Welcome to one of Europe’s best-value destinations for travelers, easily explored by public transport including buses and ferries, or independently and affordably with a rental car. Many of Malta’s top attractions are free to experience, including the heritage streets of Valletta and the sun-kissed golden sands of the country’s beaches.

Visiting outside of the busy period of June to August often combines lower accommodation prices, shorter queues and some of Europe’s warmest and most settled spring and fall weather.

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Take advantage of low-cost airlines

Flying from key British hubs including London, Manchester, and Birmingham, low-cost airlines easyJet and Ryanair are an affordable way to reach Malta. Wizz Air is the best option when flying from central and eastern Europe with direct flights from cities including Budapest, Vienna, and Warsaw. Spanish low-cost airline Vueling links Barcelona with Malta.

Catch the ferry from Sicily

If you're exploring Italy, it's a straightforward ferry journey south across the Mediterranean from Sicily to Malta. Linking Pozzallo on Sicily's southeast coast to Valletta's harborfront Cruise Terminal, trips on Virtu Ferries take just under two hours. Launched in 2021, Ponte Ferries offer a competing service taking 3 ½ hours from the port of Augusta, midway between Catania and Syracuse on Sicily's east coast. Discounted Sicily to Malta day-return fares are offered, and both ships can also accommodate vehicles.

A neon-bright float inspired by the movie Sister Act passes by St Publius Parish Church in Floriana
Accommodation prices rise during festival season and the height of summer, but not astronomically © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet

Visit during the shoulder seasons

Malta gets especially busy from June to August with visitors attracted by hot, rain-free weather, and popular dance music festivals including Isle of MTV, Lost & Found, and ABODE on the Rock.

The shoulder seasons of April to May and September to October still offer great weather, warm Mediterranean waters, and good-value accommodation rates outside of the peaks of summer.

Consider Malta's cooler months for even better value

Rain and occasional storms impact Malta from November to March, but if your focus is on exploring indoor attractions such as the National Museum of Archaeology, the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum or St John's Co-Cathedral, it's a good time to visit.

Accommodation prices are lower, queues at the attractions will be shorter, and it's still usually warmer than most other European destinations. February's annual Carnival is celebrated with parades, floats and street parties across both Malta and its smaller sister island of Gozo.

Save with Heritage Malta

Heritage Malta offers an array of discount options for exploring its various locations around Malta and Gozo. Standout attractions include Fort St Angelo in the Three Cities, Valletta's National Museum of Archaeology and the National War Museum at Fort St Elmo. Offering the best value is the Heritage Malta Multisite Pass – adult/concession/children €30/10/12.50 ($32/10.50/13). Note that entry to the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is not included with a Multisite Pass, and booking the hypogeum a few months ahead is recommended to avoid having to pay a €15 ($15.80) last-minute booking surcharge.

The exterior of the Parliament House in Valletta bathed in sunshine
Buying a Malta Pass is a good value way to see a number of attractions or get on a sightseeing tour © Pit Stock / Shutterstock

Get hold of a Malta Pass

Valid for a period of one, two or three days ( €50/80/100 | $52.70/84/105), a Malta Pass allows admission to more than 40 attractions around Malta and Gozo – including the megalithic archaeological site of Ħaġar Qim & Mnajdra – and also for sightseeing buses and interactive cinema experiences on both islands. Check the website for occasional big discounts on the card's usual purchase price. Cards need to be purchased online before arrival, either for delivery to your home address or to your Malta accommodation.

Feast on pastizzi and ftira

Served from hole-in-the-wall stalls and bakeries around Malta, the nation's favorite snack is a parcel of flakey pastry crammed with ricotta cheese, peas and herbs. The price of pastizzi rose to €0.50 ($0.52) in April 2022, causing much consternation around the country, but they remain a great value breakfast or mid-afternoon snack. Another economical way to eat Maltese-style is to feast on a ftira sandwich, traditional disc-shaped loaves of bread crammed with cheese, olives and a paste of sun-dried tomatoes.

Buy a few unfilled ftira at a bakery and cram them with local Gozitan cheese. There's a good cheese selection in the supermarket delicatessen in the basement of Valletta's Is-Suq Tal-Belt, a historic produce market that's now a food hall with well-priced and diverse flavors and cuisines from around the world.

Make new travel friends in a hostel

Malta offers some excellent hostels, and prices outside of the busy June-to-August period are good value. Expect to pay around €20 ($21) per night for a dorm bed, significantly lower than the high season rate of around €30 ($31.60) per night. Stylish and sociable hostel accommodation includes Inhawi near the nightlife of St Julians and Paceville, and Two Pillows Malta in the historic backstreets of Sliema.

Go self-catering and save money in an Airbnb

Booking Airbnb accommodation is a good option in Malta, with many self-contained apartments available in historic buildings in towns and villages outside of more expensive Valletta. Look for properties in central neighborhoods such as Floriana, or further afield in areas including Birkirkara from where it's easy to explore Valletta and the rest of the island by bus. Most areas have good supermarkets and street-side produce markets for grocery shopping.

wide angle image of the beach with a hotel at Golden bay in Malta
Malta's extensive bus network will get you to most places around the island © telesniuk / Shutterstock

Explore (almost) everywhere by bus

Both Malta and Gozo are well-served by Public Transport Malta's extensive bus network, and while punctuality can drop off towards the end of the day, most areas of the islands can be reached, and prices are just €2 ($2.10) for a single-ride ticket including a two-hour transfer window. An Explore Card (adult/child €21/15 | $22/15.80) offers unlimited bus travel for seven days. Also available is a multi-user 12-day journey card (€15/$15.80) that can be used concurrently by couples or families.

Experience brilliant views for the cost of a ferry ride

Valletta Ferry Services offer two passenger-only routes, one linking Valletta across Grand Harbour to the Three Cities, and the other across Marsamxett Harbour to the waterfront esplanade of Sliema. Tickets cost €1.50/2.80 ($1.60/3 | single/return), while an unlimited seven-day pass is €10 ($10.54). Given the astounding views, both ferry journeys are an absolute bargain. Public Transport Malta's ExploreFlex option is a rechargeable stored-value card combining discounted travel on buses, harbor journeys with Valletta Ferry Services, and bike rentals with Tallinja Bike.

Get on a bike

Bikes can be taken on harbor ferries and are an excellent option for independent exploration upon arrival in the Three Cities or around the Sliema waterfront. Malta has two app-based bike-sharing programs. Tallinja Bike has 11 docking stations on Malta and three on Gozo, while nextbike is a similar service and also offers e-bikes. Bikes can also be taken on the Gozo Fast Ferry passenger service linking Valletta to Mġarr Harbour on Gozo.

Tourists walking down narrow streets with wooden doors and historical houses
Walking is one of the best ways to see Malta's beautiful heritage streets and it won't cost you a cent © Radiokukka / Getty Images

Stretch your legs amid centuries of history

Malta is a destination that's just made for walking, and it costs absolutely nothing to explore the honey-colored heritage streets, plazas and laneways of Valletta, or venture further afield to the walled hilltop city of Mdina. Historic and spectacular churches, many adorned with priceless artworks, are free to enter, while the cheapest of thrills for active travelers include northern Malta's golden beaches and the cliff-top walking trails of Gozo.

Rent a car for more flexibility

Car rental rates in Malta are some of Europe's lowest, and because many of the islands' roads are narrow and winding, visitors are actually better off hiring a smaller and cheaper car. Look forward to rental rates of around €20-25 ($21-26) per day. Note that traffic in Malta can be busy, but driving is easier outside of the Valletta/Sliema/St Julians conurbation, and on much quieter Gozo.

Daily Costs

  • Hostel room: from €20 ($21) for a dormitory
  • Basic room for two: from €70 ($74) night
  • Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): nightly prices from €70 ($74) for a private room to around €130 ($137) for the whole place.
  • Public transport ticket: bus €2 ($2.10)
  • Coffee: around €2 ($2.10)
  • Sandwich: ftira €5-6 ($5.30-6.30)
  • Dinner for two: around €50 ($53)
  • Beer at a bar: around €4 ($4.20) for local Cisk lager or €6 ($6.30) for Maltese craft beer

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