In the film "Vinnaithandi Varuvaya" and subsequently in "Game of Thrones," I first learned about Malta and saw it on a map. It is the smallest country in Southern Europe and may be the most diversified region of all of Europe's Mediterranean Sea coast countries.
Whether it's culture, beaches, history, or scenery you're looking for in an island getaway, this little nation has it all. Malta is a great place to visit if you want to unwind, lounge by the pool, and go out at night, but there is much more to the nation than that.
Despite its small size, Malta has enough attractions to keep visitors occupied for five days. The difficulty lies in figuring out how to see the finest of Malta in such a little visit.
Things to Know before you Go
Visa (for Indian Passport holders): For holders of Indian passports travelling to Malta, a prior visa must be arranged. You can travel without a visa if you have a Schengen visa or are a resident of one of the EU/Schengen nations.
Currency: Malta's currency is Euros. 1 Euro ~ 80 INR
Best way to travel : Malta is well connected by its extensive bus network, ferries and taxi services. There is no metro and trains in Malta, considering the small size of the country
Accommodation : Hotels range from cheap to luxurious, and it will cost more to stay close to the major attraction. If you need some room and will need to cook, Airbnb's are a possibility. Valletta & St.Julian's are the most preferred locations
Language : English and Maltese(a Mediterranean language related to Arabic) are the two official languages. Italian is widely spoken and understood.
Food: Standard western cuisine is offered at many eateries in tourist destinations, especially those with British influences. Maltese food shares many similarities with Italian cuisine, making it a little harder to discover places that serve it. Rabbit (fenek), one of the island's delicacies, is also widely available, as are the tiny savoury pastries known as pastizzi.
Water: Interestingly, Malta experiences little rainfall, and the majority of the island's drinking water is either extracted from an underground aquifer or the sea via massive desalination facilities on the west coast. We bought bottled water, didn't use the tap water much.
Wifi & Mobile data: usually we'll stick to free Wi-Fi in Europe. Fortunately, Maltese SIM cards are inexpensive and accessible to everyone travelling to the nation. Cost us 10 Euros, so we just took it for emergency
Credit Cards and ATMs: It was easy paying by card and didn't feel the need to use Cash. But better to carry some in case you are going to a street shop or in the countryside.
Safety: Malta is a safe destination. Always be mindful of your surroundings & stick to your instincts. If you feel something is not right, don't do it. Keep your wallets & passports safe.
Best time to Visit
One of the first considerations when organizing a trip to Malta is the ideal time to travel.
Malta, an island in the Mediterranean, enjoys four distinct seasons, and it may get very crowded during the peak travel period.
The ideal time to travel to Malta is actually in the spring, unless you have a serious hankering for heat. From April through June, Malta experiences pleasant daytime temperatures and rather chilly evenings. Additionally, you won't be required to pay peak prices.
Due to the small size of Matla, it is feasible to go from one side to the other and back in a single day, from a single base like Valletta. You do need to consider getting from one island to the next because Malta is made up of several islands.
On the official Malta tourism website, you may find out more information about other Island locations
How to get to Malta
The hardest part is finding a direct flight from Chennai to Malta. The alternative with two layovers and a lengthy airport wait will be the least expensive.
Air France, Lufthansa, Air Malta, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, and Turkish Airlines are some of the major airlines that fly into Malta. Paris is the best option for connecting.
Malta is not expensive at the same time not cheap, some where in the middle range.
On average, you’ll be able to visit Malta for 30-45 EUR (4000 Indian Rupees) per day (includes food, transportation and sightseeing). Most of the places you see in Malta is free except for the museums & Boat trips
Accommodation ranges from 35 Euros (2900 Indian rupees) , a whole house in Airbnb (insanely cheap) and budget hotels starting from 40 Euros (3200 Indian rupees)
Flights are the most expensive part of the travel and the costs vary depending on the time of travel. Approx. economy return fares from Chennai will be 1,00,000 INR per person
Where to Stay
Choosing a place to stay in Malta will be another important factor to take into account while organising your vacation. The majority of the time, the best lodging options in Malta are those that put you close to Valletta, whether that be in the city proper or close by in areas like the Three Cities or St Julians Bay.
Contrary to other country itineraries, you really don't need to change locations while travelling because all of the places described here may be seen in a single day if you stay in a central location. Having said that, it's okay if you want to move around a little. Halfway through, you could relocate from the Valletta region to Mellieha or St. Paul's Bay, and it really wouldn't affect your agenda for Malta.
Valletta City & St.Julian’s Bay
How to Travel around Malta
Click on the Image to Zoom
The most effective ways to get around Malta are typically by walking, taking a bus, or taking a ferry. While it is feasible to rent a car and travel across Malta, doing so might be slow and difficult due to traffic and crowded streets. However, since there is a vehicle ferry to Gozo, practically everywhere in Malta is accessible by automobile.
The bus system in Malta is comparable in this regard. Buses are the only mode of public transportation in Malta, and they connect all points of the island. The bus network is available to you as soon as you land at Luqa Airport, and no matter how far you have to travel, the fare is always the same.
Pass we bought
For people who intend to travel extensively during the day and into the night, the Explorer Bus Card is perhaps the best choice. You can take as many buses as you like in Malta, including on the island of Gozo, with the Explorer Bus Card. It costs €21 or €15 for a child and is good for seven days. With a tap of the Explorer card, board any bus, including Night services. One can be purchased for either cash or a credit card at any customer information desk at a bus terminal.
Must See Places in Malta
There is no better spot to begin your trip to Malta than in Valletta, the country's capital. Valletta is home to many significant Maltese cultural and heritage sites and spans across a peninsula with harbours on either side.
Finally, visit one or both of the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens to take in some of the best vistas the city has to offer. In addition to being attractive on their own, these garden terraces offer spectacular views of the Grand Harbour and other notable locations in Valletta.
2. Inner Valletta City, Landmarks & Ferry Ride
You begin your time in Valletta by passing through the formidable city defences and entering Valletta's City Gate. From there, you can explore the city's ancient streets, from Republic Street, which is the main pedestrian thoroughfare, to all the inclining side streets that lead to the harbours. Here is where you may see the traditional view of colourful Maltese balconies.
After some time, make your way to St. John's Co-Cathedral, one of Malta's most significant religious sites. Although it has a long history with the Knights of St. John and dates back to the 16th century, the interior's extravagant Baroque design, complete with paintings and gilded edges, is what draws tourists in. you will also come across plenty of Medieval architectures as you walk into the inner city. Our personal favourite is the ferry ride from Valletta to St. Julian’s
3. St. Julian
San Giljan, often known as St Julian's in Malta, is a coastal community near to Sliema. There are many possibilities to go out to eat, shop, and party there. Because of its location, accessibility to public transportation, and cosmopolitan atmosphere, it is among the best places to stay if you wish to see Malta. Additionally, it offers a variety of water sports, such as jet skiing and parasailing.
4. Golden Bay
Golden Bay in Northwest Malta is one of the island's most beautiful beaches, with its secluded sandy shoreline hidden behind a hilly coastline and sloping cliffs. Golden Bay Beach is a great place to get away from it all because, unlike other beaches in Malta, it is remote from any street traffic. Many guests stay here all day, lazing around on the beach and enjoying the calming sound of the waves lapping against the shore.
Rentable loungers and beach umbrellas are available, and the area offers well-kept amenities such public restrooms and change areas.
Day Trips from Malta
Blue Lagoon, Comino Island
Start off with some time at Comino as it's nearby. Comino, the smallest of the three main islands, is a nature reserve with just three permanent people and a stony, desolate landscape. The island's swimming holes, with the Blue Lagoon being by far the most well-known, are what make it most well-known. However, The Crystal Lagoon is a good substitute. On land, you can get to the Santa Marija Tower and enjoy some lovely seaside views by walking or cycling there.
Again distinct from Comino, Gozo has a considerably more rural, rustic feel and is bigger. You are welcomed with a picturesque small village and a view of the Lourdes Chapel as soon as you enter Mgarr Harbour. While a half-day is already far too short to explore all of Gozo, the majority of visitors concentrate on Victoria, the island's largest city.
Azure Window - Lost forever
Actually, one of Gozo's most famous landmarks, the Azure Window at Dwejra Bay, collapsed on Wednesday morning, March 8, 2017. This collapse and enormous loss for Gozo and all of its residents and visitors were caused by strong winds and large seas that pounded the island last year.
Yes, unfortunately it was true. Nature carved it and nature took it back!
We had the good fortune to witness the Azure Window, which gained fame when Game of Thrones Season 1 was filmed. The legendary "Vinnathandi Varuvaya Song" is another.
Conclusion & Our Recommendation
We enjoyed our visit to Malta and were impressed by the Azure Window, the turquoise lagoon, and the Mediterranean climate. We believed that Malta is the place to be in the summer when travelling from Norway. But if you ask me, I doubt that's a must-visit location from India. Due to the costs and lack of direct or simple connecting flights, we would keep it as an optional destination.