Hidden Gem of The Mediterranean  

Deciding on where to go for an island vacation in Europe? Why not visit a new country as well as an archipelago of Islands in the Mediterranean, 50 miles south of Sicily, Italy, and 308 miles north of Tunisia. This island got extremely popular after Game of Thrones was filmed here, and then got even more news when the famous Azure window fell into the sea after a storm in 2017. However, Malta is more than a filming location or beach holiday destination, there is a fascinating history, as well as adventures to have here whether traveling solo or on a girl’s trip. 

Malta is made up of three islands Comino, Gozo, and Malta all a marvelous mix of culture, food, architecture, wonderful blue water, sunshine, and nature. This destination is only a short distance from most of continental Europe, a great vacation destination year-round. and one of the warmest places in Europe.

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Year-round you can enjoy the outdoors in Malta and escape winter with average temperatures ranging from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 87 degrees Fahrenheit. Rarely temperatures will dip below 44 degrees Fahrenheit or above 94 degrees Fahrenheit. 

My week in Malta was wonderful and made me wonder why I hadn’t been sooner! I thought I would share a bit of Malta’s history, the food, and the adventures you can have in Malta. 


Happy Earth Day from one of the most beautiful places in earth @visitmalta Part of my heart was lost in Malta because I fell in love with the beauty of this country. I felt totally safe as a solo traveler here. Public transport works all over the islands and it is not just a beach holiday because there are a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit. Enjoy three unique islands Camino , Gozo Island, and Malta. . Who is excited for European summer destinations for your travel bucket list? #visitmalta #maltatiktok #earthday #solotravelwoman #solotravelers #travelviral

♬ nhạc nền – nỏng sì của chị 👉🏻👈🏻 – nỏng sì của chị 👉🏻👈🏻

Malta in April 

I went to Malta in Europe for a conference in April. Malta in April was surprisingly mild, but also not as hot as I would have liked. Luckily the island is well situated in the warmer Mediterranean climate with over 300 days of sunshine a year. Maltese weather is one of the big reasons tourists come here, and there are several Maltese islands to visit. Temperatures range from 50-81F degrees. 

April was a great month to visit, although the breezes can be cool. It made it nice to walk in and many visit Malta just for getting outdoors to explore the rolling hills and cliffsides. 

I stayed in St. Julian since there are many new hotels and the conference I was there for was at the Marriott. There are also many in terms of Waterview restaurants, etc. A great jumping-off point to see Malta. This was a pleasure and a business trip. I went with Visit Malta and Traverse events for a conference. 

A Brief History of Malta

Malta has a wonderful, long history and I will share a tidbit or two on its past since it is interesting. The Republic of Malta was established recently, in December 1974. Before that Malta was a part of the British Commonwealth. Malta is a small country but fairly mighty, having some of the oldest structures, dating back to before Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Being fairly central in the Mediterranean, it was an important place for trade, etc. which is why cities like Valletta and the Goza have fortified structures. Although some debate on the age, UNESCO indicates that some prehistoric temples in this island nation are some of the oldest freestanding monuments dating back to between 5500-2500 BC.

The island’s history dates back to Roman times when took over control from the Phoenicians. The Romans’ base in Malta was in the city of Mdina. It became the sole protectorate of the UK in 1813, so it has a long history of getting British visitors. Historic Valletta is the country’s capital city and it is entirely a Unesco site, and so is Goza. Valletta was founded by the Knights of St. John. So depending on your interests, there is much to explore. Today, Malta’s population is now approximately 519k people. 

Malta During World War 2 

In more recent history it was also the most bombed European country during World War 2. It was because of its strategic location in the Mediterranean. Malta holds the record for the heaviest sustained bombing attack for 154 days and nights with a total of 6700 tons of bombs. 

If you visit the Mgarr Cathedral you can visit a church that was hit by a bomb that did not go off as well as see bomb shelters from that time. The church celebrates every year the miracle of the bomb not going off. Mġarr is one of the oldest villages of the Maltese islands and also has some B and Bs as well as cute cafes like Mumenti with a view of the church!

  • Malta Architecture- As you walk around Malta you will notice its unique architecture mostly made of limestone. It is called Malta Baroque Architecture since it was built primarily in the 17th and 18th centuries by the Knights and their society. You will notice in some homes they have 2nd-floor balconies that are enclosed. Reportedly this is called a Gallarija. The balconies became enclosed when influenced by Arabic architecture in the 17th century when women had to be hidden.   

Directions – How to Get to Malta “Where is Malta”? 

While Malta is a fairly popular destination for UK visitors, Americans are just starting to branch out from places like Italy and Croatia, finding Malta less expensive as well as less crowded. 

The primary way to get to Malta is through the international airport. There are also ferries to other islands, Italy, and Greece. There are also ferries between the Maltese Islands. I took Air Malta from Zurich to Malta and left Malta by ferry to Sicily. 

  • Malta International Airport (Code- MLA) in Luga, nearby Valletta, is the only international airport that services all the Maltese Islands. The airport is located 15 minutes from Valletta, the capital. You can get to the towns on the main island by taxi, Uber, bus, or rental car. Notably, the island is pretty compact, especially historic Valletta. www.maltaiport.com 
  • Ferries: There are various local ferries to get around the main island and inter-island are available for reasonable prices of a few Euros. The ferries are a great way to get a few of the island too. Some ferries go to Sicily, etc. I loved the high-speed ferry to Sicily. If you book directly with Virtu Ferries during high season they also organize buses to Catania from Pozzallo Port. 

www.GozoChannel.com operates the largest ferry service within the Maltese islands.


How to get from Malta to Sicily Italy ? Take a Verti Ferry ⛴️ it cost 56 euros and I bought my ticket the day before. It only took 1.5 hrs to get to Sicily and then the bus was another 2 hrs to Catania the second largest city in Sicily! #maltatiktok #maltatravel #sicilytravel #traveltips #ferry #europetravel #slowtravel @travelsofsarahfay1 @travelsofsarahfay1

♬ Che La Luna – Louis Prima with Sam Butera & The Witnesses

Malta Currency

Malta is part of the EU and uses the Euro as its currency.

Languages – What languages do they speak in Malta?

Most of the Maltese speak English since this of course was a protectorate of the UK for many years. However, the other language is Maltese. While most know English, out in the more rural areas, some do speak Maltese often. Also given its proximity and history with Italy, some know Italian as well.

www.virtuferries.com operates a ferry from Malta to Sicily. I took Virtu Ferries to get to 

Things to Do in Malta For First Time Visitors

There is so much to do in terms of your interests, from visiting museums, hitting the blue ocean, sailing on the blue ocean, eating delicious local food, and seeing the fantastic sandstone cliffs over the water – just to name a few. Notably, Uber is also available on the main island of Malta and Goza.  

St. Julian’s Malta

St Julian’s is a popular and is why you will find most of the popular hotels in Malta here. Also, it is known for its nightlife, beaches and historical attractions. Here are some of the things you can see and do in St Julian’s:

  • See the famous luzza boats in Spinola Bay.
  • Party in Paceville, while here I got to go karaoke and did see a few cool spots that could have you dancing the night away.
  • Visit Balluta Bay and the Carmalite Church. The church is beautifully lit up at night and Parish Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a striking example of modern architecture with a circular dome.

Valletta The Capital Of Malta

Valletta is the capital and largest city of Malta, a small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. Founded in 1566 by the Knights of Malta, Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with stunning Baroque architecture and rich history. I particularly loved wandering the picturesque streets of Malta. That is how I happened to find San Paolo Naufrago a street on stairs where you can dine, have a drink, and it is perfect for people watching.

  • Upper Barrakka Gardens – This public Garden in Valletta is a great place to visit and get a great view of the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities of Malta. (There is also a lower garden as well with great views.) This garden was constructed in 1661.
  • Visit St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a 16th-century church that houses the Caravaggio paintings and the Knights of Malta tombs.
  • Explore the Grand Master’s Palace, the former residence of the rulers of Malta, which displays tapestries, armor and paintings.

Best Tours And Excursion On Malta Island 

  • Food Tour: There are numerous food tours, some offering traditional Maltese dishes mixed with more modern offerings. Given the island’s location between Europe and Africa, and being in the Mediterranean, they have all influenced the cuisine. Namely one of the less common dishes I experienced was rabbit. It is popular, I even had a rabbit ravioli which I loved. Fish and fish stew is also popular.

If you plan to take a tour, I would make a reservation since some do fill up, I was recommended to go on the Valletta food tour run by City Walking Tours Malta you can book through GetYourGuide. 

  • Walking Tours: There are both free tours and paid tours. It’s a great way to learn more about the area, especially the history and culture of the city. Authentic Malta offers a Free walking tour you can book on Guruwalks that leaves at 10:30 am. 
  • Hop on hop off bus tour- I took a hop on hop off bus tour that took me to the North part of Malta island. It is also possible to do a hop-on hop-off for the south route as well. On the northern route, you can visit the historical capital of Mdina, the free beautiful San Anton Gardens, Rabat, Mosta Church, and Golden Bay. I did the Malta Sightseeing Tour Bus and took the North Route.
  • Marsaskala is a fishing village located along the east coast of Malta. If you want to take the southern route hop on hop off bus tour you can stop here. Take a walk along the promenade, and take in the beauty of the harbor with colorful fishing boats. If you are taking the south route for the hop-on hop-off bus tour it goes here. 
  • Mdina is also known as The Silent City – since when the capital moved to Valletta, many people moved out of the town of Mdina. Mdina is a maze and amazing to get lost in the streets with decorative doors, and horse-drawn carriages meandering the streets giving tours, it is a unique place to visit and feels like an open-air museum. It is neighboring Rabat, another small town where you can visit St Pauls’s Cathedral and Catacombs. Mdina is on the North Route for the hop hop off bus tour. 

Welcome to Mdina, Malta! Which literally feels like you are walking through a movie set or an open air museum since it is so well preserved. Mdina Malta is so beautiful it has been in Movies and TV shows. Some you may have heard of: Game of Thrones as Kings Landing, Gladiator, and they are filming a second Gladiator right now! But other movies in Malta include Troy, Jurassic World Dominion and more! But most importantly Mdina is one of three @unesco sites in @visitmalta and as the ancient capital of Malta where it is said St Paul lived after crashing at sea off of Malta on his way to atone. . Who else loves visiting movie filming locations? . #visitmalta #mymaltamoment #mdina #mdinamalta #maltatoday #beautifuldestinations #prettycornersofeurope #solotravels

♬ Obituary – Alexandre Desplat

Visit The Three Cities 

The main island has more cities beyond Valletta and St. Julians. The three cities refer to Vittoriosa, Sengels, and Cospicua. You can take a ferry over to this part of the island to explore more of the island while getting a view of the island from the water at an affordable price. There is also a bus tour you can take with GetYourGuide that will give you a guided tour to delve into the history and culture of the fortified cities.

The 3 cities are Senglea, Cospicua, and Vittoriosa, also known as Isla, Bormla, and Birgu respectively. These cities are located on the eastern side of the Grand Harbour, opposite Valletta, and they have a rich maritime, mercantile, and military history that dates back to the Phoenician times.

History of the 3 Cities Of Malta

Explore the impressive fortifications, palaces, churches, and museums that showcase the legacy of the Knights of St John, who made Birgu their first capital when they arrived in Malta in 1530. You will also get to wander through the narrow and shaded streets of Vittoriosa, where you can admire the architecture and atmosphere of a medieval town. You will also visit Senglea, which has a beautiful garden overlooking the harbor and a watch post that symbolizes vigilance. 

Finally, you will stop at Cospicua, which has a stunning parish church and an oratory. The 3 cities tour of Malta is a great way to discover a different side of Malta, one that is authentic, charming, and full of surprises.

How to get around Malta?

  • Scooters / Rental Cars / ATVa: The area, especially the old town, is rather compact and easy to get around walking, plus there is public bus transportation. Also, parking can be tough if you plan to rent a car, especially in older parts of the town. 
  • Do you drive on the left side of the road? (Remember that Malta, being a former UK protectorate, the Maltese drive on the left side of the road.
  • Gozo Quad Hire is a great way to see the island or have a private tour. I know I had so much fun. www.gozaquadhire.com It was a perfect way to explore the beautiful countryside of Gozo and see what Malta was like 10 years before. 

When you find out about a small island country called @visitmalta and fall in love with Gozo Island. Less crowded then the Greek Islands and with beautiful ocean blues #visitmalta #maltatravel #europehiddengems #gozoisland #maltatiktok

♬ Hey Lover – The Daughters Of Eve
  • Ferries: One great inexpensive way to see Malta is to take the local ferries to the different islands, or just talk it to have a good view of the places via the water. Many are very affordable. Don’t miss the islands of Gozo and Cosmos.

Gozo Island and Comino Island 

Island of Gozo

Spend a day (or longer) on the Maltese Island of Gozo. You can also see the fortified wall city of Mdina founded in 8000 BC by the Phoenicians and the former capital of Malta. It too is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and shouldn’t be missed. I spent two days here since it is so amazing to visit and is a great example of a walled city in Europe. Another great reason to visit is Game of Thrones, which was filmed here too.

I particularly loved roaming the streets of Victoria or Rabat in Gozo, as well as visiting the beautiful citadel. Another activity you can do in Gozo is visit family run vineyards. While I don’t drink I had a lovely lunch that was set up as a picnic at Tal Massar Vineyard.

Sea Adventure Excursions – this is a good option to experience the Blue Lagoon. The boat itself offers sun lounges as well as air conditioning to cool off on a hot day, www.seaadventureexcursions.com

The Churches of Gozo Island

St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina on Gozo Island (Catholic)

St. George’s Basilica in Victoria on Gozo was built in 1678 (Catholic)


Watch this before you go to Malta! Visit Gozo Island and explore the natural wonders of @visitmalta as well as cultural! Enjoy great food, views, a UNESCO world heritage site, The Blue Hole, Citadel, and Rabat! Also see one of the smallest but culturally rich countries in Europe. #visitmalta #keyframe23 #moretoexplore @visitmaltauk @traverse_events #malta #traveltok #gozoisland #bluehole #europetravel #knowbeforeyougo @travelsofsarahfay1

♬ Circles – Instrumental – Post Malone

Comino Island

This small island between Malta and Goza is great to visit due to its beautiful Blue Lagoon Malta with its’ great limestone cliffs and caves. You can visit via ferry, or some take an actual boat tour out there for a 3-hour visit. There is also the Comino Walk which is a 2-3 hour walk around the island. Don’t forget to bring good sneakers for walking and if you enjoy, snorkel and a mask to take a swim in a cave.

Food, Restaurants, and Cafes in Malta

There are a plethora of restaurants and cafes in Malta with various foods influenced by Europe, Italy, North Africa, etc. and the population has grown with the folks working in tourism. Want to try something really local? Go for the rabbit, which is served as a stew, can be in ravioli, and also do not miss pat are several unique dishes especially containing a Maltese island specialty, rabbit. There is rabbit stew, rabbit ravioli, etc. that I tried while on the. Also, many restaurants have views of the shiny blue Mediterranean, and given the water surrounding the islands, you guessed it, fish is popular including fish stews. The type of fish may depend on the season, but popular ones are bass, grouper, stonefish, and white bream, to name a few. Squid and Octopus dishes are also popular. There are just so many choices, I am sure you will love it.

Naar Restobar

Naar Restobar Naar has a good menu that will appeal to the most. They have burgers, pizza, pasta dishes, etc. I decided to try Rabbit Raviola, a unique dish that I loved. Rabbit is a popular dish here in Malta. Notably, Given these are smaller Maltese islands, they liked to grow cattle for beef, so the rabbit is easier to grow (or that is my guess.) Naar restaurant is well located near the water in St. Julian.  

@naarmalta  www.naarmalta.com

Punto Bar and Dine Punta Restaurant

Punto Bar & Dine Punta restaurant with great blue decor is located looking out over the blue water and is located in Sliema. This seafront restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch dinner, and is open late for perhaps a tasty dessert. It has a good mix of appetizers, burgers, steaks, pasta, etc. Punto also has seafood and Maltese rabbit.


59 Republic

Fifty-Nine Republic Fifty Nice is an upscale restaurant serving both Mediterranean and European food in historic Valletta (St. Georges Square). This restaurant is more expensive partly due to its location, although great for special occasions. 


Bocconcino Caffe and Restaurant

Bocconcino Caffe and Restaurant is Located in St. Julian, this is near the beach and has good food and is a good value. This smaller restaurant has typical burgers, pizza, and also traditional rabbit stew.

Coffee Shops In Malta

Finca Velez Coffee House This specialty Columbian coffee shop is located in Sliema and is a great place to get a boost of energy. Such a cute place with a great cup of joe.

www.fincavelez.com  @fincavelez

Coffee Strangers Espresso Bar is a female-owned espresso bar serving craft coffee, and cupping classes. I got to take part in a demonstration with her during Traverse events in Malta. 

Hotels and Accommodations in Malta

Malta is a great vacation destination and has such a great and growing collection of resorts, hotels, inns, hostels, and AirBnBs for all budgets. On the main island, St. Julians has many resorts to choose from, no matter your budget.

  • Hilton Malta – This Hilton is located only 15 minutes from Valletta in St. Julian. It is a great hotel with some rooms having a sea or marina view.  
  • Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa – Located in St. Julian, this is an awesome place to stay, some rooms have high price tags for their premium category rooms. It’s only 20 minutes from Valletta and is near the waterfront promenade and close to Balluta Beach. 
  • The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux – Situated in the elegant 17th century within the Medieval city walls, it is located in Mdina and only a 3-minute walk to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Some rooms have balconies, there is a pool, etc., and appears to be a popular place for honeymooners. If you like historic touches, this may be a great place for your trip.
  • Inhawi Boutique Hostel – Inhawi is located in St. Julian’s with views of the bay, not far from St. George’s Bay beach. It also has an outdoor pool to relax. Its ratings are strong and its prices are reasonable, but a bit costlier than other hostels but that is due to the quality and experience.
  • Gozo farmhouses– While I took two-day trips to Gozo island I was recommended to stay in Gozo farmhouses. Gozo is said to be what Malta the main island, was like 10 years ago. If you want a more local experience I recommend staying in a farmhouse. 

Is Malta Safe?

Yes, I felt very safe traveling around the islands of Malta. Of course, all tourists should be careful on any trip, but overall it is a safe place. Just watch for simple things like petty crime, and protect your wallet and valuables. I felt safe as a solo traveler and solo woman traveler. Also, if you are going out at night you can always take Uber or if you arrive late at the airport. 

How long should you stay in Malta? 

Whatever length of trip you take to Malta I highly recommend you pay Malta and the Maltese a visit to this small nation in the Mediterranean. A 7-day trip for me was ideal, but if you love history, architecture, food, beaches, and adventure you may want to add a few days to relax on the beach too. To me, this is a gem of a nation. If you only have 3 days in Malta, staying on the main island is probably your best bet. Then if you get a chance to, jump on a local ferry to get some views of other islands, ride it round trip. 

From captivating cathedrals and churches to the famous limestone cliffs and Roman Ruins, there is so much to explore. Try the rabbit too, you will enjoy a new dish and experience more of how the local Maltese live. Addio! (i.e. Goodbye)

Fun Fact on Malta

Rabbits aren’t native to Malta. While a popular dish in the country, it turns out the Phoenicians brought rabbits to the island over 3000 years ago. The island doesn’t have fresh water sources but uses reverse osmosis to use seawater as its source of water.

Other Resources:  



May 9, 2023

All Rights Reserved by Sarah Errafay

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