needless to say, don’t leave your belongings unattended at any given time (you probably wouldn’t do that even in your own hometown).
Now, Start Planning!
Now that you know what to expect in terms of the weather; currency, spending and how to manage your money; languages for communication; the must-see cities, islands and beaches; the unique cuisine items; as well as shopping – you can start really planning your Malta visit.
Enjoy the friendliness and approachability of the Maltese people, and let yourself absorb the culture and beautiful vistas, it will certainly be an unforgettable experience and one that you will value for the rest of your life.