A weekend in Rainy Malta | episode 1

In October 2016, my friend and I decided to enjoy a sunny and warm weekend in Malta which is located just 3 and half hour away from a wet, cold and windy London. Yeah, let’s enjoy great cuisine and climate in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea! We should be so lucky, we landed at a very rainy Malta!

Day 1 | A wet afternoon exploring in Valletta

Here we are, a Friday afternoon in mid November, and unexpectedly we landed in a wet and cold Malta. Looking out through aircraft window, it’s absolutely raining cats and dogs! According to the reception of our hotel the worst 2 days in 2 years  of weather started the moment we landed.

We took a taxi from the airport to the hotel in Sliema. By the time we dropped our luggage and headed out again it was almost noon time.

Where to stay in Malta?

I think you are very likely want to visit the capital Valletta like the majority people, right? My suggestion for you is to stay by the harbour in Sliema if you want to have a good view from your hotel window. The harbour of Valletta and Sliema face each other, but the Valletta side has kept the charm of an ancient city whilst Sliema is pretty much built up with modern buildings. I found these modern buildings in Sliema don’t really fit with the rest of the country’s infrastructure. If you want to have a nice morning window view from your hotel you should stay on the Sliema side. If you don’t really care for a window view, the centre of Valletta will be a perfect base for you to start your adventure in Malta!

We stayed in Sliema Marina Hotel. 2 nights cost €180

The view from the balcony of Sliema Marina Hotel

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How to get to Valletta and Sliema from the airport?

Getting into town from the airport is pretty easy.

By bus: Very straightforward bus routes – X3 to Sliema or X4 to Valletta. You can also plan your bus journey via: https://www.publictransport.com.mt/. €2 per journey in the summer or €1.5 for the winter.

By taxi: The official taxi stand is just located before you exit the arrivals hall.  Fare is approximately €17 to Valletta or €20 to Sliema at time of writing.

How do I get around in Malta?

In general the bus links are well connected in all areas, although all cities in Malta are small enough so you can walk to more or less every corner. If you need to travel between the cities, or to make the best of our time in Malta, I would recommend you to use the ubiquitous open roof double decker tour bus. The tour bus will cost €20 per adult but try to negotiate, you can get the price down to €15.

There are obviously way too many stops which you won’t be able to get off at every one of them so a full day of exploring would allow you to visit perhaps 4 places with 1 hour to 1.5 hours wandering time. To complete the entire bus route will require 2.30 hours without stopping.

There are 2 major bus companies which operate more or less the same routes, the only difference is the starting point; one starts from Sliema and the other is from Valletta. The routes are either south bound or the north bound. Here is the bus rout map:

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Continuation of my travel blog

We took the ferry from Sliema to Valletta, the ferry is located right outside of our hotel Sliema Marina Hotel which is really convenient. The ferry takes less than 10 minutes and we are in Valletta.  

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Valletta is the capital city of Malta, it’s a harbour city. Valletta offers architecture from the 16th century however the 2nd world war has left some major scars on the city, particularly the destruction of the Royal Opera House. In 1980, Valletta is recognised as a World Heritage Site.

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The rain didn’t stop during our time walking around the center Valletta. Since it’s so wet outside, we went and visited St John’s Co-Cathedral (find out more information about the Cathedral via: http://www.stjohnscocathedral.com/). St John’s Co-Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Valletta. The church was designed by the Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, who also designed several of prominent buildings in Valletta It’s interior was redecorated in the 17th century and it has been considered to be one of the finest examples of high Baroque architecture in Europe and one of the greatest cathedrals in the world. You can easily spend 1 hour inside the cathedral just to immerse yourself with arty bits displayed inside the church. Admission fee is: €10.

There is a viewpoint in Valletta – Upper Barrakka Gardens over the harbour and the city Valletta. It was very windy and the rain became heavier so we didn’t spent much time up there. If I could just see it in a nice sunny day, the view of the harbour will just be spectacular.

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To continue read A weekend in Rainy Malta | episode 2 – Day 2 | Another wet day in Gozo island.

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