Malta is a popular holiday destination thanks to its beautiful beaches and unique blend of culture, and for such a small country, there are many choices for where to stay in Malta.
But don’t worry — we rounded up the best areas and hotels, including what to do when you get to each, on the island. Ready to start? So are we — let’s dive in!
Why You Should Visit Malta in 2023
Malta is a spectacular destination in the Mediterranean, perfect for a long weekend or an extended vacation. It is small enough that you can explore all parts of the island country without too much trouble, but it still has much to offer.
The beautiful beaches and sea are the primary reason most people visit Malta, which makes sense because it is an island country in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
The islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino have countless beautiful beaches, from rocky cliffs for diving to family-friendly shores. There are also great opportunities for water sports, such as kayaking.
Although many tourists have discovered the island’s beauty, there are still places in the island country where you can enjoy pristine nature that is basically untouched.
The Blue Lagoon on Comino and Peter’s Bay, a secluded cove, are popular places to get away from it all. Plus, thanks to Malta’s small size, both of these are easy day trips from anywhere in the country.
Malta is also a place with a unique history. For several centuries, it was ruled by the Catholic order of the Knights of St. John, who built great monuments, including the spectacular St. John’s Co-Cathedral.
The capital, Valletta, has traces on every corner of this amazing history, such as a medieval citadel, narrow winding streets, and more.
The beautiful cities and towns have been the settings for many popular movies and TV shows, including Game of Thrones. Malta has a unique culture thanks to its position in the Mediterranean, meaning that it draws influences from all sides.
Its language is more similar to Arabic than any other European language, and you can see traces of Italian, Arabic, Spanish, and Norman influence throughout the cuisine, architecture, and more.
The food, in particular, in Malta is worth a trip thanks to its unique cultural fusion. Beaches, unique nature, and thousands of years of history — Malta truly has it all.
The real challenge is figuring out where to start in your exploration of the country. Picking the right base goes a long way toward planning the perfect vacation.
The Best Places to Stay in Malta
Our top 5 picks for the best areas to stay in when visiting Malta include:
- Valletta: The best area for culture and history
- Mellieha Bay: The best area for beaches and families
- St. Julian’s: Best area for nightlife and young travelers
- Sliema: Best area for day trips around the island
- Gozo: The best area for nature and avoiding the crowds
The Best Areas & Hotels in Malta
Malta has a lot to offer for such a small country. Choosing the right area to stay ensures that you make the most of your vacation, especially since public transportation on the island isn’t the best and you need to put in a lot of effort to go from one part of the island to another.
This guide can help you figure out where to stay in Malta.
Valletta is where many people stay as first-time visitors to Malta. It is the capital, so it has the most amenities and is the easiest to reach, thanks to the international airport.
It also is centuries old and is the center of culture on the island, making it the perfect destination for visitors who want to immerse themselves in the culture and learn about Malta. The historic sights are definitely the main attraction in Valletta.
The city was founded by the Knights of St. John, and it bears their stamp from the narrow streets of the UNESCO-protected Old Town, which were designed that way to confuse any invaders, to the spectacular St. John’s Co-Cathedral.
You can also see the Grandmaster’s Palace, where the head of the order lived (showing they were definitely not a humble monastic order). Valletta is also a great place to stay to explore Malta’s heritage.
It has countless stunning places to eat, from high-end restaurants to humble street stalls selling pastizz, traditional Maltese pastries. The city is home to Malta’s best museums, such as the National Museum of Archeology, showing off Malta’s amazing ancient history.
A simple stroll through town in the evening surrounded by locals and other visitors will truly make you feel as if you’re in the Mediterranean. However, there are a few downsides to Valletta.
The city itself doesn’t have many beaches, so it’s not the best place to go if you just want to swim. Plus, it gets very crowded during the high season, and the public transportation to explore the rest of the island isn’t the best.
Things to Do
- Take a boat trip in the spectacular Grand Harbour.
- Explore the legacies of the Knights of Saint John, such as the Grandmaster’s Palace.
- Visit the landmarks and museums of the capital, such as the Barakka Gardens.
Where to Eat
- Enjoy fine dining with a view at the Michelin-starred ION Harbour.
- Try traditional Maltese food and an expansive wine list at Trabuxu Bistro.
- Try the best pastries, including the traditional pastizz, at Caffe Cordina.
Valletta Budget Hotels
- Grand Harbour Hotel. This simple hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi and a sun terrace with stunning views over Valletta’s famous port.
- Paulos Valletta. At this aparthotel, you can rent your own spacious room, suite, or apartment, complete with a kitchenette, bathroom, and balcony with great views.
Valletta Mid-Range Hotels
- The Barrister Hotel. This elegant hotel has comfortable rooms, a rooftop hot tub, a restaurant, and excellent staff that will help you plan your trip.
- The Capital Boutique Hotel. This small but mighty hotel has elegantly decorated rooms, a shared lounge for relaxing, and the option to upgrade to a suite with a hot tub.
Valletta Luxury Hotels
- Domus Zamittello. This unique hotel offers accommodation in an authentic 17th-century palace with antique and modern touches in all rooms and a delicious breakfast.
- Iniala Harbour House. This hotel is the epitome of Mediterranean luxury thanks to its in-house spa, attentive staff, and excellent décor with period touches.
2. Mellieha Bay
Mellieha Bay on Malta’s northern coast is one of the country’s top resort towns. It is the best place to stay if all you want to do is lie on the beach. Mellieha Bay is Malta’s largest sandy beach, making it great for swimming.
While many other Maltese beaches are rocky or pebbly, this shore is gentle and perfect for all levels of swimmers. It’s why Mellieha Bay is also popular among families with young children, as it is one of the most family-friendly beaches in Malta.
Mellieha Bay is also great for relaxing on the beach, thanks to the resort amenities available. A lot of accommodation options in the area are resorts, which have amenities such as pools, catering, and more.
You can’t beat getting pampered at your hotel when it comes to a relaxing vacation. You can also stay in the village of Mellieha itself, but it is on a hill above the beach, so swimming may be a trek.
Mellieha Bay has a lot of advantages as a destination, but it is one of the most touristy parts of Malta. This is not the right place to go if you want to avoid the crowds or if you want an authentic experience in Malta.
Things to Do
- Spend all day swimming in Mellieha Bay.
- Take the kids to Popeye Village, the film set for the Popeye movie and now an amusement park.
- Visit the Coral Lagoon, a spectacular natural cave.
Where to Eat
- Enjoy a meal with a view of the beach at Munchies Mellieha Bay.
- Try upscale takes on Mediterranean classics at Commando.
- Dine on authentic Italian food in Tosca.
Mellieha Bay Budget Hotels
- Ghand in-Nanna B&B. This B&B welcomes guests with comfy, air-conditioned rooms, delicious breakfast options, and add-on services such as car rentals and beauty services.
- Victoria by Petit Chic. This soothing B&B in a quiet residential neighborhood is a break from the resort madness and has affordable rooms with private bathrooms and seating areas.
Mellieha Bay Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel VIU57. This elegant hotel has a rooftop pool and terrace with gorgeous views and is an easy distance away from both the beach and the bus station.
- Artist Terrace Apartments. This elegant aparthotel offers spacious apartments as accommodation, plus extra perks such as spa services and unique décor you don’t usually get in aparthotels.
Mellieha Bay Luxury Hotels
- Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands. This gorgeous resort is located right on Mellieha Bay’s sandy beach (and has its own private beach area), plus three pools, a restaurant, a leisure center, and more.
- Lure Hotel & Spa. This elegant adults-only hotel has everything you could ever want while on vacation, including an outdoor pool, indoor pool, spa, and excellent service.
3. St. Julian’s
Many young travelers to Malta make a beeline for the resort town of St. Julian’s. That’s because, among its other charms, this town is the center of Malta’s nightlife.
Fun beach bars, thumping clubs, and more make this the perfect place to let your hair down while on vacation. High rollers can even spend the night at the town’s casinos. That’s not to say St. Julian’s charms are only visible after dark.
The town is a charming beach town with its fair share of history, visible in the beautiful buildings. A walk along the promenade takes you through the best parts of St. Julian’s and nearby towns, past historic hotels, new buildings, and gorgeous views of the Mediterranean.
St. Julian’s is also a great place to stay for beach lovers (and if you need to swim in cool water to nurse your hangovers).
St. George’s Bay is a Blue Flag beach, which means it has an international certification that its waters are clean. You can also visit Balluta Bay Beach, a smaller beach further away from the main town of St. Julian’s.
While families do stay in St. Julian’s, primarily because of its beautiful beaches, it is not the best place in Malta for a family-friendly vacation, thanks to its reputation as a nightlife hub.
It also has one of the worst problems with crime in Malta, as criminals come to prey on drunken partygoers (although, overall, Marta is extremely safe, so this isn’t as big of a concern).
Things to Do
- Swim in the beautiful waters of St. George’s Bay.
- Take photos in scenic locations, such as Spinola Bay with its traditional fishing boats.
- Visit the thumping clubs of Paceville, Malta’s premier nightlife district.
Where to Eat
- Enjoy Maltese specialties in a casual diner-like atmosphere at Gululu.
- Have brunch with a view of the bay at Two Buoys.
- Finish your meal with a sweet treat from RivaReno Gelato.
St. Julian’s Budget Hotels
- J’Me Boutique Hotel. This adults-only hotel has elegant furnishings in designer rooms, stunning marble-like bathrooms, and staff that go above and beyond (including decorating rooms for honeymoons).
- 123 MAINSTREET boutique hotel. This simple, elegant hotel has comfortable rooms, great views from the balconies, and a great location on Spinola Bay.
St. Julian’s Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Juliani – Boutique Hotel. This small hotel has elegant touches such as walk-in rain showers in all rooms, a fine dining restaurant, and a façade left over from its days as a tony townhouse.
- AC Hotel by Marriott St. Julian’s. From the always-reliable Marriott chain, this hotel has a rooftop terrace and bar, an indoor spa with a pool area, and comfy modern rooms.
St. Julian’s Luxury Hotels
- The Westin Dragonara Resort. There’s nothing you could wish for at this luxurious hotel, with fully equipped rooms complete with LCD TVs, pools, restaurants, and not one but two private beach areas.
- Hyatt Regency Malta. This elegant resort has a pool, spa, high-end restaurant, fitness center, and staff who are excellent even by the standards of five-star resorts.
Sliema is a resort town close to Valletta, meaning that you get all the convenience of being near the capital city without some of the drawbacks of staying in busy Valletta.
It’s close to St. Julian’s as well, making it a great base for traveling to the other resort town. In fact, Sliema is a great base for traveling around the island in general because it is close to the main bus station, making it perfect for day trips.
Sliema is not as packed with landmarks and historic sites as Valletta, but it has its fair share of interesting buildings.
Walk along the Sliema Promenade to see the Torri ta’ San Ġiljan, remnants of a Renaissance-era fortress. The most spectacular sight in town is definitely Fort Tigné, the towering fortress offering views below.
Sliema also boasts a beautiful stretch of shore. The town has several beautiful beaches, such as Tigné Point Beach, Balluta Bay, and Fond Ghadir, a series of man-made oceanside pools.
Like any other resort town, Sliema also has the amenities you would want for the perfect beach vacation, such as shopping, great restaurants, and hotels.
Sliema is a great town but not the most budget-friendly place in Malta. It is one of the country’s most popular resort areas, so the price of everything, including hotel stays, is more expensive here than in other parts of the country.
Things to Do
- Climb up to Fort Tigné for spectacular views of the Grand Harbour and Valletta.
- Admire the historic landmarks, such as the colorful Parish Church of Sacro Cuor.
- Visit the beautiful beaches, such as local favorite Fond Ghadir.
Where to Eat
- Try traditional rabbit stew at Ta’ Kris.
- Enjoy traditional Maltese fare at the hidden gem Il-Merill.
- MedAsia serves up Mediterranean-Asian fusion right by the water.
Sliema Budget Hotels
- Sliema Studios. Enjoy spacious suites and rooms decorated with comfortable modern décor, plus access to a pool on the ground floor.
- Amery House. This unique, welcoming hotel has quirky décor, friendly staff always ready with a recommendation, and access to a hot tub for some rooms.
Sliema Mid-Range Hotels
- Marea Boutique Hotels. This sleek modern hotel has ultra-modern furnishings for the rooms, a great terrace, and a seamless check-in experience using a text code.
- D Townhouse Boutique Suites. This hotel is right in the center of town, putting you close to the action, but the quiet suites with walk-in showers and communal rooftop terrace feel like an oasis from the hustle and bustle.
Sliema Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Verdi. This luxurious hotel has a location that can’t be beat, right on Sliema’s famous Strand, plus amenities such as a rooftop pool and terrace.
- Land’s End, Boutique Hotel. This elegant boutique hotel has airy, modern rooms, service that feels like coming home to family, and shared amenities such as a spa.
Malta is actually a country that contains multiple islands. Although most people flock to the largest island (also named Malta), the smaller island of Gozo is a hidden gem.
It’s especially great for those who want a more natural vacation away from the hordes of tourists who tend to populate most of Malta’s popular beaches. Gozo is also close to Comino, Malta’s most untouched island.
Gozo’s primary draw is its natural beauty, from the sparse lunar landscapes to the unique coastline carved by the Mediterranean Sea. It is full of amazing rock formations such as the Wied il-Mielah natural sea arch or Calypso Cave.
A ferry ride from Gozo is also the best way to visit Comino, a small, uninhabited (except for one hotel) island that is home to the Blue Lagoon. Gozo (and Comino) are perfect for water sports.
The island is surrounded by excellent diving spots, such as the Blue Hole, which have pristine waters and plenty of marine life to explore. You can also go scuba diving, swim along one of the amazing beaches, or take a boat trip.
Although Gozo is not as developed as Malta, there is still plenty to do on the island. You can visit historic sites such as the Neolithic Ggantija Temple or the elegant Ta’ Pinu Basilica. The towns tend to be laid-back, with authentic local food and wine.
Keep in mind that Gozo is less developed than the main island of Malta, so there is very little public transportation or other comforts you may be used to. Most of the beaches are also rocky and pebbly, not sandy.
Things to Do
- Visit Comino and the spectacular Blue Lagoon.
- Go swimming and diving from one of Gozo’s many beautiful beaches.
- Check out the mysterious UNESCO-protected Ggantija Temple complex, which legend says is dedicated to a fertility goddess.
Where to Eat
- Enjoy Maltese dishes at Qbajjar Restaurant.
- Try Gozo specialties (and buy local products to take home) at It-Tokk.
- Dig into fish specialties at Ta Karolina.
Gozo Budget Hotels
- Il-Logga Boutique Hotel. This elegant hotel has air-conditioned rooms and a pool for guests for a surprisingly affordable price.
- Villa dei Venti. Get away from it all at this hotel in a quiet, remote location (but close to the beach), where you can contemplate life while eating breakfast on the terrace.
Gozo Mid-Range Hotels
- Townhouse17 Boutique Bed & Breakfast. This hotel is located in an elegant white building close to the major sites of Gozo’s capital and has a great in-house café.
- Santa Lucia Boutique Hotel. It doesn’t get more relaxing than this hotel, which is surrounded by pristine scenery and has an outdoor pool and hot tub for guests to enjoy.
Gozo Luxury Hotels
- The Duke Boutique Hotel. Anything you could ever want is at this hotel, which is by a shopping center and restaurant and has comfy, soundproof rooms for the best sleep of your trip.
- Battistini Boutique Living Hotel and Spa. This sleek modern hotel has sparkling modern rooms with marble-inspired bathrooms and shared amenities, including a pool.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
|🏰 Most Historic||Valletta|
|⛱️ Best for Beaches||Mellieha Bay|
|🎉 Best for Nightlife||St. Julian’s|
|🚌 Best for Day Trips||Sliema|
|🌳 Best for Nature||Gozo|
The island country of Malta has a lot to offer visitors. Staying in any one of these places guarantees you a good vacation! So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Malta has to offer. Happy travels!