Malta is a hidden gem in the central Mediterranean Sea, located between Sicily and the coast of Northern Africa. Malta is a tiny archipelago island steeped in history. This summer Long and I visited my friend and co-author of the "Slowly Map", which is about to be published. Caro welcomed us on her beautiful island and showed us the secret spots from restaurants to beaches! There are plenty of things to keep you busy in Malta – here are my Top 5 things to do in Malta.
Getting around in Malta
When we arrived, we rented a car (in Malta you drive on the left side). If you don't want to rent, you could use public transport. Download the bus app Tallijna and you always know how many minutes are left until the next bus will arrive. Tickets can be bought onboard. You can also go by taxi and use taxi app Bold, which is reasonably priced, quick, and you don't have to worry about parking. Now that you're on the road, there's no excuse not to visit our top picks of things to do in Malta! Our first dinner was in a charming little restaurant located in the narrow streets of Lija, this restaurant is housed in an old town house built in the heart of the village over 200 years ago. Bahai serves brilliant creative and seasonal menus. Service was excellent and the atmosphere really relaxing.
Coming from Berlin, we were looking for a quick refreshing mediterranean swim. Eager to explore off the beaten track, we found this several hidden gems in Malta.
Most hidden gem on the island of Malta– Slug Bay reached easily through a rocky terrain descending along a cliff slope. By the way, this bay took its name from the dark brown, sea-slug which can be found in its waters. If you don't find it, no worries, a peaceful beach at White Tower Bay is super close by. Just next to the beach you can find Popeye Village Malta. It has grown from its days as a Film Set of the 1980 Musical Production ‘Popeye’ into an attraction filled with a number of colorful fun activities for all young and young at heart. If you swim across from the other beach, you don't even have to pay an entrance fee!
We were lucky and also went from Armier Bay to the Blue Lagune by kayak, which can be rented by the rental Wave Rider Malta. Afterwards, we had lunch at the terrace of Paradise Bay, if you go to this beach early you can enjoy a beautiful bay, we arrived late and only saw parasols! Our top tip for this pick of our favourite things to do in Malta is therefore to get up and out to avoid the crowds!
Valletta is Malta's capital, built by the Knights of St John. The city still retains its 16th-century elegance. It may be small, but it's packed full of sights and things to do; when Unesco named Valletta a World Heritage site, it described it as 'one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world'. If you don't know where to stay in Malta, I would recommend to book something here, preferable Casa Ellul, which is a really cute hotel. We had dinner at the Rampila - a restaurant on the city wall with a beautiful view and a delicious rabbit-centric feast (Maltese specialty). If you have time, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset from Hastings Garden Malta just opposite from the hidden entrance of the restaurant. Afterwards you can sit on the stairs of Bridge Bar and have a cool drink while listening to some live mediterranean music. If you're here early the café Sunday in Scotland is highly recommended!
Next on our list of things to do in Malta is to visit one of many caves on its coast. To enjoy the caves at their best, go early in the morning when the sun is lower in the sky and the sea is calmer. The Blue Grotto can be visited by boat easily from the island of Malta, it costs eight Euro per Person and takes around 20 minutes. There’s also a very nice viewing area at the top near the bus stop called “Panaromic”.
The walled city of Mdina in Malta doubled up as King’s Landing, the island’s forts served as a 'Red Keep', and a stunning natural arch known as the 'Azure Window' in Gozo was the setting for Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen’s wedding. We went to the Fontanella Tea Garden for lunch and bought some Pastizzis at Crystal Palace Malta as take away.
We than drove to Ghajn Tuffieha to enjoy the beach, but also a beautiful sunset with Pastizzis as dinner. Here you can rent parasols and chairs. You could also have dinner in the Singita Miracle Beach Bar, it's up to you!
Gozo next to Malta
If you have some more time on your hands, you should also visit Gozo, an island just next to Malta. This was one of our highlights and is a must on our list of things to do in Malta! If you've saved up some money, you could stay at Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz. Tucked into the valley side, it hotel lies between the traditional Gozitan village of San Lawrenz and the Ta’ Dbeigi craft Village (selling local crafts and souvenirs). Just down the road is Dwejra, a marine conservation area including the ‘Azure Window’ rock arch, (a symbol of Gozo), a Knights’ period tower, salt pans and one of Gozo’s top dive sites. Gozo is definitely worth more than a day trip.
If you want to find the hidden gems, check out my folding maps BertaBerlin and QueerBerlin. They are available in well-chosen locations all over Charlottenburg, Neukölln, Kreuzberg, Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin and online. But for those of you, who want to stay up to date, feel free to follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK or register for my NEWSLETTER BertaNews. Here is also a map of Malta with all of our favourite things to do already marked on!