Malta has often been described as an open-air museum for the sheer volume of historic sites on offer. There is something for everyone on this small but vibrant archipelago so your challenge is choosing which part of Malta to stay in. Picking your accommodations is a delicate balance between a few different factors like budget, location, nightlife, etc. We will consider the reasons to stay or avoid the main places on Malta island.
Despite being the capital and generally the main cultural and historical point of interest for tourists, Valletta is surprisingly light on accommodation. If you are wondering where to stay in Malta, the city is a great spot for a short weekend and to experience the history of this beautiful island, wander around, have some nice meals at the boutique restaurants scattered around.
As wonderful as Valletta is, there are a few key reasons to avoid it, namely the lack of budget accommodation. Valletta is full of boutique hotels and luxury resorts and can even be short of those during peak season, so booking early is key. It’s also not ideal for those looking primarily to enjoy the beach, as the nearby sandy beaches require travelling for over an hour.
If you’d like to be near the coastline for your trip, then Sliema is an excellent choice with plenty of promenades and seaside walks to take. You’ll find a lot of budget and mid-range hotels and restaurants here. Also, it is a good shopping spot with transport links the added bonus of boat trips to Comino and Gozo islands.
Like the most popular place for visitors, Sliema is incredibly congested and difficult to park (Finding a place to park the car can be really tricky and expensive too) so not recommended for people who want to rent a car as you might spend a good portion of your trip in traffic. In Sliema there aren’t any sandy beaches so sunbathers look elsewhere!
There is not a clear demarcation between the towns. In fact, you can stay in either of them and you will not notice the difference. Moreover, you can walk between them in just a few hundred meters. They are mostly catered for families, with resorts offering swimming pools and services with particular attention for the kids. Actually, this is one of the favorite destinations for families with kids. A long promenade with a gentle breeze attracts the people around. There are a couple of beaches in the area, which are reclaimed with the rocky seabed and perfect for snorkeling.
There’s plenty of mid-range and budget accommodation to choose from and it’s an excellent transport hub as there’s a bus station with access to the whole island. You’re also in a perfect location to access the beautiful sandy beaches and swim further up north. If you’re looking to explore Comino and Gozo then there are lots of boat tours leaving so it’s a very convenient place to be for further exploration.
But there is not much nightlife around. However, there is a wide choice of British pubs to have a beer and some live music. There’s not much in the way of history, authentic culture, and the area is largely catered to the vast amount of tourism this part of the island gets.
There’s a good range of luxury to budget accommodation and plenty of choice in terms of restaurants and bars. Also, those into the clubbing scene will be happy here as it’s very close to the buzzing nightlife of Paceville but away from the noise which generally puts people off staying there. In St Julian’s you will find plenty of pubs, clubs and casinos.
It’s not the choice for people looking to learn about the Maltese way of life or those looking for local culture in general. There aren’t many beaches, except St George’s Bay which is maintained but can be overcrowded and isn’t the cleanest at times.
If you love beaches then this is your spot because of its proximity to Mellieħa Bay, which is Malta’s largest sandy beach, and its short distance to Gozo and Comino. There is a lovely village atmosphere and some spectacular views to be had here with the Parish Church being one of the highlights. It’s the perfect spot for families with small kids looking to spend most of the time sunbathing. It has also gained a blue flag for its amazing clean water.
If St. Paul’s Bay was quiet then Mellieha is super quiet, with no nightlife to talk about. It’s more about an easy-going experience, in a lovely village with a few restaurants and cafes to watch life passing by.