Malta: Actually Budget Friendly
I recently experienced a devastating brain fart while hanging out with friends – I was unable to quickly locate Malta on a map. Priding myself as an amateur cartographer (not really), I took this fail as an opportunity to brush up on the tiny Euro nation…. and, to introduce it as the first post in a periodic series I’ll be doing called Actually Budget Friendly, which is pretty self explanatory.
Malta has a storied history due to its location. The Maltese speak… Maltese, and English, along with some Italian given its proximity to Italy. The main draw to the island is its beaches, diving, and its location as an easy European getaway. Drawbacks? A lot of people bash on the island for its overpopulation, which probably isn’t anticipated for such a tiny island.
Malta is Budget Friendly, relatively
Malta is, shockingly, pretty budget friendly. I was wrong to assume it was only an upscale, tourist dollar/euro sucking haven as most North Americans are used to when it comes to small nearby islands in the Caribbean. I came across several cost breakdowns, and while the prices aren’t Southeast Asia friendly, they’re not terrible. It’s recent adoption into the EU and overpopulation might play a role in this.
- Alcohol: $4-$5 beers in bars
- Guesthouse rooms: $20+/night. (location is key, more later)
- Luxury resort hotel: $150/night
- Decent meal in restaurant: $10
- Flights: $300. Budget flights are widely available from Europe. Makes no sense to fly to Malta from North America. Thomson, EasyJet, RyanAir, Monarch, and Air Malta are some names flying to Flights.
Malta is popular for its nightlife and beaches. While it’s population could be regarded as very Roman Catholic, it’s nightlife apparently does not reflect the people’s conservatism. If you’re looking for nightlife, it’s important to choose your lodging carefully. From my research, it’s apparent only two areas are good for nightlife. These are Paceville and St. Julians. Paceville is the most concentrated area for bars, clubs, or whatever you’re into. I’m told any idiot that goes to Paceville will be able to figure out the bar scene. Fair enough.
The other ‘areas/cities’ of Malta I came across are Sliema and Valletta. These are not the places to shack up, as staying there will be very inconvenient for transportation (taxis), since walking isn’t really possible. Taxi fares can run up to $50 for a trip across the island, which is absurd, and worth planning to avoid.
Wikitravel‘s got a good map where you can see the cities I’m talking about.
Beach: Malta seems like a good place for a little rest and relaxation if you’re busy in Europe doing other more strenuous things, or if you’re there during the colder months and want a tan. Beaches alone may not be enough for some more active people. Here are some other ideas I like.
Hop on Hop Off Sightseeing tours – These are the only ones I can handle. I need my flexibility, and I have little patience for grueling tours.
Diving – Supposedly not that bad.
Historic streets, Cathedrals - St Paul’s Cathedral looks beautiful, and wandering around streets in historic Vittoriosa was recommended. In fact, I’d likely spend my days wandering Valletta from the looks of it.
Isle of MTV Malta Special – News to me. Malta hosts a large free outdoor MTV concert every year, headlined by Flo Rida previously? Weird. Could be a good time to visit if you’re looking for a spring break.