We can’t provide one guide to fit all, but we can give you what we believe are the top destinations to stay in Malta for expats to help you find where to stay in Malta.
Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay over Northern Malta
Buġibba, Qawra and St. Paul’s Bay are three Maltese villages found across the northern coastline. The villages border each other, so can all be taken in on your holiday. The three locations are among the most visited resorts by tourists, so they are especially busy during the summer period however. If you are going in the summer and would prefer a quieter stay, St. Paul’s Bay is the least busy of the three.
There are a variety of beach types, with Buġibba providing an artificial sandy beach, while Qawra has a rocky beach. As mentioned, St. Paul’s Bay is quieter and has a number of smaller beach spots too. None of these locations provide luxury resorts, but there is a mix between budget and nicer hotels which give an option for couples, families and seniors. You can get about with the public transport able to take you pretty much anywhere, as well as boat tours.
Just Outside the Capital, Sliema
Sliema is also a popular destination for tourists along the northern coast, close to the capital Valletta. Generally busy all year round, the area provides a glaring juxtaposition between the high-rise buildings and the hectic coastlines against the peaceful and old fashioned core of the surrounding streets and villages.
Sliema is locally renowned for its great shopping and mix of restaurants and pubs, which means that it is a great destination for couples or seniors. As well as this, the resort has an array of budget accommodation options too, making it a good destination for budget tourists and people backpacking. This is also backed up by the transport connections within the area making it easy to get around. However, if you are looking to rent a car beware of Sliema as it is nearly impossible to get public parking at any time, and traffic congestion is a frequent issue. All of the beaches in the area are of the rocky variety, with the sandy beaches quite far away unfortunately.
St. Julian’s and Paceville; one location with two faces
St Julian’s is a resort over to the west side of Sliema, and is an area with two very distinctive sides. On one hand there is the quiet seaside town which has maintained its older charm, but there is a vibrant nightlife zone as well, which is called Paceville. Paceville makes the resort an attractive proposition to tourists and younger people who are seeking out clubbing and nightlife, but don’t let this put you off if you’re coming as a couple or a family. There are still a number of quality restaurants and great bars that aren’t in Paceville, and there are family resorts out on the furthest west side of Paceville too.
If you are a younger person looking for a good time however, this is a great choice to visit, all year round. There is an artificial beach but, despite how hard the local authorities work to maintain it, it unfortunately isn’t the cleanest place to visit. Rocky beaches are within walking distance, and sandy beaches are a bus ride away too. On the topic of bus rides, quick day trips are a possibility for your visit as well due to the area’s public transport connections. If you decide to rent a car instead, make sure you’re prepared as this is a very busy part of the country!
Mellieħa, Home of Malta’s Most Popular Beach
Mellieħa is at the very top of the Malta, and is one of the country’s most popular resorts largely because of the proximity to Mellieħa Bay, which is Malta’s biggest sandy beach. Mellieħa is a tourist resort, so it can get very hectic in the summer. However, the village is actually less busy than many would presume it to be, partly due to the fact that many tourists who do visit look to stay as close as possible to the bay.
Mellieħa is definitely a beach holiday destination, and is a great destination for families in particular. With its combination of charming village life and the fact that it is not overrun with tourists, the resort is relaxing and pleasant to visit. It is not the place to go to for great nightlife, so if you are based here but still intend to look for clubs and bars to go to renting a car is a good idea. Despite this, there are good spots to dine out and bars to visit in Mellieħa, and other than Mellieħa Bay, there are luscious sandy beaches to visit over the coast on the East side as well, such as Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay.
Mellieħa is a holiday resort that is built on its 3 and 4 star hotels. There aren’t any luxury hotels to stay in, and there are only a handful of budget hotels as well. A decent alternative to look into instead might be apartment and villa rentals. Another thing to explore as well would be the possibility of renting a car, which opens up the option of visiting other sights in Malta, or even jumping across to the island of Gozo, still part of Malta. Furthermore, if you choose to stay in the heart of the village, you will need transport to get to and from the beach. Some hotels offer a free shuttle service, but a rented car would give you more flexibility. Do also bear in mind that Mellieħa Bay can get very busy on Sundays due to the locals heading to the beach as well.
Malta’s Capital, Valletta
Vallletta is the capital city of Malta, so naturally there are some interesting points and attractions to visit in the area. However, despite many people choosing to stay there, Valletta is not really a tourist resort. It is an all year round option, with a great history and Baroque architecture to marvel at and spend your time exploring. Valletta is easily the best location for transport links, which means that you can go and explore all of Malta from the city via public transport and ferries.
If you would like, you can even hop over to Sicily on a ferry. As with most capital cities, there is a great choice of quality establishments to get a traditional meal from too. Valetta is ideal for people who intend to be active and do not want to just relax by the beach, as there are not any here. However, it is difficult to find budget accommodation around, so if you are limited financially, renting a private apartment is a good solution. Otherwise, the city has a wide array of luxury 5 star resorts and boutique hotels.
While we firmly believe these cover the top destinations to stay in Malta, depending on what you are looking for from your holiday there is something for everyone. Mellieħa Bay is the ideal destination for a relaxing beach holiday, while Valletta is for the explorers. In between, there are budget options in Sliema, and nightlife in Paceville. Find your ideal destination in Malta, whatever it is you’re looking for.
In this where to stay in Malta guide, you can find the top recommended cities for expats, however, other cities that are also worth considering are, Rabat, Madliena, Attard and Mosta.