Malta is a strange little place and because it’s not as popular of a travel destination as some other Mediterranean islands, there isn’t as much information online about what to expect. Some things certainly took me by surprise. Here are some things to know before traveling to Malta.
They use the standard UK plug, not the European plug,
Perhaps the most important thing to know before traveling to Malta is which converter you need. I incorrectly assumed that since it was an island south of Italy and part of the EU, Malta would use standard Euro plugs. I didn’t even think to check. But alas, Malta electricity uses UK plugs, so bring the right converter.
You can’t drink the water
Though the internet states that tap water in Malta is technically safe to drink, that’s not actually true. Though it’s not toxic, both our Airbnb host and hotel on opposite sides of the island cautioned us against doing so. The water in Malta is seawater that has been desalinated. So on top of not tasting so good, some people do get sick from the change and some believe it can lead to developing kidney stones.
You’ll probably get sick of Maltese food
How many ways can you possibly prepare rabbit? You’re about to find out, because that’s what’s for dinner fucking everywhere, along with pasta and pizza. While all of it is incredible, you’ll find yourself eating a lot of the same things on your trip.
The beaches are rocky as hell
There are a handful of sandy beaches scattered around Malta and Gozo, but for the most part, if you’re looking for a beachy escape, make sure you bring water shoes to be able to walk on the rock and cliffs along the shore. If you are intent on enjoying a soft sandy bed to rest on, you’ll be crammed alongside a thousand other people on four feet of beach.
The Azure Window doesn’t exist anymore
Malta has become something of a hot spot for Game of Thrones fans because there are a ton of filming locations around the island. This makes sense, as many streets, forts, and structures are interesting enough to look authentic and obscure enough to be unrecognizable. One particular spot, though, gets a bad rap nowadays. The arched cliff on the far end of Gozo, which was the location where Daenerys and Khal Drogo married in season 1, no longer exists as the majority of the arch collapsed in 2017 due to storms. All that’s left is a cliff side, which although beautiful, some visitors find disappointing.
You can get to Comino and Gozo easily
Planning to see different parts of Malta can appear to be complicated, but it isn’t. Don’t agonize about getting a boat to Gozo or the smaller island of Comino off the mainland. There are ferries and water taxies from Valletta and other cities closer to the islands like Marfa and Ċirkewwa. If all else fails, you can just pay any guy with a boat to take you.
There are buses everywhere but the timetables aren’t too accurate
If you’re visiting Malta on a cruise, as many do, and you’re wondering whether you should risk taking a bus down to the Blue Grotto or over to the islands of Gozo or Comino, you probably shouldn’t. The traffic in Malta is horrendous at varying parts of the day. So buses are often delayed getting from one place to another. If you’re busing to Ċirkewwa, for instance, the line of cars waiting to board the ferry might be so long, that you’re better off walking the last 10-15 minutes or so.
It’s basically England
I think something that is not stressed nearly enough about Malta is that it’s very British. There are a ton of British expats and business owners, some residents since before Malta became independent. You have to drive on the left hand side, so if you were planning to rent a car, keep that in mind. And especially now that it’s the World Cup, you really can’t walk two feet without seeing the English flag.