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. The best place to stay in Malta may depend on your interests.
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 best place to find a resort hotel or contemporary-style accommodations. Sliema is best known for its nightlife, and for this reason the town attracts students and singles in search of a more lively scene, rather than couples and families.
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.
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Where to Stay in Malta for Sightseeing
The most interesting and cultured city in Malta is Valletta, and the best place to stay in Valletta is within the city's ancient ramparts. Valletta's walled historic 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 that offer fabulous vistas of the cityscape, the Grand Harbor, and even distant sea views.
Also within the walled city center of Valletta, the Osborne Hotel is in a convenient location for exploring the historic sights. In fact, the hotel occupies a splendid old palace that was built by the Knights of Saint John. At this 3-star hotel, guests will enjoy stylish accommodations with amenities such as coffee makers and room service. The panoramic sea views in some of the deluxe and superior rooms are worth the extra price. For dining, the hotel has a casual buffet restaurant and a rooftop terrace restaurant overlooking the harbor. Guests may also make use of the sun terrace and a small swimming pool on the rooftop.
Just outside of Valletta's 16th-century fortifications, the Excelsior Grand Hotel is the only 5-star resort hotel in the area. The hotel's expansive waterfront property in Floriana by the Marsamxett Harbor features a large outdoor swimming pool, plenty of outdoor terrace seating, its own marina, and a private sandy beach. Other amenities include three restaurants and an upscale spa. This large, modern hotel offers a wide range of accommodations, from standard rooms to deluxe suites featuring views of the harbor.
Travelers love spending the night in the medieval walled city of Mdina because it offers the magical experience of stepping back in time. After all the day-tripping tourists have left town, the pastoral solitude imbues the twilight hours with enchanting quietness. The Xara Palace Relaix & Châteaux provides luxurious 5-star accommodations in a renovated 17th-century palazzo, located near many historic attractions. The sumptuous guest rooms feature traditional decor, fine linens, and down comforters. For dining, the hotel has an haute-cuisine restaurant and a trattoria with al fresco terrace seating.
In the tranquil country village of Zebbug, the De Rohan B&B is a truly special boutique hotel tucked away on a cobblestone lane near the town square. The hotel has beautifully decorated, spacious rooms with modern amenities and updated bathrooms. Inside an enclosed courtyard, guests will find the hotel's small swimming pool and patio space outfitted with lounge chairs. The historic town of Zebbug has an impressive 17th-century parish church. The town is a short car or bus ride to Mdina, as well as Siggiewi, a Maltese country village with lively cultural events.
Where to Stay in Malta near the Beach
The closest seaside 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, Malta St. Julian's is a 5-star resort property with marvelous views of the Mediterranean. This modern hotel has a waterfront sundeck with a large outdoor swimming pool, two tennis courts, a gym, wellness center, and spa. With four restaurants on the property, guests have plenty of dining options.
Overlooking St. George's Bay near the happening restaurant and nightlife scene of Saint Julian's district, the 4-star Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort is a top choice for those who enjoy a mix of outdoor activities and relaxation. A short walk away from the sandy St. George's Bay Beach, the hotel has 10 different dining options; a spa; fitness center; and multiple swimming pools, including a kids' pool and an indoor pool. Highlights of the property are the secluded 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 near the town of Mellieha. In the higher-end price range, the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands is a 5-star hotel just steps away from the stunning Golden Bay Beach, where sunbathers lounge under colorful sun umbrellas while listening to the gentle waves. This resort hotel features a spa, fitness center, swimming pool, tennis court, and four restaurants. Within walking distance is the Majjistral Nature and History 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 4-star Calypso Hotel is a great choice, with modern rooms and a swimming pool. The hotel has three dining options: a traditional restaurant known for its Sunday buffet lunch, a fine-dining restaurant, and a rooftop restaurant with views of the Marsalforn Bay.
Near Marsalforn (a 10-minute drive or 30-minute bus ride) 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. Your own private paradise is just a short boat ride away from Gozo Island 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. Two private sandy beaches and two swimming pools are available to guests of the hotel. For dining and refreshments, the Comino Hotel has several restaurants, including a casual café that serves snacks and ice-cream.
Staying at the Comino Hotel also allows travelers 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 in Malta for Luxury
In the heart of Valletta on a quiet street across from the Carmelite Church, the 4-star Casa Ellul offers sumptuous accommodations in an elegant Neoclassical palazzo. This small luxury boutique hotel only has nine guest suites (which are booked months in advance). The exquisitely decorated suites 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. This four-star hotel is housed in a renovated palazzo adorned in a modern minimalistic style. Guest rooms feature updated marble-accented bathrooms stocked with fancy toiletries, bathrobes, and slippers. The hotel's Il Teatro Trattoria E Pizzeria restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine in a casual setting.
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 contemporary-style furnishings with classic touches and modern bathrooms. For a truly pampering experience, guests may take advantage of the hotel's wellness spa or head to the roof terrace that boasts spectacular views and a sundeck area, including a mini pool.
In Floriana, the community that lies behind (within walking distance of) the ancient ramparts that surround the city center of Valletta, The Phoenicia Malta is set in over seven acres of perfectly manicured gardens with terraces and swimming pools. The hotel's cheerful contemporary rooms overlook Valletta's historic buildings and the Grand Harbor. One of the prestigious "Leading Hotels of the World," this five-star hotel has a casual café that serves pizza, salads, and burgers, as well as a poolside restaurant and a fine-dining restaurant that specializes in Maltese and European cuisines.
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, AX The Palace is a five-star hotel with a contemporary, cosmopolitan feel. On-site are a trendy café, a casual restaurant, and an upscale Asian-fusion restaurant with panoramic views. The hotel also has a fitness center, an indoor swimming pool, and a rooftop outdoor pool.
Inside the medieval walls of Mdina, The Xara Palace Relais & Châteaux is a prestigious Relais & Châteaux 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.
Near the town of Sannat on the Island of Gozo, the Hotel Ta' Cenc & Spa is a five-star resort hotel in a delightful hilltop setting, nestled in lush blossoming gardens. The property includes two outdoor swimming pools, a spa with an indoor/outdoor lagoon-style pool, and a private beach located in a sheltered inlet (a 35-minute walk or quick shuttle ride) with a "beach club" that serves Sicilian cuisine. Other dining options are a fancy Italian restaurant with a romantic tree-shaded terrace and a Mediterranean restaurant that serves al fresco meals in a delightful rural setting.
Where to Stay in Malta 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 and a rooftop deck breakfast area that commands exceptional harbor views. Guest rooms are adorned with old-fashioned furniture and decor. 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 family-run mid-range hotel with sweeping views of the town and harbor, especially from the roof terrace. Guest rooms are decorated in modern style, and many rooms feature sea views.
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 the Pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in England.
Where to Stay in Malta on a Budget
In the historic center of Valletta, the 2-star British Hotel has small but comfortable rooms, a restaurant with panoramic views of the Grand Harbor, 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, AX The Victoria Hotel provides trendy contemporary-style accommodations at a great price. The four-star hotel includes a gym, spa, and rooftop swimming pool. Guests may choose to dine at the hotel's British-style restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner, or at the casual Italian restaurant, which offers evening meals on a pleasant outdoor terrace.
In the seaside resort of Birzebbuga, the Water's Edge is a beachfront property with a restaurant, snack bar, picnic area, spa, and Jacuzzi. 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 near cafés and shops and a few minutes' walk to Victoria's Citadel where the top tourist attractions are located. The hotel does not provide breakfast, but there are many restaurants nearby that are open for breakfast.
In the picturesque village of Xlendi on the island of Gozo, the San Andrea Hotel is located near sandy beaches and just steps away from a lovely waterfront promenade. Many of the guest rooms have balconies with splendid views of the Xlendi Bay. The hotel's restaurant is popular because of its appealing waterfront terrace and delicious Mediterranean cuisine.
Where to Stay in Malta 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 in the town of Triq it-Trunciera 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 five-star hotel offers children's television networks, babysitting services, a restaurant with a children's menu, game room, playground, and four outdoor swimming pools plus two kids' pools. Swimming pool toys and outdoor play equipment are available.
In the town of Qawra about a 30-minute drive north of Valletta, the db San Antonio Hotel + Spa is within walking distance of 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 plus afternoon tea. The hotel has special guest rooms for families, an indoor play area, and kids' pool. Babysitting services are available. Children will also have fun visiting the nearby National Aquarium.
On the Island of Gozo, the Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz is a large, upscale resort-style hotel with four outdoor swimming pools including a family pool and a children's pool that's ideal for those just learning how to swim. Parents will also appreciate the babysitting services and the spacious family suites. The hotel's guest rooms have balconies looking out onto the Mediterranean landscape that envelopes the village of San Lawrenz, which is less than two kilometers from the sea.
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 next to Ghadira Bay. The neighboring beach at Ghadira Bay is the largest stretch of sandy shoreline in Malta and a good beach for children because of the gentle waters. This four-star resort hotel includes a state-of-the-art spa with hot tubs, a sauna, Jacuzzi, Turkish-style baths, an indoor pool, and fitness center. Other highlights of the property are the lagoon-style outdoor pool and the gourmet dining, with a selection of seven restaurants. Accommodations include complimentary breakfast, and all-inclusive options are available. Families will also appreciate the babysitting services.
The Ramla Bay Resort in Marfa (near Mellieha) is a four-star beachfront hotel with a private sandy beach, three outdoor swimming pools, and two indoor pools. The property also includes several restaurants, a spa, water sports center, and scuba diving center. On Malta's northernmost coast, this hotel looks out to the Island of Gozo with panoramic views of the countryside and the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. The beaches of Armier Bay, Paradise Bay, and Mellieha Bay are all within a short drive away.
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Main Attractions of the Maltese Islands: Planning a terrific vacation on the Maltese Islands is easy. For sightseeing, most travel itineraries include the top cultural attractions in Malta, which are found in Valletta, Malta's capital, and its neighboring towns, and in the enchanting medieval walled city of Mdina. The best destination for beaches, outdoor activities, and relaxation is the Island of Gozo. This idyllic island's seaside resorts and country villages allow visitors to experience the simple joys of Malta's unhurried lifestyle.
Island-Hopping from Malta to Sicily: Malta is located just 100 kilometers south of Italy's beautiful island of Sicily, renowned for its seaside splendor, ancient ruins, vibrant religious festivals, and delicious cuisine. It's possible to take a ferry from Valletta to Catania in Sicily, with several sailing options every week. Sicily's second largest city, Catania is noteworthy for its exquisite Baroque architecture, as well as its views of Mount Etna,