I hadn’t planned to visit Malta was but it came around when searching for a new European destination for my 2023 girls trip. I had about two weeks to research and the more I saw, the more excited I became. Driving through the picturesque quaint cobbled streets on my way out of the airport, I knew we were in for a treat.
This small island just below Sicily and north of North Africa was a perfect blend of Mediterranean vibes with a hint of ancient Arabian influence. Malta has something for everyone; a crystal clear sea & a myriad of beautiful beaches to explore and unwind for the chilled, infinity pool beach clubs and restaurants along the yacht filled harbour for the boujie, and stunning old towns and ancient medinas for the history lovers.
Need to know
Local currency – Euro. Card is accepted everywhere (even on an ice-cream boat in the middle of the sea)
Language – Maltese however English & Italian are both widely spoken
Transport – Uber, Bolt, Taxi, Bus
Where to Stay
Malta is quite a small island making every area easily accessible to the centre – it’s only 1 hour drive from one end to the other. For a first time trip I would recommend staying in the centre of Malta – particularly St. Julians, Sliema or Valetta.
St. Julians is energetic and known for being the party town. I stayed in St. Julian’s at the Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa. Whilst the hotel was situated at the end of St. Julians, overlooking Barlutta Bay, and more on the quiet side, I loved the lively and modern feel to it coupled with the sea views. It was the perfect central location.
Valletta is Malta’s capital and is bursting with history with an ancient feel. The relaxed mood and popular al-fresco restaurants make it a great place to stay if you love a casual vibe.
Sliema is more of a residential seaside town but still perfect for tourists. It is vibrant and full of picturesque roads with plenty of shops along the promenade.
There are also plenty of rural areas of Malta to consider with out of the way villas; perfect if you want to be completely away from the hustle & bustle!
Malta has tons of hotels to choose from, I have included some of my favourites below:
- Xara Palace Relais & Châteaux
- Cugo Gran Macina Grand Harbour
- Hotel Juliana
- Palazzo Consiglia
- Palais Le Brun
- Corinthia Palace
- Hilton Malta
- Lure Hotel & Spa
What to do
If you ask me, Malta is the perfect place to do nothing but soak up the sun and eat great food. And that is exactly what I did on my trip! But there are also a myriad of other things to do:
Boat Trip (Blue Lagoon, Crystal Lagoon & Blue Grotto)
The crystal clear aquamarine waters of the lagoons were the highlight of my trip and are a must see when visiting Malta. The lagoons are close to each other and situated on the island of Comino.
You can visit the lagoons on a public tour, but as we wanted to control our itinerary we rented a private boat with a skipper.
If you love getting into the water then the crystal lagoon is for you as there is no beach area, just stunning, warm, clear water and it’s a lot less busy than the Blue Lagoon. If swimming is not your thing, then the Blue lagoon is perfect, as there is a little beach and a hill to hike for incredible sea views.
The boat trip to the lagoon stops at all the incredible caves on the way, such as the Blue Grotto, so it’s the perfect way to admire the Mediterranean sea views. I still can’t get over the ice-cream boat that came by selling delish ice-creams and ice cold drinks – genius!
Gozo is one of the small islands in the Maltese archipelago, neighbouring the main island of Malta itself – just a 20 minute ferry ride away. It is much quieter than Malta Island. Gozo undoubtedly has a more noticeable Arabian influence and is more untouched. You can explore the streets and grab lunch at the port – or do a quad bike tour if that’s more your thing!
I love incorporating a pure chilled out day at a beach club – eating my fave foods and soaking in the sun to music – so I was pleased to see the calibre of the Maltese beach club.
Café Del Mar
We opted for Café del Mar as the panoramic infinity pool and sea view make it undoubtedly the best beach club in Malta. The views were insane and it was easy to spend the whole day frolicking on the sunbed, eating sushi & drinking fresh lemonade with the DJ in the background.
At night, on the weekends, the sunbeds are tucked away and the beach clubs turns into a nightclub.
Book early!! Because it was a last minute trip we couldn’t book far in advance and our first choice of sunbeds (Luxury Beds) were sold out. We did get our second choice – the VIP Beds.
Beefbar is another stunning beach club that I would have visited if I had enough time. Luxury sun beds on an infinity pool overlooking the Mediterranean sea. A great option if you prefer a less busy beach club than Café Del Mar.
The city of Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the perfect place to immerse yourself in ancient history. You can wander the cobbled streets and visit historical sites such as the temple of Hagar Qim. Valleta comes alive in the night time, full of buzzing al-fresco restaurants – perfect for day or night.
Known as ‘the silent city’ Mdina is a majestic ancient walled city filled with with medieval architecture. Another amazing site for history and architecture lovers.
What to eat
Klay is a bayside restaurant in St. Julians which we found on an afternoon stroll around our hotel. The restaurant décor was super chic bohemian style and matched our afternoon lunch vibe.
The cuisine was Italian and the food was great! I had the king prawn fileja which is a long twist shaped pasta from Southern Italy.
San Paolo Naufrago
San Paolo’s is a popular cosy pizza & wine bar in Valletta, and if you go without a booking you will be waiting in a queue round the corner. It is located on the buzzing St. Lucia street where all the neighbouring restaurants dine al-fresco on the cobbled street.
We had a classic margharita (best pizza ever IMO– don’t fight me on this!), lasagne, and a goats cheese salad. The food was fresh and delicious and made me feel like I was back in Venice. We paired with a recommended local white wine and had the best girly sweet & relaxed evening. Highly recommend.
Located on the port in Sliema, Felice is an upper dining restaurant. They had a breakfast/brunch menu but we opted for a dinner visit as they open late and have a DJ.
The cuisine was mixed – grill, Turkish and Italian, which is good as there is something for everyone. We had the Wagyu Ribeye and Chicken Piccata which was good. The vibe was my favourite thing about Felice, relaxed but dressy with a lush sea view.
I wouldn’t normally add a hotel to restaurant recommendations but the food at the Marriott was so good, I couldn’t leave it out! We ate poolside at the Sundeck and dined for lunch at Atrio and both delivered:
The Sun Deck
Probably my favourite meal of the whole trip. We had the chicken caesar salad, burrata and spaghetti vongole and all were cooked to perfection. Special shoutout to the spaghetti vongole as the clams were so fresh and deliciously seasoned! The deck also had the prettiest & yummiest lemonades.
Atrio was a Mediterranean restaurant and with an rooftop BBQ on the terrace on Saturdays. The food was lovely – we had the burrata, steak pie and a chicken & kale dish.
There are dozens of places to eat that cater to every taste. Two restaurants that were on my list to try were ‘U Bistrot’ and ‘Rosami at the Villa’ which is Michelin star rated.
Malta was a vibrant and beautiful destination that I would recommend to all. Sea, sun and fun – the best combination.
Let me know if you have been to Malta or ask me anything!