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Help! Four day Malta itinerary...

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Hi - is someone able to help me put together a possible 4 day itinerary in Malta over July and suggest where we should base ourselves within Malta (Valetta or St Juliens)? We will have no car.

I realise it is going to be very hot in July when we visit, so suggestions for a hotel with a pool would be great! We are budgeting about 50-60 EUR per night per person.

My boyfriend and I are interested in attractions, scenery and history/architecture, good food, walks and beaches/water, and not so much the nighlife. However, we still want there to be things to do nearby.

I also noted that we can travel to Gozo by Ferry - is it possible to do this in 1 day, or have we not enough time to spare in the 4 days? And which part of Gozo should we visit?

The following festivals are on during our stay - which one is the best one to go to?


15 July St Sebastian Hal Qormi
15 July Our Lady of Holy Doctrine Hal Tarxien
15 July St George Victoria (Gozo)
16 July Our Lady of Mount Carmel Victoria (Gozo)
16 July Our Lady of Mount Carmel Valletta

Many thanks for all your help!!

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    I would choose St. Julian as a base. Valletta is lively during the day, but dead as a doornail at night.

    Yes, you can do a one-day trip to Gozo. The ferry only takes about 25 minutes.

    I stayed at the Preluna Hotel, which is in Sliema, but is only about a 10-minute walk from St Julian. It has a seafront promenade in front, but it is not the "main" promenade. If you stay there, it is worth it to get a seaview room. They are much nicer than the basic rooms. http://www.preluna-hotel.com/
    http://goo.gl/8kS0e

    Malta has beaches, but IMO they are pretty unimpressive. Most are small, and many are limestone. You might want to check out the beach at the Blue Lagoon on Comino. It's small and will be crowded in July, but the water is beautiful.

    You don't need a car in Malta. I was there for 10 days and didn't have one, just used public buses. Some people rent a jeep when they go to Gozo, but I didn't.

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    As walkabout suggested, I would certainly prefer staying in St. Julian/Sliema area than in Valletta (unless you can afford to splurge on the 5 Star Hotel Excelsior in Floriana, just outside the Valletta bastions). The atmosphere is much more lovely for sure, always in my opinions in the evenings in Sliema area. There are lovely promenades along the coasts, one facing Sliema/St. Julians and the open sea, and on the other side facing the Grand Harbour of Valletta, the bastions, Manoel Island etc.

    Yes, it would be hot in July, like most mediterranean countries. The sea is only a few steps away in Sliema/St Julians, and I agree with walkabout that beaches are always crowdy in Malta in July/August, but you might find a nice spot. The beaches that most tourists visit in Malta are the sandy beaches of Golden Bay and Ghadira, and rocky beaches in Sliema/St. Julians, and Bugiiba. There are several nice, much more secluded beaches in Malta, which often only locals know about them, and some are only accessible by car.

    Regarding the Maltese festa - I would recommend the feast of St. George in Gozo, very poplular and well organised, and maybe the Our Lady of Mount Carmel church in Valletta, they take place on different days, so it should be ok for you.

    The Maltese bus company in Malta is called Arriva, so if you go on a search engine and type in Arriva Malta you will find the website with their schedules and times, they have some with direct routes like from Cirkewwa, where the ferry leaves for Gozo, to St. Julians area or Valletta.

    Now for Gozo, also as walkabout suggested, you can easily do it in one whole long day till late evening or even night. The local bus service does frequent scheduled trips to Cirkewwa, the earlier you start off the better to avoid tourist queueing in bus stops. Also the Malta/Gozo ferry is very frequent and reliable, and does trips throughout the day and night. Then there would be buses waiting in Mgarr Gozo or Cirkewwa to Valletta and probably also to Sliema/St. Julians/Bugibba areas, where most tourists stay.

    Places of interest I would recommend in Gozo, also considering that your time is limited and you are not driving are:

    Dwejra - where there is the lovely Azure Window formed by weather and is made of natural rock. There are short boat rides available from there to the Grotto nearby - really beautiful clear waters.

    Victoria Gozo and the Citadella - the ancient part of Victora. It is up the hill and from there you can have a 360 degrees view of the whole of Gozo - really lovely, and so is the Citadella cathedral there, with its unique ceilings. Most probably there would be a bus service to the Citadella for sure, it would only be around a 10-minute walk from the centre square of Victoria, but not very recommendible in the heat of July, unless you go there maybe early evening (before it gets dark) before going to the feast of St. George also in Victoria.

    Xlendi - a lovely seaside village, with many restaurants there, and also good for a quick swim, The beach is really lovely there, carved between rocks. Throughout the years it has also become very touristy.

    Marsalforn - a fishing village but has also become very popular for tourists. It is also on a long beach and has a lovely promenade, the more inland you walk the nicer it gets.

    I think that the above would fill up your day in Gozo, ending it up with the feast of St. George in the evening. If you leave late, the better, as many of the day tourists would have left, yet the ferry service would be still regular all night. The name of the ferry service is called Gozo Channel Company Limited, I am sure you would find the website with their Summer/Winter schedules.

    A few places of interests I might suggest in MALTA:

    Valletta of course - , maybe you can do it on the 16th July, ending off the day with the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
    Closeby, there is the new pretty waterfront, about a 10-minute walk from Valletta, which has a beautiful seafront view of the ancient Valletta harbour, with restaurants and cafes, the area has been newly renovated - the Mediterranean cruises stop close by. Make sure you also make time to visit St. John's Cathedral in central Valletta, with its many famous paintings. Also a visit to the Upper Barakka Gardens close to Castille would be nice. Again, a breathtaking view of the harbour and the surrounding ancient bastions. Many cruise captains remark the the port of Vallett is the most beautiful port they have ever entered, as it is surrounded by ancient bastions and cities.

    Mdina, a visit is a must - a very lovely unique ancient city built on a hill with the loveliest views. There are some museums you might like to visit, and of course the Cathedral and its ancient narrow streets, no vehicles are allowed inside the walls of this city unless you are a resident there. There is also a nice belvedere at the back of this ancient city, and try and make a stop at the Fontanella cafeteria there, close to the belvedere, it makes really lovely cakes and snacks, and has lovely views of the surrounding countryside.

    Hagar Qim or Mnajdra Temples, the oldest temples ever recorded in history.

    Then there is the Vittoriosa Waterfront, a harbour also bordering an ancient city, there is also a museum there, definitely also worth a visit.

    There is also the pretty fishing village of Marsaxlokk - such a lovely small harbour filled with their authentic fishing boats. You get to eat really really good fish there, as they say, catch of the day. Some of our favourite restaurants there are La Capanna, and Tartarun, but there are so many all along the seafront.

    There is the tourist resort of Bugibba, very very touristy, but nice along the coast.

    Then of course St. Julians/Sliema area, which can be very crowdy with tourists, but really really nice. it has nice promenades and a great atmosphere.

    Taxi fares are not too high in Malta, but I would ask what the fare is to your requested destination before taking them. There are many good car hire companies that offer good service.

    Now to hotels - accomodations. Preluna Hotel does have quite a good position, but I heard quite some people say that the rooms badly need renovation (look also at Tripadvisor reviews). I am not sure either about their food, I think it is quite mass-produced for tourists, but probably that would be no problem for you anyway as you do not want to take accomodation on half board basis.

    Two hotels I would suggest are the Hotel Juliani in St. Julians. It is a really sweet affordable boutique hotel on the seafront and has a roof-top pool. It has a lovely view of the open seas and St. Julians seafront. There is a bus stop extremely close that go to all major sites, even Cirkewwa. Another one I might suggest is the Hotel Fortina. It is in Sliema, on the other side, but still extremely central and very close to the bus stops. This hotel has some nice restaurants, and has the most lovely view of the Grand Harbour of Valletta from the Sliema side. Plenty of nice cafes near by, and also extremely close is the brand new mall built on the seafront called The Point, with shops, restaurants etc. Maybe an even affordable hotel in St Julians is the Hotel Cavalieri, check it up.

    The Blue Lagoon in Comino, another of the sister islands of Malta, is really really lovely with clear crystal water and its lovely rugged cliff coastline, but as the other fodorite mentioned it will be literally packed with tourists in July. In fact we always like to go to Comino late September when tourists lessen. But if interested in them, you can easily buy an organized tour to go there from St. Julians/Sliema area that take you, including transport to Cirkewwa and ferry crossing to Comino. You will find quite a few trying to sell you tickets like these in Sliema/St. Julians, but if you are interested go near the Sliema ferries. You can also take a short boat ride along the coast of Malta from the ferries in Sliema. Or you can do it solo and go to Cirkewwa again, very near to where the ferries for Gozo leave, but at the side, there are scheduled boats that go to Comino. But to do everything you really have to plan your trip well, as four days is really a short time, or maybe you shortlist your preferences.

    One thing I am not sure, but I think that from the Sliema ferries there is also a public ferry service from Sliema to Valletta, it stops near the waterfront of Valletta. You might be interested in that to visit the Waterfront, then it would be about a ten-minute walk to central Valletta.

    If you have any questions, I would be more than willing to help you out.

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    One thing I forgot to say - when you book your hotel, email them directly in their website and ask them for any special offers for your 4 days. If possible do your best to have a seafront room in the hotels I suggested, well worth for sure the few extra euros you might pay.

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    anna_galea
    I agree that some of the Preluna rooms are quite tired. The second link that I posted is to a tripadvisor review of the Preluna.

    I thought the Fortina Hotel looked really nice from the outside, but some of the recent reviews on tripadvisor not so great. Same for the Cavalieri. I'm not familiar with the Hotel Juliani, but it looks lovely. It also gets very good reviews on tripadvisor.
    Hotel Juliani: http://goo.gl/bcBqZ
    Hotel Fortina: http://goo.gl/6zXlQ
    Hotel Cavalieri: http://goo.gl/cWej0

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    Yes, walkabout, if I had to choose from the three hotels I suggested, I would choose Hotel Juliani for sure. It is only a few euros more than the budget, but maybe she will be given a discount or an upgrade to a seaview.

    The other two hotels I suggested were recently renovated. Hotel Cavalieri has a very central position in St. Julians if she likes to be in the middle of it all, whilst Hotel Fortina has lovely views, looks really lovely and its restaurants are good, a lot of Maltese frequent them.

    I do like Preluna's position close to the Fortress, but I am not sure I would go there, maybe it is because I like newer or newly-renovated hotels and Preluna has always been there since I remember. Also we sometimes used to stop at the cafeteria below and I was not impressed at all by their food, and I am not so sure about their meals since this is a hotel aimed at tourists, you know, mass produced. But maybe Fodorite will find it more than adequate, each to his own as they say.

    I agree with you I would ultimately opt for hotel Juliani. I can give her quite a few other recommendations maybe within budget, but we'll see what fodorite says.

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    You are welcome.

    Two other lovely places on the coast in Malta frequented by tourists are The Blue Grotto in Zurrieq and Ghar Lapsi (Lapsi Cave in limits of Siggiewi - I do not know whether local buses go there). Maybe you should take a day tour to cover some of the sights I recommended in one day, as otherwise you might have to skip some places due to your short stay.

    Enjoy your trip!!

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