A trip to Malta

Waiting to board our flight to Malta

Wanting a break in May half term, our list of what we were looking for in a break included somewhere warm, not too far away, not too expensive and with plenty to do/see. Using various holiday search engines, the cheapest option on all of them which ticked all those boxes, seemed to be Malta. It was somewhere I’d never been before and was interested in seeing so we booked a 5 day break staying room only in a hotel in the resort of Bugibba.

Our delayed Ryanair flight from East Midlands airport ended up landing in Malta early evening and having already lost some of the time we had planned on spending getting our bearings in Bugibba that afternoon, we opted to take a taxi directly to the door of our hotel rather than wasting time tracking down and waiting for the public transport bus. As it was already getting dark, we were glad we made that decision as we’re not sure we’d have found our hotel from the where the bus would have dropped us otherwise!

Bugibba sea front
Views from the tour bus

Once we’d checked in to what turned out to be a larger than we’d expected apartment-style room with 2 bedrooms, living room area and kitchenette, we ventured out and found our way to the main town and seafront, just a short walk away. Having already eaten a large meal at the airport before departing earlier, we bypassed all the bars and restaurants on the main road and instead found a small cafe selling pastries, ice creams, sandwiches and toasties and well-attended by locals and grabbed a snack each before walking back via a stop for a drink at a local bar, both pleased to find that we could sit outside without needing anything more than a light cardigan on!

Passing through the resort of St Julians

The next morning, to save time, we paid for the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Whilst not the most amazing buffet for the price, there was enough to fill us up for bit but we both decided we wouldn’t eat there again that trip.

After a quick trip to a nearby convenience store to stock up on a few essentials to make our own lunch and breakfast, we walked down to the seafront and bought 2-day tickets for the island’s hop on/off bus. We planned on using the bus to get to the capital city of Valletta while seeing a bit of the island and learning about it along the way.

View of Valletta from Sliema

We hopped off at the town of Sliema. Our bus tickets had come with an included boat trip so we planned on catching the boat about to depart and then continuing to Valletta after. Unfortunately, there were not enough passengers for the boat to run and there was an hour until the next departure so as there was quite a wait until the next bus anyway, we decided to spend some time exploring Sliema walking into the town centre then along the seafront enjoying the views of Valletta across the bay.

The next boat did depart on time and we enjoyed cruising the bay and listening to the guided commentary. The boat trip was longer than we had expected though meaning we missed the last bus that would be looping around back to Bugibba. Luckily we had our phones to look up the public transport system and work out which bus to catch back and we managed to get back quite easily!

The sun was starting to set by the time we got back so we went for cocktails at a bar overlooking the sea then headed back to our hotel to freshen up before heading out to dinner – pizza at a local restaurant.

The city gate of Mdina

The next day, we jumped back on the hop on/off bus, opting not to re-listen to the commentary for the first part and just enjoying the views as far as Sliema. This time we stayed on the bus until we reached Valletta then spent the morning exploring the city and its churches following a self-guided walking tour itinerary we had downloaded in advance. While there, we also hopped on to the land train we had seen going around for a bit of inexpensive fun!

In the afternoon, we boarded the bus again, this time heading for the walled city of Mdina. Here, as well as exploring the city and enjoying beautiful views from the city walls, we visited the popular Fontanella Tea Gardens where we we indulged in a slice of one of the most delicious chocolate cakes I have ever tasted!

From Mdina, we caught the last hop on/off bus back to Bugibba, completing a full loop of the island and getting a good idea of what it has to offer for any future visits.

That evening, we walked down to Bugibba Square for dinner. Many of the bars and restaurants around here offered set touristy menus and we found one with 3-courses for a reasonable price, trying the traditional beef dish of Bragioli as a main. We then took a stroll along the sea front to the harbour and back.

A stroll along Bugibba front
On the boat to Comino

For our final full day of the trip, we had booked a trip out to see the other Maltese Islands of Comino and Gozo. It was a gloriously hot and sunny day for a boat trip and we sat out on the deck sunbathing as we headed to our first stop of the day.

Exploring the sea caves from a speed boat

The boat company offered an extra trip on a speed boat to see some sea caves from the island of Comino which we opted to do and it was great fun speeding along. After this trip we had some free time at the famous Blue Lagoon of Comino. The boat docked where we could swim in the lagoon, entering the crystal clear water either down the steps on the side of the boat or via an attached water slide! Or we could disembark to walk around the the ‘beach’ – a tiny patch of sand crowded with tourists! We had time to go for a walk and bathe in the lagoon by the beach before returning to the boat and swimming in the less crowded area of the lagoon next to the boat.

In Victoria on the island of Gozo

Some passengers had opted to just see Comino and spend the day at the Blue Lagoon but as we had opted for the Comino and Gozo trip, it was soon time to wave goodbye to the Blue Lagoon and head to our next destination. Once we had docked at Gozo, we were met by mini buses and 4x4s which we were loaded onto and taken to the main town on Victoria. Here we were given directions to the city’s Citadel before being given free time in the city to explore. We had plenty of time to both walk to the Citadel and explore as well as walk around the city, shop for souvenirs and grab a snack or drink before we walked back to meet our bus to be taken to another part of the island.

Ta’Pinu Basilica

Our second stop on the island was at a church, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’Pinu, which we were given time to look around and then we continued to a small bay with inland sea caves. We were given the option to take a boat ride out to see these caves which – as you can’t have too many boat trips in a day – we decided to do.

Views across the islands of Gozo, Comino and Malta

We had one final stop on the islands of Gozo – at a viewpoint from where you can see all 3 Maltese Islands – Gozo, Comino and Malta in the distance. Then it was back on board our original boat to pick up the passengers we had left at Comino earlier and return to Malta. It had been an amazing day and definitely the highlight of our trip to Malta!

We had one more morning left on the island before returning to the airport that afternoon so since we didn’t have time to go far, we spent it exploring more of Bugibba itself walking along the seafront to St Paul and back and having brunch in Bugibba Square.

A final morning in Bugibba

Then, having worked out where the airport buses went from, we caught the bus back to the airport only to find out our Ryanair flight had been delayed 3 hours. If only we’d have been told in advance, we could have spent more time exploring this beautiful place. We’ll just have to return one day instead!

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