Before travelling to Malta, I knew little to nothing about the country. Luckily, there were some things I did right (as much by accident as by design), and the locals were friendly enough that the rest wasn’t too much of an issue.
But of course, it’s always better to be prepared.
So here are 5 little things you can do to make your trip to Malta a little better and your mood a little brighter.
TIP 1: BOOK IN ADVANCE FOR THE HYPOGEUM
Billed as ‘Malta’s most interesting building’, the Hypogeum is an underground temple complex and burial site. The oldest parts of the site are around 6000 years old, and the site was used for over 1000 years before being lost to time.
It was rediscovered at the start of the 20th century and has been a top visitor destination ever since.
But it’s also a very delicate environment. To conserve the paintings in the site, only 10 people per hour are allowed inside.
This means that you need to book well in advance if you want to visit. We tried to book our tickets on the Friday that we arrived in Malta, and there was nothing available for all of the following week, and very little for the week after that – and this was in the middle of low season.
My recommendation: as soon as you’ve booked your flights, book your ticket for the Hypogeum.
TIP 2: BEWARE OF SUNDAYS
Like a lot of Christian Mediterranean countries, Malta pretty much closes down on a Sunday.
From what I gathered, people tend to go church in the morning (or to Marsaxlokk Sunday Market), and then go to the beach in the afternoon. So don’t expet to many museums, shops or restaurants to be open.
My suggestion is to head to Marsaxlokk Sunday Market in the morning, and then follow the locals to the beach in the afternoon. Alternatively, head to a church service. Even if you’re not religious, it’s always interesting to see how things are done in other cultures.
TIP 3: SNACK ON PASTIZZI
What are pastizzi? They’re a delcious pastry, filled with cheese, peas or chicken. They’re also the best kind of snack, in that they’re yummy, filling and cheap.
I ate several of these while I was in Malta, though the cheese one was probably my favourite. The most expensive one I bought was 50c, and the cheapest was 35c. A bargain if you’re looking for a quick filler between meals.
At a similar price, Imqaret are a good cheap sweet snack: fried biscuit-wrapped date slices. Yum!
(Though don’t get me wrong – the seafood is also amazing, and definitely a must!)
TIP 4: DON’T ORDER KINNIE
Kinnnie is to Malta what Irn Bru is to Scotland, or what L&P is to New Zealand. It’s kind of an unofficial national soft drink.
By all means buy a bottle to try it. I’m all for new tastes and expanding your palette. But if you’re in a bar and desperate for a drink to quench your thirst, maybe better to stick with something you know.
Kinnie has an incredibly bitter aftertaste, and is one of those things that you probably have to be Maltese to actually like. Of course, you may get lucky and think that it’s absolutely delicious. I just know that I wasn’t one of those lucky ones…
TIP 5: PACK LAYERS
Personally, I like to pack layers for every destination. It’s a safe bet – a ‘just in case’ policy. It means you’re prepared for all weathers. It helps you be flexible on your travels.
But I think it’s particularly relevant for Malta.
Malta’s Mediterranean climate means that it’s often warm and sunny – though of course, they do have their winters. But it’s also an island, which means that pretty much everywhere is on the coast. This means that everywhere has the potential for a
sea breeze strong gust of wind.
At times like that, it’s always worth having an extra layer to chuck on!
Have you been to Malta? What are your little tips to make the holiday that small touch better? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear.