All-inclusive holidays in Malta aren’t the only way to get the best value from your stay. This jewel of the Mediterranean is rich in just about everything, from picturesque scenery, to ancient ruins, to beautiful towns with thriving nightlife.
Its towns are mazes of bare stone and baroque architecture below domed church tops. Narrow winding walkways open out onto bustling palazzos and 7,000 years of history sit alongside a thriving Mediterranean cafe culture. Meanwhile over on the coasts, azure waves lap against beaches and rugged stone cliffs.
Whether you’re looking for a cheap holiday or a no-expenses-spared getaway, you can enjoy Malta just the same. We’ve offered you three options below, so whether you’re looking to save, spend or splurge on your next getaway, you’ll experience the best.
If you’re looking to do Malta on a shoestring, consider going in spring or autumn. Cheapest room rates can be found from November to March and with 300 days of sunshine each year, you’re likely to have great weather even then, plus the cooler temperatures will make exploring the island’s ancient sites more comfortable. Don’t get us wrong, there are still bargains to be had on accommodation at the height of summer, but it’s all about finding that perfect deal.
Getting around the island can be a cinch, too: local buses offer day tickets at around €1.50 (£1.20) or alternatively, car hire rates are some of the lowest in Europe.
A stroll through the streets of post-Renaissance capital Valletta is an attraction in itself, enjoying the 17th century architecture that has remained remarkably untouched. Don’t miss St John’s Co Cathedral, Malta’s answer to the Sistine Chapel, with its cavernous interior or intricately decorated frescoes and lavish ornamental finish to every nook and fitting (€6/£4.80 adults, children free).
Malta has more sights of historical significance than anywhere else in the world, and the National Museum of Archeology, also in Valletta, is a great introduction to its unrivalled wealth of ancient and prehistoric sites, showcasing many of the artefacts and sculptures uncovered on the island, and it’s reasonably priced too (€5/£4 adults, €3.50/£2.80 children). Or to get more hands-on, the Ghar Dalam Cave & Museum is worth a visit (€5/£4 adults, €2.50/£2 children).
Beyond Valletta, the charming town of Vittoriosa across the water, part of the area known as Three Cities, is an essential photo-op, and it had plenty more museums and sights to explore. Or take the trip south to the fishing village of Marsaxlokk for a taste of the day’s catch.
There are plenty of all-inclusive options in Malta to make your stay more economical. No-frills, well-situated Castille Hotel in beautiful Valletta is great value at £70 per night. Or you can grab a twin room at full board for a week in July for just over £1,000 for two people.
The hill-top Panorma Hotel in Mellieha has commanding views over the bay and clean, comfy room, plus its a cinch – a week all-inclusive in July will set you back less than £700 for two people.
Spend a little, and you can get a lot in Malta. With so much to see and do on the tiny island, there is a dizzying array of tours on offer to help you make the most of your time there. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the ancient Hypogeum in the town of Paola, a subterranean city more than 5,000 years old (€30/£24 for adults, €12/£9 for children), although be sure to book a few months ahead – tour groups are small to protect the stone and spaces fill up.
Former capital Mdina is another postcard-perfect town, packed with its own wealth of beautiful buildings and sites. Make the trip out of the city to the Domvs Romana and check out the ruins of this 1BC Roman townhouse (€6/£4.80 adults, €3/£2.40 children).
If you prefer your holidays a little more relaxed, the Golden Bay beach in the north is a beautiful sun spot. From there, jump on one of Charlie’s Boat Trips which run throughout the day. Expert guide Charlie will zip you along Malta’s rugged coast in his speed boat to some of the best spots including the postcard-perfect Blue Lagoon on Comino, for less than €20/£16 per person.
In Sliema, the Palace Hotel is excellent value, with elegant, minimalist guest rooms, and luxurious facilities like a full-service spa and chic sun terrace. (Doubles from £140 per night).
Or in St Julians, the Marina Hotel at the Corinthia Beach Resort facing out on St George’s Bay is another great choice with well-designed rooms and excellent service. (Doubles from £100 per night).
The trapped-in-time architecture has caught the attention of Hollywood over the years, and the island has played the Roman Empire, Troy, and the Somali Coast in the last 20 years alone. It’s also the location for King’s Landing in TV series Game of Thrones, and tour operator Viator now runs private day trips of the locations, guided by two local actors who appeared in the show as well as several blockbusters (from £78 per person).
The best beaches aren’t all to be found on Malta; some of the most Instagram-able spots are on neighbouring Gozo or the tiny island of Camino in the middle. Of course there are ferries that run people between the islands, but if you really want to explore them in style, you can charter a pleasure boat through Malta Boat Charter. Expect to pay around €4,000/£3,225 for a day, including skipper.
Don’t pass up the chance to stay at the Xara Palace Relais and Chateau in historic Mdina. With it’s stone-walled courtyards decorated with creeping borgainvillea and luxe rooms designed to feel like a home from home, this boutique bolthole makes a strong bid for the finest on the island (Doubles from £260 per night).
Alternatively, try the opulent Hotel Phoenicia in Valletta, with its lush, shady gardens and sumptuous guest rooms that have views across the town and harbour from their iron-framed balconies (Doubles from £190 per night).