My foreword introduces Malta with its archipelago (Malta, Gozo and Comino) for you. Furthermore, you can read about my experiences of the Maltese weather, people and eating habits. I also offer some information about travelling by public transportation/car/boat and ferry. Enjoy!
The archipelago of Malta is situated in the Mediterranean Sea, south from the Italian island Sicily. It is also close to Africa. 3 inhabited islands are in the archipelago: Malta, Gozo and Comino. In Comino, the population is only 4 with a priest, a policeman and 2 others. There are another 18 uninhabited islands, some are only huge rocks.
The coastlines are mainly rocky. Sandy beaches can be found mostly on the northern part such as Mellieha bay and Golden bay, Ghajn Tuffieha, Gnejna bay on the west side. Don’t forget about Blue Lagoon in Comino and Ir-Ramla in Gozo. Read my post about the best beaches in Malta to learn more.
The landscape is characterised by terraced fields, dry vegetation, rock and limestone. There are no permanent rivers or lakes. After the rainfalls in winter small rivers may appear. Only dryness bearing trees are capable to live on the islands: olive, ficus, citrus, pine, tamarisk, carob and agave trees.
Summers are very hot and dry in Malta. During the day the temperature is usually between 28-34°C, August is the warmest month: sunshine every day without any clouds in the sky. The sun shines very strongly and there aren’t many trees to protect you.
The winters are slightly rainy and mild, the average temperature is around 15°C, there is no snow, but can be cold because of the northern wind. In Europe, Malta has the warmest winters. The sea temperature is around 20°C during winter and 26°C during the summer.
Maltese people are very friendly, lovely and relaxed, especially in Gozo.
In the Ferry Terminal, we were in a hurry to catch the ferry back to the main island and the ferryman didn’t understand us, just said: Relax, relax you are in Gozo. He was totally right!
Aaaaaand everyone speaks English. Okay, maybe not everyone, but a lot of people do 🙂 After the Maltese language, English is the second official language.
Interesting facts about Malta
The population is approximately 420000 according to a survey in 2010. The capital city is Valletta, but the largest city is Birkirkara.
The mainland’s area is pretty small with 316 sqm, compared to Budapest’s area which is 525 sqm. Despite its size, there is definitely a lot to see and do across Malta and Gozo.
Malta is a member of the European Union since 2004, the currency is euro. Always have a small amount of cash with you. At ferry and boat stations they accept only cash.
Public transportation extends over the whole island. You can choose from many bus lines with a lot of bus stops. Don’t forget to give a sign to the driver to stop. A single ticket costs 2 euros during summer, a night ticket is 3 euros and in the winter season, a ticket costs 1,5 euro. Don’t go to the driver with 20 euros, the best is if you have change or smaller money than 20.
If you decide to explore Malta by bus, the cost-efficient way is to buy a bus card. There are different types available depending on your travel habits. You can purchase the card at Malta Public Transport’s Sales and Information Offices. Visit the website for more details.
Planning a trip by bus is easier with the Malta bus app called tallinja, which is available in Google Play and App Store. You can access useful information about the bus service: real-time timetable, map and location of the closest bus stop. The bus stops provide you free Wi-fi service to check the timetables and plan your journey.
However, I suggest that you rent a car.
My boyfriend travelled a few days earlier to Malta and agreed to meet me at the airport. I was a bit surprised when he wasn’t there waiting for me…. When he arrived, he said: We rent a car!!!
The bus is slow and has many stops. We were satisfied with our decision, especially when seeing people waiting in the bus stops in 30 degrees without any trees. By car, we could travel so easily and reach every destination. First, it was a bit weird to drive on the left side, but after a day we were used to it.
We rented the car at the airport from Budget Car Rental for 4 days. One day (24 hours) costs 50 euros with full cover insurance.
Ferry and boat service
Between Malta (Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal) and Gozo (Mgarr Ferry Terminal), a ferry operates for passengers and vehicles.
Comino is reachable only by boat, so no cars are allowed on the island.
Eating and drinking in Malta
Traditional Maltese cuisine is typically Mediterranean with English, French, Sicilian, North African influences, reflecting the history.
The most traditional Maltese soup is called Soppa tal-armla (widow’s soup), which used to be made by poor widows from the cheapest vegetables.
The national dish is the rabbit. Rabbit stew (Fenkata) is usually served with peas and fries. We tried Maltese reared rabbit in a northern village, Il- Mellieha, a restaurant called Mithna. It was super delicious!!! I’m serious, you must try it. The menu said it is braised in brandy, curry & coconut milk.
If you are visiting Malta around autumn try the lampuki pie (Torta tal-Lampuki) made from lampuka. This popular fish swims between Malta and Gozo from the end of August until November towards the Atlantic.
Timpana is a baked macaroni dish, which is baked in a pastry case.
Pastizzi is a traditional Maltese pastry. It’s filled with ricotta or mushy peas. Pastizzi are usually diamond-shaped or round-shaped. Go into a pastizzeria, bar or café and try it.
Their local beer is Cisk, you can find it everywhere. I am not a big fan of beer (I prefer wine), this is a good beer, for me, it tastes like a normal lager beer.
I’ve never heard of Maltese wine before, all the 3 types I tried were delicious. There are five major wine producers on the island: Marsovin, Emmanuel Delicata, Camilleri Wines, Montekristo and Meridiana. Mainly international grape varieties are produced, Gellewza (red) and Ghirgentina (white) are their local grapes.
Learn more about Maltese food and drink in this post.