I was trying hard to figure out where is the best play to stay in Malta since I was only going to be in the country for a little over 20 hours. You might be wondering, why I decided to travel to Malta for less than 24 hours. It’s because I when I booked an Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe, I was allowed 13-14 under 24 hour layovers. Prior to the September 1, 2019 changes, when booking an Aeroplan mini-RTW, you were allowed 3 stopovers and I already used up the other stopovers. However, I had the option of checking out Malta for a little over 20 hours so I said why not, let’s do it! Now, to find out where is the best place to stay in Malta if I’m only in the country for under 24 hours.
Who will benefit from this article
If you’re in the same boat as me and you’re not staying in Malta for very long, but you want to be able to do some sight seeing, then this article will cover the best place to stay in Malta if you’re only there for 24 hours or less. I personally did this research for myself while trying to figure out where I wanted to stay in Malta. But I figure, someone might also stay here for a short period of time and find this short guide helpful.
For the sake of this article, we’re not going to cover the second biggest island in Malta, Gozo, because it doesn’t make sense to go there if you’re only in the country for less than 24 hours. We’re also skipping the smallest island in Malta which is Comino.
Which is city is the best place to stay in Malta if you’re only there for 24 hours or less
Staying in Valletta is a no-brainer for most people. Valletta is the capital of Malta making it easily accessible by public transportation. They even have a public bus that goes directly to the airport. Many of the places you want to see will also be in the capital city which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The downside to staying in Valletta is that in general, it will be more expensive than other areas. If you compare the prices on booking.com or Airbnb, you’ll quickly see this to be true. This follows the typical rule that if you’re staying in the city centre or capital city, prices tend to be higher. But that higher price tag might be worth the convenience.
Sliema is just a short and cheap ferry away from Valletta. I actually stayed in Sliema because it’s really close to Valletta and the accommodation prices are cheaper.
If you compare prices on booking.com or Airbnb between Sliema and Valletta, you’ll quickly see that Sliema is a more budget friendly place to stay. Public transportation in Sliema was relatively easy to use as well. They even have a direct public bus that goes from the airport to Sliema.
So if you are budget conscious, then Sliema is the best place to stay in Malta for you.
If you prefer to stay in the old fortified city of Birgu, then I would say that it’s a good choice as well. It’s relatively close to Valletta as well and accommodation prices are somewhere in between Valletta and Sliema.
Birgu has a relatively small population of just over 2,600 people. It might be a good place to stay if you want to stay somewhere touristy but not as central as Valletta.
The city of St. Julian’s actually have an IHG hotel. So if you’re the kind of person that enjoys staying in chain hotels, this is a great option for you. Upon a closer inspection on booking.com and Airbnb, it’s also a great option for budget minded individuals. Accommodation prices can be as low as $20 for hostels and slightly higher for budget hotels.
I didn’t think of staying here because it’s not as close to Valletta but they do have a direct bus that goes to the airport making this city easily accessible as well.
St. Paul’s Bay
St. Paul’s Bay is another city that’s easily accessed through public transportation. They also have a public bus that goes directly to the airport. The downside of staying in St. Paul’s Bay is that it’s relatively further from Valletta, the capital of Malta. So if you want to sight see in Valletta, this city might not be the best option for you.
Upon closer inspection on booking.com and Airbnb, an obvious reason to stay in St. Paul’s Bay shows up. And that obvious reason is accommodation prices. I’ve seen deals as cheap as $7 for your own private room in a guest house. That is ridiculously cheap.
I actually think St. Paul’s Bay has the cheapest accommodation option in Malta! But don’t forget the downside which is being further away from the main touristy areas.
Mdina and Rabat
The Mdina and Rabat area is actually where I really wanted to stay in Malta. The biggest reason I did not is because it takes at least two bus transfers to go to this city. If you are short on time, that’s quite a hassle and there’s also the potential of missing your bus back to the airport the next day.
Mdina was the capital city of Malta in ancient times dating as far as as the medieval times. I really wanted to stay in this area because of its rich ancient history. However, Mdina is actually one of the most expensive place to stay in Malta and it’s also not easy to reach by public transportation. If it wasn’t expensive here and is public transportation friendly, there’s no doubt I would have stayed here during my trip to Malta.
Melliaha is the beach destination in Malta. If you’re a beach kind of person, then Melliaha is the best place to stay in Malta for you. Some downsides to staying in Melliaha is the same as Mdina. Public transportation requires more than one bus transfer. Accommodation prices are similar to Valletta so it’s roughly mid-range price wise.
I personally would prefer to go to another country for beach destinations if I’m only visiting Malta for under 24 hours. If you travel to Malta longer than 24 hours, then it wouldn’t hurt to stay here for a day or two to enjoy the beach.
Where is the best place to stay in Malta?
When you travel to Malta, it’s probably best you stay longer than 24 hours if you want to thoroughly see the entire country. I’d probably choose Sliema, St. Julian’s and Rabat and Mdina as the best place to stay in Malta.
But if you’re like me and you’re only coming to Malta for a quick visit, then I recommend staying near the place you really want to see. Taxis are expensive in Malta so you definitely want to rely on public transportation when possible. So factor that in when deciding where is the best place to stay in Malta for you when you go to this beautiful island nation.