Best Area to Stay in Malta: Local’s Advice

Spinola Bay in St. Julian's, Malta, is a vibrant and scenic spot known for its excellent restaurants and lively nightlife. The bay is lined with modern buildings, restaurants, and cafes, offering a variety of dining options and nightlife venues. Small boats are moored in the calm waters, adding to the picturesque charm of this popular area.

Just a quick heads up – some of the links I share on this site are affiliate links. That means if you click on one and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support through these links helps me create valuable content.


Wondering about the best area to stay in Malta during your vacation? Malta is a small island archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s packed with history, stunning beaches, and vibrant culture. Choosing where to stay can make or break your trip.

I’ve lived in Malta since 2011 and know the island inside out. I’ve called several towns home over the years. This gives me unique insight into the best spots for different travellers.

Your ideal area depends on what you want from your holiday. Are you after buzzing nightlife or peaceful beaches? Historic sites or modern amenities? I’ll help you find your perfect match in Malta.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Where to Stay in Malta

Budget: Malta offers options for all wallets. Luxury resorts in St. Julian’s, mid-range hotels in Sliema, and budget guesthouses in Gzira and other towns.

Nightlife preferences: Party people should look at St. Julian’s. For laid-back evenings, consider Mellieha or Marsaskala.

Beach access: Mellieha is the best for beach lovers. But Malta is small, so beaches are a short ride away from any area in Malta.

Cultural interests: History lovers should stay in Valletta or the Three Cities. For unique local stays, try towns like Rabat.

Transportation options: When renting a car, most areas are fine; but be aware that parking can be tricky in the busiest towns. If you’re using public transport, consider staying in central areas like Sliema or St. Julian’s for easy travel connections.

Best Areas in Malta by Traveler Type

Most Popular Towns with Restaurants and Nightlife

St. Julian’s and Sliema are top picks for nightlife and dining in Malta.

St. Julian’s

St. Julian’s is a fantastic choice for those who enjoy nightlife in Malta. Paceville, located in this area, is known as the heart of Malta’s nightlife, full of clubs, bars, and restaurants.

Spinola Bay is a charming spot with colourful fishing boats and great waterfront dining choices.

St. Julian’s beaches may not be the finest, but there are plenty of spots to enjoy a swim. You can choose from sandy St. George’s Bay, Balluta Bay, or explore other rocky areas for a refreshing dip.

Transportation in St. Julians is convenient, with regular bus services connecting to Valletta and other areas of Malta.

St. Julian’s has a variety of luxury hotels, as well as more affordable options to choose from. Here are some recommended accommodations in St. Julian’s:

The Westin Dragonara Resort: Luxury beachfront hotel

Hotel Valentina: Stylish boutique hotel with rooftop pool

be.HOTEL: Modern 4-star hotel in central location

A picturesque view of Spinola Bay in St. Julian's, Malta, featuring modern apartment buildings along the waterfront. Boats are docked in the calm bay under a clear, vibrant blue sky. St. Julian's is known as one of the best areas to stay in Malta for nightlife and restaurants.
Spinola Bay, St. Julian’s

For the Best Beaches

Mellieha

Mellieha is the best area to stay in Malta for beach lovers. This northern town offers access to some of Malta’s finest beaches, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a sun-soaked holiday.

This town is on a hill, offering wide-reaching Mediterranean views. It provides a quieter, more authentic Maltese experience.

Mellieha offers the finest beaches in Malta. Ghadira Bay stands out as the biggest sandy beach, offering shallow waters that are perfect for families. Also, you can explore the beautiful beaches at Golden Bay, Ghajn Tuffieha, and Paradise Bay.

Mellieha has good bus connections to other parts of Malta, but traveling may take a bit longer because it’s a bit further away. To have more freedom, it’s a good idea to rent a car. Taxis and ride-sharing apps are options too, but they can cost more for longer rides.

Mellieha has more than just beach fun. Explore the Red Tower for its history and views. Visit Popeye Village, a former film set. Hike the countryside or enjoy water sports. The town also offers a range of restaurants with local and international food.

Recommended accommodation:

Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Golden Sands: A beachfront resort with a private beach

db Seabank Resort + Spa: All-inclusive resort near Ghadira Bay

Solana Hotel & Spa: A nice hotel with a rooftop pool.

Golden Bay, Malta, is renowned for its beautiful sandy beach and crystal-clear waters, making it one of the best areas to stay in Malta for beaches. Visible in the image is the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Golden Sands, perched on a cliff overlooking the bay. The hotel offers luxurious accommodations with stunning sea views and easy access to the beach.
Golden Bay with the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Hotel

Best Area to Stay in Malta For Culture and History Lovers

Stay in Valletta, the Three Cities, or Rabat to experience Malta’s culture and history.

Valletta

Valletta, Malta’s capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best areas to stay in Malta for history enthusiasts.

Valletta’s like an open-air museum showcasing beautiful Baroque architecture. Its narrow streets are full of historical palazzos, museums, and churches.

Check out St. John’s Co-Cathedral, then head to the Grandmaster’s Palace and visit Casa Rocca Piccola. Don’t miss the Upper Barrakka Gardens—the harbour views are amazing!

While Valletta doesn’t have beaches, it’s close to rocky swimming spots. The nearest sandy beaches are 30-mins away.

Valletta is Malta’s transport hub. The central bus station connects to all parts of the island. The Valletta ferry terminal offers trips to Sliema, Gozo, and the Three Cities.

Here are the top accommodation options in Valletta:

Iniala Harbour House – Luxury hotel with Michelin-star restaurant

The Phoenicia Malta – Historic hotel with beautiful gardens and a pool

Casa Ellul – Boutique hotel in a restored Victorian townhouse.

The Iniala Harbour House in Valletta, Malta, exemplifies the city's rich historical and architectural heritage, making it one of the best areas to stay in Malta for history enthusiasts. Valletta's architecture features stunning baroque buildings, narrow streets, and iconic blue balconies that add a unique charm to the cityscape. Iniala Harbour House offers luxurious accommodations with spectacular views of the Grand Harbour, combining modern elegance with historical grandeur.
Iniala Harbour House in Valletta, Malta

Three Cities (Birgu, Senglea, Cospicua)

The Three Cities give you a real taste of authentic Maltese life with a lot of history.

These old cities are even older than Valletta, and are much quieter. You can walk around the narrow streets, see the traditional buildings, and enjoy the local vibes.

Check out Fort St. Angelo in Vittoriosa, explore the Inquisitor’s Palace, and take a walk by the marina. If you’re interested in World War II, the Malta at War Museum is a great place to learn more.

Just like Valletta, the Three Cities don’t have sandy beaches, but you can still find places to swim in the sea.

Ferries run regularly between the Three Cities and Valletta. Buses also go to other parts of Malta, but they aren’t as frequent as they are from Valletta.

Recommended accommodation:

Cugo Gran Macina Grand Harbour: Luxury hotel in a restored landmark

Casa Cara: Seafront apartments with views.

The Three Cities in Malta, comprising Vittoriosa (Birgu), Senglea (Isla), and Cospicua (Bormla), are renowned for their narrow streets lined with authentic buildings, showcasing the island's deep historical roots. This area is considered one of the best places to stay in Malta for history buffs, offering a glimpse into Malta's rich past with its well-preserved architecture. The buildings feature traditional Maltese balconies, ornate doorways, and limestone facades, reflecting the timeless charm and cultural heritage of the region.
Three Cities, Malta

Rabat

Rabat is a wonderful choice for those looking for a peaceful and rich historical experience. You’ll find fascinating historical sites and a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Its close location to Mdina, known as the “Silent City,” makes it an ideal destination for history enthusiasts. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit St. Paul’s Catacombs, explore the Roman Villa (Domus Romana), and take a tour of Casa Bernard.

While Rabat doesn’t have beaches, you can easily reach scenic spots like Ghajn Tuffieha and Golden Bay with just a short 20-minute drive.

Although bus services to Valletta and other towns are a bit less frequent, renting a car is a great option for added flexibility during your stay.

In Rabat, you can enjoy staying in charming old houses, which are perfect for those who appreciate history.

Point de Vue: Guesthouse in a converted townhouse

The Hidden Gem Boutique Hotel: Rustic accommodation in a traditional Maltese house.

An image of the Basilica of St. Paul in Rabat, Malta, captures its impressive baroque architecture with a grand facade and ornate details. This area is one of the best places to stay in Malta for history enthusiasts, as Rabat is rich in historical sites and cultural heritage.
Basilica of St. Paul in Rabat’s Main Square

Best Area in Malta for Quiet, Family-Friendly Stays

Marsaskala

Marsaskala is a quiet seaside town in southeastern Malta, perfect for families seeking a relaxed holiday. It has a peaceful atmosphere, a charming harbour, and a small-town feel with a friendly community.

Families who enjoy outdoor activities will love Marsaskala. Take a promenade walk, visit the playgrounds, or try water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding at St. Thomas Bay.

Marsaskala’s rocky coastline has ladders for easy access to the clear blue waters. Nearby, St. Thomas Bay offers two small sandy beaches, popular with locals and families, with shallow and safe waters for kids.

Marsaskala has limited bus connections to the rest of Malta. For more flexibility, especially with families, it’s recommended to rent a car.

Marsaskala has simple, charming apartments and guesthouses.

Here are a few recommended options:

Portside Lodge: apartments with a sea view and a swimming pool

Cerviola Hotel: with rooftop pool and terrace.

Marsaskala Promenade in Malta is a scenic waterfront area, perfect for families seeking a relaxed and enjoyable stay. The promenade features a beautiful walkway along the coast, lined with cafes, playgrounds, and restaurants, offering a variety of dining and leisure options. The calm, picturesque environment, combined with family-friendly amenities, makes Marsaskala one of the best areas to stay in Malta for families.
Marsaskala Promenade

For Budget Travellers

If you’re on a tight budget and looking for a place to stay in Malta, check out Gzira and Bugibba – they’re great options that won’t break the bank and still offer a fantastic experience.

Gzira

Gzira is ideal for budget-conscious travellers who want to be close to the action. This coastal town is close to Sliema. It offers great views of Valletta’s skyline and is home to Manoel Island.

While Gzira doesn’t have sandy beaches, it offers rocky beaches. Ta’ Xbiex Rocky Beach is small but provides views of Valletta. Manoel Island also has spots for swimming, with ladders for easy access.

Gzira has good public transport links. Buses run often to Valletta and other Malta areas. The nearby Sliema ferry terminal offers trips to Valletta and Comino.

Here are a few recommended accommodation options:

115 The Strand Hotel and Suites: Affordable hotel with sea views

Korzo Suites: Budget-friendly apartments

Azur Hotel by ST Hotels: Comfortable hotel with a pool.

The view of Gzira from Manoel Island in Malta showcases a striking urban landscape with modern buildings and the scenic waterfront. This area is ideal for budget-friendly travelers, offering affordable accommodations and easy access to the island's attractions. Gzira's central location, coupled with its vibrant atmosphere and numerous dining options, makes it one of the best areas to stay in Malta for those looking to explore on a budget.
Gzira’s View from Manoel Island

Bugibba

Bugibba, a part of St. Paul’s Bay, is a fantastic choice for travellers on a budget looking for a place to stay in Malta.

Bugibba is a lively seaside town known for its great atmosphere and beautiful promenade by the sea. The main square is where you’ll find lots of fun and entertainment. It’s a more affordable option compared to places like Valletta, St. Julian’s or Sliema.

Stroll along the promenade or chill in the lively main square. Bugibba is close to the Malta National Aquarium and historical spots like the Wignacourt Tower. It also provides boat trips to Gozo and Comino.

Bugibba Perched Beach is a man-made sandy beach. Another nearby beach is Qawra’s Point, with a rocky coastline. If you prefer sandy beaches, Golden Bay and Ghajn Tuffieha are just a quick bus ride away.

Bugibba has excellent public transportation links. The bus station provides regular services to the airport and other towns in Malta.

Recommended accommodation:

Sunseeker Holiday Complex: Budget-friendly apartments with rooftop pool

Mayflower Hotel Malta: Affordable hotel with a pool close to the sea

Bugibba Promenade in Malta is a bustling waterfront area known for its lively atmosphere and stunning sea views. It's an excellent choice for budget-friendly travelers, offering affordable hotels, restaurants, and entertainment options.
Bugibba Promenade

Where to Stay in Malta: Towns’ Comparison

Here’s a table comparing all the towns.

AreaProsCons
St. Julian’sVibrant nightlife, many restaurants, good beachesCan be noisy, crowded in peak season
SliemaShopping, dining options, ferry to VallettaRocky beaches, busy
MelliehaBest beaches, quieter atmosphereFurther from main attractions, longer travel times
VallettaRich in history, cultural attractionsLimited nightlife, no beaches
Three CitiesAuthentic experience, historical sitesLess tourist infrastructure
MarsaskalaQuiet, family-friendly, local vibeLimited sandy beaches, far from main attractions
GziraAffordable, close to Sliema and VallettaNo sandy beaches
BugibbaAffordable, resort atmosphereCan be crowded, artificial beach

When looking for the best place to stay in Malta, consider what you like. Do you prefer busy streets or quiet beaches? Would you rather stay in charming historic homes or modern hotels? Are you thinking about renting a car?

Malta is a tiny island, so no matter where you stay, you can easily reach all the exciting places. Pick a spot that matches what you love and fits your budget, and it’s a guarantee you’ll have a wonderful time in Malta.

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *