As you know Malta is a small island situated on the Mediterranean Sea which consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Recently thanks to the warm climate, interesting history and a lot of monuments has become more popular tourist destination. Nature lovers, as well as history lovers, find many attractions to themselves.
We decided to visit Malta out of the season at the beginning of November. It’s time when the autumn came around in Poland and the temperature is not as high as we desire. We were there from the 6th to 11th November. Some people who visited Malta told us that 5 days is too long to be there, but now I can say that it wasn’t enough because of traffic jams, earlier darks and obviously Malta has a lot to offers.
The weather out of the season
Which one of us doesn’t check the weather forecast before packaging?
Malta has the warm climate for the majority part of a year, but strong winds and high humidity render that sensible temperature is lower. Before our journey I checked weather forecast which showed about 20-22 degrees during our trip. At the same time in Poland, it was about 10 degrees. I was very delighted that facts. Unfortunately, I’m chilly person and good for me that I packed some warm clothes because it was windy and sometimes cloudy with passing bright intervals. One day we had a torrent, but it stopped raining after 30 minutes whereas the second day was beautiful and sunny. It wasn’t too hot like in a high season but I think it was a good weather to go sightseeing.
You have to know that in Malta in November lasts winter season hence some attractions are closed, daytimes are shorter and get dark very quickly. We regret that we didn’t have a few days more.
For people who love to swim, dive and sunbathe the best time to visit Malta is between June and September.
Public transport on Malta
I can provide you that Malta has well-developed bus network. There are a lot of connections between Malta’s Airport, the harbor, majority cities and many places of interest. From and to The Airport go special line buses with X before a number, e.g. X1, X2 etc. Single ticket price is 2 E, but out of the season (from mid-October to mid-June) it costs 1.5 E. You can change lines many times until the ticket is valid. In all buses, you can purchase a ticket from bus drivers. Don’t forget to have an exact or close amount. There are no ticket machines. For people who want to explore the island by public transport whose stay is longer than 3-4 days special Explore Card is offered – 7 days of unlimited travel in any part of Malta and Gozo for 21 E. There is also 12 single day journeys ticket for 15 E.
More information about ticket prices you can find on: https://www.publictransport.com.mt/en/bus-card-and-ticketing
If you choose public transport just be patient and be sure that you have a lot of free time. Firstly a journey around the island is very long because buses go round-about from city to city. We were out of season and there were also traffic jams. I can’t imagine how it looks in a high season! Secondly remember to pick good bus stop because in Malta obtains left-hand traffic and there are only request stops. If a bus is full bus driver goes beside you without stopping. It happened to us twice. Thirdly sometimes buses don’t arrive or arrive earlier. In many cases buses are crowded. If you want to get out a bus just push a button.
For information about bus network and schedule go to: https://www.publictransport.com.mt/en/routes-timetables
Public transport on Gozo and Comino
As I mentioned Malta is an archipelago which consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. To get to Gozo from Malta you should go to Cirkewwa where is located a ferry harbor. Every single day from 1:30 AM to 11.45 PM you can take the ferry and 20 minutes later you are in Mgarr harbor in Gozo. The average time of waiting for the ferry is 45 minutes. The price for the two-way ticket is 4.65 E. The most important fact is that last ferry doesn’t have a connection with the last bus. When you pick a ferry just be sure that you catch a return bus.
More information about ferry tickets and schedules you can find on: http://gozochannel.com
Gozo just as Malta has well-developed bus network. The only problem is that connection between cities starts in Rabat – capital of Gozo. It means if you want to get to somewhere firstly you have to go to Rabat.
From Malta to Comino you can catch many motorboats and other boats from Cirkewwa harbor or Ramla Marfa. The prices and timetables you can find on a place.
Rent a car or a bike on Malta?
In Malta exists a possibility to rent a car. Rental prices out of season start from 35 E for a 4-day rental. Prices are not that high, but rental insurance is very expensive. That’s a result of left-hand traffic and Maltese’s drivers. The main problem of renting a car in Malta is narrow roads (it’s easy to scratch a car) and remember to not pay attention to beeping. It’s normal there. We thought about renting a car but finally, we decided not to risk of an accident.
An alternative option for car hire is rent a bike. Prices for one day start from 10 E plus 50E-100E of deposit. If you want to rent a bike don’t worry. There are a lot of bike rentals. In Bugibba (we stayed there for 4 days) somebody recommended us EcoBikes. They offer a different kind of bikes e.g. MTBs, touring bikes and electric bikes. They deliver them everywhere you want in Malta and Gozo. EcoBikes also organize bicycle tours around islands. I don’t recommend renting a bike for people who don’t have well enough physical condition. There are many short but sharp slopes. During our stay, I didn’t see bicyclists. Perhaps it’s not a season for cycling.
Accommodation on Malta
It’s not a problem to find accommodation, especially in the lower season. You can search it via Booking.com or Airbnb.com. There are plenty of various offers of hotels, hostels, private houses or apartments, guesthouses, and camps. Rental prices depend on which part of the island you chose. Valetta, as a capital of Malta, has the highest prices. We traveled with our friends and we stayed in an apartment located in Bugibba. We paid about 10 E per person per day, but it was out of season. In high season Bugibba is the most popular place among tourists. I want to add that in the apartment, we had a little surprise. Our hosts left us some food and drink products, e.g. eggs, toast bread, ham, cheese, yogurts, water, local beer and some snacks and chips. That was a nice guest. I met for this the first time.
Must-see attractions on Malta
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to explore the whole island. Below, I share with you the main attractions which I recommend to see obligatorily.
GOZO and its attractions
A good solution to explore Gozo is to pick up Hop-on & Hop-off buses. Those are opened-roof storied buses. They offer tours along the island around main attractions with audio description. It costs 20 E for adults but it is possible to buy it for 10 E. You can get off and get on a bus only on its stops. Next bus takes you to another attraction. Minimum time of waiting is 45 minutes. Sometimes, particularly in high season, it happens that buses are full and you have to wait for next bus.
1. Dwejra Bay
Let me start from The Azur Window at Dwejra Bay – the most popular and the most frequently visited place in Malta. Unfortunately, in March 2017 this stunning limestone natural arch was collapsed. The interesting fact is that in this place scenes to the first series of Game of Thrones were filmed.
Next nature miracle The Blue Hole is located behind Azure Window. It’s underwater cave. On high season a lot of people swim in this pool. It’s a good place for divers because of diversified fauna and flora.
The Inland Sea is next place close to The Azure Window. It’s a bay connected with the sea with a small narrow tunnel. Through this tunnel, boats disgorge to explore Dwejra Bay. Unfortunately, it’s closed in the off-season.
Another famous rocks formation are The Fungus Rock and Dwejra Bay cliffs – it’s a delightful landscape, a perfect object for photographers. It’s located in front of The Azur Window.
2. Ramla Bay and Calypso Cliff
Apparently Ramla Bay is the most beautiful bay in Malta with sand very intense orange color. Sky-blue and green waves add its incredible charm. It’s surrounded by cliffs. We had occasion to saw bay from Calypso Cliff – the view was breathtaking.
3. Ggantija Temples
Ggantija is a megalithic temple complex – one of the earliest temples in the world. They have about 5 800 years. Are considered that Ggantija Temples are older than the pyramids of Egypt – it’s unbelievable. From 1980 the temples are on The UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ticket price is 9 E.
I recommend also to visit the capital of Gozo – Victoria. Wander through narrow streets of city center towards the citadel. From this place beautiful view of the whole island stretches.
Malta and the main attractions
1. The Anchor Bay
Malta just as Gozo has a lot of attractions to offers. Let me start from The Popeye Village located in The Anchor Bay. It’s the village created for film set ‘Popeye’ needs. Popeye was a muscled one-eyed spinach-loving sailor. He arrived at the village to find his father. During his stay in the village, he had a lot of adventures. The very interesting fact is that Popeye role played famous Robin Williams. It was his first movie role. Now the film set is a very popular tourist attraction.
If you want to visit Popeye Village two packages of attractions are available: summer and winter. Summer packages cost 14.50 E for adults and 11.50 E for children (June, September & October) or 16 E for adults and 13.50 E for children (August). Winter packages cost 10.50 E for adults and 8.50 E for children (from November to May). Unfortunately, we didn’t have the boat trip around the Anchor Bay even though the weather was superb.
The bus line number 101 goes to Popeye Village.
More information about Popeye Village you can find on: https://popeyemalta.com/
2. Beautiful beaches close to Anchor Bay
In the near distance from Popeye Village, beautiful beaches are located. I recommend them for sunbathing lovers. The same bus line which gets you to Popeye Village get you to Golden and Ghajn Tuffieha Bay. Time of travel is 25 minutes from Popeye Village. Both of them are sandy and around them, the beautiful view stretches. Golden Bay is recommended for families with children. Ghajn Tuffieha Bay is less crowded because if you want to get there you have to go through 200 stairs. In high season where the temperature is very high, it can be a challenge. When we were at Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay the day was beautiful and sunny. In November the water temperature is between 19-21 degrees. I only wet my feet, meanwhile, my fiancé and my friend readily jumped into the sea.
At the end of the day, we got ourselves off to Valletta – capital of Malta. We wandered through two main and many smaller streets of city center. The atmosphere and the climate of this place were breathtaking. We entered main gate next to The Triton Fountain. I can say that we visited Valletta the length and breadth. Valletta from 1980 is on The UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its 320 monuments.
3. Marsaxlokk and its surroundings
Next day we went towards another must-see attraction of Malta to a small piscatorial village Marsaxlokk. It’s the old harbor famous thanks to the Sunday fish markets and colored boats rocking on the sea. The view of the boats was stunning. A Luzzu – it’s a name of this fishing boats which usually are painted in colors of red, yellow, blue, sometimes green, with a very characteristic eye of Osiris which deters evil spirits.
The time travel from Bugibba to Marsaxlokk was more than 1.5 h, but I can say that was worth it. On the place, we ate fresh fried fish with vegetables and chips for 13 E.
From Marsaxlokk, we went towards airport where we changed bus line. Thanks to courtesy’s woman from tourist information we found out that the bus line number 201 goes along main attractions located on southeast part of the island – The Blue Grotto and The Dingli Cliffs.
The Blue Grotto is a complex of seven sea caves famous thanks to extraordinary sea reflections and amazingly clear, bright blue waters. Is only one way to get there– by boat trip which departs from the Wied iż-Żurrieq harbor. The best time to visit Blue Grotto is a summertime from early morning. The price for a person is 8 E. Unfortunately the sea was churning and boat trips are closed.
Our next stop, missing the Ħaġar Qim Temples, which are located near to The Blue Grotto, is The Dingli Cliffs. Is another breathtaking place. From the cliffs, the very beautiful view of the whole sea stretches around you. The Dingli Cliffs reach a height of over 250 meters and this means that is the highest point in Malta. I recommend you walk along cliffs and enjoy the stunning views.
4. Mdina – former capital of Malta
The last place which I recommend You to visit is Mdina which was the first capital of Malta. It’s a medieval fortified city located on the top of the hill wherefrom a beautiful view of the whole island stretches. Mdina is also known as a Silent City because in the city is prohibited the vehicular traffic (of course except for rescue services, caravans, and citizens of the city center). Mdina is famous thanks to its narrow, silent and sinuous streets. I recommend wandering through them. We were there by night and the city impressed us incredibly.
The Maltese food is very diversified, with British and Mediterranean influence. Many restaurants are full of Italian food: pasta, pizza, and seafood. There is nothing odd about it because Malta is located close to Sicily.
The most popular dish on the island is a rabbit – fenek. Frequently it’s served as a stew (Stuffat Tal-Fenek) or a dish and sometimes with pasta, peas and tomato sauce. I don’t recommend this traditional dish, because of the cruel treatment of these poor rabbits.
I recommend you Coffee Break, Cafe&Bistro in Victoria (Gozo). The restaurant is located near to the bus station on the way to the citadel. We waited 30 minutes but it was worth it. Prices for local dishes start from 13.50 E.
For try Italian food, I recommend Sotto Pizzeria Italiana in Valletta. It’s important to have an earlier reservation because the place is constantly full. They serve delicious pizzas and desserts. Service is very helpful and friendly.
Very popular local snack is pastizzi – french pastry with different types of cheese or a paste of peas or a chicken in mushroom or cheese sauce. You can purchase one in Passtizerias – little shoppettes.
The most famous non-alcoholic beverage is Kinnie – fizzy drink with bitter orange flavor. In my opinion, it’s not tasty, but I recommend to try it. You can find it in every shop on the island. Maltese said that’s their local Coke/Pepsi.
The local beer is Cisk produced by Simonds Farsons Cisk brewery. It’s common golden-colored lager very popular in Malta. You can find it in every shop, restaurant, and bar in Malta. It costs between 0,9 E and 1,2 E. It is available in different types: Cisk, Cisk Export, Cisk Pilsner, Cisk Extra Strong, Cisk Excel and Cisk Chill Range (lemon, berry and ginger lime flavor).
Malta is a former British colony that’s why in the island obtains left-hand traffic and you can communicate in English without problems. Except for this in Malta, there are specific British sockets. Don’t worry. You can purchase a socket adapter in every shop.
I shared with you my opinion and my experience about travel to Malta in November. Wholeheartedly I recommend to visit it. It’s the beautiful island which offers a lot of attractions for everyone.
If you have any question please let me know about it.
I hope you enjoyed my article. See you soon!
Have you ever been to Malta? Please let me know about your opinion and experience.