+ Malta Travel Tips: Blue Lagoon, Valletta, Mdina & More

Malta Travel Tips
I swear the best holidays are the kind you book last-minute and barely have a plan for! My friends sorted everything for this trip, but I almost redeemed myself with my incessant use of the Malta Travel Guide app by Triposo (Android/iOS) for the amazingly helpful offline maps and short summaries of local attractions. For my spin on Malta travel advice, keep on reading.

Sliema

This area is ideally situated to visit the cultural hotspots of Valetta and Mdina, and it was also just about walking distance to St Julian’s, where all the nightlife happens. This AirBnB served us really well, if you ignore the slightly crap shower. Our AirBnB host also recommended eCabs to get there from the airport and the journey was barely 20 minutes door to door.

Tignes Point

This is the peninsula of Sliema and it’s where you’ll find all the main ferry services to Valetta, Gozo, Comino Bay as well as Sicily, which is apparently only an hour and a half away. If you’re already starting to miss good old Britain, well fear not as there’s a Marks & Sparks and BHS… not to mention a huge shopping mall called The Point on the peninsula (ironically full of winter clothes).

The real highlight of Tignes Point has to be the legend below – Mr Cocktail Van!

Mr Cocktail van at Tignes Point

As we walked down the harbour with a (slightly weak but nevertheless much appreciated) cocktail in hand, we had the pick of dozens of cruises. In the end we handed over 30€ to Supreme Cruises for a traditional harbour cruise and the Gozo, Comino, and Blue Lagoon Cruise. The traditional harbour cruise was a ‘freebie’ thrown in and we were super excited to set off, despite the 45-minute delay.

Another tip for you – don’t bother with the traditional harbour cruise as one of the highlights of this cruise was the majestic cluster of oil rigs to which the guy with microphone commented ‘we haven’t found oil yet’.

Eating Out in Sliema:

Ta’ Kris – What an epic last supper this place was. We found this gem of a place tucked away in a side-alley, we had no ides what food orgasm awaited us! My perfectly cooked rib-eye steak was washed down by a glass (or two) of my fave  Nero D’Avola red wine. Side note: the staff were really chatty and welcoming. The Irish waitress told us to say to her lovely son Donovan if we see him, as he’s recently moved to London and is working at a wine bar near Borough Market. Well, we can’t go back on our word so me and my friends  have a drinks date scheduled for “Operation Find Donovan” in Borough market very soon!

Surfside – probably one of the worst pizzas I’ve eaten in my life but it’s a good place to catch the sport, and they also hand out cards to get a free bottle of wine with every 2 mains ordered.

Il Gabbana – This beachside bar is picture-perfect and does amazing smoothies, providing me a much-needed cure for my hangover! However, they served the french toast on what was essentially a hamburger bun, and my poached eggs were rock hard.

Valletta

Wow, what a beautiful gem this place was. Super quiet but everywhere you turn you see elderly people staring our of their windows as the world passes by, stairs arching off into the horizon and LOTS of galerijas (wooden balconies) to add some colour to the setting.

Republic Square

Once you get off the cruise, the best thing to do is aimlessly wander the cobbled streets. We did this and ended up in Republic Square where we swiftly stopped at Eddie’s Cafe for a round of aperol spritzes and a quick bite to eat. The square itself has lots of space so worth stopping for an al fresco snack here.

Upper & Lower Barrakka Gardens, Valletta

Upper & Lower Barraka Gardens

This place offers a stunning view of the Grand Harbour, as well as some great photo opportunities among the arches with the ocean in the background.

There’s a whole army of cute little cats and you’ll also spot some rare tropical plants within the garden itself.

Top tip – get to the Upper Barrakka Gardens for midday so that you get to watch the saluting battery.

St. Julian’s

Based on my stay, I can safely say that this place is the nightlife hub of the island.

  • There’s some really fun Irish pubs. At The Dubliner we scored some amazingly cheap wine, and Cork’s Irish Pub provided some of the most enjoyable karaoake sessions I’ve ever witnessed 🙂
  • If you have the energy, Triq San Gorg provides several nightclubs. The choice of establishments were a bit too “Magaluf” for us so we hastily departed and sought refuge in an Irish pub.
  • We ate out at Cafe Bocconchino but if we’d had a bit more spare dollar The Barracuda is meant to be one of the best for fine dining.
  • For balmy evenings, Piazza Cascata has an open-air bar but the cocktail we had was pretty weak :/

Mdina

Mdina is a medieval walled town that is at once rugged and beautiful. We were SO certain this was the place Cersei Lannister did the nude walk of shame in Game of Thrones, but turns out that was filmed in Croatia. Even so, the Mdina city gate is actually used for the King’s Landing Gate:

Mdina doubles up as a filming location for King's Landing's Gate

The old city has such narrow cobbled streets that cars can barely fit round it, meaning your entire time spent in the walled city is super quiet and calming – its nicknamed the ‘silent city’ by the locals as a result. You can make like a medieval traveller and pay for a horse and carriage ride around too.

Mdina Cathedral took my breath away, taking centre stage in the quiet St Paul’s Square. Even more amazing for us, a wedding ceremony was taking place and so the cathedral had a beautiful white carpet rolled out. A few tourists (us included) also poked our heads in to see the stunning bride and groom.

St Paul's Square, Mdina

Gozo, Comino & the Blue Lagoon

Malta’s sister island Gozo has some areas of natural beauty to offer, but a few hours there as part of our sightseeing bus tour did the job. The main sight we saw was the Azure Window, as well as few derelict houses along the way… nothing else was all that memorable to be honest.

According to Trip Advisor there are only three attractions on Comino Island, with the Blue Lagoon being the #1 choice. For me, it’s the standout destination from my whole Malta trip, despite the fact it’s full of tourists and we only spent an hour or two there. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Blue Lagoon, Comino, Malta