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Transportation and things to do around Malta from the Westin Dragona?

Transportation and things to do around Malta from the Westin Dragona?

Old Nov 18th, 2016, 04:28 AM
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Transportation and things to do around Malta from the Westin Dragona?

We are considering staying at the Westin Dragona in Malta. My concern is the location. Will we be close to public transportation. Will it be easy to get from St. Julian's if we want to have dinner in Valletta? Like the fact that we will have beach access, but we also want to see quite a bit of Malta.
We are staying for a week so we do have time. Does anyone have a suggestion for a private tour guide? We also wanted to take a small boat and explore the islands from the sea?
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Old Nov 21st, 2016, 02:12 PM
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You will not want to go into Valletta for dinner - there are a lot of good restaurants in the Paceville & St. Julian's Bay area that you can walk to or take a quick bus.

You will be close to public transportation, but it's a slow ride. Bus will take you about 40min to get to Valletta, taxi quicker. Taxis on Malta are not cheap. Expect to pay 30-40 euros from your hotel to Valletta.

From your hotel you you can take the #222 bus to the Gozo ferry if you want to explore Gozo (recommended, rent a car from Hertz and drive yourself around the island. Google maps on smart phone works well). I think it's about 1hr bus ride to the Gozo ferry from your hotel.

We used a private tour guide for an all-island tour last spring. I'll see if I can find her name & # for your to contact.

The sea around Malta is not calm, glassy surface, and there is not really a lot to explore unless you visit the blue lagoon on Camino. There will be plenty of boat owners / companies hawking rides & boat tours. If you want to do a boat tour, look for a discount. You won't need to look hard.
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Old Nov 21st, 2016, 06:20 PM
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What is it that you're interested in? Malta has a great variety... ancient history, early Christian history and churches, World War II history, beaches/snorkeling, etc. Knowing a bit more would help in making recommendations.

Quite honestly, I wouldn't stay in St. Julians. While nice, you're really limiting what you can do within walking distance. If I were spending a week in one spot, I'd definitely make it Valletta.

We chose to spend a few nights in Valletta and then rented a car to explore the rest of the island and Gozo, though the bus is reasonably convenient as well. I really don't feel that you need a guide unless you're using that as a method of transport.

So ideas from my trip report are here: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...afrankfurt.cfm
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Old Nov 22nd, 2016, 06:07 AM
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We are trying to decide between the Westin Dragonara and the Phoenician. We only want to stay in one hotel for our entire week stay. Wondering which would be more convenient for day trips. We will be there in the first week of June and the beach at the Westin is not open until the second week of June.

I have read that Valletta can be quite dead in the evening, but then I have read the opposite. Guess most days we would like to sightsee in the morning, lunch and then relax in the afternoon around the pool. Our location would be important. Is the Phoenician walking distance of downtown Valletta. Want to see the war rooms, want to see St. John's Cathedral. Would like a daytrip with a guide of Gozo. Maybe a day trip around the islands stopping at a beach. Want to visit Mdina and Rabat. Want to attend a village feast day celebration.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2016, 05:36 PM
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Yes, the Phoenician is within walking distance. It's basically right near the bus/taxi dropoff (pull it up on Google maps).

We found plenty to do at night in Valletta. Some of the restaurants/cafes have outdoor seating and it was nice to just wander. In Valletta, you really won't be close to the beach, so that's the tradeoff.

We liked the war rooms a great deal (the include tour is very good) and St. John's is worth seeing. The catacombs in Rabat and wandering Mdina were also worthwhile.

We liked Gozo a lot (stayed out there a few nights). Went to the Azure window, had fun in Victoria, the ancients sites were nice and uncrowded, and we snorkeled as well. We also took a boat over to Comino. That said, it can be a long day trip (by the time you drive to the ferry, and take the ferry in both directions).

Distances are small and you can definitely see a lot. Definitely not as convenient without a car, but the buses seemed pretty reliable and cabs were reasonably (15 euro from the airport to Valletta).

I'm having a tough time figuring out how plan around a single hotel in Malta for week. I'd definitely be more likely to do 3 nights in Valletta, two on Gozo, and two in Rabat or Mdina (which are very convenient to the airport).
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Old Nov 24th, 2016, 01:09 AM
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The WESTIN DRAGONARA is a fantsatic choice. Its not far from the next bus station. A bus to Valletta takes around 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic. BUT for dinner, you rather stay in ST Julians, especially St Julians Bay....and the MArina next to Hilton Hotel. Here you find top restaurants. For transportation and airport transfer you find lots of choices at https://airportsconnected.net/ A Limousine cost 12 Euro only direct to your hotel
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Old Nov 24th, 2016, 01:15 AM
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here is the best place on Malta
http://www.sangiulianorestaurant.com/en/home.htm
just 6 minutes walking distance from Westin
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Old Nov 27th, 2016, 06:43 AM
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Thank you everyone for your comments. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good tour driver to take us around Gozo. We are four ladies traveling together.
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Old Nov 27th, 2016, 07:44 AM
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Can't help you there. The five of us did a self guided tour of Gozo with a Hertz rental car. The dialog between driver and navigator, plus back seat drivers would make a good Abbott & Costello skit...

Since we'd just done a full day tour of Malta we were happy to explore on our own.

I recall seeing a few day-tour operators either waiting for the ferry, or small storefronts just outside the ferry with options ranging from van to jeep to 4x4s.

Driving around the small island actually is not hard if you are ok with right hand drive & following google maps for directions. Distances are very small so it takes no time at all to get around Gozo and the traffic is nothing compared to Malta.

The main sights we visited on Gozo were the Azure window, the Citadel/ Victoria, and the 5000 year old ruins at Ġgantija Temple.

One day we at lunch at a lovely little restaurant on St. George Sq in Victoria. A 2nd day trip I did to bike around the island I ate seaside in Marsalforn. Not nearly as nice as the lunch we had at Marsaxlokk on Malta but a nice little village right on the sea facing Sicily.

One off the beaten path sight on Gozo I did find quite interesting were the old roman salt ponds along the north coast, west of Marsalforn.
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Old Nov 27th, 2016, 11:24 PM
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Best practice: you book a private Airport Transfer on the recommended platform. On the way to your Hotel you should ask the Driver about day trip to Gozo. He will help you and you can be sure it is all officially licensed cars and Drivers. A Limousine from Airport to Hotel is about $13 .... Alternatively book a Driver from Hotel to Gozo Ferry and book a pickup on way back. On Gozo you can use a taxi.
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Old Mar 17th, 2017, 03:45 AM
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Thank you for all your suggestions. Life got in the way for awhile, now I'm back busy planning again.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2017, 04:41 PM
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Be aware that the main sight on Gozo, the Azure window, collapsed into the sea this winter & has disappeared completely.
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