We went to Hagar Qim because of the pictures we saw on the internet, it's location at the seaside etc. In their attempt to preserve Hagar Qim from wind and other damages from nature they covered the site by an enormous monstrosity of a structure. What makes these structures special is how they are constructed in relation to how the sun comes up etc. They definitely ruined that. It's impossible to take any decent picture of it (will add some ugly ones later). The adjacent site...same story.
Unique Suggestions: If you are really interested in archeology by all means go! If you (like me) want to be impressed and amazed by such ancient structures. Spare yourself the trip and disappointment.
If you get a bus from the airport to Valletta you might be charged a child's fare for each of your cases.
Unique Suggestions: As the child's fare is only 23 cents I wouldn't get too stressed by it, but it's as well to know. Try and have the right change for the bus driver too - some don't like giving change to tourists. Just wait with your hand held out and they usually oblige though!!
Valletta Grand Harbour cruises - a number of boat operators run hour-long cruises around the Grand Harbour with a commentary explaining the various sights along the way. The trip includes the shipyards and offers views of the Baracca Gardens, Vittoriosa (and the Three Cities) seafront, Manoel Island etc. Many start and end on the Sliema seafront.
Unique Suggestions: You will no doubt notice any number of opportunities to take a "Grand Harbour Cruise". There are a number of operators and some of the most popular ones run from the seafront in Sliema.
There is also a ferry across from Sliema to Valletta (and back of course) which is very cheap.
Whilst these tours are all very good, we took the Luzzu cruise instead of the Captain Morgan boat.
Whilst the Cpt Morgan boat looked as if it was a little better looked-after, it was much larger than the tiny Luzzu boat. However, the Luzzu boat was able to take us much further into the little bays and harbours which meant that we got to see a little more and went a little closer to some of the sights.
The commentary was good and it was an all-together very pleasant experience.
The water does get a little choppy as the boat enters the main harbour going past the bombed-out sea defences!
Fun Alternatives: Just take the ferry from Valletta to Sliema for a short crossing offering good views of the towns from the sea.
If you visit Valletta, take the bus from your resort to Sliema instead then cross to Valletta using the ferry. Then, take th ebus from Valletta back home again!
Well do not call a taxi from the hotel, they are going to charge you and you will never now about it. The Maltese authorities out a fare lists that they have to keep.
Unique Suggestions: you have to or arrange the price in advance or insist to make the counter run.
Fun Alternatives: just get on the bus - they are fun and you will keep some money
Be aware !!! The buses are very conveninet way to get around, but be careful as they are not very happy if they have to give a change when you give them more then 5 euros.
Unique Suggestions: Prepare the change.
Fun Alternatives: if you are staying for more then a few nights and you are not renting a car buy the few days buy a MULTI DAY PASS. You can buy them directly on the bus and then they can not trick you anymore.
Keep a close watch on the prices in Euros. Malta is currently converting from the Maltese lira to the Euro currency, and I have no doubt that some people will try to take advantage of this situation.
Fun Alternatives: Make sure the prices are fair & count your change!
When you are in any of the stores that sells souvernirs like knights and other things be especially careful around magnets. They are totally fragile (I think on purpose), situated low and in a narrow exit and keep on falling down even if you brushed against them with your clothes. Then the owner of the store asks you to pay for the damaged item - usually around 1 lm. I had to pay once and have witnessed this in many Valletta souvenir shops during rush hour.
Unique Suggestions: Just avoid all souvenir shops where you see magnets in a narrow areas.
On occasions, especially in Bugibba, Qawra and St Paul's Bay Promenade, you meet persons who sell timeshare. Altough Malta's timeshare have excellent reputation, DO NOT engage in a conversation unless you are genuinly interested in buying. If you show the slightest hint of interest, prepare yourself for a two hour dialoge, negotions, brochures and hotel tours.
Fun Alternatives: Just say firmly but politely that you're not interested in timeshare.
Be aware of different prices charged i.e one for the locals, one for maltese living away, and one the tourists (other than maltese) Don't be shy to bargin - bargin & bargin - enjoy . Hopefully this will change when euro kicks in January 2008 other than that; enjoy these little islands of Malta & Gozo. They have alot to offer.
Unique Suggestions: Just Bargin and don't forget to smile
Fun Alternatives: Find out costs before spending
When you buy something from Kiosks at Valletta, make sure you don't pay extra. If you have Maltese relatives or friends let them buy the things for you. Because the Kiosks near the bus terminu, Valletta, tend to charge higher prices for turists. Sometimes they even charge higher prices for me! always ask for the receit to!
Fun Alternatives: Try to buy things from village confectionaries or groceries.
We drove to the Craft village near Mdina a Maltese man waved us into an empty car park then said "you pay me now." I asked how much thinking he was a car park attendant he said " how much you think," I gave him 50 cents.
The exact same thing happened at Gnejna Bay beach again I didn't want a confrontation with anyone Maltese so I gave him 50 cents, going back to the car a Maltese man had parked refused to pay.
So these men are not car park attendants and as I thought you don't have to give them money if you don't want to I still would, it was only 50 cents and I didn't want any bother with enyone Maltese.
Unique Suggestions: Don't pay if you don't want to!
If you're hiring a car take care where you park, especially in Tourist zones. As the traffic wardens have a quota for a number of tickets daily, the hottest target for them are rented cars as they know that tourists can't justify their inncocence. Rented cars are recognized in Malta as the numberplate is always **K-***. Tickets are immediatly reported to the garage owners and in most cases you can't get away with it ... innocent or not.
Unique Suggestions: Certain places such as Sliema and Rabat Gozo are 1 hr time zone. Better play it safe and display your' parking time meter' wherever you park. These carton time cards can be obtained from the garage you're hiring your car from.
Fun Alternatives: Beware of the men/bi/women in green. If you're on Holiday....... they're not !!!
Always negotiate the price before you ride the cab. The average fee is Lm7 irrilevant of the number of party. Ask for the journey time as well, and try to find a 'friendly' cab driver. Some of the drivers will give you a decent description about your tour and others doesn't even know a word in english except the service price *of course*. These cabs are common in most touristic places in Malta such as Mdina, Valletta, Sliema and St Julians.
Fun Alternatives: Personally I don't see anything exciting about riding this cab. Just take a pic and move on. Most of the horses are mistreated and old. They stay for long hours under extreme sunshine and hot temperatures. The cab in itself is not comfortable and most of them need a full refurbishment. Some of the seats are covered in plastic which makes the journey more uncomforatble in hot and sweaty days.
Unfortunately some restaurant/bar owners tend to take advantage of tourists by raising prices on food and drinks. This tends to be done mostly in Gozo (it is even done to Maltese people sometimes - Gozitans are very patriotic!). In some cases they even have different menus to show, depending whether you are local or foreign.
Fun Alternatives: Not really much you can do to avoid this except maybe try pick up a few Maltese expressions like please and thank you or try and check prices which are written down somewhere so you won't get fooled!
The Karrozzin is a lovely ride and very romantic at night but be careful they are expensive, you will be quoted as much as ML15-00 but if you bargain you will get it for about half of this don't pay more. the first time I rode in one it cost me five bob.
Fun Alternatives: There is no alternative if you want to ride bargain.
Park Lane Aparthotel is a nice place to stay in the north side of the island. The neighborhood is...more
Xlendi Promenade, Xlendi, Island of Gozo, Malta
Good for: Families
I did not stay in this hotel, but I passed by it, when walking through the old town of Mdina. b.t.w....more