It is peak season for travel to Malta this time of the year. The sun is shining bright, the streets are busy, and the capital – Valletta – is buzzing with tourists. Some of them are wandering around by themselves, and others in groups following the raised umbrella or placard of their tour guide. The ocean is everywhere you look, and you have a myriad different things to keep you entertained.
There seemed to be a higher number of seniors this week, compared to other times. Maybe they prefer to visit Malta in May, I’m not sure. All ages find Malta very easy to come to, it seems. I have seen many families visiting with infants, toddlers, teenagers, young adults and seniors alike so I figure it’s pretty family friendly. Read some TripAdvisor reviews here to see what others say.
This post is about tips for traveling to Malta during the peak season though, so here we go.
- Book your hotel way in advance. In peak season the good hotels fill up pretty fast. I like The Palace and 115 The Strand. I once had trouble finding a room at my preferred options and had to go with Europa for a night (I would stay away from this one) and Bayview Hotel for 2 nights. Bayview wasn’t so bad but I wouldn’t select it unless I had no option. I would pick it over Europa though (ugh)! Bayview is also hit and miss. Some rooms are ‘meh’, others are ‘no way!’ I was lucky to get a room in the first category, and the best thing about the room was the sea view from the small balcony. Don’t let the foyer fool you. From my stay to the hotel, I concluded they renovated that and nothing else. Also, TA will have mixed reviews for Bayview Hotel. I believe this is because they have apartments too, and these are likely better than the hotel rooms.
- If you need to get somewhere fast, allow room for the possibility that the bus will be late. This will be anywhere from a few minutes to as much as 20 minutes.
- If your budget allows, take a cab to the airport. As mentioned above, buses can be late pretty often in Malta. Actually, cabs too. Pad your trip to the airport with lots of buffer time just in case. Malta is not place to believe Google Maps calculation of duration of travel, especially regarding going to the Airport. Don’t do this in Malta in peak season. You might be okay in January, but you don’t want to risk it in April, May, June, and onwards through summer.
- Tip 4 builds on 3 above. The airport can get crazy busy! I am writing this aboard a flight out of Malta, and the size of crowds at the airport today was unbelievable. It’s a small but busy airport. The line to security was crazy long, the cab I had booked the night before had picked me up almost 15 minutes late – it takes 20 minutes to get to the airport if the roads are good and not busy – it’s a recipe for missing your flight if not careful.
- If flying business or first class, ask to be directed to the fast track desk to go through security. As mentioned earlier, it’s a small airport and there isn’t a dedicated separate area for fast track customers to go through security separately. When the crowd is large, it’s not obvious where the fast track desk at Malta International Airport is so make sure to ask! I was lucky to be flying business today, so I was able to avoid the mammoth crowd and long lines but I had to ask one of the staff, who had to ask her supervisor, then I was led to the fast track desk.
- Buy an Explorer TalLinja bus card. This will help keep your travel costs on the island lower.
- When taking a cab from Valletta, do not take the white ones outside Valletta gate. They will give you an exorbitant price. Call for a cab instead, it will likely be better priced.
- More on cabs. Do not ask the restaurants in Valletta yto call you a cab. They will likely call the white one, which will be even more expensive than walking to Valletta gate to get it yourself. Call the cab yourself. Unless you don’t mind. Myself, I prefer not to be cheated out of my hard-earned money. I prefer eCabs. I find their rates reasonable.
- When traveling to Malta, read TripAdvisor reviews on everything before you pay for it. Everything! I have had crazy (but true) stories about a certain well-known Malta to Gozo cruise company that I shall not name. You’ll be very glad you did your homework!