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5 full days in Malta the first week of April, 2012

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Nov 17th, 2011, 01:47 AM
  #1
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5 full days in Malta the first week of April, 2012

Hi everybody,

I am looking for ideas for next Easter break and I had thought of Malta (a place I've always wanted to visit), however, I have a few questions:

1. Are five full days worth it? Counting traveling time, I would only have 5 full days in Malta. I know that the more, the better, but this is all I have. My main interests are: Valletta, Medina & Marsaxlokk.

2. Will the first week of April be cold for a beach day at the Blue Lagoon, on the island of Comino?

My main interests when I travel is: strolling, eating, churches & beaches.

Thanks for your input,

Orlando Fato
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Nov 20th, 2011, 02:10 AM
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Hi again,

I know that if I counted on more days, it would be better, but 5 full days is what I have and a couple of half-days upon arrival and departure. However, I don't want to do a rat race around the country. I'd rather enjoy a few things and be able to say "I enjoyed them" than visiting the entire nation in less than a week and, once back home, say "I remember seeing but I don't remember much of it".

Considering Mdina, Vittoriosa & Marsaxlokk seem to be tiny, would you visit them in the afternoon? That way, I could spend mornings in Valletta and free up an extra day. Does this seem rushed? I've seen suggested itineraries where these cities are dedicated half-days, but, like I said, I don't want to be in some kind of marathon around the island. I've checked timetables (which I've also read are not to be taken literally) and these places seem to be half an hour away from Valletta.

I was even thinking of skipping Gozo and visiting Marsaxlokk. Perhaps, a better idea is to use the the hop on/off around Gozo for a day. The Lonely Planet guidebook of Malta features a week long itinerary where Gozo isn't included. What do you think of Marsaxlokk? Gozo does look interesting.

While a lot of guidebooks place the Blue Lagoon in their top Malta attractions, I am a little bit confused because, when it comes to beaches, I see Golden Bay, Mellieha and Ramla Bay recommended over it. What's your opinion on the Blue Lagoon?

Thank you again,

Orlando Fato
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Nov 20th, 2011, 06:42 AM
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1. The Marsaxlokk market is best on Sundays; the other days have fewer vendors.

2. It will not be beach weather the first week in April unless you are used to cold climates and don't need a lot of warmth.

<< Mdina, Vittoriosa & Marsaxlokk seem to be tiny, would you visit them in the afternoon? >>

If you're using public transport you won't be able to visit these three places in one afternoon and see anything. The bus schedules are erratic and are best when using Valletta as your arrival and departure point.

<< What do you think of Marsaxlokk >>

The market was nice but I've seen better markets. Other than that you have the colorful boats but you won't need much time in Marsaxlokk.

<< I was even thinking of skipping Gozo and visiting Marsaxlokk >>

You can't compare Gozo to Marsaxlokk. Gozo is an island with several attractions (Citadel, etc.) and Marsaxlokk is a small town (as are all the towns on Malta). Gozo was very interesting but unless you have something specific to see there you should stay on Malta for the 5 days. It's going to take you a couple of hours to get to Gozo and back (if you stay in Valletta).

<< What's your opinion on the Blue Lagoon? >>

I did the blue lagoon on Gozo, not Comino. It was interesting as I've never done something like that before. You get in a small boat and go between the arched rocks into a small lagoon. The water will only be blue on a sunny day.

What are you looking for in beaches? The ones you mentioned seemed all the same to me. A small patch of sand. Nothing of great interest. Only a few people on them at the end of April/beginning of May.

Here's the link to my photos. I have 1 photo of Golden Bay under "misc." You can also read my trip report if you click on my name.

http://modigliani.shutterfly.com/malta2004
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Nov 20th, 2011, 07:59 PM
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I spent 10 days on Malta several years ago, and I really enjoyed it. However, if beaches are a top priority you will be disappointed, particularly in April. Maltese beaches are small, often rocky (limestone), and pretty nondescript IMO, and April is not warm beach weather. (Granted, I live in southern California, so I'm accustomed to larger more scenic beaches).

I think you may be overestimating the amount of time it takes to visit the various areas. Malta is only about 17 miles (27 km) long, so you can see a lot in 5 full days and 2 half-days. For example, Valletta has one main artery, Republic Street, which is lively but also relatively short. I don't think any place on the main island of Malta is more than 30 minutes or so from Valletta by bus.

Given your interests, I would definitely check out Gozo. Several interesting churches and an interesting place to stroll, particularly Victoria (Rabat). I enjoyed the Ta' Pinu Basilica and the Church of the Visitation on Gozo. I also did the Blue Lagoon on Gozo, not Comino.

Comino is isolated and essentially uninhabited (I think 3 or 4 caretakers live there) and is a nature preserve. It's only 2.5 sq km (1 sq mile). Again, given your interests--strolling, eating, beaches, and churches--it seems to me that Gozo has more to offer than Comino.

I did not take a hop-on-hop-off bus, just the regular buses. The main bus station is just outside the gates of Valletta and most routes begin and end here. I stayed at the Preluna Hotel in Sliema, and there was a bus stop right across the street. I found the local buses to be cheap, plentiful, old, slow, rickety, and fun to ride.

I also recommend that you take one of the many cruises Malta has to offer. Seeing the islands by water gives a perspective that land tripping cannot.

You said you like to eat, and I found Maltese food to be delicious. Lots of hearty soups, thick Maltese bread, delicious seafood, pasta. If you're a meat eater, rabbit, beef, and pork are also popular.

In addition to your Lonely Planet Guide, I suggest you either buy or borrow from the library the Insight Guide to Malta. It has stunningly beautiful color pictures and lots of info on history, architecture, churches, food, etc. You can find it used on Amazon for less than $1.00.
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Nov 24th, 2011, 05:45 AM
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Thank you, Adrienne. I didn't mean I wanted to visit Marsaxlokk, Mdina and Vittoriosa in one afternoon, but in three afternoons or mornings, leaving another half day to do something else. I've read about Marsaxlokk, and I can tell there not anything to do but have lunch, check out the market on a Sunday and watch the harbour with the traditional boats, however, I'll include it in my itinerary and spend a morning there, probably have lunch, and go back to Valleta.

Thank you Walkabout. I've checked bus schedules and I can see that everything seems to be roughly at a 30 minute bus ride from Valletta. Besides, everything seems to be very small, as well. I'm looking forward to the seafood.

I've decided to have a more general itinerary and go with the flow once I am in Malta. I´ll visit Gozo as a day trip and probably hire a taxi once I am there. This is what I have:

Day1: Arrival in the afternoon
Day2: Valletta & Vittoriosa
Day3: Mosta & Mdina
Day4: Marsaxlokk
Day5: Day trip to Gozo
Day6: Departure in the afternoon

Thanks for your input,

Orlando
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Nov 24th, 2011, 03:10 PM
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Hi again,

I have one last question: I want to base in Valletta, but I've been checking lodging and there seem to be better choices in Sliema. Would it be that much of a nuisance to travel to Marsaxlokk and Mdina by bus from Sliema?

Thank you,

Orlando
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Nov 24th, 2011, 03:47 PM
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You'd need to go from Sliema to Valletta and then transfer to a bus to other towns. You perhaps could get a direct bus from Sliema but the best/most frequent connections are from Valletta. There are also more restaurant choices and much more to do in Valletta than in Sliema. Sliema has some tourist hotels and some restaurants but not much more. With only 5 days I would try to stay in Valletta.

Are you going to any of the temples? I suggest the Hypogeum, the preserved, underground temple. You need advance tickets as they only let in about 10 people per hour. I describe the Hypogeum (and give detailed directions to get there) in my trip report.
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Nov 25th, 2011, 07:16 PM
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Hi, we had a wonderful trip to Malta and Gozo years ago. We had about 8 days in Malta, staying in Valletta, and 5 days on Gozo. It was great having so much time as we felt we could relax as well as doing lots of sightseeing. On the same trip we flew with Air Malta to Sicily (30 min flight) and had two weeks there.

All the buses come and go from the Valletta bus station, which is just outside the city walls. We visited Sliema but were very happy we stayed in Valletta, it is full of atmosphere and history. Here are some places to stay if you are still looking:

http://www.vallettastudios.com/ we stayed here, quite basic but very central

http://www.vallettasuites.com/

http://www.vallettahouse.com/

There are also a few small hotels in Valletta and the more upmarket Phonecia Hotel which is just outside the city walls.

If you want to arrange a car, we would really recommend
http://www.mayjocarhire.com/

We hired a jeep from them on Gozo and at the last minute, also a car transfer back to the airport on Malta. They were very helpful, friendly and costs were reasonable.

I've written a few times on this forum about what we did etc, you could try doing a search on my name.

Have a great trip.
Kay
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Nov 25th, 2011, 10:10 PM
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Sliema is less than a 10-minute walk from St. Julian, which is right across the bay from Valletta. Given how small the island is and the short distances involved, I did not find it to be a problem to catch buses from Sliema to other parts of the island.

IMO, Valletta is lively during the day, but dead at night. You don't need to stay there to enjoy what it has to offer. You can easily stay in Sliema and make your way from there. Remember, we're not talking about trying to get from one side of Los Angeles to another--all of the neighborhoods and areas in Malta are close together. There are also a lot of hotels in St. Julian's, which has a lively nightlife.

As far as your itinerary, you probably don't need an entire day to visit Marsaxlokk. If you like markets, you may also want to check out the Sunday morning market in Valletta, which is the largest one in Malta. It gets very crowded, though, so if you go, go early.

If you haven't searched this forum for other Malta threads, here are a few that may interest you:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...bout-malta.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...k-in-malta.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rip-report.cfm

I really enjoyed my time in Malta, and I hope you have a wonderful trip.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 12:34 PM
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Hello Orlando,

Here is a page with what you can do in 5 days :
http://www.malta.com/en/holidays/hol...alta-in-5-days

5 days in good to see a lot as the island is small ! and you can still come back if you liked it !

REgards
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Feb 27th, 2012, 12:31 PM
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If you are going to Gozo, really consider using the hop on hop off bus. Taxi would be very expensive. Marsaxlokk is only worth visiting on Sunday morning, when the fish market is there. Get there early to see the fish sellers prepare their stalls at about 6am and the locals coming for their weekly fish. Tons of fish on sale. Very good fish restaurants there too serving the freshest of the catch....best being Rizzu (pre-book). The Maltese traditionally have their main meal at about noon, so you could visit on Sunday morning and round it up with a good meal at Rizzu. I would stay at St Julians as Valletta is too dead at night, and at St Julians you are spoilt for choice of restaurants unlike Valletta where they tend to focus on lunch rather than dinner.
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