Malta is an Island country sandwiched between Africa and Europe. At 122 sq mi, the country is one of the smallest countries in the world. Despite the size, Malta boasts amazing tourist attractions and beautiful weather all year round. A country that’s sunny most time of the year. The majority of the Maltese can speak Maltese, English, and Italian. Malta is a religious country; about 98% of the 400,000 citizens identify with Roman Catholicism.
Is Malta good for Solo Travel?
Malta is a great destination for traveling solo. Besides a friendly culture, Malta is safe, fairly affordable, and easy to explore. The country has varied accommodations to suit solo travelers who prefer to stay alone, with other travelers, or with locals.
Further, there are numerous activities to fill your vacation with, and given the small size of the country, you can do so within a short amount of time.
If you are still wondering whether you should take a solo vacation to Malta, I have compiled a list of 10 reasons why you should. I have also included all you need to know about Malta before taking the trip, plus some handy tips that might come in handy when visiting Malta alone. Lastly, I have shared some pretty amazing facts about Malta that you probably didn’t know about.
1. Getting to and Around Malta is Easy
For a solo traveler, you need to be able to get to your desired destination with ease. For starters, getting to Malta from anywhere in the world will mostly be stress-free. The country’s airline, Air Malta, flies directly to Malta from several cities around the world.
If you are in Italy, getting to Malta is only a 50-mile ferry-ride away. On the way, you get to see marine life in the Mediterranean Sea.
Once you are in Malta, the transport system is excellent. To move around, I recommend the buses as opposed to hiring a car. A bus ticket costs you about $3.50 for a whole day while a seven-day ticket goes for about $16. Even better, the buses pass by most major attractions. Also, there are frequent ferries between the three islands; Malta, Gozo, and Comino.
2. Malta is Safe for Solo Travelers
Malta is one of the safest countries in the world. As a solo tourist, the common worry is pickpocketing and petty theft. However, the country has very few cases of crimes compared to other nations that I have visited.
The country has not had any reports of terrorism in recent years and violent crime also remains uncommon. That said, beaches are usually crowded and it is advisable not to leave any of your belongings unattended. After all, tourists can be easy targets for petty thieves.
Walking the streets is safe, even at night. I also liked the fact that vehicles move slower than in most EU countries. The speed limit is around 37 miles per hour and drops to around 18.5 miles per hour in the residential areas.
3. Malta Has a Friendly Culture
In countries with unwelcoming cultures, group trips may be the best. Malta is, however, the opposite. The people are friendly and tolerant. You are unlikely to find yourself in confrontations with any locals.
I found the culture to be similar to Italian. Everybody says hello if you give them a smile and if you look stranded, someone will approach you and offer the help you’ll need. The locals are also very welcoming – especially when you stay in their home (homestay). They give you amazing tips, make you settle in, and make you feel like family within no time.
It’s also common to get drawn into fan clubs of different sports teams on the island. In particular, the locals expect you to choose a side between England or Italy during the football season. Once you choose a side, you become part of the group/ “family”.
4. Malta Has an Amazing Nightlife and Great Events
It’s probably the promise of sunny skies and clear waters that attracts you to Malta. But here is a little known fact: Malta has a great nightlife. And it’s not just about clubbing, I’m talking of arts, music, festivals, and lots of other social events.
So, does that include solo travelers as well? Definitely yes. You don’t feel alone at social events, even at night. To join and be part of the events, go for social networking services such as CouchSurfing and Meet Up. You can end up having an amazing time and you get to meet people from all around the world. Especially with the use of CouchSurfing.
I found the best hangout spots in Valletta (the capital) and the seaside town of St Julian’s. The northern region around Bugibba Qawra is also a good place to meet other solo travelers.
Bonus: Combine your love for the beach and nightlife with a night stroll on Valletta Waterfront. Here you will find bars, restaurants, and shopping outlets overlooking the Grand Harbour.
5. In Malta, You Can Spend Your Day in the Water
A visit to Malta is incomplete if you don’t take part in the many water activities in the Island. Before we get to the sports, find your way to the Blue Lagoon in Comino- it only takes around 25 minutes on the ferry from Cirkewwa. This is a pristine swimming spot where the waters are protected from tough sea waves.
When it comes to sports, Malta is best known for scuba diving. This is one pastime that you can enjoy alone or in the company of a guide. Dive sites around the country will take you to several World War II ship and aircraft wrecks.
How would you like to compete in a jet ski race? The three islands are popular not only with jet ski sports but also kayaking and windsurfing. You can also enjoy flyboarding and water hoverboarding all day long.
6. You Can Learn a New Language in Malta
Being a global traveler I find learning a new language helpful and intriguing. The first time I went to Malta, I was surprised by how easy people could switch between languages.
Maltese is the national language, but a few centuries ago Sicilian was the official language. English is also spoken by over 90% of the population. Also, over 65% of the people are fluent in Italian while French-speakers are about 20%.
In short, Malta is the perfect place to learn a new tongue and the country has over 40 language schools to show for it. I did and it’s simply one of the best experiences I have ever had.
I spend one month at a language school in Saint Julian’s. It was my first solo trip abroad, and that trip is what kickstarted my journey to travel all over the world. I meet so many amazing people and I got to learn/improve my English quite a lot.
Traveling alone to Malta gave me confidence and an experience that I would never achieve, if traveling with friends or family from back home.
I chose to stay with a local family. I got to socialize with the family, and with an Italian guy and two Russians. This way, I had to communicate in english and they made me part of the family (a couple with two daughters) for the entire month. A great way to immerse myself into the culture of Malta.
I highly recommend this approach to visiting Malta solo!
7. You Can Visit Malta All Year Round
For most destinations, cheaper travel and accommodation expenses come with the low season. Unfortunately, this can also mean bad weather and fewer attractions (in most cases).
Malta, on the other hand, is good for all year round travel. This means you can solo travel whenever you feel like. The climate is Mediterranean with hot summers and mild winters. Average temperatures range between 600 F and 730 F.
And, no matter the season, the sun always shines and the temperatures never go down to zero. Also, almost all tour companies offer year-round packages to both the inland and the seaside regions.
8. There Are Numerous Places to Spend Some Time Alone
Is having a quiet time one of the reasons for your solo trip to Malta? Malta has some great places – you can be all by yourself in a cool natural environment.
One of the places I recommend is the island of Gozo. It is rural and free of the noise that comes with the towns of Malta. There are also beautiful secluded beaches and breathtaking countrysides for you to explore.
For a full adventure, explore the caves of Calypso and the temples of Ggantija. If you prefer sticking to the city, visit the numerous public parks that are free to enter. For example, the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta are free and quiet with an excellent view of the harbor.
9. It is Affordable to Vacation in Malta
One of the reasons people prefer traveling in a group is to make the trip cheaper. It is common to split accommodation costs and even get better deals on activities. In Malta, however, your vacation can be cheaper even when you travel solo.
To give a personal example, during my visit back in 2006, I stayed with a local family while attending the language school. As I wrote previously, I was not the only foreigner staying with the family. I shared the home with an Italian guy and two Russians. This was a great opportunity to meet new people and lower my expenses on different activities – we did a lot of fun water activities.
During my stay, I also socialized with the family, learned more about the Maltese culture, and as a bonus, I got to know some great local places where I could shop and spend less money.
Having traveled to many countries, I found traveling to Malta to be cheaper compared to other European countries. This is in terms of travel, accommodation, day tours, activities, and dining expenses. Entry fees to attractions are also at the low end.
10. Malta Is Small; You Can Tour Many Places in a Short Time
How would you like to tour a whole country on your own in 7-10 days? Yes, Malta is so small that in seven days, you can travel on every road and ride all the ferries while enjoying many attractions in-between.
In about 3 days, you can use the buses to view the country on the island’s 1,401 miles of road. You can also make the trip interesting by going for the vintage buses. These are models introduced in 1905 which you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
On the other hand, you can tour the country using double-deck or open-top tour buses.
Things You Need to Know Before Traveling Solo to Malta
Having the right information about your destination can help you avoid issues that can harm your adventure. Based on my own experience and a little bit of research, I have compiled a list of all you need to know to make your solo travel to Malta a bit smoother.
Health, Safety, and Comfort
Malta can get very hot and dry in summer. Ensure that you always have a bottle of water with you. Also, you need to apply sunblock from time to time and it’s advisable to bring a hat, a cap, or shades.
The tap water used in Malta is desalinated seawater. It is therefore safe to drink. The taste is a whole different story. I couldn’t quite tolerate it. So if you ask me, you are better off with bottled water from the supermarket.
If your country is a member state of the European Union (EU), then you can get free treatment in local government hospitals, clinics, and health centers in Malta. However, you will need to apply for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in your own country and have it with you.
The emergency contact number in Malta is 112. You never know when you might need help.
Laws and Culture
In Malta, you are expected to tip between 5-10% when you are satisfied with a particular service. On the other hand, if the bill is inclusive of service charge, tipping is not necessary. If you are unsure, check the receipt. It should be stated there!
Are you a smoker? While nobody will forbid you from smoking, it is illegal to smoke in places open to the public in Malta. Such include pubs, bars, schools, cinemas, public transport, and restaurants. Some establishments have designated smokers’ lounges or smokers’ zones but this is not mandatory. Therefore, if you’re a smoker, check beforehand.
In Malta, you can sunbathe your day away at the beautiful sandy beaches. However, for ladies, it is illegal to do it topless. For men, strolling around bare-chested away from the swimming/bathing areas is considered rude.
Fact: In Malta, you drive the left side of the road.
For some travelers, a trip abroad is just not complete without the company of a favorite pet. Before you travel though, ensure that you follow the guidelines for traveling with a pet. You can follow the guidelines for traveling with a pet to Malta.
Before you visit any place in Malta, check if pets are allowed. For example, pets are not allowed on sandy beaches or swimming zones. In places where pets are allowed, you will be required to keep yours on a leash and clean up after it.
You can never run out of options for where to stay in Malta regardless of your preference or budget. So what is the best accommodation for you? Villas, luxury homes, hotels, guesthouses, homestays, and hostels are all available within a walking distance to bus stops, local beaches, pubs, and eateries among other places.
Cell Coverage and Internet
In Malta, there are 3 mobile phone network operators; Go, Melita, and Vodafone. They provide great coverage and 4G internet connectivity. Secure Wi-fi is also widely available.
The local currency in Malta is Euro which you can exchange at local banks or exchange bureaus. You can use VISA, Mastercard, And American Express credit cards in most places in Malta.
There are also numerous ATMs in Malta where you can withdraw cash. If you use a traveler’s cheque, you may have a problem finding exchange services that will accept that. If you do, the rates and fees are usually high.
Tips for a Great Solo Trip to Malta
Throughout all my travels, I have learned that there are numerous ways to make the best of my resources. Whether it is saving on expenses, staying safer, getting more value for money or just getting things done more easily. I’m always on the lookout for handy tips. Below are a few important tips that worked for me, I’m sure they will work for you as well:
- If you plan to stay for up to a week in Malta, get yourself an Explore Card. This is a week pass that allows you unlimited use of public transport (7 days).
- To get more information on bus routes, closest bus stops, and timings, use the Journey Planner.
- Are you a student? Well, as long as you have some student identification, you can get a student discount on fees in many attractions. The same goes for seniors over 50 years of age; you can get some really good deals, depending on your age.
- With the Malta Discount Card, you can get a discount on food, accommodation, travel, and other expenses.
- Interact with the locals. Shop, eat, and drink where they do. Tourist businesses are more likely to be more expensive.
- Traveling solo means that you get to do most things yourself, right? That said, you will want to pack light so you can move around with ease.
- If you can, avoid exchanging currency at the airport. Use banks, ATMs, post offices, and bureaus in the center of the major towns to get better deals. Additionally, understanding the current Mid-Market Rate can help you know if you are getting a good deal.
- To get the best fruits and vegetables and at a cheaper price, look for hawkers in village centers. Ta` Qali Farmers’ Market is a good place to check out, especially on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.
Fun Facts About Malta
- Due to its numerous reefs, shipwrecks, and caves, Malta has some spectacular diving spots.
- The entire city of Valletta (the capital of Malta) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Malta is a popular film location: Are You a fan of Game of Thrones? Several scenes were filmed in the city of Valletta. More specifically, the characters Daenerys Targaryen and Kahl Drogo had their wedding with the Azure Window in Gozo, and Malta as the backdrop. Malta has also been featured in The Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Phillips, Troy, World war Z, and Gladiator.
- Malta’s Comino island is only 1.35 miles in size and is home to only 3 residents.
- Remains of the Megalithic temples in Malta are older than Stonehenge of the UK and the Pyramids of Egypt.
- People have been living in Malta since 5000BC
Are you convinced that Malta is good for solo travel? You have enough reasons to make that trip to Malta. Combined with the essential information and handy tips I have shared, I believe your adventure to Malta could be as amazing as mine was.