Malta is a relatively small but beautiful country situated in the central Mediterranean Sea. Its fascinating history, unique culture, and scenic views captured the hearts of many.
When it comes to finding the best places where to stay in Malta, first-time visitors may find it confusing or a bit challenging due to the lack of clearly defined cities on the main island. So I’m going to share all my personal hotel recommendations, practical travel tips, as well as the top things to do or visit to help make your Malta holiday dream come true!
Please note that some of the areas I will be discussing are extremely popular, and accommodations fill up quickly so booking in advance is highly recommended.
Are you ready? Let’s do this!
For a quick virtual tour of the island, I have here a video you’ll surely love. This will help you visualize the areas and neighborhoods I will be discussing in this article.
- If you are in a hurry
- 1. Valletta – where to stay in Malta for the first time
- 2. Sliema and Gzira – best area for couples and seniors
- 3. St Julians Bay & Paceville – where to stay for nightlife
- 4. Mellieħa – best town for beach lovers
- 5. St Paul‘s Bay (Bugibba & Qawra) – where to stay for families
- 6. Gozo – for a laid-back holiday
- 7. Marsaskala – where to stay in Malta for budget travelers
- Bonus 1: The top 2 day trips in Malta!
- Bonus 2: Where to stay without a car in Malta
- Frequently Asked Questions About Malta
If you are in a hurry
The best area to stay in Malta if you are visiting the country for the first time is the capital city, Valletta. This is the perfect place to learn more about Maltese history and culture.
Below is a list of the best accommodations in Malta for each budget in case you don’t have time to read the whole post.
HYATT REGENCY MALTA
Best luxury hotel
SEAVIEW TERRACED SUITE
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Best value for money
MR TODD HOTEL
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Now let’s take a look at the best places to stay in Malta on one convenient map. Read on to find out more about each one and the best accommodation according to interest and budget options.
1. Valletta – where to stay in Malta for the first time
It can be challenging to find a place to stay in Valletta, since the city center is quite light on accommodation choices, mostly because it has tried to preserve the historic area from urban development.
But if you really like to stay in the capital, facing the Grand Harbour and the Three Cities, make sure to save some more money in advance, because I have already found the perfect place where you will want to stay and lay down all your money! All of the accommodations are close to the historical palaces and best restaurants in Valletta offering local cuisine.
By the way, can you believe that Valletta is the smallest capital in Europe with a population of only 6 000 people?
Yeah, you’ve heard that right! Moreover, Valletta has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its historical character, dating back to the 16th century.
There has never been a better time to explore this historic city with charming narrow lanes, wander around the Upper Barrakka Gardens with a view of the Grand Harbour, or stroll along Merchant’s Street.
Staying in this historic city will surely be an unforgettable part of your Malta getaway. Below is my top favorite accommodation in the neighborhood that you will surely love. Just a heads up, this is a very popular area, so booking ahead is highly recommended.
NOTE: While Valletta has a lot of tourist attractions and historic buildings, it doesn’t have beachfront hotels or properties to stay in. Check out the neighborhood of Mellieħa and St Paul for private beach resorts and hotels if that’s what you’re looking for.
A classic hotel with a 1920’s flair. You’ll find this hotel next to Valletta’s Triton Fountain in the City Gate Square. It has a great overlooking view of the harbor and a beautiful garden. All the major attractions in Valletta are within walking distance of the hotel.
Other accommodation options in Valletta are:
A relaxing and private place to stay right in the middle of historical Valletta with unique room designs
A stylish hotel within Valletta’s ancient fortification with panoramic views from the roof terrace
A 16th-century spacious palace near Valletta Grand Harbour and main city center
Things to do in Valleta:
- Check out the magnificent Grand Master’s Palace
- Visit a masterpiece of Baroque art at St. John’s Co-Cathedral.
- Attend a concert or theatrical performance at Teatru Manoel.
- Have a walk at the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens
- Pick a souvenir at Merchant street
- Learn Malta’s history at The National Museum of Archaeology
- Go to the National Museum of Fine Arts and see paintings and sculptures
- Take a photo at picturesque Grand Harbour
2. Sliema and Gzira – best area for couples and seniors
Located close to Valletta, Sliema is another popular resort town, especially for couples of all ages and seniors. It’s also suitable for families, but I suggest seeking out other options as Sliema has only rocky beach areas.
When it comes to accommodation, Sliema is rich in budget rooms and boutique hotels with air conditioning at a really good price. I decided to stay here exactly for this reason, to explore Malta on a budget, while being within easy access to all major points of interest. But Sliema also happens to have a variety of other accommodation options, meeting the needs of all types of travelers.
During my time here, I stayed at the Corner Hostel and had everything I needed, including free WiFi. There were plenty of frequent bus routes that would get me to Valletta, Mellieħa, Popeye Village, to name just a few…so public transport wasn’t really an issue.
I suggest not renting a car, as traffic was often congested and it was really hard to find public parking. Thanks to The Point Shopping Mall in Sliema is the best plan for shopping lovers to find stores with global brands, casual cafes and restaurants, and a supermarket.
Just like Sliema, Gzira is light on attractions, though they both have a nice stretch of pleasant waterfront parks (check out to do things below). Moreover, it’s just a few minutes away from Sliema, so why not explore this unusual, far quieter part of Malta with the fascinating Manoel Island nearby?
Start your trip to Malta at one of the most beautiful hotels with the best facilities to enjoy the evenings. 1926 is a spotlessly clean hotel with a lovely spa, a beach club with an infinity pool, and a gym ideally located in Sliema that will provide a wonderful experience right from the moment you get in.
Other accommodation options in Sliema & Gzira:
Things to do in Sliema and Gzira:
- Swim in the crystal clear waters of Balluta Bay
- Check out manmade bathing pools in Fond Ghadir
- Stroll, jor or have a walk at Sliema promenade
- Enjoy the panoramic views of Tigné Point Beach
- Watch a perfect sunset at Fort Tigné
- Visit Parish Church of Sacro Cuor
- Visit Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
3. St Julians Bay & Paceville – where to stay for nightlife
If you are looking for where to stay in Malta to party and dance the night away, the lovely St Julian Bay might be the right choice for you. Join the young crowd as they drink in the boisterous pubs and bars. But that’s not all!
St. Julian also offers some very stylish boutiques and shops with designer clothes. Apart from that, take a stroll down St. Julian’s backstreets and enjoy the serene tranquillity. You can easily reach the neighboring party town Paceville, with one of the corresponding buses.
This area is one of the busiest and more developed, so it’s no wonder that is quite popular among singles and couples of the younger generation, looking for nightlife, clubbing, and dining out. When it comes to beaches, St. Julian’s is rather poor, with one artificial and not so clean, rocky beach.
Also, I would like to warn seniors not to book somewhere near Paceville, as the area is quite noisy. If you like to rent a car, make sure that you are a confident driver – as I said before, this is one of the busiest parts of Malta.
A stay at the Hotel Hyatt Regency is an experience you will never forget. It is a beautiful and modern hotel located in St. Julian’s Bay area. Well-known for its outstanding facilities and service, its walkable distance to the beach, and great location for sunrise viewing.
Other accommodation options in St Julians Bay & Paceville:
This apartment has a fantastic balcony/terrace facing the bay!
Nice and clean rooms, close to bars and restaurants and lots of options for things to do
You will not find a better place to stay in Malta on a budget other than this lovely boutique hotel
Things to do in St Julians Bay & Paceville:
- Swim or sunbathe at St George’s Bay
- Spend a day at Balluta Bay Beach
- Take a walk at St. Julian’s promenade
- Take an Instagram-worthy photo at Spinola Bay
- Check out baroque architecture at Spinola Palace
- Play at Casinos in St Julian’s
- Spend the night partying at Paceville – a nightlife district
4. Mellieħa – best town for beach lovers
Well, you were probably convinced that Malta is poor on beach options, but that’s not the case with Mellieħa. Located in the North, Mellieħa is best known for being one of the largest sandy beaches in Malta. The village can get quite busy during summer as this is the favorite beach vacation spot for beach lovers looking to stay near Mellieha.
Despite the famous Mellieħa Bay, you can easily reach other beach resorts such as Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay. Again, I would say that this place is excellent for lazy beach days, but if you are curious to explore beyond beaches, you might want to rent a car or get public transport.
During my trip to Malta, I visited Mellieħa Bay on my way to Popeye’s Village, and I remember the streets were quite steep since the area is situated on a hilltop. Compared to the other places in the country, it was much quieter and less affected by mass tourism, unlike St Pauls Bay.
I would recommend Mellieħa to anyone who is seeking an easy-going experience, with no nightlife – just beaches. You will be spoilt for choice by the variety of beaches in this part of Malta. See the things to do list below for the top beaches!
Oh wow! – That would be your first reaction when you enter Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta. The spacious, luxurious, and quiet suites are everything you could ask for, right at the coast of a wonderful beach. A memorable experience for your stay in Malta is guaranteed.
Other accommodation options in Mellieha:
A charming room in Mellieħa’s quiet, airy, and tranquil neighborhood with sea views
Treat yourself to a lovely hotel at a great price with a spa and a rooftop terrace pool as a highlight
A unique 200-year long-standing accommodation hotel with a beautiful rooftop terrace and dine al fresco
Things to do in Mellieħa:
- Admire the beauty of Ghajn Tuffieha Bay,
- Sunbathe in Mellieha Beach
- Go to a sandy beach at Ghadira Bay and Golden Bay
- Swim or Kayak at the Coral Lagoon
- Visit two churches: Mellieha Parish Church and Lady of the Grotto
- Check out St Agatha’s Tower (Red Tower)
- Sing, dance, and be amused at Popeye Village Malta
5. St Paul‘s Bay (Bugibba & Qawra) – where to stay for families
Further up the northeast coast of Malta, you will find St Paul’s Bay which is divided into touristy neighborhoods such as Bugibba and Qawra. And although it’s nearly 15 km (9 mi) away from Valletta, it would take you at least an hour by bus. Yeah, I know…it felt like it was ages away!
So, if you like to explore outside of this area or tour the island, then I recommend renting a car to make sure you have a great day out. This area is home to spacious resorts with large swimming pools and a service dedicated particularly for kids, so it would be a great choice for families who aren’t looking to explore cultural and historical value but rest.
You will be well-located between sandy beaches – there is an artificial sandy beach at Bugibba, and several other rocky spots in Qawra, so make sure to take some sandals as you enter the water. Even though you will be isolated from Maltese cultural attractions, public transport is frequent and can take you pretty much anywhere.
Saint Paul’s Bay is the ideal area to stay if you are traveling with a family and looking for an organized resort with all the necessary facilities for kids. Being far away from the nightlife and historical attractions, it offers an opportunity to explore Malta on single-day trips, including the Three Cities.
Make your family vacation extra special at the Park Lane Aparthotel. Expect luxurious amenities and spectacular views of the Mediterranean from your hotel room or at the rooftop pool and terrace. All studios and apartments come with kitchenettes so you can cook for your family during your stay and the beach and bus station are both just a short walk away.
Other accommodation options in St Paul’s Bay:
Inspired by luxury hotels with great views of the gorgeous blue ocean from the terrace.
Great location and offers apartment and hotel rooms ideal for family vacations
A relaxing hotel with a lovely roof terrace, pool, and a delicious breakfast served daily
Things to do in St Paul‘s Bay (Bugibba & Qawra):
- Enjoy water adventures at Bugibba Water Park
- Scuba & Snorkeling in St. Paul’s Bay
- See the panoramic view of Golden Sands Beach
- Feel the relaxing sea breeze at Buggiba Perched Beach
- Hike at Xemxija Heritage Trail
6. Gozo – for a laid-back holiday
The main reason to stay in Gozo (the second largest of Malta’s three islands) is, I would say, its remote position and traditional rustic feel, unlike other resorts. I was actually surprised by how quiet and unspoiled a place can be!
I came here on a day trip from Sliema to escape the crowds and experience the old charm of Victoria, the capital of Gozo. I also had the chance to stop by the incredible Xlendi Bay, and snap some really good photos.
Gozo is the best choice if you like to explore the island’s natural attractions and churches. Life moves at a slower pace here so if you want to get away from it all, this is the place to be. Moreover, if you like being active, try out some outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, or biking.
It’s important to know that you can easily navigate around, even if this is your first time visiting Gozo. If you want to stay right in the heart of Gozo, I suggest you check out the capital Victoria, but if you want to be near hiking trails, then Xlendi Bay might be a better option.
In the list below you can check the top areas for where to stay in Gozo based on different styles and budgets.
Conveniently placed in Gozo’s capital city of Victoria, this hotel offers a wonderful stay in Malta if you are looking for a laid-back holiday in a peaceful atmosphere. The hotel is ideal for exploring the nearby sandy beaches and admiring the stunning views over the Citadella fortress.
Other accommodation options in Gozo:
A cozy apartment situated just 5 min. from the beach and just 1 min away from the bus stop
The hotel provides a relaxing environment with cozy rooms, a garden, and a wonderful terrace
This guesthouse offers spacious rooms, a shared kitchen, and a common area for meeting new friends
Things to do in Gozo:
- Explore the stunning Citadel
- Walk along the shore of Ramla Bay beach
- Wine tasting experience at Ta’ Mena Estate
- Check out the architecturally beautiful church of Ta’ Pinu National Shrine 946
- Visit a fishing village in Marsalforn Bay
- See a watchtower at Dwejra Bay
- Take a scuba diving course at the Blue Hole
7. Marsaskala – where to stay in Malta for budget travelers
Marsaskala is a seaside town lying in the southeast of Malta. It was originally a fishing village with only a few pubs in the area. So if you’re looking where to stay in Malta in a quiet vacation spot, this is the place to be!
In contrast to high-end, luxurious hotels and resorts, Masaskala features more boutique hotels, guest houses, and rooms for rent. You can find budget-friendly rooms to stay in and guesthouses for groups traveling together to save a little money and also have the entire place for yourself. Sound like the perfect friends trip getaway right?
If you like the beach, you’ll find St. Thomas Bay in Masaskala. You can also have a walk and take in the beautiful views of Zonqor Point Salt Pans or visit the historic sites of Torri Mamo and St. Thomas Tower. If the neighborhood sounds good to you, here are the places I highly recommend in the area:
As for the luxury, five-star hotel, it’s hard to find one in the area. As I’ve mentioned, the neighborhood is more about guesthouses and affordable rooms. So if you wish to stay in luxury hotels, I recommend you check out 1926 Hotel & SPA in the neighborhood of Sliema and Gzira.
Other accommodation options in Marsaskala:
Things to do in Marsaskala:
- Join the festive village feast of Marsaskala at the end of July
- Visit the historic sites of Torri Mamo and St. Thomas Tower
- Enjoy the views. of Il-Park Nazzjonali tal-Inwadar
- Snorkel or swim in St. Thomas Bay
- Take some Instagram worthy photos at Żonqor beach
|👑 Luxury price:||€240|
|💵 Mid-range hotel:||€150|
|💰 Accommodation prices:||Low|
|📍 Best Area:||Valletta|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||Hyatt Regency Malta|
|🧳 Best mid-range hotel:||Osborne Hotel|
|👛 Best budget hotel:||Mr Todd Hotel|
Bonus 1: The top 2 day trips in Malta!
No matter where you decide to stay in Malta, I highly recommend you get out and explore the island, starting with these two must-do day trips. Since Malta isn’t too big (just 1 hour by car from top to bottom), you can easily access both these great spots from any town or resort you choose!
1. A day trip to Comino and Blue Lagoon
Your Malta trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon in Comino Island.
The island welcomes you with its incredibly scenic views and cliffs, hidden beaches, and blue grotto or sea caves. You can also hike to the coastal towers and check out historic buildings of the past.
PRO TIP #1: Make sure to bring some water shoes as there are no sandy beaches here, just a flatter area with rocks to sit on. It can be a bit slippery, but once you enter the water you will be fine, the lagoon itself is sandy.
PRO TIP #2: For lunch, you can stop by the food trucks with cold drinks, burgers, and hot dogs. But if you want something healthy, you can either bring it yourself or buy some fresh fruit and drinks in pineapples.
2. Visit Popeye Village Malta – a film set of 1980’s musical production ‘Popeye’
If you’ve ever dreamed of stepping into a real-life movie set, dream no further. Popeye’s Village (or Sweethaven) will give you the opportunity to feel like an actor even for a day and enter a world where fantasy meets reality.
Located at Anchor Bay, only 3 km (2mi) from Mellieha, the 1980’s Popeye musical film set is the perfect place to be with family.
You’ll get to see people dressed up as Popeye, Olive, and Bluto. A day full of puppet shows, short animation performances, games, and giant water trampolines that kids will surely love. Another bonus is if you are obsessed with mini golf, you will find the best local course for free!
There’s also a free speedboat ride around Anchor bay is also worth taking for sure, as this will give you a taste of Popeye’s day sailing in the sea.
If, like me, you have Popeye’s village on your list of things to do in Malta, staying in the neighborhood is possible with the spectacular view over Anchor Bay awaiting you. Let me share with you the best accommodations in the area.
Lucky us, Popeye’s Village is located in the town of Mellieha where there are luxurious 5-star hotels such as Radisson Blu Resort & Spa nearby to another super comfortable hotel at a good price like Solana Hotel & Spa.
Bonus 2: Where to stay without a car in Malta
Although Malta is a small island, navigating the country’s tourist spots can be a bit tricky and time-consuming without a private vehicle. Its transportation is limited to buses and taxis only.
So if you plan to get around Malta without renting a car, it’s best to pick an accommodation highly accessible to public transport and must-see tourist attractions.
PRO TIP: If you zoom in on google maps it will show you where the bus stops are located with a little blue square showing a bus symbol.
Here are the top two neighborhoods I recommend staying in if you don’t have a car.
Capital City – Valletta
As for where to stay in Malta without a car, there is no better place to do so than the capital, Valletta.
The main bus terminus is located just outside this historic city. It can connect you to most tourist spots in Malta like blue Grotto, Ħaġar Qim Temples, and Dingli cliffs.
Seaside Town – Sliema
My next favorite and the area I chose to stay in during my vacation is Sliema. The place is originally a small fishing village that turned into a residential and commercial hub.
The neighborhood has a variety of options in terms in terms of prices as compared to Valletta and is less busy, despite also being well connected. 1926 Hotel & SPA is your top luxury choice here and the Waterfront Hotel is a great mid-range option!
Frequently Asked Questions About Malta
🏨 Where to stay in Malta for the first time?
🌤️ When is the best time to visit Malta?
While Malta is a great place to visit any time of year, it’s better to travel during the bright and sunny season from May – October. If you don’t like crowds, you may want to avoid the peak season from June – August.
👩👩👦 Where is the best area to stay with families?
St Paul’s Bay area is ideal for families as it offers a wide range of resorts and fun activities for the kids. Park Lane Boutique Aparthotel is a good choice for a spacious stay away from the crowds and nightlife.
🏖️ Which are the best luxury hotels in Malta?
Have you decided on where to stay in Malta? If not, feel free to check my recommendations above. You’ll find all types of accommodation from inexpensive hotels to luxury retreats and budget home comforts. Don’t be late and book your dream accommodation in advance as good hotels fill up super quickly here!
For the most accommodating stay, I recommend The Waterfront Hotel in Sliema because its spacious rooms facilities are very convenient. Moreover, the hotel is close to everything, but far away from the noise of the bars. For families, I suggest booking at Park Lane Boutique Aparthotel because of its spacious rooms, private kitchen to cook, rooftop pool, and terrace to enjoy sunset views.
Get ready for a terrific holiday on the Maltese islands, the best destination for beaches, outdoor activities, relaxation, culture, and history. With plenty of opportunities to experience the island’s lifestyle, it would be a pity not to head to Malta this year for some fun.
If you’ve been here before, please share your recommendations and thoughts in the comments below. If not, would you tell us which area seems to suit your travel needs?
Wishing you a safe journey and a relaxing stay!