An Island Time Machine: Malta

With one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals, World Heritage neolithic sites, Knight life galore, and an amazing Carnival, the island of Malta is definitely a European must-see

When I was a kid, like a lot of kids, I went through a knights and castles phase. In one of the more exciting books I read, there were stories of the Knights of St. John, and their island redoubt: Malta. This inspired a life’s dream of visiting one day.

Grand Master's Palace, Valletta
Grand Master’s Palace Corridor

I got to tick this particular life’s dream box when my husband and I were chasing the sun in the midst of the typical grey British winter this year.

The island did not disappoint.

Malta’s fascinating, rich history is readily on display. Like many Mediterranean islands, neolithic tribes, Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, crusading knights, and more modern empire builders have all made the island home, each leaving their influences along the way.

Malta’s also a relaxing place to visit, since the people are so chilled out and friendly and because everyone speaks English. The nice thing, however, is that it still feels foreign, since the Maltese speak Malti to one another. A Semitic language, it sounds like Arabic, but is written in Latin script (the only Semitic language that this is true of.) So what seems familiar can suddenly seem, at least to my American ears, very exotic.

Logistically and price point speaking, Malta’s also got quite a few pluses: hassle-free public transit for a car-free holiday, and, because it’s on the package break circuit, air and hotel packages that didn’t break the bank. (You can easily avoid the boozy Brits who just come to party here, however.) Not that you’d totally want to avoid an occasional night out: prices are super reasonable for drinks and generally, dining out, so it’s a good place to have a holiday if you’re on a budget.

Costumed reveler in Valletta's Carnival celebration
Carnival reveler, Valletta

Here are a few of the things you shouldn’t miss if you’re planning your own trip to Malta:

A few planning resources>>

Here are a few of the useful sites I used to plan our trip to Malta.

About Malta: Malta’s very informative official tourist info site is here – http://www.visitmalta.com/

Buses: Our week-long bus past cost only 7 Euros! You can buy that on arrival at the airport or board a bus. More info on the efficient and affordable bus network can be found here –  http://publictransport.com.mt/

Air & Hotel Package Deals: BA has a few, but I found the best deal on EasyJet. There are a variety of hotels for a range of budgets, and they also let you know whether a hotel is kid-friendly, etc. You don’t need to buy the add-on airport transfer. You can either take the bus to and from the airport, or a taxi, which is generally only 20 Euros anywhere you go on Malta from the airport.