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Malta Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Malta in 2023

Welcome to Malta

Turquoise water, stunning temples, and medieval architecture are attractions that bring tourists to Malta. This archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea offers breathtaking landscapes for a remarkable vacation.

In this ultimate Malta travel guide, we will share some travel tips, tricks, and everything you need to know to explore the islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino.

Document checklist for Malta

  • Visa

  • Health Declaration

  • Valid passport (for six months beyond the length of stay)

  • Sufficient funds

  • Return airline ticket

Essential Malta travel information

  • Currency - Euro (€). $1 is equivalent to approx. €0.98.

  • Daily budget for 1 person - Allow a daily budget of €231 ($241).

  • Languages - English and Maltese.

  • Socket type - Type G, 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

  • Time zone - Central European Time (GMT +01:00).

  • Top 3 cities to visit - Valletta, St. Paul’s Bay, and Mdina.

  • Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Ħaġar Qim, the Blue Lagoon, and the Upper Barrakka Gardens.

Visa information for Malta

Malta is a Schengen country, which means that most foreign nationals can enter its territory without a visa for up to 90 days within 180 days, for tourist or business purposes. Travelers from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland, as well as other countries, can enter and travel within the 26 Schengen countries visa-free.

But if you want to travel to Malta after May 2023, you should be aware that the rules will change. From May onwards, it will be mandatory to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver for arrival on the island of Malta.

ETIAS explained

ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) is a visa waiver, part of the new EU travel agreement. It's designed to help the Maltese border authorities monitor travel within the Schengen area as a resource to improve security within the EU. You can travel freely between the 26 Schengen countries with a valid ETIAS.

The Malta ETIAS will be available and mandatory from May 2023 for all travelers who are currently able to visit Malta and the Schengen area visa-free.

Schengen explained

If you are not eligible to apply for an ETIAS and cannot currently enter the Schengen zone visa-free, you may need to apply for a Malta Schengen Visa.

Typical costs and budget for Malta

A basic guide to what you'll spend daily traveling through Malta on a decent budget.

Daily spending - Around €231 ($241) per person/per day on a budget vacation. This includes:

  • Meals - €35 ($36)

  • Transport - €18 ($19)

  • Hotel - €136 ($142), for two people.

On average, a trip for two for one week will cost €3,231 ($3,365).

Transport and best ways to travel around Malta

Malta is a small country, which makes exploring and getting around the island very easy. You will find good public transport options in Malta, starting with the buses: a modern, relatively cheap, and reliable system. You can get around the major tourist areas with them using the Tallinja Card.

We are talking about islands, so ferry services are also common. You can take a regular ferry service to go from Malta to Gozo or Comino islands, taking about 20 minutes each way. Even a water taxi service is available in Grand Harbour, using traditional Maltese ‘dgħajsa’ boats.

Several private companies run taxis in Malta; however, it is a costly service. Alternatively,renting a car may be a great option if you want to stay in Malta for a couple of days and explore in your own time. All the road signs are in English, and you must remember that driving is on the left.

Safety in Malta

Malta is a safe country, like most European nations. The crime rates in the islands are very low, so you can walk relaxed on the streets. Still, it’s always good to be cautious in tourist and crowded areas, such as St. Julian’s, Sliema, and the capital city Valletta, since crimes like pickpocketing and handbag-snatching can be more common there.

Weather in Malta

Malta has a temperate climate, so you have long sunny days during the summer and pleasant weather during the spring and autumn season. The summer can get a bit hot, with temperatures between 15°C-31°C (59°F-87.8°F), but it’s also an excellent excuse to dive into the turquoise waters. The season lasts almost six months, so it’s one of the longest summers in Europe and a long peak season from mid-May to mid-October.

The country does not experience freezing winters, but this season is not a good time to travel or enjoy outdoor activities. There is maximum rainfall and temperatures between 9°C and 16°C (48.2°F and 60.8°F).

Spring and autumn are good seasons to travel, with pleasant weather and only occasional showers.

Popular cities and towns you can visit in Malta

The island has a rich history you can explore through the preserved historical sites. From the cobblestone streets to the gorgeous beaches, there’s a lot to see in Malta:

  • Valletta - This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been Malta’s capital since 1571. It’s a vibrant city with plenty of cultural attractions, restaurants, and shops.

  • St. Paul’s Bay - A city with great historical locations to visit and a beautiful beach for relaxing.

  • Marsaxlokk - A traditional fishing village, ideal for relaxing days. You can visit the daily open-air fish market and several military outposts from World War II.

  • Mellieħa Bay - Malta’s largest sandy beach, offering astonishing views over beautiful valleys and lovely villages.

  • Mdina - A fortified city in the Northern Region of Malta. It was the capital during the Middle Ages and still preserves historical sites from old times.

Things to do in Malta: The must-do and see in the country

Don’t miss these remarkable sights on your trip to Malta:

  1. Enjoy a sunny day in the Golden Bay. It’s a great spot for sunbathing, swimming, watersports, and beach BBQs during the summer.

  2. Visit Ħaġar Qim. This is a fantastic temple dating back to 3200 BC, with additional megalithic structures alongside it that are even older.

  3. Swimming in the Blue Lagoon. Comino Island has crystal clear waters and jagged cliffs, so it’s a perfect location to swim and dive.

  4. Visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta. It’s a public garden that offers a panoramic view of the Grand Harbour.

  5. Enjoy St. Peter’s Pool. This is a natural pool dug by erosion; a great swimming spot.

Typical Maltese food to try

  • Ħobż/Ftira biż-Żejt (Open Sandwich) - This is a delicious open sandwich. The literal translation name is “bread with oil”. It uses traditional Maltese bread as the base of the dish, spread with kunserva (a sweet tomato paste) and topped with olive oil, tomatoes, tuna, salt, and pepper.

  • Torta tal-Lampuki (Lampuki Pie) - Lampuki is the Maltese name for dorado fish or mahi-mahi, which has a heavy, meaty texture, similar to swordfish. Along with Lampuki, the recipe uses cauliflower, carrots, black olives, capers, olives, garlic cloves, and tomato purée to fill the pie.

  • Stuffat tal-Fenek (Rabbit Stew) - The rabbit, as the name suggests, is the star of this Maltese dish. This plate consists of tender cuts of rabbit slow-cooked in a pot, along with red wine, garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, and tomato purée. They also add traditional Maltese herbs to the broth to enhance and freshen the flavor.

Vaccine Information for Malta

It's important to know what routine vaccines and COVID-19 measures are required to enter Malta and any other EU country before travel. We recommend you check the CDC website to learn about all vaccine requirements and any recommended guidance or medicine lists.

Scuba diving in Malta

Where to stay in Malta to enjoy scuba diving? It doesn’t matter, since you have great spots in Malta, Camino, or Gozo islands! The country offers an amazing experience in the Mediterranean region for those who love to explore the underwater. You can discover marine wildlife, wrecks, and caves, counting on warm water and sunny days in the summer.

The prices for scuba diving are affordable, and beginners can count on very experient instructors. Some of the best dive sites in Malta are the Blue Grotto, the Fort Saint Elmo in Valletta (to see the wreck of the HMS Maori, a destroyer which sank in 1942), the Blue Hole in Gozo, and Santa Maria Caves in Comino.

Fun facts about Malta

One of the smallest countries in the world, Malta is a place worth visiting! There are some curious facts about the islands that maybe will leave you even more excited to know the country:

  1. There are three times more tourists visiting the country every year than there are residents on the island. The population of the island is around 414,000 people.

  2. Several empires ruled Malta. Throughout history, the country was part of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights Templars, French, and the British empire.

  3. There are several sunken World War II ships, submarines, and fighter planes around the coastline of Malta. The country was a military spot in the Mediterranean Theatre where the air and naval forces of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany fought against the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy.

  4. Malta is a filming location for a lot of big-budget productions. Among the blockbusters filmed in the country are Gladiator and World War Z, and the hit TV series Game Of Thrones.

  5. According to UNESCO, the Capital, Valletta, is one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.

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