Malta is an independent island, settled in the Mediterranean Sea off the southern coast of Sicily and truly encompasses a Mediterranean paradise dream. The small country consists of 3 different islands, 2 of which are inhabited. Historians believe that people have called Malta home since 5200 B.C. and, while vacationing here, you get the feeling like you’re in some sort of tropical New Stone Age with stonewashed buildings and crisp sea air.
We had such a memorable trip here and it was the first time I’ve visited a place that I felt like I could stay forever (other than Greece).
Here’s 3 Days in Malta:
Flying European budget airline RyanAir into Malta International Airport in Valletta, we departed from Frankfurt-Hahn, leaving early Sunday and returning late Wednesday, all for $150.
We rented a car through EuropCar, which I am so glad we did. It allowed us to travel around the island on our own instead of being dependent upon the buses. I’ve heard stories of visitors using the public transportation here but, since the island is so small for the amount of vehicles on the road, the bus schedule is not very dependable.
We stayed in an AirBnb in Xemxija, towards the north of the main island of Malta. This area was about 35-40 minutes from the airport, depending on traffic. Our condo was clean and updated, the host was very generous, and our view of St. Paul’s Bay was such a sight to wake up to every morning.
Our AirBnb only cost us $40 a night. All of the AirBnb options in Malta are VERY reasonable, especially in the off-season. I would highly recommend utilizing their services over a hotel.
Click here to get $40 off your first stay using AirBnb!
We were coming out of the winter season when we visited Malta so the first thing we wanted to do when we arrived was go to the beach. Although the water was still pretty chilly in May, the weather was ideal because it wasn’t blistering hot.
Also referred to as Ghadira Bay, this area reigns as Malta’s longest sandy beach. There are many cafe’s and restaurants within walking distance and the beach itself has snack bars that are easily accessible for a quick refreshment. Chairs and umbrellas are also available to rent and the views around the inlet of Malta are gorgeous.
Lunch at the Munchy Monkey
After soaking up some sun, we headed back towards Xemxija and stumbled upon the Munchy Monkey. This pizzeria grille is located at the heart of St. Paul’s Bay. The server was polite and helpful and the food was appetizing at a very reasonable price. I ordered a mouth-watering Chicken Caesar Salad that was dressed with bacon and olives on a fresh bed of spinach leaves and romaine with house-made caesar dressing. My husband ordered the Chunky Beef Burger that he raved about all day. We loved this place so much that we returned here for dinner on our second night. We shared the Chubby Monkey (Meaty Feast) pizza that was loaded with mozzarella, Maltese sausage, pepperoni, ham, beef and onions. It was wonderful! This restaurant was where I first discovered Strongbow Hard Cider (now my drink of choice) and it was cheaper than what we were expecting. Highly recommend the Munchy Monkey!
Exploring the Xemxija Heritage Trail
After lunch we were itching for an adventure and, after noticing a sign near our condo pointing uphill, we decided to make the trek up to see what was up there. We ended up exploring this area for a couple of hours with nobody in sight!
We felt as if we were on our own historic tour. We spelunked in caves that were inhabited in the Neolithic era, dating back to 4000 BC.
There was a lot of information posted around the area in reference to which stone building was used for what and information on the “Roman Road” that lined the trail going uphill. There were also ancient shrines, apiaries, burial sites and Roman bath houses.
After making it to the very top we enjoyed some stunning panoramic views of surrounding Malta.
After our hike and a quick freshen up, we drove up to Mellieha to visit a place called Popeye’s Village. This was where the Paramount Pictures movie “Popeye” was filmed.
We were disappointed to find it closed for a private event when we arrived, but we were able to drive southwest up the road to get an awesome aerial view of the Village.
Dinner at Agliolio
By the time we done soaking in these views, we were hungry and wanted to find a place to eat nearby. We were searching adamantly on Google Maps and found a small cafe within a 10 minute drive. We drove south along the water on roads that felt as if they weren’t supposed to be driven on. When we arrived to the cafe, it was closed. Luckily for us, there was a hotel down the lane closer to the water. We noticed that it had an outdoor restaurant that sat on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Although it looked expensive (we budget our meals), we decided to give it a try.
I ordered the Spaghetti Agio E Olio V, which translates in English to Spaghetti with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and chillies; it was splendid! My husband ordered the Bistecca di Bue, which was the Ribeye steak with roasted cherry tomatoes finished with rosemary and garlic butter. I stole a bite of his and it melted in my mouth it was so succulent. We had Prosecco to drink and it was chilled to perfection. This restaurant is at the prime location to settle in for a nice meal and watch the sunset. I assume in the busy season reservations should be made but it is well worth it. Wonderful dinner experience all around!
We only noticed one option for breakfast within walking distance of our condo so we went there every day. The name of the cafe was Xemxija Cafe Lounge and the breakfast was stupendous. Although they had many options available, we ordered the scrambled eggs on toast and a cappuccino. We thoroughly enjoyed this cafe, probably because the breakfast food seemed more “normal” to us than a lot of breakfasts we have experienced throughout Europe. Also, you can sit outside and enjoy an early morning view of St. Paul’s Bay.
A Day Trip to Comino
After eating, we decided that we wanted to try and take a day tour to Comino, or Kemmuna, as the Maltese refer to it. Finding tickets for a boat tour online was very simple. Although we had a car to get to where the boat took off from, they also offer to pick you up from your location. We found the Sea Adventure company by searching online for Comino Blue Lagoon Full Day Cruise Tours. The cost was $30 (this may vary seasonally) and it was a 7.5 hour tour, including beer and wine on the boat and a buffet-style lunch.
We left from the Sliema port and arrived to Comino within 30 minutes. It was a very relaxing and smooth ride, the boat was clean and well-maintained and the views of Malta when out on the water were stunning.
Boat Tour of the Sea Caves
While on the way to Comino, the guides on the boat were offering an additional boat ride around the island for only 10 Euro. We thought we may as well try it out and once we docked in the Blue Lagoon in Comino, we piled onto a boat that held less than 10 people.
This was one of my favorite parts of our trip! The seaman took us around the island and into smaller lagoons that are only accessible by boat. We also went into some caves–at least as far as we could make it.
The Blue Lagoon
After lunch on the boat, we were itching to dip into the teal waters. We made our way towards the Blue Lagoon, the most popular beach area in Malta.
We walked towards where all of the vendors and people were and decided that it was too crowded for us to lounge here, but the views were amazing!
Finding a Spot to Sun Bathe
Instead of staying in this area for the day, we walked up a small dirt trail that headed over the top of the island (felt like a mountain to us) which gave us some of the best views! We walked for about 30 minutes until we stumbled upon the Crystal Lagoon. It was apparent that nobody thought you could reach this lagoon by foot as it was only occupied by yachts and small boats. We found the perfect spot to sun in and was able to jump in the water when we wanted a cool-down, all the while avoiding the mass amount of tourists.
A Ferry to Gozo
On our third day, we took the opportunity to visit Gozo, the other inhabited island of Malta. We looked online for ferries and found a port in Cirkewwa, about a 15 minute drive from our condo in Xemxija. The ferries leave every 45 minutes and at a reasonable price of 4.65 Euro per adult. The trip takes about 30 minutes and arrives at the port in Mgarr, Gozo.
Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
Once we got to the island, we weren’t sure how we were going to navigate around so we opted for the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour. While I usually try and avoid tours like these, we didn’t prepare enough and decided it would be the best way to see Gozo. The price was reasonable, at 10 Euro a piece, and we were able to stop wherever we wanted, with buses arriving every 15 minutes or so. They equipped us with a map that had a schedule and so off we were to explore the island.
Adorned with sandstone cathedrals and cliffside refuges, Gozo is the epitome of a Mediterranean isle! Malta is 98% Roman Catholicism, so we felt right at home in this area. There is a statue that represents Pope John Paul II because he has visited Malta and Gozo in the past. The cathedrals and churches here are such beauties.
The Azure Window
It was here in Gozo that we were able to visit the Azure Window, something that I had been seeing on Pinterest for years and only dreamed about going to. This area’s cascading cliffsides with the waves constantly crashing into them makes this part of Gozo one of the most gorgeous stops and a can’t miss when visiting Malta.
**UPDATE: In May 2017, the Azure Window in Malta devastatingly crumbled in a storm. All that remains is the right side of the cliff.
Exploring the Rest of Gozo
On our tour we stopped at many beaches, dipping our toes into the water and catching some rays before heading off to another place. We had an amazing day enjoying the beauty of Gozo island, spending 10 hours altogether here. If I were to return to Malta, I’d get an AirBnb on Gozo and spend most of my time there.
A Dream Vacation
The locals are incredibly friendly, the Mediterranean food is to die for, the weather is warm, the beaches are sandy and the water is that clear-crystal blue. What more could you want out of a travel destination?
Like This Post? Pin It!
Shop My Beach Must-Have’s!
*Note: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, I could receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.