So Malta is a European country and most european countries are usually not that different in culture, habits and all that stuff. At least, not as different as Japan is from Germany for example, of course there are slight differences. Which is exactely what this blog is about. 8 things you need to know before going to Malta, just to prepare yourself that extra bit 🙂 – You’ll survive without having read these tips, but who goes on a vacation without looking up all information there is about the country they’re going to right?-
Quick disclaimer: all of these tips are based on my personal experience in this country. Going there at a different time of year or going to other cities than Valletta might mean that things will be different for you and your experience –
Here we go
Alright, this is going to be a long blog, so please, grab some tea and cookies, get reaaaaaaal comfy –check out picture below for inspiration on how to get reaaaal comfy- and enjoy the ride.
Tip #1: Bring an adapter
This might just be the most important one. At least it is if you’re like me and your hand is basically glued to your phone. Mostly becayse I’m taking pictures of everything all the time by the way, not because I’m one of those annoying people that stares at their phone during dinner. Anyways, as someone from The Netherlands I thought I wouldn’t have to bring an adapter because hey, pretty much all european countries have the same wall outlets right? Boy was I wrong. This will not be a problem if you’re from England by the way, because they’ve got English wall outlets in Malta. Which makes sense, because Malta used to be an English colony.
Tip #2: They drive on the left side of the road.
Something else by which you can tell Malta used to be an English colony: they drive on the left side of the road. I didn’t know this before I arrived and as someone that’s used to driving on the right side of the road, I needed two days to get used to it. It’s pretty scary when you expect someone to drive on the right and all of a sudden they drive on the left okay! Lol. Now I was lucky enough to not have to drive anywhere myself, which was great. But if you plan on getting a rental car during your holiday in Malta, I really hope you know about this before you arrive! You know, it’s kind of important.
Tip #3: Being vegan (or lactose intolerant) is difficult! So figure out which restaurants serve vegan food beforehand.
I’m a vegetarian myself and when I’m at home I’m also vegan. I try to be as vegan as possible when I’m not at home too, but that proved to be quite difficult in Valletta. If you’re a vegetarian, you will probably have a few options in most restaurants. And if not, you can always ask the staff to leave out the chicken, meat, or whatever is in there. Now if you’re hardcore vegan however, or maybe you’re lactose intolerant, this might be a real problem. It’s quite difficult to find vegan food in Valletta, but I did manage to find one completely vegan restaurant! See the picture down below. Now I wasn’t able to eat here during the trip, but it looked nice.
The reason why being vegan in Malta is so difficult is because it’s such a typically mediterranian country. Think pasta, pizza, lasagna, fish, meat, mozarella, risotto and tomatoes. And: cheese. They honestly put cheese in every single dish. Every single one. Even when you don’t expect it. Like a boatload of cheese, I’m not kidding. I ordered an eggplant dish for a starter and they put so much cheese on it I first of all couldn’t tast the eggplant anymore and also it was filling enough to be a main. Now you could of course order like a salad and just don’t eat the mozarella, but I would get bored of eating the same thing over and over quite quickly. You can also order a dish without cheese, like a simple pasta. But then you’d also have to check if there’s no egg in the pasta. If you do this, make sure you choose a dish in which they don’t put anything like fish stock or whatever.
I also feel like most people don’t quite grasp the concept of veganism yet. There was this one restaurant, Peppino’s actually which I talked about in a previous blogpost, and it’s a great restaurant but on their menu certain dishes were labelled ‘vegan’ when clearly they were not because there was cheese in them.
Tip #4: There are barely any beaches.
I know Malta is an island and I know that when you think of island you think of perfect white beaches surrounding the island….. No. Just No. Definitely not the case for Malta unfortunately. The island does have beaches, don’t get me wrong, but there’s just a few of them, they’re small and usually pretty crowded. The edges of the island are actually made up of rocks most of the time. Not very comfortable to lay on if you want to sunbathe, but there’s still people that do. The closest beach to Valletta is probably the one in Saint Julian, which is called Saint George’s bay.
Tip #5: Don’t drink the tapwater.
This is probably an easy one, since I feel like most people don’t drink the water from the tap when they are on a holiday anyways. -If they even drink water at all, I’m talking to you party people!- I mean, you could drink it, you probably won’t die from it. It’s just got so much chlorine in it, it tastes terrible and if you drink too much you will probably end up feeling sick. I know I felt a little sick after drinking just a little bit. Bonustip: If you’re ordering water in a restaurant, you’ll obviously be given botteled water, but always ask for a small bottle, or just a glass. Be clear about this because otherwise they will give you a huge bottle when you don’t need it or wanted it.
Tip #6: Going out is most fun in Saint Julian.
I’m talking to you again, party people! Just kidding haha. Although if you want to party, this is definitely the place to be. There is more clubs and places to go out in Saint Julian than there is in Valletta. There is also a lot of gentleman’s clubs here, if you’re interested in that kind of thing. Saint Julian is kind of like the Blanes of Malta. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever been to Blanes, especially if you went there before turning 20 😉
I personally didn’t try out every single lounge, bar or club. However, I did go to Hugo’s lounge and Hugo’s terrace. Both were really nice. There is like 10 different Hugo’s though: Hugo’s burgers, Hugo’s hotel, Hugo’s pub, etc. Make sure you know which one you’re going to. Hugo’s lounge was a nice casual place to just sit down and have some cocktails. There was no dancing happening. You can also order all kinds of Asian food here, sushi for example! If you plan on going to Hugo’s terrace, deffinitely make sure you make a reservation. That is if you want to sit down at least. If you don’t I guarantee you, all tables will be taken. Bonus for the girls: There’s a really cute guy working behind the bar. When I was here there also wasn’t any dancing going on, but there was enough space to do so. The place is a little bit more fancy looking than Hugo’s lounge, but it wouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable or anything.
If you’d like to know what I did when I was in Saint Julian, you should read this blogpost: Travel diary: Malta day 2&3
Tip #7: Always. ALWAYS. Wear sunscreen.
So this is probably an obvious one, but I feel like I still need to mention it. Always wear sunscreen if you’re going anywhere outside in Malta! ESPECIALLY if you’re quite pale or don’t really tan much. The sun will basically eat you alive if you don’t. You think going for a walk somewhere in the afternoon without wearing sunscreen will be fine because you’ll only be gone for one to two hours max. But no. You won’t be fine. You’ll get sunburnt. Pretty badly as well, depending on what time of day you’re out and what your skin is like. I am naturally quite pale, went out to explore Valletta for a bit, forgot to put on sunscreen (yes I’m an idiot), walked around in the sun for maybe two hours in the early afternoon and even before arriving back at the hotel I noticed my shoulders were hurting and were basically as red as a firetruck. Not fun. Four days after getting back I’m still recovering. -Also, check out my tanlines in this picture below-
Tip #8: Just a couple basics.
Lastly I just wanted to mention a couple easy basics, but they’re still things you must not forget before going to Malta. Firstly, it’s a european country and thus they use the Euro as a valuta. Secondly, everyone speaks English (apart from Maltees as their first language). I feel like if you speak Italian you’d be fine too, but I don’t so I wasn’t able to try that out. Also: Malta is not actually a part of Italy, it’s a country on it’s own. The islands Malta, Gozo, Comino, Manoel and a couple other small uninhabited islands together form the Republic of Malta. Another tip: Yes, it’s quite hot in Malta during summer, but it can also be quite windy. Make sure you pack enough small/lightweight clothes but also bring a few items that cover you up a bit more. Just in case there’s a lot of wind. Or in case you burnt your shoulders and need to cover them for the rest of the holiday. Bring your sunglasses, maybe a nice hat, some good shoes because the streets in the old city of Valletta are incredibly slippery, and you’re good to go!
If you’re going to Malta: I hope you enjoy your time there! I hope you found this information usefull. If you’re thinking about going: please do. Valletta is gorgeous, definitely worth the trip. If you’ve been already, I’d love to hear about your experience!
Please tag me on Instagram using #ijustwanttotraveltomalta, can’t wait to see all of your pictures! 🙂