Check out the Best Places to Stay in Malta for Your Style and Budget!
Oh, Malta – why are you so sunny and wonderful? Planning a trip to Malta can be super exciting but looking for a place to stay can be a little confusing. If you wanted a blog post on where to stay in Malta, you are in luck! Eric visited Malta on a trip and explored the whole island – meaning he knows a thing or two about mastering the country! He stayed in a hostel in Sliema – and you’ll see why this is a popular choice below.
The thing about Malta is that accommodations are spread all over the island but concentrated into few areas. Some of these are in the capital, Valletta, while others are by the best beaches in Malta closer to Mellieha Bay or Bugibba. To help you out, we explain the differences between the areas, the attractions you find in them, and list off a few featured accommodations in each. You’ll understand the area you are booking and you can find a place to stay in Malta that suits your style and budget!
So, you know – this post is about staying on Malta, the main island and NOT accommodations on Gozo. If you want to know where to stay on Gozo, you can check out that post here (coming very soon!). We’ve also written a bunch of helpful guides on all things Malta related which you can find here: Sightseeing Tips on Malta’s Main Island, Things to Do on Gozo, Exploring the Capital Valletta, Plan Your Malta Itinerary.
Best Places to Stay in Malta – Accommodations Types
Malta has a wide mix of accommodation styles – but these styles are somewhat specific to certain areas. This is because of the geography (coast versus inland) which dictates the activities and thus the type of tourist each place attracts.
For example, Valletta has many hotels and some apartment rentals but few resorts. Marsaskala, on the other hand, primarily has with fewer hotels. Bugibba and St Paul’s Bay have more resort-style hotels, while Sliema full of charming guesthouses and harbourfront hotels. See – there is a healthy mix everywhere you go.
Hotels in Malta
There are lots of hotels but also many resort-style hotels in the resort areas. You will find great smaller hotels in the cities (Valletta, Sliema, and St Julian’s) while the resorts (with large pools, large properties) are in Bugibba and Mellieha. Basically, the areas that are along the coast had the space to build bigger resorts. Makes sense. This is not to say that there are no hotels in other places – just fewer. So, keep this in mind when looking for an area. You can go ahead and browse hotels in Malta here.
Hostels in Malta
Hostels are another good option if you are looking for a place to stay in Malta. That said, there are a few hostels in the whole country with a majority of them located in Sliema and St Julian’s. There are a few on Gozo but that’s in another post. You can check out all the hostels on Malta here.
Sliema is arguably the best area to stay in Malta because it’s central yet quiet. We’ll explain more down below in the Sliema section. Eric stayed at Corner Hostel right in the heart of Sliema and really loved his stay. Two Pillows Boutique Hostel is also a great option. It’s more like a boutique hotel than a hostel with a beautiful decor and a terrace.
Sticking with staying in great hostels, you can stay in St Julian’s to be closer to the nightlife and the excitement. If this is you, check out Marco Polo which is a super popular hostel.
Apartments, Guesthouses, and Airbnbs in Malta
As you may have guessed, the smaller, quieter seaside areas that are not the capital region have a vast majority of long-stay apartment rentals, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, etc. These accommodation options are more for those looking to get away and relax in the quieter countryside and/or want to be able to cook their own meals and have more of a base for their stay in Malta.
There are Airbnbs available on Malta – and while we enjoying staying in them all over Europe – we have not stayed in one in Malta. That said, there are lots of great guesthouse and apartment options below so check out the ones that interest you. These options book up in advance since they provide travellers with their own space for a few days!
Best Places to Stay in Malta – Malta Accommodations Map
Below, you will find a map of the main island of Malta. To make it easy, the best places to stay in Malta are broken down by town/city (red houses). The corresponding icons (colourful beds) are the featured hotels, resorts, apartments, and guesthouses in those regions that we talk about in this post. You can see which bed colours go with each city/town/region below the map, in the same order as in this post.
- Sliema (Navy Blue Beds)
- St Julian’s (Yellow Beds)
- Valletta (Red Beds)
- Bugibba/St Paul’s Bay (Green Beds)
- Mellieha (Grey Beds)
- The Three Cities (Pink Beds)
- Marsaskala (Purple Beds)
- Marsaxlokk (Light Blue Beds)
- Rabat/Mdina (Brown Beds)
We also wanted to include Malta International Airport in case anyone was looking for an airport hotel. However, the island is honestly so small that you can basically stay in any of the closer towns/cities in the south-end and be at the airport in less than 30 minutes. You might also be renting a car, in which case you can easily drive to the airport from your accommodation. If this sounds like you, you can compare rental cars in Malta here.
Best Places to Stay in Malta – Featured Areas & Accommodations
In the section below, we’ll cover each of the best Malta cities/towns/areas to stay in. We write a brief description of the area, what you can see and do there, and then provide you with our top accommodation choices. As mentioned, the neighbourhoods and the hotels correspond with the map above so you can visualize what we are talking about!
Sliema (Lively, Walkable, Popular)
As we briefly mentioned above, Sliema is arguably the best area to stay in Malta because it is super centrally located, close to attractions, yet still quiet, has the water views, and is NOT Valletta. Valletta is cool – don’t get us wrong – but the capital can be tough to stay in because it gets BUSY and expensive. Eric stayed in Sliema and loved it for all these logical reasons. Plus, it’s beautiful (like everywhere else!).
Sliema is great because the bus routes along the coast take you all around the island. This makes Sliema a great option for those wanting to explore the whole country because – again – the bus from Valletta can be super busy each morning. Sliema is also close to Msida or Il-Gżira (Gzira) so you could opt for a place in those towns if Sliema is completely booked. Sliema also has rock beaches, restaurants, and long sidewalks to enjoy the sea air.
Featured Properties in Sliema
Below are two properties in different areas of Sliema. One is close to the harbour where Valletta is while the other is closer to the nightlife of St Julian’s. Both benefit from close bus connection to explore the island and both benefit from being in Sliema which can be less expensive than Valletta.
The Waterfront Hotel – Check Now
If you want to stay in the heart of the action with amazing views, the Waterfront Hotel is for you. This boutique style hotel offers rooms with harbour views, restaurants and shops nearby, friendly staff, a buffet breakfast. For the price, this 4-star hotel right on a main bus route to explore Malta is a pretty good deal! Eric walked by a few times and the area (close to Gzira) is just awesome.
Blanc Boutique Guest House – Check Now
The Blanc is a modern elegant boutique hotel located close to where Eric stayed in Sliema. This area is close to the Sliema rock beaches, promenade, and a quick walk to St Julian’s and other smaller bays with lots to do. The bus route is SO close, the traffic gets quieted for a nice sleep, and the breakfast is excellent.
St Julian’s (Lively, Nightlife, Bars)
St Julian’s is definitely where the nightlife never ends in Malta. The area is located further from Valletta but still very much in the concentration of the “capital area” of Malta. You can see it on the map above. The city is full of smaller bays that make for a winding coasting with restaurants and hotels along the way.
If you want to go out in Malta, St Julian’s has a notorious district called Paceville where you find all the clubs, bars, restaurants, and more. Eric went out here with friends to a few bars and it was quite lively – everywhere they went… to say the least! There aren’t too many historic attractions here but the area is well connected by bus to the rest of the island and to Valletta. You could also walk to Sliema if you wanted to.
Featured Properties in St Julian’s
Below are two hotels in St Julian’s. The area is so concentrated around nightlife, bars, and shopping that the exact area you choose won’t really matter. The difference between the two hotels is that one is a very large resort-style hotel and the other is quite small.
Hilton Malta – Check Now
If you want a name you can trust and a brand that calls for quality, then the Hilton Malta is for you. Located right on the coast with unreal views of the ocean, you get a massive pool area, gardens, great breakfasts, and the casino is very close by. The hotel is a huge resort complex but still gives you an authentic city you can explore just a block away.
Alexandra Hotel – Check Now
If you want a modern designed hotel also located right in the heart of St Julian’s, then the Alexandra Hotel is quite an affordable option given that you get a buffet breakfast, you are close to the bus stop, and you get to use a gorgeous rooftop pool/terrace area. You can even opt for a balcony with city or sea views.
Valletta (Historic, Authentic, Busy)
Oh, Valletta. Most people usually first think that staying in Valletta is a great idea because it’s the capital city. Now, this isn’t wrong – but as Europe’s smallest capital, you have to remember that it’s awesome BUT it can get very busy. The cruise ports are close to the capital so the crowds outside your hotel might be pretty large.
That said, yeah – Valletta is historic and gorgeous and draws people in for a reason. Sleeping in Valletta is an absolute treat, just be aware that leaving the city to do sightseeing might be tougher since the crowds will be flocking in. Also, the shops and restaurants might be a tad more touristy than in other parts of the main island.
Having said all of that, getting to and from Valletta is so simple and there is plenty to do and see. In fact, we’ve written a whole guide on things to do in Valletta if you want to know what there is to do and see. We’d recommend visiting Fort Saint Elmo, checking out the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens, and doing a Grand Harbour day cruise!
Featured Properties in Valletta
Below are two properties in Valletta. Both are right in the middle of the city so you don’t have to worry about walking distance to all the top attractions. We’ve included two different accommodation styles for different tastes if you are considering staying in Valletta!
Valletta Kursara Port View – Check Now
Having your own space in Valletta would be a great idea. So, staying in more of a guesthouse/apartment style property might be for you! Located in the heart of Valletta towards the tip of the city, Kursara Port View has kitchenettes, a beautiful rooftop terrace with a hot tub, and amazing harbour views.
Grand Harbour Hotel – Check Now
The Grand Harbour Hotel is a very popular choice for those looking for a simple hotel stay with everything you’d expect – for a decent price, too! Guests at the Grand are treated to a roof terrace looking out over the Grand Harbour. With a simple design, great location in Valletta, and a great breakfast, the Grand is the perfect base for exploring the beautiful capital!
Bugibba/ St Paul’s Bay (Relaxed, Lively, Social)
One of the most popular areas that are not Valletta, Sliema, St Julian’s, or The Three Cities is actually Bugibba/ St. Paul’s Bay area. Located to the northeast coast of the main island, Bugibba sits geographically right below Mellieha. This area actually has a very high concentration of accommodation (hotels, resorts, and apartments) because this bustling little region is full of restaurants, bars, clubs, and even a casino.
That said, Bugibba/St. Paul’s Bay Area is rarely first spoken about because it’s further from the airport and capital area. We think this is a mistake because once you get out of the busy city areas you get more into the coastal diving sites and beaches. You can always catch the bus back to the capital area or the ferry to Gozo from your place in St. Paul’s Bay. In fact, Bugibba is a nice mix of nightlife, nature, and coast without the craziness of the capital and the price to go with it! Something to think about!
Featured Properties in Bugibba/ St. Paul’s Bay
Below are two properties in the area. Both are intentionally very different – one being self-contained apartments you can rent while the other is more of a resort-style hotel. They are pretty close to one another but offer different vibes so have a look to see what works for you.
The Village Apartments – Check Now
If you are planning to stay right in the heart of Bugibba, the Village Apartments might be for you. You’ll have restaurants and bars very close by with the coast just a quick walk away. These simple and clean apartments come fully equipped with a balcony and kitchen – meaning these are a great base for a longer stay. They are also very affordable the more people you have!
Seashells Resort – Check Now
Seashells is an affordable resort stay right on the sea. You get all the seaside perks of a nice hotel with most newly-renovated rooms offering private balconies with sea views. The breakfast is great, the pool and terrace are gorgeous, and the bus stop to Valletta is right outside. That said, this area is quieter and more peaceful, yet still has lots of bars and restaurants right outside!
Mellieħa (Peaceful, Adventurous, Beaches)
Mellieħa is a large region that makes up basically most of the northern/north-western tip of the main island. The area is known for its many beaches like Golden Bay (shown above) and attractions like Popeye’s Village, the Inland Sea at L’Ahrax Point, and St. Agatha’s Red Tower. This region is also a big area for diving if that’s what you are interested in.
Maybe most importantly for you to know is that Mellieħa is where you will find the ferry to Gozo – although technically it is located in the tiny town of Cirkewwa. This means that if you want to stay out of the cities and have access to the other islands, staying up in Mellieha is a great choice for peace, quiet, and the ocean breeze!
Featured Properties in Mellieħa
Below are two accommodations in two different parts of Mellieha. One is in a more developed area while the other is in a quieter end of the island. Oh, and if you wanted to stay at the hotel right in the photograph, that is at Golden Bay in the Radisson Blu Golden Sands!
Mellieha Bay Hotel – Check Now
Located right on Mellieha Bay close to the well-developed Għadira Bay Beach, the Mellieha Bay Hotel features pools, great food, and an awesome location with ocean views. The nice thing about the location is that the main bus route is close by – meaning you can get basically anywhere on the island. This makes Mellieha Bay Hotel great for exploring during the day and relaxing in the evening.
Ramla Bay Resort – Check Now
Not to be confused with the Ramla Bay on the island of Gozo, this Ramla Bay Resort is on Malta’s northernmost coast. As such, it’s very close t the ferry crossing to Gozo. The style is a large spacious resort with all the amenities like snorkelling and diving off the rocks nearby! The price is considered mid-range and you get stunning views and access to the sea!
The Three Cities (Cultural, Historic, Bustling)
Another great option for staying in the “busy area” without staying in the centre of the action is The Three Cities. The three small cities of Birgu, Senglea, and Cospicua are historic fortified cities. Together, the cities actually form two peninsulas that shoot out into the Grand Harbour across from Valletta. They are popular if you want to get away from the crowds of Valletta, St Julian’s, and even Sliema. There you can find attractions like Fort St. Angelo, lots of restaurants and cafes, and frequent ferries across to Valletta.
Featured Properties in The Three Cities
Below are two accommodation options in the Three Cities. There is no option for Birgu but these places are so close together that there is little difference between the areas. You’ll just wwantto keep in mind the ferry to Valletta and where it leaves from!
Cugo Gran Macina Grand Harbour – Check Now
Want to stay in an old castle?! Of course you do! The Cugo Gran Macina is located in Senglea and is a modern and luxurious accommodation with a rooftop pool. This 5-star hotel has an amazing onsite bar/restaurant and is located close to many sights and the ferry to Valletta!
Concetta Host House – Check Now
Located in Cospicua, this guest/townhouse has an authentic charm to it. The rooftop terrace is great to relax on and the place even offers a massive full-English breakfast. The hosts are kind and full of Malta knowledge, and offer the charm of a bed and breakfast in the busy location of the Three Cities. Plus, the Valletta ferry is close by!
Marsaskala (Tranquil, Seaside, Authentic)
Those wanting to stay a little further from the hustle and bustle of the main capital area can choose Marsaskala. Located on the southern tip of Malta’s main island, Marsaskala is a fishing village known for its quaintness. In fact, it’s geographically close to the Three Cities yet far away enough that they are very separate.
Since Marsaskala’s roots are that of a small fishing village, you’ll find charm and character, but fewer of the beaches on Malta. Like with most places, you are well-connected by bus to the rest of the island. However, if you known you want beaches close by, perhaps don’t choose Marsaskala for your stay! Attractions like Saint Thomas Tower and St. Peter’s Pool keep the area interesting.
Featured Properties in Marsaskala
Below are two proprieties in Marsaskala. They are intentionally different with one being more of a classic hotel while the other is definitely more of a self-stay apartment. Two different styles in the small village to suit two different travel styles. Oddly enough, they are basically right beside one another in Marsaskala!
Cerviola Hotel – Check Now
The Cerviola is an affordable hotel option – but still comes with many of the big perks. The rooftop pool makes for a great way to cool off while also providing you with a great place for sunbathing and for city views. Many of the balconies also give you an awesome view in private, if that’s more your style! The breakfast is also apparently excellent.
Aragon Apartment – Check Now
If you are travelling with a family or larger group, a multi-bedroom apartment can be a great way to keep costs down per person. It’s also a great way to set up a base for a longer stay with your own laundry and kitchen available. That said, Aragon Apartments have a pleasant and accommodating host, while the property itself has an outdoor pool/patio area and a BBQ!
Marsaxlokk (Classic, Popular, Charming)
Similar to Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk is a very popular destination to explore in Malta. Also located on the southern/south-east tip of the main island, Marsaxlokk is connected to the centres but is still a distance from the busiest areas. The small fishing village has grown in popularity in recent years with the famous “Sunday Fish Market” where fisherman sell their catch right on shore along with other goods.
Besides the market, the area has developed with many restaurants that line the shoreline boardwalk for a stunning coffee break of romantic dinner. Other attractions include St. Peter’s Pool which we mentioned in Marsaskala because the popular cliff side swimming area is between the two villages. Remember, there are few beaches on this end of the island!
Featured Properties in Marsaxlokk
Because Marsaxlokk is a smaller village like Marsaskala, there are a number of smaller guesthouses available. Admittedly, while these properties are more like an hotels than apartments, you won’t find many bigger “hotels” here in this smaller village.
Fisherman’s Cove Guesthouse – Check Now
If you are feeling like a fisherman, stay at the Fisherman’s Cove! In fact, this boutique hotel has nothing to do with fishing. We’re just trying to be funny and failing miserably. Located just a short walk to the harbourfront, the Cove is an affordable place that has friendly staff, a really great breakfast, and a beautiful rooftop pool with gorgeous views of the sea!
Port View Guesthouse – Check Now
If you want a simple and clean guesthouse experience, The Port View is for you. Located a short walk to the main promenade in Marsaxlokk, you cannot beat the location to the sea. That said, the Port View is a very affordable guesthouse with a great breakfast, a terrace, and a views of the tiny harbour.
Rabat / Mdina (Calming, Charming, Historic)
One of the only places we’d recommend staying that isn’t by the ocean is Rabat/Mdina. Rabat is a small town that is located more in the middle of the country but shifted towards the western coast. Rabat is often confused with Mdina – which is a tiny fortified city that is basically beside/in the greater Rabat area. This is why they are listed together here. Mdina is actually the former capital city of Malta so history runs even deeper here!
Even though you are not by the coast, the old city of Mdina has incredible historic sights and attractions in it like the cathedral museum. The views from the outer walls are also amazing. Outside Mdina, there are lots of great things to do in or close to Rabat. We explored the St. Paul’s Catacombs and the famous Dingli Cliffs (the highest point on Malta) are only a short bus ride away. It’s a quieter area – but still very accessible to other parts of the main island!
Featured Properties in Rabat/Mdina
Below are two properties: one in Rabat and the other in Mdina. One is more of a boutique hotel while the other is an authentic luxury experience. In fact, there are basically only one/two places to stay IN the walls of old Mdina but it would be VERY worth it. You’ll see why if you read below!
Point de Vue – Check Now
Point de Vue is a beautiful boutique-style hotel/guesthouse that offers rooms with balcony views. Located right cross the street from Mdina in Rabat, Point de Vue has up of charming refurbished rooms, a great English-style breakfast, and awesome bus connections to the rest of the area. There is also a bar onsite if you’re curious.
The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux – Check Now
If you want to stay in the walls of old town Mdina, a stay at Xara Palace is one of the only ways to do it. This 5-star accommodation is more than a place to sleep, it’s an experience. Situated in an authentic 17th century building in the old city, your private balcony views are of the beautiful countryside. On top of that, Mdina is called “the Silent City” because during the day it’s very peaceful but at night, the city lights up and falls absolutely silent. What a magical experience.
And there you have it – a pretty comprehensive guide about the best places to stay in Malta! In the end, this is just a guide – there are so many great places to stay all over the island. We just wanted to provide you with a helpful overview and a few suggestions to get you started with booking your perfect vacation to Malta. If you end up going, let us know where you end up staying – we would love to see it! Snap a photo and tag us on social @penguinandpia, if you like!
As always, Happy Malta Hotel + Apartment Waddlin’,