Looking for important travel information while backpacking in Malta? Here you will find information on working in Malta, entry visas, Malta hostels, and much more.
Table of Contents
- Facts About Malta
- Things to do in Malta
- Entry Visa Requirements for Malta
- Work Permits and Backpacker Jobs in Malta
- Malta Hostels
Facts About Malta
With a coastline of coves, beaches and harbours, this beautiful island offers a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, this magnificent destination lies only 60 miles south of Sicily. Steeped in history, Malta has an abundance of temples, grottoes, catacombs, medieval settlements and Renaissance buildings for visitors to enjoy.
The capital, Valletta, is bursting with history and character. From its spectacular Grand Harbour to its wealth of 16th Century architecture built by the Knights of St John. For travellers really wishing to explore Malta, there is no shortage of easy walks offering great views.
Why not try island hopping to Gozo or Comino for a change of scene and pace. Gozo offers a charming atmosphere, smaller and more rural than Malta and much more secluded.
Even if you are only visiting Malta for a short period of time, you can see and do an incredible amount, from historical sightseeing to adventure sports like snorkelling and diving. The clear blue waters, sandy beaches and secluded bays offer great opportunities for diving and boast some of the clearest waters in the Mediterranean. With visibility down to around 30 metres, you can see why this why the Maltese Islands are a divers paradise.
Approximately 90 per cent of Malta’s population Roman Catholic; every town and village has a parish saint’s day. In the summer these are celebrated in the streets with brass bands, dancing, processions and fireworks.
- Currency: Euro
- Time Zone: GMT + 1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).
- Language: Maltese
- Telephone Services: Country Code +356 International Access Code is +00
- Emergency Numbers: Ambulance, Fire and Police +112
Climate in Malta
Malta’s climate is typical of the rest of the Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild winters. In the summer temperatures can reach up to 84°F (30°C) with a daily average of twelve hours of sunshine. However, the constant sea breeze makes for a more bearable heat.
Malta has very limited rainfall which mainly occurs between October and April. During spring and autumn a hot wind, called the Xlokk, sometimes blows. February to June and September to October are good times to visit, you can avoid the crowds and humidity of the summer months.
Things to do in Malta
Vibrant Valletta, Malta’s capital, is crammed with character and history, with Baroque Palaces and magnificent architecture this capital is surely one not to be missed. The town was built at the end of the 16th Century by the Knights of St John as a fortress and has recently been listed by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage.
For music lovers, why not book a play or a concert at The Manoel, a working theatre since the time of the Knights. At St James Cavalier, you’ll find contemporary theatre, cafes, cinemas, exhibitions and much more. If you happen to be visiting in July, why not enjoy The International Jazz Festival, now over ten years old, it’s seen newcomers and legends perform in a spectacular venue by the floodlit Grand Harbour.
Why not try a spot of island hopping for a change of scene and pace. Gozo is Malta’s sister island, with its spectacular coastline and rugged landscape this small island is just waiting to be explored. Between Malta and Gozo lies Comino, this island offers a paradise for snorkelers, windsurfers, and divers. The island’s main attraction is the Blue Lagoon, with its sparkling blue water and stunning white beaches.
Sliema is a lively popular tourist area and lies facing the capital, Valetta. This modern cosmopolitan town boasts a whole range of bars, cinemas, shops, cafes, hotels and clubs. The neighbouring resort St Julian also offers a lively atmosphere. These resorts are fast becoming the destination for clubbing, attracting top international DJs throughout the year.
Mdina, once Malta’s capital and known as the noble city, is situated on a high plateau about nine miles west of Valletta. With a history of over 4000 years and overlooking the rest of the island, this is a town that should definitely feature on your itinerary.
The town contains narrow streets lined with churches, monasteries and palaces and is entered into by a stone drawbridge. The town is alive with museums, craft markets and at the heart of Mdina is its landmark the Baroque Cathedral of St Paul. Not to be missed is the truly breathtaking view of St Paul’s Bay and the surrounding villages which can be found from Bastion Square.
Unique Activities in Malta
Since popular places in Malta can get crowded during tourist season, it is wise to reserve tickets and activities ahead of time. GetYourGuide sells entrance tickets to museums and landmarks at face value so you can avoid the lines and save that precious time for more exploring.
Viator is another popular travel website that helps you book things to do in Malta. They work directly with local tour operators in Malta, so you won’t have to scour the internet or roam around town trying to find the best deal.
If you know your schedule ahead of time, a great insider tip is to buy tickets for major tourist attractions ahead of time. Tiqets has entrance tickets and skip-the-line passes for major attractions in Malta, which can be a worthwhile cost during peak tourist season.
How to Get Cheap Flights to Malta
In order to find the best flights to Malta we recommend using a few well-known flight comparison search engines. These websites offer powerful search options, like entering flexible dates and airports in order to find the cheapest flight to Malta.
Our go-to flight search engine is Skyscanner, which we love for its extremely flexible search options. Our favourite way to get travel inspiration is their “Everywhere” feature. Simply enter “Everywhere” as a destination, and it will then list all available flights from your departure city in order of price. This also works when entering the entire country of Malta as your destination. Skyscanner will search all possible airports in the country in order to find the cheapest option.
Kiwi is another new favourite flight search engine among savvy travelers. Kiwi works by combining flights from different carriers in order to get the best deal. Also, if there is a better ground or ferry option for the route you’re searching, Kiwi will include that in the search results. On average, we have found the cheapest flights to Malta with them compared to the other websites out there.
How to Travel Around Malta
Bus is the standard mode of transport for how to travel in Malta on a budget. There is an extensive bus network which will get you most places. You may also have to take the Ferry every now and then if traveling between Malta and Gozo.
Bus Travel in Malta
A good bus service operates in Malta from Valletta to all other towns. Fares are relatively cheap; most buses start and stop in Valletta so you may have to take a detour back to the capital to reach your destination.
Malta by Ferry
A regular ferry service operates several times daily carrying cars and passengers between Cirkewwa in Malta and Mgarr in Gozo. Crossing time is approximately 30 minutes. For further information and timetables, check out the following website.
You can also check Ferry Scanner, which provides further information and the schedules for the local ferries in Malta.
Malta by Taxi
Taxis are also a good way to travel from place to place and although taxis are under meter charge at government-controlled prices, it is recommended to agree on a price with the driver before your journey.
Renting a car in Malta
You may also want the flexibility to stop in smaller towns between the major cities. If you decide you want to rent a car in Malta, you can use DiscoverCars to compare offers from the major car rental agencies in the region.
For a slow-paced form of transport why not try a horse-drawn Karrozin. They offer a great relaxed way to visit the key historical sights including Mdina and Valletta.
Backpacking Group Tours in Malta
Though part of the fun of backpacking Malta is exploring on your own, there are situations, especially when venturing off the tourist trail, when it does make sense to go with a guide or a small group.
G Adventures is another great option for organized travel, but with a smaller group. It’s a great choice for anyone backpacking Malta alone who would like to meet up with like-minded travellers. It’s also a practical option for exploring places where you need an experienced guide, like a long hiking adventure or visiting a place well off the beaten path. You can choose from different styles of small group tours like active, wellness, hiking trips, 18-30somethings, and more.
Health and Safety in Malta
There are no major health risks associated with travel to Malta, and water and food are safe for consumption.
As with travel to all other countries abroad, it is vital that you get travel insurance before you leave for Malta. Even for short trips, our go-to travel insurance provider is World Nomads, which is also recommended by Lonely Planet, HostelWorld, and other major travel companies.
Entry Visa Requirements for Malta
British nationals do not require a visa to visit Malta. Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond length of stay and duration of stay can last up to three months without a visa. EU and EEA nationals are only required to produce evidence of their nationality and identity in order to be admitted to an EU/EEA Member State. This can take the form of a valid national passport or a national identity card. Either is acceptable.
Visitors from outside the EU, including Americans, must fill out landing cards which are available on board flights.
Employment licences (work permits) are still a requirement for non-Maltese wishing to work in Malta. These are usually issued for one year and can be renewed.
Visa requirements for Malta can vary widely depending on your country of origin and can change over time. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, be sure to check the latest visa requirements while you’re still planning your trip.
Foreigner work permits and backpacker jobs in Malta
Paid employment in Malta can be found with tour operators, hotels, bars and restaurants in the main tourist areas including Qwara, Silema and St Julians. There are specially trained EURES advisers in all EU/EEA countries. Their job is to support those seeking employment in another EU/EEA country. For more information on working in Malta check out their website.
There are opportunities to volunteer in Malta. The Malta Youth Hostels Association (MHYA) offers free, temporary accommodation to people needing social assistance. It also receives young travellers and camp volunteers to assist in the achievement of this aim.
The MHYA operates work camps all year round. Volunteers are accommodated in return for a minimum of three hours per day unpaid work. Volunteers up to the age of 30, from all countries, may stay between two weeks and three months and reside in the youth hostels. Visit http://nsts.org for more information.
Malta Hostels and Budget Accommodation
Malta has accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. With deluxe options such as health and spa centres and luxury club hotels. The lively resorts of Silema and St Julian’s offer some of Malta’s newest hotels and apartments. However, Valetta offers accommodation with a historic atmosphere. Options can range from five-star hotels to bed and breakfasts.
The central inland region of Malta has some of the most interesting places to stay, ranging from townhouse hotels and ancient farmhouses to baroque palaces with spectacular gardens. It is important to note that many hotels in Malta offer substantial reductions, especially during the low season. For further information contact the Malta Tourism Authority.
We have had good experiences finding hostels in Malta on HostelWorld. They have the largest inventory of hostels worldwide, and with over 10 million reviews and ratings from other travellers, you know exactly what to expect.
Another good way to find accommodation in Malta is by checking booking.com. You’ll find hotels, homestays, hostels, and other unique accommodations. They have the most reviews and advanced filtering of any accommodation-booking site, so you’ll be sure to find a great place in your budget. Many of the places on booking.com also offer free cancellation, which takes the pressure off the planning phase of your trip to Malta.
If you are backpacking with another travel companion, we highly recommend booking a rental via VRBO. With a vacation rental in Malta, you’ll have more space, your own kitchen, and you’ll get a better feel for how the locals live. Plus, the cost of a vacation rental can be split among your group, oftentimes making it cheaper than doing individual hotel rooms.
If you’re looking to save even more money while backpacking in Malta, there are plenty of creative ways to get free accommodation in exchange for work. For example, one of our favorite ways to stay in amazing locations for free is by signing up as a petsitter with Trusted Housesitters. The site connects responsible animal lovers with petsitting opportunities in Malta and all over the world. It’s a win-win for both sides – travellers can stay in amazing locations for free, and homeowners can rest easy knowing that someone is watching over their place.
And lastly, CouchSurfing is a great community that connects travellers with local hosts in Malta. You can stay for free with verified hosts, who will usually take some time to show you around the local spots.
Useful Links for Backpacking in Malta
- GAdventures – guided small group tours in Malta, great for solo travellers or for those interested in a more adventurous trip which would require a guide
- DiscoverCars – The world’s leading rental car search engine to rent a car in Malta
- Kiwi and Skyscanner – Flight comparison search engines to find the cheapest flights to Malta and within the country
- GetYourGuide and Viator – a collection of local tours and activities in Malta. Also offers Skip the Line tickets for crowded attractions
- Tiqets – Website selling entrance tickets and skip the line tickets for major tourist attractions in Malta
- HostelWorld – #1 hostel search website to find accommodation while backpacking Malta. Thousands of hostels and millions of reviews from fellow travellers
- Booking.com – commonly used booking site for accommodation in Malta. Find hostels, hotels, and other unique accommodations in Malta with advanced filtering and millions of reviews
- World Nomads Travel Insurance – Comprehensive travel insurance for long and short trips when backpacking Malta
There you have it, the ultimate Malta backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Malta.
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