Insider Tips and Travel Mistakes to Avoid When Visiting Malta

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Are you planning a trip to Malta and looking for insider tips on what to do and what to avoid? I’ve lived in Malta since 2011. So, I’ve picked up some Malta tips on how to get the best of your time here.

Malta is a popular tourist spot and a great place to visit on vacation. However, it can be overwhelming to plan your trip here with so many options and things to consider.

In this blog post, I’ll list the top mistakes to avoid when visiting Malta. I’ll also offer insider tips to help you make the most of your time on this island.

Here are the seven most common mistakes I see people make when visiting Malta.

Insider Tip No 1 – Plan Enough Time

It’s easy to underestimate Malta’s size, so many don’t plan enough time. Most people focus on popular places like Valletta, Mdina, and the Blue Lagoon. They do not leave time for other sites. Even though Malta is tiny, there is a lot of culture and history to explore. You’ll need more than two days!

It might be that travellers do not have enough information about all the things to see and do on the island. So, of course, this blog can help. You can go hiking and scuba diving and visit hidden gems. There’s so much to see and do in Malta!

A scenic view of lush green cliffs overlooking the sparkling blue sea, with sunlight reflecting off the water. Don't skip such a hidden gem when in Malta.
A View of Xlendi in Gozo – Places to See if You Have More Time

Also, people seem confident they’ll see everything Malta has to offer in a short time. They realise later that it’s impossible. People feel rushed and stressed. They can’t relax and enjoy their vacation.

Are you planning to visit Blue Lagoon in Comino? Check out my guide to the best Blue Lagoon boat tours.

Insider Tip No 2 – Check the Weather Before You Pack

People often pack incorrectly because they don’t take the weather into account. Summers are hot, and winters are mild, but not so mild that a T-shirt is enough. You can learn about weather changes throughout the year in this post

Here are some tips on what to pack so you won’t have to run around the shops once you get to Malta. You can also check my packing guide for different seasons.

Summer in Malta is hot. Hot means very hot. The summer months in Malta are also humid. High humidity can make it feel even hotter and more uncomfortable. It can get sticky and sweaty.

Try to stay in air-conditioned spaces or near fans during the hottest parts of the day. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water. So, if you’re travelling in summer, wear lightweight, breathable clothes, a hat and sunglasses to stay cool.

When visiting Malta in the winter, people don’t bring warm clothes. Yet, somehow many think there is warm weather all year. Perhaps people associate Malta with summer vacations and don’t think about jackets and sweaters.

The average temperature in Malta is between 15-20°C (59-68°F) during the winter months. Generally, it feels more like spring, but it can get pretty cold at night, especially when it’s windy.

The weather is unpredictable. Some days are sunny and warm, while others are cold and rainy.

A person standing by a railing, looking out at rough waves crashing against the shore under cloudy skies on a rainy day.
Malta on a Windy Day

In Malta, most buildings don’t have central heating. Instead, Maltese use electric heaters, portable gas heaters, and air conditioners to keep their homes warm. So it’s a good idea to check if your accommodation has heating and to bring extra layers.

Another common mistake people make is not wearing comfortable walking shoes. It’s a good idea to bring comfy shoes to Malta because you’ll be doing a lot of walking and exploring historical sites.

Insider Tip No 3 – Plan your Transport

Often people think that Malta is tiny and you can walk everywhere. Yes, Malta is small, but not that small. Valletta and the Three Cities are easy to walk around. But most historical places and beaches are farther away from Valletta or Sliema. You can’t get there on foot.

There are a lot of hills, some steep, so walking can be challenging. Furthermore, many roads have no pavement for pedestrians. It might be dangerous.

Malta’s public transportation is cheap and convenient. But getting to some areas takes time. Unless you hire a car, I would avoid staying in Malta in the smaller towns. The best transport connection is from Valletta, Sliema, St. Julians, Gzira, Msida, Bugibba, or Mellieha.

I recommend renting a car if you stay in Malta for one week or longer. Use Discover Cars for the best price and choice. You can pick up a car at the airport and keep it throughout your trip.

Then, travelling around the island will be more flexible. You need to be aware that Malta drives on the left like in the UK. Getting used to it is easy. Just don’t rush. Take your time and avoid busy roads until you feel comfortable (more driving tips are here).

Malta has free street parking, but finding a spot can take some time. Several private parking areas are in the central parts of the island.

For more information, check out my guide to transportation in Malta.

Need advice on renting a car in Malta? Here’s my guide with insider tips on everything you need to know.

Insider Tip No 4 – Avoid Travelling to Malta during the Peak Season

July and August are the peak months in Malta. During these months, Malta can get crowded. The lines at popular tourist destinations are long, and the beaches are packed. So, it might be challenging to enjoy the island’s attractions.

There’s a lot of traffic in Malta, and parking can be difficult in some areas. So, it can be time-consuming to get around the island.

Hotels, tours, and activities can be more expensive during the busy summer season. Take a look at my budget-friendly holiday guide.

It gets pretty hot and humid in July and August. So, being outside during the hottest parts of the day can be uncomfortable.

Malta is most pleasant in June, September, or October. However, the weather is gorgeous, so you can still enjoy swimming in the sea.

A serene beach scene in Malta with gentle waves lapping onto the shore. Moss-covered rocks dot the sandy beach, adding a natural touch to the landscape.
Malta in October

Insider Tip No 5 – Do not Skip the Off-Beaten Track

Many tourists visit Malta’s main attractions and miss out on all the other beautiful places and experience it offers. 

Some of Malta’s most scenic and exciting sights are hidden away in less-visited areas.

Before you visit, research the island’s history, culture, and activities. Go hiking, discover hidden gems, lesser-known places, and off-the-beaten-path experiences. While the main attractions are worth visiting, don’t be afraid to explore beyond the usual tourist areas.

Here you can find a guide to hidden gems in Malta and Gozo’s best secret beaches

Vibrant red flowers growing on the edge of a cliff overlooking clear blue waters and rocky coastline.
Malta Off-Beaten Track – The View of Majjistral Park

Insider Tip No 6 – Be Aware of the Potential Dangers of Swimming in the Sea

While Malta has many beautiful beaches and swimming spots, certain dangers should be considered when swimming in Malta.

In the spring and summer, Malta’s warm waters attract jellyfish. Jellyfish aren’t dangerous in Malta, but some are painful.

Check the water for jellyfish before you jump in. Avoid jellyfish if you see them. I usually swim with a snorkel mask so I can see them. If you get stung by a jellyfish, soak it in seawater. Remove the tentacles, and then apply alcohol. You shouldn’t use fresh water, ice, or hot water in the area.

Jellyfish concentrations vary depending on wind and current direction. Generally, there are a lot of jellyfish on one side of Malta and none on the other. Online sites can recommend beaches that are free of jellyfish. Here is the weather site I usually use.

Another danger in Malta is sunburn. The sun is intense in Malta, so wear sunscreen and protective clothing to avoid sunburn. Also, hire an umbrella to enjoy the beach during the hottest part of the day.

It’s important to avoid swimming in harbour areas or places with many boats, as the water is less clean and there is a risk of being hit by a boat. It’s safer to stay in designated swimming zones.

If the sea is rough, exercise caution. There have been incidents where waves have washed people into the water. Never jump into a rough sea, as it might be difficult to get back to the coast. Unfortunately, fatal incidents occur each year, so it’s crucial to be careful.

Lastly, be careful when swimming in rocky areas. Swimming or snorkelling along Malta’s rugged coast is amazing. You can also jump off them into the water. But be careful because rocks are sharp, and you can get hurt if you don’t see them.

A stunning coastal scene with crystal-clear turquoise waters and rocky cliffs. The vibrant colours of the water contrast beautifully with the rugged rocks, creating a picturesque view.
Swimming in Rocky Areas

Insider Tip No 7 – Traveling Solo Doesn’t Have to Be Scary

Thinking about travelling alone? Malta is a great place to try it out. Even if you walk around Valletta alone, you won’t feel lonely. In fact, Malta is full of friendly tourists, expats, and locals.

Imagine grabbing a bite of Maltese rabbit stew and chatting with someone new. Many people here love to talk and share stories about Malta and its cool history.

To the women wondering, “Is Malta safe for me to travel alone?” – I’ve been here for over ten years, and I can say it’s safe. Busy spots like Sliema and Valletta are bright and full of people at night.

Curious about more solo travel tips? Check out my blog on solo travel in Malta. It’s full of advice to help you.

Malta Insider Tips: FAQ

What are some places to avoid in Malta?

While Malta is generally a safe and welcoming country, there are a few areas that you might want to avoid, especially at night. These include the Paceville in St. Julian’s. It can get rowdy with its nightclubs and bars. Also, avoid Marsa and Hal Far, which are known for higher crime rates. Yet, as long as you use common sense and take basic precautions, you should have no trouble enjoying your time in Malta. Always check reviews before visiting restaurants on the seaside or main tourist spots, as some can be tourist traps with high prices and low quality. However, there are also many great options, so it’s best to refer to Google reviews for guidance.

What are some things not to do in Malta?

When visiting Malta, it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Don’t litter or damage the island’s natural beauty. Also, don’t underestimate the sun’s strength. Always wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. This prevents sunburn and heatstroke. It’s also important to note that topless bathing is forbidden in Malta. Furthermore, dogs are not allowed on sandy beaches, and you can face a significant fine if caught breaking this rule.

Is Malta safe for travellers?

Yes, Malta is generally a very safe country for travellers. The crime rate is low, and violent crime against tourists is rare. But, like any destination, it’s important to take basic precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas at night, and be cautious when accepting drinks from strangers. Overall, Malta is a friendly and welcoming place.

Where should I avoid staying in Malta?

When choosing accommodation in Malta, it’s best to avoid staying in remote areas unless you plan to rent a car. Generally, if you plan to use public transport, stay in areas such as Sliema, St. Julian’s, Gzira, Msida or Valletta. There, you’ll have easy access to restaurants, shops, and public transit.

Are there any reasons not to visit Malta?

While Malta is a fantastic destination with something to offer everyone, there are a few reasons why it might not be the right choice for everyone. If you’re looking for a destination with a big nightlife scene, Malta may not be the best choice. Also, if you want long sandy beaches, Malta’s rocky coast may not be what you want. But, there are still many beautiful spots to swim and sunbathe.

I hope this article helps you prepare for your trip. But wait, there is more…

Want to discover authentic places to stay? Check this guide.

Wondering how to navigate the islands effortlessly? I’ve got insights into the most convenient modes of transport.

Want to maximise your time? Be sure to check out my itineraries for both 7-day and 4-day stays. 

If you still have questions, check out this guide that lists Malta FAQs and covers all the things to know before traveling to Malta.

Malta is a beautiful destination with sun and sea, historical and cultural attractions and off-the-beaten-track spots. Your best vacation ever might be here. Make sure you plan ahead, don’t come during busy times, and you’ll have a memorable time.

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