48 hours in Malta is barely enough to call it a proper vacation, right?! Nevertheless, you know how some places click with us, while others never do. Well, in this case, 2 days was absolutely enough for me to fall in love with Malta… It was one of the shortest international trips me and my husband took spontaneously over these years. We had a Monday off work, found last moment cheap tickets, booked a hotel, packed a small hand luggage suitcase and landed on the sunny island of Malta…
Most people would say it´s not worth traveling somewhere for such a short period of time: you end up spending more time on the road and don´t experience the new place properly. Fair point. But for me, when it comes to visiting new places and experiencing new cultures – a day in a new place is for sure better than nothing!
Looking back to this short weekend in a new country, I still can´t believe we made so many nice memories in 48 hours. Malta definitely has some special vibes… Long story short: I´m coming back to Malta one day – that´s for sure!
48 hours in Malta
The Republic of Malta consists of 3 islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Valetta is the capital. The official languages are Maltese and English. The official currency is euro. You might also need a power plug adapter: in Malta, the sockets are 3-pin British style. And of course, we didn´t bring any (who thinks of sockets while planning a spontaneous trip?!) – but luckily our hotel provided us with one.
A bit of history :
One of the most interesting things about Malta is its rich history. An island has traces of Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, French, British and was influenced by multiple cultures. From 1530 to 1798 Malta was ruled by Knights of St.John (Sovereign Military Order of St.John of Jerusalem). During that time the Islands were under constant threat from the Ottoman Empire, before the famous The Great Siege battle took place. From 18oo till 1974 Malta was ruled by the British. So the Maltese adopted their legislation and education. In some way, it reminded me of Cyprus. However, the mixture of architectural styles and impressive buildings across the island clearly indicates Malta was of a great strategical importance over the centuries. And even though you´re surrounded by all these Mediterranean landscapes most of the time, every once in a while you realize it´s not as similar to the Greek Islands or Cyprus as it appears at first sight.
I won´t lie: when you only have 48 hours – you secretly crave for a care-free luxury hotel get away. And here I should admit that the best stays in my life used to be very local family-owned places: hotels almost never have this personal touch. However, with Malta, my criteria was slightly different: check-in flexibility, good breakfast, nice room, central location, access to the sea. Besides, as we booked everything so late – our choices were quite limited.
We ended up staying at the Grand Hotel Excelsior in Valetta. Although the hotel was huge, each and every staff member was very nice. It was my husband´s Birthday and they left in our room a bottle of wine with a card signed by most of the staff members. No one knew I had a blog, so I assume they make it for all the guests – which is awesome. Another thing I loved was their personal taxi service (at a reasonable price), which allowed us to have a romantic dinner in Mdina. We just asked at the reception desk whether they could call a taxi for us and in a minute were already driving to another side of an island. After the dinner with views, the same driver picked us up. So it´s all about small details, but these often end up making or breaking your trip.
You can imagine breakfasts in this kind of hotels: with so much food and guests, it is normally a mess. So I didn´t expect the staff at Grand Hotel Excelsior to be so fast with seating you and cleaning the tables in between all these crowds of tourists rushing around to refill their plates. We are the same, by the way. So, at some point, we both went for something towards buffet and for some reason waiters decided we left. It was just a minute and guess what?! – Not only did they manage to completely clean everything, they already seated there someone else … It was all sorted out quickly when we came, they apologized and gave us back our table. It´s still a mystery to me how they managed to arrange everything so fast. Well, I guess the moral here is that we should eat less… lol It´s funny how at home, in Spain, we normally have toasts with tomato and espresso, maybe tortilla on weekends. Big breakfasts are not typical for the Spanish. But when you see so many “delicatessens” you immediately feel like the only aim of your trip was to come here and try every single thing.
Even though our stay was really good, next time I would definitely go for a small nice local hotel, somewhere in the northern part of an island or even head to Gozo.
What can you do in 48 hours?
- A bus tour around the Island
Malta is so small that the same hop on/hop off buses you could find in every big city, here circulate around the whole island. I loved that we were able to see villages and landscapes outside Malta´s capital. Even though we had no chance to explore them in details.
- Discover Valetta / Lunch on the streets of an old city
Valetta is small but we somehow ended up walking a lot to explore it´s architecture, fortifications and waterfront views.
- Mdina / Dinner with views
Mdina was the only place we were able to explore outside Valetta. Such a quiet and peaceful city – hard to believe it was actually still the same island. Our restaurant choice was De Mondion: quite pricey, although the views were simply stunning.
We didn´t get to visit any paradise beaches. However, as our hotel had a direct access to the sea (via stairs) and pool with views we ended our brief sightseeing experience on the island with a relaxing bath.
Would like to know more about Malta?! – check this Expat Story about life in Malta.
Rotunda of Mosta
Views before the sunset from De Mondion, Mdina
Traditional Maltese Date Pastries
What about you? Do you like spontaneous weekend getaways?
Have you ever been to Malta?