VISIT MALTA ON A BUDGET!
Guess who’s in charge today?
Well, your fav girl Sarah is probably somewhere with her famous “green passport” attempting to feel like a tourist ??, so I’ll be your writer for today.
…About 2 years ago, Sarah and I enthusiastically purchased a travel package to Malta. To our dismay, we were unable to make this trip due to the unavailability of certain travel documents, so we had to stay put and that was the end of our first Maltese vacation dream! yes, you read that right! Wouldn’t it have been cool if people from Malta were called Maltesers and drank Maltina? Ahh, I digress. Anyway, I finally made it this time around to Malta!
Today, I’ll be sharing with you my experience including some fun facts and tips on how to explore and enjoy Malta.
Day 1: Arrival
Shuttles are available from the Malta airport, we boarded this with a bunch of other tourists and we were all dropped off at our respective hotels for €5 each, not bad.
We arrived in the late afternoon and after check in, we only had time for a meal and a long walk to get a lay of the land! What did we find? Lots of stone walls and on-going construction… don’t worry, there’s a lot more to Malta!
Hotels are not a scarcity in Malta, in fact it’s almost counter-intuitive that most of the ongoing constructions are of MORE HOTELS! I’m sure you’d be able to treat yourself to an affordable 4-5 star hotel in Malta. Ours even had a pool which was nice since it’s still too cold to swim in the ocean!
TIP: As hotels are in abundance, there’s a huge market for tourists so prepare to be overwhelmed by the sales people trying to sell you tours and cruises!
If you’re only staying the weekend and hope to explore the city, the good old tour bus is the way to go! Ours picked us up from Paul’s Bay where our hotel was located and the adventure began! Some remarkable places we stopped over at were Valletta and Blue Grotto! We weren’t able to see the Hagar Qim & Mnajdra Temples but they came highly recommended!
While in Valletta, don’t pass up the opportunity to take the Barrakka Lift. It only costs €1 and the view is just wow!
Fun fact: the original Barrakka Lift ran from 1905 to 1973 and was taken down in 1983. This one below is relatively tear-rubber, it was constructed in 2012.
I wish we had a chance to chill in the Upper Barrakka Gardens but we could only afford a quick dash to the ladies and some bomb photos before running to catch the tour bus… which we missed! We decided to explore more of the Valletta Waterfront Terminus as we waited. Our exploration led us to Titanic-scale ships that had us dreaming of cruises we’d go on in the future! Hello Bora Bora!
TIP: It’s good to have an idea of the most popular modes of transport in case of emergencies. This would have served us because our tour bus BROKE DOWN on the way to Blue Grotto and we had to wait almost an hour for a replacement for the rest of our tour! As a result, it messed up the itinerary we had planned for the day.
- Fun fact: Every house in Malta has a name! I had a conversation with my cab driver about why houses had names and apparently it’s definitely a thing! Maltese homeowners are known to name their homes after whatever tickles their fancy, I walked down this row of houses named Charity, Honesty etc. The state only recently imposed house numbers!
Tour bus costs: €13-€15
Exploring the other islands of Gozo and Comino
Since we only had two full days, we were highly committed to tour packages. Even though the day before was not a good indication of their reliability, we were hopeful for the cruise. We even said a quick prayer, baba God no vehicle should break down on sea or land oo, amen! But Baba had other plans!
We got on the shuttle to the port at Buggiba to board the boat. After what seemed like an hour on the boat, we arrived at Gozo where a bus waited to shuffle us around town! The first stop was relatively unremarkable, I took this photo of a life-like mammy.
The second stop was the Ta’Pinu Basilica. Again, we only had a few minutes for bomb photos before we were back on the bus. The last and most memorable stop had to be Victoria! It was definitely a hive of activity compared to the other two stops and we had about 30 minutes to kill here!
We walked up to the Cittadella and I have to say, its walls were the perfect backdrop, my artistic eye caught this! The fear of missing the bus didn’t let us roam to far out!
Cruise costs: €20-€25
We joined the other tourists at the pick-up point but our bus was nowhere to be found. About 20 minutes later, it turned up and we jumped to catch it excited to get back on the boat and see the other island, Comino!
My people, we never made it to Comino! I told you baba God had other plans! About 10 minutes into the bus trip to the port, my sister uttered the 3 dreaded words… ‘where’s my bag?’. Yes, in our rush to get on the bus we had left a whole bag behind and it contained passports and everything! We obviously couldn’t continue on the cruise, we quickly spoke to the crew members to make the announcement to everyone but decided it was best to head back to the crime scene!
Long story short, there was nothing at the crime scene and at the police station, no one had brought in any bag but luckily, we received a call that changed everything and led us to Paradise Bay Beach, which wasn’t originally on our itinerary.
Since we missed out on the rest of our cruise, we had to catch the Gozo Channel Line back to Malta! This cost €4,65 each and it dropped us off at Cirkewwa, a port area we were unfamiliar with.
The day’s stress was catching up with us and we decided to go find some food but instead we stumbled on Paradise Bay Beach. It really was a beauty and we just sat there to recover our strength. On our way back, we even caught a bit of the sunset, quite the view!
Indeed our call had led us here and we met up with the tourists who had found our bag and graciously called. We met up with them to get back the bag and to our pleasure, everything was intact! Woohoo!
Day 4: Aquarium and chill
After the suspense-filled days we had before, we were content to just chill!
Luckily, our hotel offered €3 discounts to the Malta National Aquarium which was just down the road, we decided to check it out. It was a relaxed way to round up our time in Malta.
Aquarium entry fee: €10 (with discounts applied)
*Places we never got to but came highly recommended!
– Crafts Village
– Rabat (St Agatha’s Catacombs, St Paul’s Catacombs)
– Mellieha Bay
I returned to Paris probably more tired than I left, but I have to say Malta left its impression on me.