6 days in Malta - any suggestions?

Nov 23rd, 2004, 11:53 PM
  #1  
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6 days in Malta - any suggestions?

Hi fellow Fodorites and Others, We are going to Malta for 6 days in April 2005 and would love some tips on where to stay, where to go, etc.

We are thinking of staying in Meliha or even Marsaxlokk (however do you pronounce this?). We want to get away from the main tourist accommodation drags and are looking for a boutique type hotel, or apartment.

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in anticipation.

aussie_travellers
aussie_travellers is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 02:16 AM
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Hello - I was in Malta last year for a vacation and here are some suggestions:

As to where to stay - if you stay in the towns you are thinking of, you have to rent a car. There are busses that go to those places, but times and routes are limited, and you would be spending far too much time getting around.

We stayed in Valletta, and liked being around the history, plus that is the center of all bus transport. However, at night it is very quiet. Even many restaurants close for dinner, thought for a short stay, you would not have a problem. Most people stay along shore in areas strung out north of Valletta. This is faurly touristy, and if you are taking the bus, you often muct change in Valletta.

For 6 days, of course depending on your interest, I would spend a day in Valletta, half day in Mdina, would visit one of the ancient ruin sites, and spend a day in Gozo. Add in a day or two of poking around smaller, less visited places, or going on a hike (e.g. Dingli Cliffs) and your time is up. April is not beach weather.

Howard is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 03:04 AM
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Amy
 
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I loved Malta. I stayed in Valletta, as well, and, although of course there are day-trippers, it didn't feel at all "touristy". It is very quiet at night! My hotel was the Castille, a lovely old historic building.

There is so much to see and do, but one "must" to me is the Hypogeum, the underground neolithic site; it was awe inspiring. You do need to get tickets in advance, though. Mnajdra temple was fascinating as well.

Marsaxxlokk (Mar-shash-lock to the best of my memory) was picturesque, with the boats and such, but I would actually think Valletta would be better for getting around. Gozo for a day is essential; I took the open jeep tour and really enjoyed it.

There's some pix at
http://community.webshots.com/user/missalg
Just copy and paste the above, and the Malta album should be at the top of the page.

I'll be happy to answer any questions that I can, and I recommend the lasagne at the Labour Party restaurant!

Amy is online now  
Nov 24th, 2004, 11:39 AM
  #4  
 
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You have got some great ideas so far.

I tend to pronounce Marsaxxlokk as Marss-a-shlock but I wouldn't guarantee that was right!

I had a week there and included some of the following:
- Valletta (lots to see here)
- A day trip to Gozo
- A day-long boat trip around Malta and Comino including a stop at Blue Lagoon on Comino
- An afternoon around Mdina and Rabat (including St Agatha's Catacombs)
- Mosta (including the Dome)

I also did a very long day trip to Sicily (by Catamaran from Valletta) including Mt Etna, Taormina which I thought was great. It was a long day and I don't see myself getting back to Sicily soon so I thought it was very worthwhile.

If you want any other details about anything, let me know. The above is just recalled from memory.
Where2Travel is offline  
Nov 24th, 2004, 09:45 PM
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Thanks so much for the info! I think it's so good to hear from people who have actually been there. Some may say, go and find out for yourselves, but I think the more "personal" experiences you have make it easier to plan your own trip. We are considering hiring a car and as Malta is sooo small, maybe staying outside Valletta wouldn't be too much of a problem? Oh well, back to practising Marsaxl......!!!!

PS. Did anyone use a car hire company in Malta that they were happy with?
Thanks again!
aussie_travellers is offline  
Nov 26th, 2004, 10:28 AM
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topping this post, because I'm interested in Malta! thanks all.
suze is online now  
Nov 26th, 2004, 03:20 PM
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We stayed in Valetta for 5 nights and loved it. As Howard says, the real tourist and nightlife area is north of there and the city is delightfully (to me) quiet at night. We also stayed at the Castille Hotel, atmospheric, and we loved dining on the roof a couple of nights.

Personally I loved taking the funky busses around the island, but it is true that you nearly always need to return to Valetta and change to go from one point to another. A car would be a good idea if you want to visit lots of the smaller towns.
Patrick is offline  
Nov 26th, 2004, 04:11 PM
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I am happy to see this thread, because I am going to Malta for a week in March 2005.

We have rented an apartment in St. Julians. It is a pretty good price, too - 765 Euro for the week for a three bedroom (and that is the high season price, because of Easter!)

We have decided against renting a car and will be relying on buses. I will definitely check out that lasagna, Amy.

Recently I posted on chowhound about eating in Malta and I got some good info from a foodie who lives there. Here is the link (and I hope it works...)
http://chowhound.com/boards/intl/messages/33614.html
rialtogrl is offline  
Nov 26th, 2004, 04:15 PM
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I was there in March/April for 2 weeks staying in Sliema but I'd rather have stayed in Valletta after seeing it. We visited the whole island, much of it included with our tour. However, we had a lot of free time to bus around.

We had, at first, reserved a car for 2 days but after driving 1 day we cancelled the second day. It's very difficult driving not because the roads are bad but the directions are difficult and, even tho' we had fun, it was very strenous. And, we both had driven in Europe.

Go to the Malta search and look up Adrienne; she wrote a fabulous report on our trip (you hardly need a guide book Or, if you want to e-mail me I can send it to you in Word - [email protected]

As mentioned above, you definitely need a reservation for the Hypogeum which you can do on line. You'll see on the Malta site that a link is given.
nancy is offline  
Nov 26th, 2004, 05:33 PM
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We spent two weeks in Malta in May, 2002. During our first week, we stayed in the small village of Xaghra on Gozo. We had no difficulty filling a week on the small island, although it is possible to see the highlights on a day trip from Malta itself. (I think most people take the ferry over, but there is a regular helicopter service between Malta and Gozo.) If you do have only a day for Gozo, I would recommend Victoria (Rabat) and the Ggantija Temples in particular.

Our second week was in Zurrieq, a small village just south of the airport on Malta. We found Valletta and Mdina to be particularly interesting.

A word on transportation: we hired a car on Gozo, which we booked through the Gozo Garage in Victoria. Traffic on Gozo is light and it is virtually impossible to get lost, so I wouldn't hesitate to do that again. Traffic is far heavier on Malta, the drivers are more assertive, and the road signs are cryptic. We got around by bus. It is a bit slower, but there is a certain allure to riding buses that are half a century old! You can get information on the bus system here: www.atp.com.mt/index.html

We rented houses in both Xaghra and Zurrieq. We found the first place through www.holiday-rentals.com and the second through www.holiday-malta.com

We loved Malta, but I have a strong sense that it may not appeal to everyone. It was dry, dusty, and windy during the two weeks that we were there. Both our rental houses had pools but they hadn't warmed up to the point that we were tempted to swim. Nonetheless, it is a country with a fascinating history and and an interesting geography.

Anselm
AnselmAdorne is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2004, 08:02 AM
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Those of you who stayed at the Hotel Castille- Did you make reservations through a travel agent or the hotel directly? We'll be there next fall and would like to know the best way to make arrangements. It sounds great!
Thanks.
LOYL is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2004, 05:44 PM
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We visited Malta in May/June 04 for a week-stayed in the 'tourist' area of Sleima. Nice area, easy to walk around and lots to do in the evenings. Restaurants abound, from the casual to quite upscale. Relied on the bus system to get around, which actually is very easy to do, and reasonably priced. Driving is on the left (British style), however, imho, you'd have to have a death wish to want to drive! Malta joined the EU in May, so the Euro is now the accepted currency, although this probably is still being phased in and the lira Malta widely accepted. Banks abound, so quick and easy to exchange currencies if needed. For being a small island nation, there is more than enough to do to keep your busy for 6 days. Just be aware of opening/closing times and plan accordingly. Definitely visit the Hypogeum (they limit the number of people visiting per day so advanced tickets really are necessary), then head over to the Tarxien Temples. By the way, you are not allowed to have ANY packages with you when visiting the Hypogeum (includes purses, camera, etc), but they do provide secured lockers for these items. If you are claustrophic in the slightest, do NOT even think of visiting! Marshaxxlokk is a lovely, albeit, undeveloped (commercialized) area-a very quiet, sleepy fishing village. It's fun to watch the fisherman come in with their deep sea catches that are literally carted away moments after the boats have docked. As mentioned by another poster, if you take the bus, be aware of schedules otherwise you might find yourself taking a taxi back to your hotel! Mdina is definitely worth visiting, as is a trip to Gozo. St Julians is an area just past Sleima that will be quite lively, especially on the weekends. If you love history, you'll love Malta. It's truly a gem in the middle of the Mediterranean.
Debs is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2004, 07:04 PM
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Amy
 
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Hi, LOYL! I booked the Castille through Academic Tours as part of an air/hotel package, and it seemed to be as good a price as any--definitely worth it for the airfare price, compared with trying to do that on your own. The hotel price seemed competitive as well. The hotel website is http://www.hotelcastillemalta.com/ ; I really, really recommend it! It's a bit eclectic in decor, but has a wonderful personality.
Amy is online now  
Feb 7th, 2005, 08:42 PM
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Hi mate in case you are interested in renting an apartment in Bugibba email

[email protected]

for info, including pics of apartment.

Bugibba is a resort but is relatively quite during the dates you mentioned, and since you mentioned that you'll be renting a car can even help in that matter.

Regards and welcome to Malta
tigneblue is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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Where does everyone recommend for a 'family' luxury stay? POSSIBLY with an indoor pool as well (for the little ones). Money is no object and it is only for two nights in either April or May? Its hard trawling through the hotel reviews on other sites and I would really appreciate an honest response!
mousireid is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 11:47 PM
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ttt
mousireid is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 12:59 PM
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Although Malta has joined the EU, I doubt whether the EURO is already in use. We too were lucky to have chosen to stay in Valletta. We did some research and found a couple of self catering accommodation in the walled city.

We decided for this 16th century town house close to Fort St Elmo at the tip of Valletta. VALLETTA G-HOUSE was also close to our favourite living museum - the Casa Rocca in Republic Street - and a Toy Museum right across the road.

The house itself was quite a discovery. Apparently the owner had only just started renting it out - fabulous bedroom, amazingly thick walls (excellent insulation against the hot summer these old houses have). The thought that Valletta G-House and indeed most houses in Valletta date back from the time of the Grandmaster La Vallette was exciting enough in itself but also, the lovely way it has been furnished...beats staying in hotels.

We invited a Maltese couple we got to know back to dinner and Peter showed off his newly acquired skills at Maltese food. Toni (correct spelling) and Angela showed us around the island and took really good care of us. Thanks Toni and Ang!

They did show us a few restaurants which we would have missed all together, modestly decorated places, one of them charming still with 60's Formica tables. The food was heavenly - I do insist you eat fish while on the island. It literally goes from the sea on to your plate! Try one of the restaurants in the fishing village Marsaxlokk (15 minutes bus journey from Valletta).

Let me leave you with a few sites to look at:
Accommodation: http://www.vallettahouse.com
Tourist Information: http://www.visitmalta.com
What's on culture-wise: http://www.maltaculture.com
peterandpaul is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 03:24 PM
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If you can get the Fodor's search function to work and can find a thread called, if I remember correctly, 100 best things in Malta, it might give you some good ideas.
Eloise is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2005, 06:11 AM
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This is the thread Eloise was refrring to
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34569518
gfeibleman is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2005, 06:46 AM
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When I spent a week in Malta, I thought Marsaxxlokk was by far the most over-rated, least enjoyable part of the trip. It was very touristy and as we walked around the market it was obvious a lot of the "local" merchandise came from China.
OTOH, I was very sorry not to have spent more time in Gozo.
We stayed at the NH Hotel near PortoTomaso. It was fine, neither wonderful nor bad. But a pretty well developed, tourist oriented area.
If I were to do it over, I would split my stay between Valletta for the history value and Gozo for the natural beauty.
FYI, we toured a winery to try Maltese wines. An Italian in our group drily noted that "Maltese" wine is actually over 90% Italian--they just throw in a small amount of Maltese grapes, bottle it in Malta and then call it a local product.
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