Everything you need to know before you go!

Valletta Malta at sunset www.mimosamerma

Getting there

***Due to #Covid19 restrictions all schedules are currently subject to change***

 

You can fly to #Malta direct from most regional UK and London airports with Easyjet, Ryanair, Jet2, British Airways and Air Malta.

 

Flights take around 3.5 hours and all arrive into Malta’s International Airport, Luqa.

 

As the island is so quaintly compact transfers to mainland resorts take no more than a maximum of 45 minutes. (Transfers by bus will of course take longer)

 

Time Difference

No jet lag here, Malta is GMT+1

 

Dialling code

You can contact all of the new Maltese friends you will make using country code +356

 

 

Language

 

Malta has two official languages, Maltese and English. Italian is also widely spoken.

Religion

 

Predominantly Roman Catholic, but many other religious denominations are also represented too.

 

Public Holidays Holidays

The islands have 14 annual Public Holidays.

 

The only date which varies from year to year is Good Friday, every other holiday is celebrated on a set date. Interestingly, Boxing Day is a regular day - pop it in your diary though, as Malta's Boxing Day Sales are amazing! 🤩

Holidays are as follows:

  • 1st January – New Year’s Day

  • 10th February – Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck

  • 19th March – Feast of St. Joseph

  • 31st March – Freedom Day

  • March / April (date changes) – Good Friday

  • 1st May – Labour Day

  • 7th June – Sette Giugno

  • 29th June – Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul (L-Imnarja)

  • 15th August – Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady (Santa Marija)

  • 8th September – Feast of Our Lady of Victories

  • 21st September – Independence Day

  • 8th December – Feast of the Immaculate Conception

  • 13th December – Republic Day

  • 25th December – Christmas Day

 

 

Climate

 

Typically #Mediterranean, the islands climate is strongly influenced by the sea. Malta gloriously enjoys over 300 sunny days a year.

#Spring and #autumn are refreshingly cooler than #summer, although the African #Scirocco winds do occasionally bring in unseasonably high temperatures and humidity. I love spring as this is when the islands are at their greenest and abundant in beautifully colourful wild flowers.

 

In #summer expect to enjoy 12 hours of delicious sunshine a day, Malta is one very hot and dry rock during these months.

 

In mid #winter, sunshine drops to around 5-6 hours but the days are mild. Winters can also experience cold spells caused by the Northern winds from Central Europe. It’s not unknown for me to wear a fur coat and fur hat, then next day, T-shirt and shorts. Best advice, prepare for every eventuality!

 

Rainfall

 

You’ll be pleased to hear that annual rainfall levels are low, around 600mm a year, but be prepared, as when it rains in Malta, it really rains! Think monsoon!

 

Electricity

 

No panic, your hairdryer will work absolutely fine here as the islands use our 3 pin UK plugs. I would however recommend that if you staying in a farmhouse that you pop in a couple of two pin adaptors just to be on the safe side too.

 

Water

 

The official line is that tap water is safe to drink across the islands, but I’ve had one too many upset tummy’s to believe that over the years.

 

I always drink the local bottled water, it’s inexpensive and hotel rooms usually pop in a bottle or two to start you off. I also avoid ice in my drinks unless I know it’s made from bottled water.

 

Driving

 

Beware! The Maltese drive in the shade, it’s sometimes comparable to the Wacky Races. On the plus side the official rule is you drive on the left.

 

Getting around

Bus

 

Both Malta and Gozo have a super and inexpensive network of bus services. Do they run on time? Erm mostly no! Do they get crowded, yes indeed.

 

The main terminuses can be found in the capital #Valletta, and in Victoria on Gozo. Single journeys which allow a transfer (full journey to be completed within 2 hours) are priced as follows,

  • Winter €1.50 

  • Summer €2.00 (mid June to mid October)

  • Night Services €3.00 

Tickets can be purchased as you board from the driver.

Further savings can be made with the purchase of a 7 day Tourist card - the Explore Tallinja card. This offers  7 days of unlimited travel at any time of day, at a super cost of,

  • €21 for adults

  • €15 for children up to the age of 10

Click here to view a list of sales outlets 

 

Full bus schedule information can be found here

Ferry

Take the breathtakingly beautiful journey from Sliema to Valletta by ferry or from Valletta to the 3 cities (Cospicua) onboard Valletta Ferry Services 

At the moment the Maltese Government is subsidising these routes with only a tip required for the crew. Usual rates are as follows,

  • Adult Day single €1.50 (night services €1.75)

  • Adult Day return €2.80 (night services €3.30)

  • Child Day single €0.50

  • Child Day return €0.90

When travelling back to Valletta from Cospicua do ask the crew for a ticket or retain your ticket as this will allow you to use the Upper Barrakka lift free of charge. Using the lift avoids the climb back up to the city.

Schedules and routes can be found here

There is no way to reach the island of Gozo or Comino other than by boat.

Gozo Ferry Service

 

Cars and passengers are carried by Gozo Channel services between Cirkewwa on Malta and Mgarr on Gozo and vv. These services operate year round, 24 hours a day. The full schedule can be found here

The crossing time is approx 25 minutes. Do take a seat outside as the scenery is stunning. Ferry tickets need only be purchased on your return from Gozo allowing you to board at ease in Malta. 

Fares are as follows,

  • Standard foot passenger fare €4.65 return (night fare after 8pm €4.05 return)

  • Standard child fare (age 3 to 12) €1.15 return

  • Car plus driver €15.70 (night fare €12.80)

 

To calculate a fare with a car, two adults and 2 children, €15.70, plus one foot passenger at €4.65 and two children at €1.15 each = €22.65

Gozo passenger only fast ferry service

From the 1st of June 2021 there are two new kids on the ferry block!

 

Virtu Ferries Gozo and Gozo Fast Ferry will operate a foot passenger only service from Valletta in Malta to Mgarr in Gozo. These are fast ferries with a journey time of less than 45 minutes! Full details are still to emerge from Gozo Fast Ferry, but you can find further details in this blog post. 

Hop on, Hop off services

New to the islands this year is the hop on, hop off catamaran service from Sliema to Comino, stopping at Bugibba, and Mgarr in Gozo. This service runs from August to the end of October. Pricing is as follows,

  • €15 adults

  • €11.50 for children under the age of 12

  • Children up to 4 years of age travel free

 

Tickets and schedule information can be found here

As well as the catamaran, you can also have fun experiencing a hop on, hop off bus tour of both Malta and Gozo. These partially open, double decker tour buses stop at all the major sightseeing spots on both islands. 

Check out the full list of options and pricing here

Comino

 

Comino can also be visited from Malta by one of the many day trips offered by various sightseeing companies. Your hotel will be able to arrange this for you, usually with a pick up and return from your accommodation.

 

Bella Comino ferries operate a scheduled ferry service from Mgarr Harbour in Gozo to the Blue Lagoon on Comino. The journey is quick, no more than 15 minutes. Prices are,

  • €10 return per adult

  • €3 return per child (aged 5-10 years)

The full schedule can be viewed here

Word from the wise! Swerve the option of an add on cave tour for this one - the ferry is too large to enter. There are a plethora of speedboats available on Comino which will take you on a thrilling ride to the caves at a very reasonable fee. The speedboats can actually enter the caves allowing you to view the beautiful azure blue sea and the many colourful corals.

 

From Marfa and Cirkewwa on Malta the Comino ferry service is operated by the Comino Ferries Co-Op Ltd.

The journey time is approx 25 minutes.

Pricing is as follows,

  • €13 return per adult

  • €7 return per child (under the age of 10)

Schedules can be found here

Sicily

After all of the above, should you still have #wanderlust its also possible to visit Sicily for the day too!

The service is ran by a high speed catamaran operated by Virtu Ferries Ltd.

 

The journey will take you from Valletta to Pozzallo in #Sicily and the day excursion will offer a trip to Mt Etna and a historical Sicilian village, usually Modica or #Taormina.

 

Please be aware that this is a long day, leaving Malta usually around 6am, and not returning until around 10pm.

 

Sicily is a large island therefore a lot of your day will be spent onboard the coach, however the scenery is stunning.

Full information can be found here

If you prefer to freestyle your visit, you can purchase foot passenger or car plus passenger tickets allowing you to spend your time in Sicily totally at leisure. 

You can find pricing options here

 

 

Malta updates

Maltese Proverb

 

Gawdi ghax mid-dinja m’ghandna xejn.

 

Roughly translated as, live life to the full as we can't take anything with us.