Are you looking for a place in Europe where English is spoken as a native language, where you can let your hair down at cosmopolitan parties in the evenings and enjoy tranquillity during the days? A place where you can book a summer English course and know that you will get great weather?
Malta is that destination!
We caught up with Katya Bonello from our partner school EC English to get some top tips for what to see and do in Malta and its neighbouring islands for under €20.
Blue Lagoon in Comino Island
Photo: Josep Toledo
The Blue Lagoon is a glorious hotspot for enjoying the Mediterranean sunshine. As well as a white, sandy beach, it is home to a wide array of marine life, perfect for exploring with a snorkel.
Katya says: “take a boat ride to Comino’s Blue Lagoon… the water is amazingly blue and this is a must see.” While there are many providers offering cruises to Comino, you can catch a simple speedboat for less than €20, which takes you to the Blue Lagoon and picks you up at the end of the day.
The Grand Harbour
Admire the view of the Grand Harbour and the 3 Cities from the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta (cityofvalletta.org). There is no admission fee so this is completely free.
St John’s Co-Cathedral
Photo: Jennifer Morrow
St John’s in Valletta (stjohnscocathedral.com) is a stunning baroque co-cathedral. From the outside, it looks like quite a severe building, but once you step inside you are transported to another world of exquisite details and fine art.
Katya says: “It is really a masterpiece in terms of architecture and it houses the only signed painting by Caravaggio in the world.”
Take a boat ride to the peaceful sister island of Gozo (where we also offer English courses) and admire the scenery and village life. The main highlights are the Azure Window, the Cittadella and Ramla il Hamra beach, all of which are free to enjoy, so your only cost is the ferry ride from Malta.
Katya says: “Gozo is like Malta was 50 years ago – the traditions are more alive.”
Katya says: “visit the old capital city of Mdina – just a stroll around costs nothing! There are beautiful views from the bastions too and a visit to Fontanella coffee shop for its famous chocolate cake is highly recommended! One can opt to use the audio guide available to learn more about the history whilst walking around” (mdinatoursmalta.com)
The Blue Grotto
Get a boat ride to the Blue Grotto in the south of Malta (bluegrottomalta.com.mt) and admire the crystal waters that surround the grottos. The boat ride costs €7 for adults.
Visit a Maltese festa
Photo: Adam Burt
While there are a number of nightclubs on Malta, there is only one way to enjoy authentic Maltese nightlife: visit a festa. Each weekend during the summer months, villages celebrates their patron saints with music and feasts. Entry is free.
Katya says: “you will see that the villagers go all out in decorating the parish church, offering the most beautiful fireworks and the village becomes a buzz of activity with food stalls set up and locals celebrating. The village best known for its fireworks is Lija.” (malteseislands.com)
In 1902, local workers cutting cisterns for a new housing development accidentally discovered the only prehistoric underground temple in the world. Over a hundred years later, their discovery is no less startling.
The underground temples of the Hypogeum is a UNESCO world heritage site (heritagemalta.org) and a visit costs €20. Alternatively you can visit the prehistoric temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra for much less.
The Three Cities
A stroll around the three fortified cities of Cospicua, Senglea and Vittoriosa (visitmalta.com) costs nothing. The three fortified cities face Valletta and offer another fascinating glimpse into Malta’s history; they are enclosed by the Cottonera Lines: the massive line of fortification created by the Knights of St John.
Marsaxlokk fishing village
Photo: Resident of Earth
The best time to visit Marsaxlokk fishing village is on a Sunday morning.
Katya says: “The promenade is lined with market stalls selling fresh fish and other local produce and it costs nothing to walk around and admire the bay with its colourful fishing boats!”
From an ancient underground temple to heady village parties, that’s ten fascinating things to see and do in Malta for less than €20. Have we missed anything? You can add your own suggestions in the comment section below.