I was having a weekend in a icy Warsaw, when my dorm mate started talking about travelling from Malta. I didn’t know much about Malta, so I asked around, other than the myth of it being a British expat paradise, not many people had been. However it met all of my criteria, cheap flights(Ryanair), hostel rich, heavy public transport and it was sunnier than home in Edinburgh. So off I went to discover this mysterious island. I was not disappointed, I found a unique blend of Arabic meets Italian culture which I have never came across in my life.
When to go to Malta?
Due to the cheap flights, I was persuaded to go in January, however on arriving, I was told by hostel staff, that this was the quiet month. The main season for activities and travel is obviously the peak months between May to August, however the weather is more than inviting in the early months, with its mid teen degree temperatures.
Where to stay in Malta?
I found this was the hardest decision of my trip, you really only have three options when it comes to hostels. However if you are not restricted to hostels, I would recommend looking at accommodation in the main city Valletta.
Sliema, considered the most modern area with public transport good access, dotted around the rocky bay beaches with hotels, bars and restaurants. St Julians and Paceville, considered the nightlife capital of Malta populated with bars and clubs along with modern shops and food outlets however not very close to beaches. This was my choice, where I stayed at the new Marco Polo Hostel. Gozo Island, believe it or not Malta’s smaller sister Island has a hostel (Santa Martha).
What to do in Malta?
• Visit Valletta, Malta’s beautiful yet small capital. Now Valletta reminded me of Rome, the yellow sandstone buildings which has been influenced heavily by Catholicism. Simply walking around the streets and restaurants itself will immerse yourself in all things Maltese.
• Take a day trip to Gozo, I personally visited its largest town, Victoria and its magnificent citadel, however it is better to go in the earlier hours of the day as it does get busy believe it or not.
• Get the bus or drive to Mdina. This may have been the highlight of Malta for myself. Mdina is a walled medevil fortress which is simply breathtaking.
• Unfortunately due to the weather I was unable to get the ferry to Comino island, which hosts the famous Blue Lagoon, however many have since recommended this.
• Finally a tour of the Ħaġar Qim temples and Blue Grotto, which can be done in the same day, yet again the weather limited my visit but I was able to go.
As a student in International Politics, Gareth has researched many cultures and cities while traveling extensively in his spare time on budget and cheap breaks, reaching to around 50 odd countries with a particular interest in street photography and locals. Gareth’s photography and travels have allowed him to develop a greater understanding of countries with culture, his consistent and frequent backpacking trips have allowed him to explore amazing parts of the world in short real time constraints while learning the tips and tricks to city breaks and sightseeing musts.