Solo Travel in Malta
This small European island is a great country for solo female travellers. It is a year round destination meaning that you’ll find tourists here throughout the whole year as people come to make the most of the pleasant climate. The Maltese are really friendly and are proud of their culture and have an endless display of festivals showing their local heritage.
You may not find that many solos here but there are plenty of opportunities to meet the locals and spend time learning about their rural lives. With friendly inhabitants who speak English and a good bus network, solo travel in Malta is easy.
One of the smallest countries in the world, Malta is also one of most densely populated countries and attracts many tourists who come for the beautiful buildings, 7,000 year history, and multitude of festivals. Located in the Mediterranean Sea south of the Italian island of Sicily, Its location between Africa, Europe, and the Middle East gives Malta a unique culture, with influences such as North African, Arabic and European. Which makes it a great country for those who love cuisine.
Malta is only 27 kilometres long and 14.5 kilometres wide and was made a British colony in 1814. Malta’s size is its strength, meaning that you can visit a historic site in the morning, sunbathe on a beach in the afternoon and dine alfresco at the harbour at night.
The Republic of Malta is actually made up of seven islands but only three are lived on. Malta is the largest, with Gozo the second biggest then there is Camino, a tiny island in-between Malta and Gozo with only four inhabitants. As well as its tiny population there is a small 15th Century chapel, and a hotel which is open from March to October.
Being in such a strategic location meant that Malta played a significant role in WWII. The towns were individually fortified and people used to live as close as possible to the fortress in fear of attacks. Malta's Grand Harbour is the biggest in the Mediterranean and is home to the historic Three Cities: Vittoriosa, Cospicua, and Senglea.
Senglea is the perfect destination for those who want to discover the county's maritime history. Take a walk back through history along a picturesque harbourside, and imagine Malta back in the days of World War II. Visit during the summer, and you'll find endless entertainment to keep you occupied. You can also take the walk from here to Vittoriosa to learn more about the area's history at the Maritime Museum.
Perched on a hill is Mellieha and the Hamlet of Manikata. You can really step back in time here, thanks to old burial caves, historic buildings, and a historic hunting lodge aptly chosen as a set for “Game of Thrones.” Stay at a historic farmstead and witness traditional farming methods to learn how locals once farmed.
Valletta is the capital with a Hollywood presence. Not only has Valletta been chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2018 but this Maltese city has starred in various blockbusters such as Steven Spielberg’s Munich. This city has so much character and history. The waterfront which once used to store ammunition is now an area of funky bars.
Malta is an outdoor museum of heritage which can be seen everywhere especially in its heritage sites and ruins some of which are UNESCO listed. Visit the Tarxien Temples or the Hypogeum, which is where you’ll find the island’s underground ruins.
Mdina has to be one of the most gorgeous places here. There are no cars allowed inside this small fortified city with gorgeous cathedrals and famous Mdina glass. This place is just stunning at night.
For those who love shopping, get yourself to The Point, the largest shopping mall on the island with a big variety of outlets. Nature solos may like the Chinese Garden of Serenity where you can find a moment of reflection and balance within its bamboo gardens and cute fountains.
If you like the idea of abseiling down ragged cliff faces or climbing up them then the island is a great active destination. Water sports are also very popular so you can jet ski, sail, wakeboard, windsurf, kayak and paraglide to your heart’s content. Of course if you prefer to sunbathe, you can. Just head to the north for the best sandy beaches, or take a sunset catamaran trip around the island instead, experiencing Malta from the Mediterranean.
Although it isn't as large as Malta, Gozo offers just as much culture, archeology, and history. The island's slogan is “any season, every reason,” and you'll find something to do here, no matter what time of year you visit.
Rabat is Gozo’s capital city and home to the Old Citadel which dates back to the early 17th century and played a large role in the island’s survival. Thanks to extensive restoration this Citadel is one of the island’s must-see attractions with some of the building dating back to the period of the Aragonese. Make sure you also look at the Gran Castello Historic House otherwise known as the Folklore Museum, one of the surviving townhouses in the Citadel with Gothic influences.
Once you’ve explored the Citadel (which can take a whole day), pay a visit to the Old Prison with unusual etchings on the prison walls. Arty & Museum solos may like the Gozo Museum of Archaeology which shows the cultural history of this little island. If you’ve ever wanted to see a piece of the moon, pop into the Gozo Nature Museum which is home to a piece of moonstone brought back by the crew of Apollo II.
Gozo's main cultural attraction has to be its countless festivals. Food lovers should head to Nadur, Gozo's largest village, to experience one of its mouth-watering food celebrations. This destination is also home to a famous carnival that attracts more than 70,000 people each year. Nader also has several country walks.
In Santa Lucija, locals decorate honey-coloured limestone buildings with flaming lanterns during the Festival of Light. During your visit here, you simply can't miss Grandma's Meal, a seven-course meal prepared with Gozo's local produce and accompanied by local wines.
Gharb is one of the most visited places on Gozo and has good walking routes to add to its resume of historical sites and folklore museums.
One of the biggest reasons that people come to Gozo is because it is a prime diving spot and is ranked among the top 3 in the world. Its underground wrecks and reefs are a mecca for divers no matter which level you are at. You can also take your diving qualification here. The best spots are the Blue Grotto in Malta, the Blue Hole, and the dives in Cirkewwa.
Both Malta and Gozo are the place to come for slow travel. To find authenticity, immerse yourself in local culture and enjoy the fusion of the delicious, local cuisine.
How Long Do I Need?
You could spend a long weekend here but you would have to pick just one area to stay in. A week is a good amount of time to see Valetta, Mdina, and also stay in Gozo a couple of nights.
Accommodation in Malta & Gozo
For such a small country Malta has a wide choice of accommodation. Amongst its honey coloured limestone buildings you’ll find plenty of apartments and hotel rooms to choose from If you want your own space. You can even rent your own villa. But if you prefer to experience the hospitality of the Maltese, look at staying in a guesthouse or farmhouse instead. If you are on a budget there are a few hotels to choose from in St. Julians, and Sliema in Malta. There are guesthouses and apartments and one hostel on Gozo.
Solo Female Favourite – Hostel Jones, Sliema
If you love a beautifully designed hostel, Buddha statues, and amazing artwork, Hostel Jones is a great place to stay. Located in Sliema, it is really close to the beach and has the friendliest staff and guests who will make you feel right at home. Prices from £12 for an 8-bed dorm. Find out more.
Solo Female Favourite – Egali Hostel Malta, St Julian’s
This hostel is situated in the lively area of St Julians so you are close to the nightlife if you want to party. The dorm beds are all private with their own bed curtain and there is a rooftop common area where you can hang out and meet others. Prices from £20 for an 8-bed dorm. Find out more.
Solo Female Favourite – Googaia Home – Depiro, Sliema
If you prefer your own room in a private flat, Googaia Home is in a perfect location. The owner is really helpful and friendly and there is a kitchen which you can use so it feels like staying in your own home. Prices from £25 for a standard single room with a shared bathroom. Find out more.
Tours in Malta & Gozo
You won’t find any backpacking tours here but you will find good local guides and agencies. The following companies have been recommended by solo females.
My Maltese Guide – offer private tours of both Malta and Gozo. Their guides are really personable so you’ll feel as though you are spending the day with a knowledgable friend rather than being on a tour.
Colour My Travel – Take the walking tour to find out more about the Maltese history or get spooked on the Mdina ghost tour in the company of an entertaining and enthusiastic guide.
Travelling Around Malta
Taxis are cheap here and are fitted with metres but if you can, get a black cab not a white one as it’s cheaper. You can hire a car on the island (there are no motorways) but traffic is one of Malta’s biggest problems so look at getting the bus if you can. Both Malta and Gozo have good bus networks with buses covering most of the islands. Buses run between 5.30am and 11pm and are pretty cheap. For an express bus look for the ‘X’. Click here for buses in Malta.
The classic yellow Malta buses used to be an iconic feature on the island and one of the tourist attractions. Unfortunately these vintage buses are no longer in service.
The only way to get to Gozo is via ferry. Ferries cross between Cirkewwa in Malta to Mgarr in Gozo and take 30 minutes. There is also a regular ferry which crosses between Valletta and Sliema and takes 10 minutes, making it easier to get between these two cities.
If you are short on time, hop aboard the city sightseeing bus for the main sights – touristy but a good way of getting around and learning about the islands.
TIP – If you are going to be in Malta for a week, consider buying a Tallinja card which allows you to travel for 7 days with no limit.
From the Airport
There is an airport express bus which links with most cities on the island including Cirkewwa where you can take the ferry to Gozo. Other bus services also run. Taking a taxi will cost approx 25 Euros for the 15 minute journey to Valletta (the capital). Click here for airport options.
Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.
Travelling Onwards (check visas before you travel)
Malta is well connected to the rest of Europe with budget airlines connecting the two. There is a ferry to Sicily in Italy but it can be easier to fly.
- Can I drink the water? Malta converts its seawater so it is best to use bottled water if you can.
- Is tipping expected? Yes 10% is expected.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price.
- Any ATMs? Yes.
- Which side of the road do they drive? The left-hand side.
- Good for vegetarians? Yes.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No.
*This is accurate at time of writing but we appreciate things can change. Please let us know if you experience anything otherwise. Thanks.