Depending on the holiday you have in mind, choosing well where to sleep in Malta can save you a lot of headaches: the various locations offer quite different experiences: you go from the St. Julian’s party, with a nightlife suitable for groups of kids, at the pace more relaxed Gozo, ideal for couples and families seeking tranquillity. In general, in Malta, there is a wide offer of accommodation, and apart from the summer, the prices are very affordable.
But are the locations all the same in Malta?
Malta is small, but it is also densely populated: even for moving a few kilometres, you have to cross villages on small villages. This is the main reason why it is convenient to choose carefully.
- In winter, when the historical-cultural aspect is the main reason for the holidays, the best destinations are Valletta, Sliema and St. Julian’s. Staying in Vallettacosts more, but in addition to taking advantage of the beauty of the city, you will find yourself in the best-connected place in all of Malta. Sliema is much more convenient: it is very close to Valletta, has many services and is still well connected, although not like Valletta. If you come for a weekend or want to do a little of everything, Sliema is generally the best choice. St. Julian’s is the capital of Maltese nightlife, it’s okay if you want to party, but if you’re not interested in it, you should sleep elsewhere.
- If you are coming in summer to spend every day at sea it is better to stay somewhere else: the area of St. Paul’s Bay offers more movement and lower prices, having the time to reach the beaches. Mellieħa is very close to the great beaches, it is easy to reach Gozo and Comino, but it is far from everything else: visiting the rest of Malta by public transport takes a lot of time on the buses.
- In Marsaskala there is tourism but the city does not live by that, the difference is felt in the restaurants’ account and when you shop in the shops. Good if you have a car, or you don’t mind getting to St. Julian’s in the evening.
- Gozo offers the best beaches ever, in addition to being generally cheaper than Malta (we refer to the main island): excellent in the summer if you want tranquillity, but don’t move from here.
Sliema – St. Julian’s
One in three hotels in Malta is located between Sliema and St. Julian’s, with offers to suit all budgets: ranging from hostels to luxury hotels. The two localities are practically attached to each other: they are both very lively in the summer, but the area where the nightlife is concentrated is above all the Paceville neighbourhood in St. Julian’s. These are the differences between the two locations:
- it is a little easier to move from Sliema than from St. Julian’s, as more bus lines pass, there is a ferry that takes you to Valletta in 10 minutes and from here there is the possibility of taking boat trips for Gozo and Comino.
- Sliema is slightly cheaper than St. Julian’s, both in terms of hotels and restaurants. But if you are looking for quality, then better St. Julian’s.
- Maltese nightlife takes place in the Paceville neighbourhood of St. Julian’s, where all the nightclubs and disco bars are located.
- there are many apartments for rent between the two locations, the price of which is usually affordable. From experience, we can say however that shopping in those parts costs about a third more than in other Maltese towns.
- Almost all English schools are located between Sliema and St Julian’s, in fact, it is the most international area of Malta.
- Parking in both locations is quite complicated if you do it during office hours. However, generally, those who come on holiday have different times than those of workers.
- Sleeping in Sliema off-season costs very little, often you find hotel rooms at lower prices than the apartments. Here is the list of all the hotels in Sliema.
All the countries between Sliema and Valletta (Gzira, Msida, Pietà, Ta-Xbiex ) are well connected, so there are no major problems to move. Although formally they are different municipalities, in reality, it is a single urban area.
The Maltese capital is an open-air museum, offering glimpses and views every few meters, with a rich historical and cultural offer: it is no coincidence that all of Valletta is a UNESCO heritage site. Another practical advantage is travel: many lines run from the bus station to all other locations, practically eliminating the need for your own vehicle. In the evening the city offers numerous bars and restaurants where you can go to eat something or have a drink.
And to sleep? Most of the hotels are located within carefully restored historic buildings: if the idea is to organize something special, then Valletta is the right place. In Malta, however, the position is paid, and the capital is no exception, so expect more expensive housing. Unlike other places Valletta is less seasonal, so even in low season, the costs remain higher than in the rest of Malta.
Saint Paul’s Bay
The area of Saint Paul’s Bay – referred to as Bugibba is the most important country – it is the second tourist area after Sliema – St. Julian’s, with a myriad of hotels and apartments near the sea. Let’s be clear: the fact that they are close to the sea does not mean being close to beaches, however, if you are looking for sandy beaches you will have to move elsewhere, but compared to Sliema you will save at least an hour a day on trips, especially in summer. The area is full of services for tourists, more or less like St. Julian’s car rentals, boat trips and more. The connections with the rest of Malta are still good, but not to the level of Sliema. One last difference, while in Sliema the chances of finding parking depend on office hours, St. Paul’s Bay is more residential, so it’s more difficult to find parking in the evening.
Mellieħa is located at the northern end of the island of Malta, near boarding for Gozo and Comino. If you only aim at the sea and don’t stay in Gozo then it is the best place. Exploring the rest of Malta from Mellieħa takes much longer, especially if you plan to do it by bus, so it is highly recommended to rent a car on your own. If you are looking for a quiet destination, Mellieħa is for you, but if you want to stay up late, better go elsewhere. In Mellieħa there are hotels both inside the town and outside, directly on the sea. In reality, the hotels from which you can walk to a sandy beach are few, we have listed them in the guide on Mellieħa.
From one end to the other, Marsaskala is located at the eastern tip of Malta. There are only three hotels in Marsaskala, but numerous apartments rented by private individuals. In general, among the various locations examined in this article, it is the most economical as the cost of living in general. The country is very popular among the Maltese, who often go there to eat or to the sea, as it is easier to park and there are relatively few tourists. If you are looking for tranquillity, the sea in the house and good restaurants, then Marsaskala is for you. If instead, you want to stay three days and see all of Malta by public transport, then it is better to sleep elsewhere.
Sleep in other locations in Malta
Virtually all hotels on the island of Malta are located in one of the countries described above. So, if you have found some accommodation elsewhere, it should be an apartment. The difference is made by transport:
- If you rent a car on your own ( here we give you some advice on how and when to rent a car in Malta ) then you are independent, so one location is worth the other: in the worst case scenario it will take you a while to find parking in some countries, but those who live in Malta (including us) do it every day. In some places, there may not be much to do, but you have a car, so you can move.
- If you plan to rely on public transport, then it is better to check in advance how many bus lines pass nearby: there is always at least one bus to Valletta, but sometimes there is only that, so with the changes, you could be limited. We did our best on the site to list in each article about countries, monuments and attractions, what bus lines are there and their frequency, but we can’t cover everything. Regardless of everything, we advise you to calmly read our article on bus operation in Malta.