Malta Part 1: The First Solo Trip

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Malta is a small island but, certainly has a lot to offer. The beautiful beaches, chic harbour towns, and centuries-old sites are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world. The best of these sites can be found in Valletta, the UNESCO-listed capital, which was the European Capital of Culture in 2018. It’s also an up and coming new clubbing scene, and has many carnivals and festivals throughout the year.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

Thinking of visiting Malta? Here’s how I spent my 7 days in this beautiful captivating country.

Day 1: Arrived at Malta International Airport at around 16.40pm. The weeks and day’s leading up to the trip were so exciting but I felt apprehensive, the thought of being alone started to fill me with worry. Panicked, flustered and overwhelmed I manage to find the holiday taxis desk to hand in my documents. Half an hour later I’m greeted by a friendly Scottish man who said he was taking me to San Pawl. Now, before I continue, I have a confession to make. Malta is one of those places I’d heard of, but knew very little about. It was a cheap getaway booked with no research so, was unaware most people spoke English. Hearing this familiar accent helped me to relax a little.

The journey was pleasant and took around 20 minutes. The Taxi driver was lovely, he gave me a bit of insight into Malta along with some advice. I remember taking in the surroundings and thinking it was nothing like expected. In fact, I wasn’t really all that keen.

All checked in at my £13 a night room at the San Pawl Hotel, found as a package holiday at Teletext.com and cost £219

San Pawl Hotel is a 3-star hotel situated in the heart of St. Paul’s Bay, about a 10 to 15 minute walk from Malta National Aquarium. It has great access to public transport with a bus stop less than a 2minute walk, the hotel is situated just 500metres away from a variety of shops, bars and restaurants, so there’s plenty of entertainment and options available.

After taking a shower it was now around 18.30pm and still relatively light outside. Still feeling a little reluctant but, decided to take a walk outside to get my bearings and a feel for the place.

Found a restaurant called Pash Cafe just a 2-minutes from the hotel. It’s a healthy food restaurant with vegan, vegetarian and gluten free choices.

My meal choice was the €7 Chlorella pesto dish along with two cans of Cisk a Maltese beer at €1.50 each. Didn’t think much of this dish but the beer was very nice indeed (I return to this restaurant during my stay with a much better review).

One of my biggest dreaded thoughts before coming on this trip was the awkwardness of eating alone. However, the restaurant wasn’t too busy so it was perfectly fine.

At the time of leaving Pash it was almost 8pm and dark out. I decided to quickly go to the supermarket across the road before heading back to the hotel.

It was 8.30pm, feeling exhausted from travelling, I got ready for bed. Didn’t go to sleep right away as a number of things were running through my head. What if someone gets in my room? What will be my escape route? What can I hit them with? I had to calm myself down and convince myself everything was fine. Eventually, I fell asleep.

Day 2: Woke up early around 7am took a shower.

For some reason my internet data roaming would not work here (I needed to change my data APN setting but didn’t know at the time). The hotel unfortunately did not have free Wi-Fi, they offer pay Wi-Fi cards which can get a little expensive.

With no way of researching where to go and how to get there I went down to reception for advice. The manager at reception was very helpful and recommend a few places to visit with leaflets and prices.

One of the places I wanted to visit was Valletta the capital of Malta. There was a hop on and off bus which I believe cost between €15/€20 but, I preferred to explore by myself, plus it was cheaper. After asking questions and finding out where the public bus stop was, I headed to pash where I had been the night before for breakfast.

I opted for the vegetarian full cooked breakfast which was €7.50 and a coffee around €1.50. This time the food was delicious! The portion was huge, it was filling and very satisfying. Maybe be slightly overpriced for breakfast but I’d say it was worth it, nevertheless, they had free Wi-Fi so was able to check bus information.

The bus stop was directly outside Pash. It was a 15- minute wait for the bus and a surprising €1.50 for a half an hour journey. Never known of such cheap bus fares! I was happy to get exploring to get a better feel for the place as St Paul’s Bay didn’t look like the expected holiday destination. It looked fine……but not special in the slightest. If anything, it felt very residential, full of apartments, kiosks, bars, restaurants and a busy road with the oldest cars ever! It was a little disappointing, never imagined I would grow to love the place.

Valletta

Valletta was full of rich sites to see, intriguing historical buildings around every corner, statues, niches and fountains. Narrow side streets were full of tiny quirky shops and cafe’s, while the main streets had larger international shops for fashion, jewellery and music etc.

The architecture through the city was just captivating, I kept finding myself wondering down the side back streets.

Valletta is a remarkably romantic city, characterized by its bright coloured balconies and religious statues around the city and carved into street corners.

After getting caught up and lost in this beautiful city, it was now 14.30pm and hunger was kicking in. I found a cute little cafe called Dolci peccati. It’s a friendly cafe with good service and reasonable prices, €4.50 for a toastie and coffee.

After fueling myself, I’m ready for more exploring. I walk and walk then start to see blue water in the distance. I’m intrigued and can’t wait to get there!

I suddenly get to this place. It was absolutely stunning! In fact, the pictures do it no justice

I stood here for a good while admiring these beautiful views

After walking around some more and doing a spot of shopping it was now 5pm. A little exhausted I head towards the bus station which was packed with tourists. When the bus come it was a hustle and bustle job of getting on it. Everybody barged their way through, it was as if there was never going to be another bus ever again. I would learn as time goes by, buses were mostly always full and people did this to make sure they got on.

The journey was much longer coming back then it was going, it was a busy bus route and it was rush hour.

Returned to St Paul’s Bay within the hour around 6pm. Tired, exhausted and not having the energy to figure out where to eat. I went to a pastizzi place and got a Maltese pea pastizzi (I’m soon addicted to these) their 30c each! So cheap! Then I got a salad and a bottle of wine from the supermarket down the street. The wine was a Maltese wine recommend to me by the shop assistant, it cost €3 and was a good quality bottle.

Back at the hotel I showered then caught up with family whilst watching Netflix.

My night was done, it was time to sleep and with no fears of the night before, I fall asleep.

Day 3: I did nothing! Seriously! One of the best things about travelling solo, you can do whatever you want with no one to please.

To be honest, it was throwing it down outside, couldn’t be bothered and Still exhausted from yesterday I decided to have a Netflix day. Also, caught up with family/friends and just lazed around all day. The only time I left my room was to order food at the bar in the restaurant. It was a nice day doing absolutely nothing.

Day 4: It’s 7am and it’s raining! Nonetheless, I get up to take a quick shower and go down to the hotel restaurant. I was dreading going in case it was busy but, to my surprise there were very few people and a couple were eating alone. The breakfast was buffet style with a good variety of hot food, cereals, fresh fruit, fruit juices and hot drinks costing €7.50. It wasn’t too bad for a buffet breakfast, especially since I left with fresh fruit to put in my room for later.

It’s now 9.30am the weather was shocking absolutely throwing it down! It was going to rain for most of the day therefore, thought it would be a good day to explore the local area of St Paul’s Bay.

An impromptu walking tour brought me to Gillieru Harbour (In St Paul’s Bay). It’s one of the most popular tourist spots visited by thousands a year.

St Paul’s Shipwrecked Church

Walking along the long stretch of water in the rain with hardly anyone around was quite enjoyable! There were many bars, restaurants on the other side of the beach, I hadn’t realised all this was behind San Pawl Hotel. I continue on and arrive in Bugibba a village neighboring St Pauls Bay sharing the same promenade. Although Bugibba didn’t have anything to offer in terms of culture and history, it looked more like the holiday destination for tourists. With its sandy beach, tourist shops, bars, restaurants and well -connected bus routes it definitely felt like a holiday destination. So it was possible to combine my holiday with holiday comfort, exploring and staying amongst the locals in the residential area and get the best of both worlds.

Its now 3.45pm back at the hotel room I’m, exhausted! But chuffed with my adventurous and courageous walk in a foreign country by myself. At this point I’m really beginning to feel comfortable being here

After waking from a much need nap that happened to turn in to two and a half hours. Feeling quite ravenous yet still nervous to eat in the hotel restaurant it’s another trip to the pastizzi place for the pea pastizzi (its one of my five a day right!). It was accompanied by another salad from the supermarket and the fruit snook out from the restaurant this morning.

It’s now around 6pm the indoor pool closes at 8pm I decided to go tale a dip. On arriving there were still a few people around. It felt a little strange walking in alone, especially as they all watched me enter through the doors. Although wanting to leave, I carry on with the plan to avoid looking weird, find a corner to change and get in the pool. It felt rather strange just standing in the pool not being able to swim so, I decided to try to learn how to tread water. It went terribly wrong! But this was a blessing as it broke the ice with the four remaining people. They were all laughing at me as I screamed and laughed! I just had to have an embarrassing moment or it wouldn’t have been me! After this we all got talking, exchanging stories and places we had been to.

Malta Part 2: The First Solo Trip

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Here is the second part of my amazing trip to the incredibly amazing Malta.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my Disclosure page for more info.*

Day 5: Having done some research, my destination for today is the island Gozo the second largest island of Maltese archipelago. There are excursion trips available but, I like the idea of making it cheaper whilst also having the adventure of making my own way.

Before setting off on my journey I’m ravenous however, I want to try a new place to eat. Directly across the road from the hotel there’s a place called Jesters bar. On arrival I’m greeted by the owner Manuel then his wife Lillian moments later. They were a very lovely couple and were very welcoming towards me. After speaking for a while they recommended a visit to Mdina, the old capital of Malta. As today was already planned I thought it would be a good idea for tomorrow’s day trip.

If I’m completely honest, can’t remember what I ordered! “Because” from here onwards I returned on several occasions. But I remember how delicious and incredibly cheap everything was! Breakfast was less than €6 including my daily coffee, all the main meals were very cheap as well as desserts. Their local spirits were only €2 each! It was definitely a great decision coming here.

So, its time to leave. Manuel and Lillian advise me on what buses to get to Gozo ferry terminal and wish me well.

It’s another pleasing €1.50 bus fare! The bus journey was pleasant, going through little towns and villages, then in-between we would get views of the exquisite coastlines. This was the moment I realised just how beautiful Malta really was, it was stunning! As the bus got closer to Gozo ferry terminal the villages and towns disappeared then it was just huge bodies of water!

Outside the terminal are men selling boat trips to Gozo and Comino for €40. At this point, not really sure, I decide to just go with the original plan and think about the boat trip on the other side.

Inside the building there’s a reception desk, I go to purchase a ticket. The lady informs me the tickets are purchased on returning back.

Having never been on a ferry I’m super excited! But, we have 25-minutes until boarding time so, I grab a coffee, sit outside and try to wait patiently.

The view sat outside the ferry terminal

The ferry finally arrives, we all set off to the ferry entrance up a big slop and board. It was mesmerizing just how big this thing was! So excited! I couldn’t even choose where to sit! Eventually sitting outside downstairs to capture the views of the deep blue sea. It was breath taking except, after 15-minutes my hands and feet were numb because of how cold it was out at sea. Still, I stayed put as it was too beautiful to miss.

GOZO

After 25-minutes we arrive at Gozo port. Once off the ferry people start going in different directions, some are buying boat trips, others are getting on buses and I’m stood with no plan from here whatsoever.

There’s a bus ready to leave to Victoria Bay, with no other plans other than getting to Gozo, I get on it. The bus was probably about an hour drive, it felt forever getting to Victoria Bay but, it was nice to see more of Malta. The bus went through the countryside and its little villages and tiny streets. All the local residents were getting on and off with their groceries. I thoroughly enjoyed this as it was something not to be experienced on a hop on and off bus.

VICTORIA

We arrive at Victoria Bay it’s around 1.45pm and all I can think about is food. So hungry I don’t take in the name of the place, it was an old pub. The food was dirt cheap! A starter, main course with a glass of wine and bottled water was all under €15.

After coming out of the pub I Notice a narrow hidden street behind a market stall, I curiously head towards it, it leads me here!

A cute little residential area with religious statues carved into corners, little shops and a restaurant hidden away.

So, after walking round here and beyond, its now gone 4pm. Noticing a number of tourists walking from the same direction, I’m curious to see what’s beyond there. As I proceed and continue to walk I notice steep hills and at the top is the Cittadella (Citadel)

The Cittadella

The Cittadella, also known as the Castillo of Victoria has been home to Gozo since the Bronze Age. It consists of churches, historical buildings including the Cathedral Of The Assumption.

So I make it up the steep hills! No wonder people have hiking sticks!

It was certainly one of the most prominent sites in Gozo it was filled with history, well-preserved winding streets, incredible church as well as others, museums, an old prison and several cafes inside the walls it was like an open air museum! I didn’t pay to go and see inside anything, it felt a shame to rush around as time was getting on. It was one of those places where you needed a good few hours to explore and take everything in. I was thinking of coming back with more time. Nonetheless, just walking around the walls was absolutely stunning, the views overlooking Gozo was phenomenal! Didn’t get any pictures as my battery died! Don’t you just hate it when that happens!

Photography by Ruben Farrugia

Cathedral Of The Assumption

Photography By Ruben Farrugia

The journey home was a little hectic after waiting for around 30minutes for a bus! Once at the ferry terminal there was an enormous queue to pay for tickets. It was quite a wait, even longer as people rudely pushed in the queue. The ferry only cost €4.65 return!

Stood all the way through the ferry journey, then all through the bus journey. I was so relieved to get off the bus when it arrived back at st pauls Bay.

I return back to Jesters bar to have dinner and a few drinks whilst speaking to Manuel and Lillian. Afterwards return to the hotel, watch the Elvis impersonator for a short while before returning to my hotel room.

Day 6: It’s 10.30am I’ve had my breakfast at Jesters now I’m making my way to Mdina.

Mdina And Rabat

Mdina is the old capital of Malta also known as The Silent City. Mdina is a small town, rich with history, surrounded by tall bastion fortifications and is filled with centuries old buildings. Rabat is the village that is neighbour to Mdina, its much quieter and has a more rural feel to it. It has a few museums around but, also has its forest green areas.

Mdina was out of this world! It was most definitely one of my best experiences.

with its horses and carriages, narrow streets, alley ways, stone slabs and old architecture styles. It was definitely like stepping into a time machine that takes you to a medieval century.

The market that comes to the town every Saturday

The place is filled with individual museums, cathedrals and points of interest.

St. Paul’s Cathedral
Inside The Church of Annunciation

It was truley a fascinating place with so much to explore.

Spending so much time in Mdina left very little time to cross over to Rabat. Although, I did eat in Rabat at a place called Chalk Cafe Bar, a cute cafe with all fresh and home made food. Although, managing to have a little wonder around it was not as much as I would have liked. The time seemed to pass so quickly it was around 5.30pm, I was ready to leave.

Day 7: Today is my last full day here in Malta, my flight leaves early around 9am which means it’s an early get up. With this in mind I decide to stay more local and take a trip to sliema as it’s only a 25-minute bus ride.

Sliema

Sliema used to be a fishing village, the present day it is home to thousands of residents. It is known for being the home of many British inhabitants.

It has a front coastal line and feels quite busy with local Shops, pubs, restaurants, hotels and apartments it feels more like a holiday destination. It’s definetly worlds apart from Mdina and Rabat with a most definite 21st century feel to it. It’s also close to St. Julians which is known for it’s nightlife area know as paceville.

Although, it wasn’t to warm my plan today was to sit or walk along the coastline and to have a walk around sliema.

After sitting and walking along the coastline, had a little wonder around the neighbourhoods before looking in some shops and grabing a coffee.

How beautiful is this view!

The rest of my day was spent back at the hotel using the gym, relaxing in the pool before having to pack my stuff ready for my early flight home.

So, that was it! That was the end of my holiday. That long fear of travelling alone had been conquered! I can not even describe how empowered and independent I felt whilst on my journey back home. I kept feeling myself smiling because, I knew nothing was going to stop me now.

Thanks for reading 🙂