Where to Stay in Malta: Best Areas & Hotels
Drenched in Mediterranean sunshine almost year-round and steeped in the heritage of ancient civilizations, the balmy Maltese Islands (Malta, Gozo, and Comino) appeal to all types of travelers. Those who love culture and history should choose as their base the elegant capital city of Valletta, where splendid Baroque palaces, magnificent churches, and fascinating museums await discovery. For visitors seeking old-world ambience and pastoral charm, a few nights in Mdina will delight, with the magic of a medieval, walled hilltop town completely untouched by modernity and surrounded by Malta's picturesque countryside. If instead a trendy tourist scene and seaside sunbathing is the goal, then Sliema near Valletta is the place to find a resort hotel or contemporary-style accommodations. What about a classic beach holiday with a relaxing island vibe? Plan to spend most (or all) of the vacation in Mellieha, Malta's most extensive sandy shoreline, or on the Island of Gozo, where quaint villages dot the bucolic landscape and gorgeous coastline. To enjoy a getaway on a deserted island, take a ferry from Gozo to the Island of Comino, famous for the crystal-clear Blue Lagoon that dazzles many tourists.
Where to Stay for Sightseeing
The most interesting and historic city in Malta is Valletta, and the best place to stay in Valletta is within the city's ancient ramparts. Valletta's walled city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A great choice of accommodation here is La Falconeria. This stylish, modern hotel is within walking distance of St. John's Co-Cathedral, the Grand Master's Palace, the Museum of Archaeology, and other top attractions in the city. The hotel has standard rooms overlooking a peaceful outdoor courtyard and deluxe rooms with balconies or terraces. Also within the walled city center of Valletta, the Osborne Hotel is in a convenient location for exploring the historic sights. The hotel has contemporary guest rooms (deluxe rooms have sea views), a traditional restaurant, a sun terrace, and small pool.
Outside the city gates of Valletta's fortified town, the Excelsior Grand Hotel is a five-minute walk to historic attractions in the city center. The hotel takes advantage of its location by the Marsamxett Harbor with a wonderful sundeck, a superb outdoor swimming pool, and a small private beach. This large, modern hotel offers a wide range of accommodations, from standard rooms to deluxe suites featuring views of the harbor.
For a truly magical experience, spend the night in the medieval walled city of Mdina. After all the day-tripping tourists have left town, a pastoral tranquility imbues the twilight hours with enchanting quietness and gives visitors the feeling of being transported back in time. The Xara Palace is a Relais & Chateaux property yet it is relatively affordable for this class of hotel. At this location within the city's ancient ramparts, visitors can easily see the many historic attractions of the UNESCO World Heritage City as well as in Mdina's neighboring city of Rabat.
In the tranquil country village of Zebbug, the De Rohan B&B is a truly special place for an authentic Maltese experience. The hotel has beautifully decorated, spacious rooms and a small pool. The town offers many historic attractions and is in close proximity by car or bus to Mdina, the UNESCO-listed medieval city, and Siggiewi, a traditional Maltese village with an impressive Baroque church and noteworthy religious and cultural festivals throughout the year.
Where to Stay near the Beach
The closest beach resort area near Valletta is at St. George's Bay in the Saint Julian's district. About a mile away from Saint Julian's city center, the Radisson Blu Resort is one of the best beachfront hotels in the area. This modern five-star hotel boasts wonderful sea views; a poolside sundeck with a lagoon-style pool; and a private, sandy beach.
Overlooking St. George's Bay, the Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort indulges guests in a seaside paradise of outdoor activities and relaxation. A short walk away from the sandy St. George's Bay Beach, the hotel has several restaurants; five pools, including a kids' pool; a private beach with a safe swimming area and beach volleyball court; scuba diving and water sports centers; a boat jetty; and yacht charter services.
One of the prettiest beaches on the Island of Malta is at Golden Bay. In the higher-end price range, the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands is a five-star hotel just steps away from the stunning Golden Bay beach, where sunbathers lounge under colorful sun umbrellas while listening to the gentle waves. The resort is also within walking distance to Il Majjistral National Park, a wonderful place for hiking and taking guided nature walks.
The pleasant seaside town of Marsalforn on Gozo Island features a bustling waterfront lined with restaurants and shops, a very small beach, and scenic harbor views. In this laid-back resort town, the Calypso Hotel is a great choice, with modern rooms and a swimming pool. Nearby (a 10-minute drive or 30-minute bus ride from Marsalforn) is the best beach on the Island of Gozo, Ir-Ramla il-Hamra Beach. It's ideal for sunbathing and swimming, thanks to its sheltered location, gentle waves, and an expansive shoreline (the largest on the island) of fine reddish sand. Visitors will also appreciate the snack bar, public restrooms, showers, and umbrella and lounge chair rentals.
The mostly uninhabited Island of Comino offers the dreamy appeal of a deserted island. Get away by boat from Gozo Island and spend a few nights in your own private paradise at the Comino Hotel (the island's only hotel) overlooking the turquoise San Niklaw Bay. Here, visitors enjoy the ultimate peace and quiet while discovering the tiny island's unspoiled landscape, with its pristine sandy beaches, secluded coves, fertile valleys, and dramatic cliffs. Staying at the Comino Hotel also provides the advantage of being able to avoid the hordes of day-trippers that descend (by ferry or tour boat) on the island's famous Blue Lagoon daily, from around 10am until 4pm. In the early morning or late afternoon, visitors can experience the Blue Lagoon's mesmerizing serenity and crystal-clear waters.
Where to Stay for Luxury
In the heart of Valletta, across from the Carmelite Church, the Casa Ellul offers sumptuous accommodations in an elegant Neoclassical palazzo. This small boutique hotel only has eight guest suites (which are booked months in advance) - all are exquisitely decorated and have stunning courtyard or city views. Just steps away is the splendid Manoel Theater, one of Europe's oldest theaters, as well as many excellent restaurants.
Another luxury hotel in historic Valletta near the Manoel Theater is the De Vilhena Boutique Hotel, an elegant hotel in a recently renovated building with modern rooms featuring marble-paneled bathrooms.
At the lower-priced end of the luxury category, the Palazzo Consiglia occupies a traditional Baroque-style Maltese townhouse in historic Valletta, with a lavish marble-floored entrance and an atmospheric courtyard. Rooms feature authentic period furnishings and modern bathrooms. For a truly pampering experience, take advantage of the hotel's wellness spa or head to the roof terrace that boasts spectacular views and a small recreational area, including a mini pool.
In Floriana, the community which lies behind (within walking distance of) the ancient ramparts that surround the city center of Valletta, the Hotel Phoenicia is a recently refurbished property set in vibrant gardens with swimming pools. The hotel's cheerful contemporary rooms overlook Valletta's historic buildings and the Grand Harbor. The hotel has a casual café restaurant as well as an upscale restaurant that serves gourmet meals on an outdoor terrace or in the more formal dining room.
Sliema is the place to stay for those interested in taking harbor cruises, boat tours, and day-trip excursions from Valletta to the Island of Gozo or to the Blue Lagoon on the Island of Comino. In the heart of this lively tourist district, The Palace is a five-star hotel with a contemporary, cosmopolitan feel. On site are a trendy café and rooftop restaurant, as well as the pool area featuring breathtaking panoramic views.
Inside the medieval walls of Mdina, The Xara Palace is a prestigious Relais & Chateaux property that offers a luxurious overnight stay complete with a fine dining restaurant and ornately decorated guest rooms. The hotel is steps away from the UNESCO-listed city's historic attractions.
For those visiting the Island of Gozo, the Hotel Ta' Cenc provides an oasis of charm and luxury in a delightful hilltop setting. Surrounded by lush gardens filled with fragrant blossoms, this five-star hotel features a gorgeous pool area, a gourmet restaurant that serves Mediterranean cuisine, and magnificent views of the countryside.
Where to Stay for the Best Value
In the heart of the old walled city of Valletta, the Castille Hotel occupies a renovated 16th-century mansion. This genteel architectural gem has been updated with a brightly painted facade, modern guest rooms, and a roof deck breakfast area that commands exceptional harbor views. The location on Castille Square is fantastic as it's a few blocks away from St. John's Co-Cathedral and only steps away from the Upper Barrakka Gardens that afford sensational panoramic vistas of Valletta's Grand Harbor. Also in the historic center of Valletta, the Grand Harbour Hotel is a comfortable mid-range hotel with exceptional views of the town and harbor, especially from the roof terrace.
A resort hotel in the touristy St. Julian's district near Valletta, the Corinthia Hotel St. George's Bay boasts a spa, hair salon, water sports center, charter yacht services, and a scuba diving school. The property offers eight different restaurants and six pools, including two adults-only pools and one shallow pool for little ones.
On the idyllic Island of Gozo, the Cornucopia Hotel in Xaghra provides plenty of charm and spacious rooms for the price. The small country village of Xaghra has a typical town square with a 19th-century church and outdoor cafés. The main tourist attraction in Xaghra is the UNESCO-listed Ggantija Temples, a remarkably well-preserved archaeological site dating from around 3600 BC to 3200 BC and believed to be older than other ancient heritage sites, including the Pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in England.
Where to Stay on a Budget
In the historic center of Valletta, overlooking the Grand Harbor, the two-star British Hotel has small but comfortable rooms, a restaurant with panoramic views, and a sunny rooftop terrace.
A short ferry ride from Valletta across the Marsamxett Harbor, Sliema is a touristy area with an expansive waterfront promenade, many modern high-rise hotels, and a wide variety of restaurants. Less than a mile from the center of Sliema, The Victoria Hotel offers trendy contemporary-style accommodations at a great price. The four-star hotel includes a roof terrace, swimming pool, gym, and spa.
In the seaside resort of Birżebbuġa, the Water's Edge Hotel is a beachfront property with a restaurant and free parking. The town is appreciated for its picturesque bay and sandy beach as well as for the choice of shops and restaurants along the waterfront. Visitors can take a short drive to Ghar Dalam, a fascinating Neolithic-era archaeological site with evidence of Malta's earliest inhabitants.
On the Island of Gozo, within the historic walled city of Victoria, the Gallerija House provides affordable accommodations in a grand old stone building. The hotel features charming decor and an atmospheric location on an old medieval street. In the picturesque village of Xlendi on the island of Gozo, the San Andrea Hotel has quaint guest rooms, friendly staff, and a desirable seaside setting, just steps away from a lovely waterfront promenade.
Where to Stay for Families
Overlooking the sparkling azure waters of Saint George's Bay and Saint Julian's Bay, Saint Julian's district is a good choice for families with kids because of its proximity (about 10 miles away) to the Splash & Fun Water Park in Bahar Ic Caghaq (near Naxxar) and the Malta National Aquarium at Saint Paul's Bay. Thoughtfully designed for families with kids, the Hilton Malta is in a spectacular setting by the marina in Portomaso of Saint Julian's district. This high-end hotel offers babysitting services, a child care center, restaurant with a children's menu, game room, playground, and pool area with four swimming pools plus a kid's Splash Pad.
In the town of Qawra about a 30-minute drive north of Valletta, the dB San Antonio Hotel + Spa is within walking distance to a sandy beach and has three outdoor pools overlooking St. Paul's Bay. This modern, Moorish-style resort hotel is great for families because the all-inclusive accommodations include three buffet meals a day. The hotel has special guest rooms for families, a nursery, Kids' Club play room, and kids' pool featuring a pirate ship. Children will also have fun visiting the nearby National Aquarium, a 10-minute drive away in the town of Triq it-Trunciera.
On the Island of Gozo, the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz is a large, upscale resort-style hotel with a fabulous swimming pool and outdoor area for sunbathing. The spacious contemporary-style rooms have balconies that look out onto the bucolic landscape of San Lawrenz.
Mellieha, on the Island of Malta, is a popular seaside resort town that draws many families because of its kid-friendly attractions. The sheltered, sandy beach at Mellieha Bay, the largest beach in Malta, is perfect for kids because it has calm, gentle waters that are safe for swimming. A ten-minute drive away from Mellieha Bay is the Popeye Village Malta, the film set for the 1970s movie Popeye. Children love visiting Popeye Village, where they can meet their favorite characters and check out the highlights of the Popeye Comic Museum. The dB Seabank Resort + Spa is steps away from the beach at Mellieha Bay and within walking distance of the ferry to Gozo Island. The Ramla Bay Resort in Marfa (near Mellieha) is a four-star beachfront hotel with a private sandy beach and saltwater swimming pool. On Malta's northernmost coast, this hotel looks out to the Island of Gozo with panoramic views of the unspoiled countryside and the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. The beaches of Armier Bay, Paradise Bay, and Mellieha Bay are all within a short drive away.