9 Best Areas to Stay in Malta For Tourists

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by Maggie Turansky

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Though this island nation is incredibly small, it can be tricky to find the best area to stay in Malta that checks all the boxes for the type of holiday that you’re after. The islands of Malta and Gozo are objectively tiny, however, there are many distinct areas that can suit some visitors more than others.

So if you’re in the process of mapping out a Malta itinerary and you want to know the best location to base yourself on the island, this guide is meant to help you make that decision.

Because of its small size, it’s likely best to plan to base yourself in only one of two places for your trip and finding the best location can really make or break your holiday.

Best Places to Stay in Malta

Valletta – Best Area for Sightseeing

The capital of Malta is the smallest capital city in the European Union – taking up a tiny penisula on the northern end of the island and home to only about 6,000 people.

Valletta is also absolutely charming and romantic and it makes for one of the best places for couples. Made up of a grid of pedestrianised streets, the Maltese capital is compact and perfect to explore.

Though it’s small, there is a lot to see and many things to do in Valletta. It’s packed with restaurants and bars that make it an ideal base on the island. Valletta is also one of the best places to stay in Malta without a car as it’s home to a major bus depot filled with public transport that can connect you virtually everywhere you may need to go within Malta or Gozo.

Valletta is also a great place to stay if you’re looking for a picturesque area with a more “urban” feel and aren’t too concerned about beaches. Though nothing is too far from reach in Malta, there is less space for swimming spots and large pools in Valletta hotels.

View of Valletta from Sliema
View of Valletta from Sliema

Where to Stay in Valletta

Domus Zamittello Hotel – Situated in the heart of lovely Valletta, this hotel is the perfect choice if you’re keen to stay in the Maltese capital. They have a number of lovely rooms on offer, including breakfast in the mornings and a perfect location for exploring this incredible island nation.

The Saint John – If you’re looking to stay in the lap of luxury while in Valletta, then this accommodation is a perfect choice. They have countless pulse rooms available (all air-conditioned), a wonderful location, and plenty of amenities to ensure your stay is fantastic.

Private Rental — For those who would rather have their own space in Valletta, finding a private rental — such as this central apartment – is an excellent option. There are lots of properties to choose from in the Maltese capital.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Valletta!

Sliema – Best Central Area to Stay

If you were to ask me where I think the absolute best place to stay is, I would likely say Sliema. This is one of the largest cities on the island and it is incredibly well-connected to virtually everywhere on the island via bus and ferry, meaning that it is also a great option if you’re not intending on renting a car.

There is also a lot of stuff in Sliema. No, it’s not as instantly charming as Valletta, however, the expansive seaside promenade and countless swimming spots are definite perks to this city. Sliema is also filled with shops, cafes and restaurants to enjoy and lots of interesting things to see and do.

Sliema is also well-connected via ferry to Valletta and you can also easily grab a bus to virtually anywhere on the island. And if you’re looking for an excellent area for nightlife, Sliema is within easy reach of St Julian’s and Paceville – the nightlife hotspots of Malta – while still staying relatively quiet in the evenings.

Sliema Promenade
Sliema Promenade

Where to Stay in Sliema

Mr Todd Hotel – This mid-range hotel in central Sliema makes for the perfect base when exploring Malta. They have a number of air-conditioned rooms on offer, 24-hour reception and a location within spitting distance of Sliema’s promenade and swimming areas.

1926 Hotel & SPA – Those looking for luxury while in Sliema, then this is the place for you. Along with lovely rooms and a perfect location, this accommodation boasts two swimming pools and its own private beach area, an on-site bar and a spa/wellness centre.

Two Pillows Hostel – If you’re travelling solo or visiting Malta on a budget, this boutique hostel is an excellent choice for you. They have both dorm beds and private rooms available, an excellent location and good common areas and self-catering facilities.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Sliema!

Three Cities – Best Towns for Couples

Located on the other side of Valletta, the Three Cities of Cospicua, Birgu and Senglea (known collectively as the Three Cities) make for another excellent base in Malta.

The Three Cities are easy to reach via ferry from Valletta and they are a quiet and laid-back area where you can enjoy a very quiet vibe with incredible views of St John’s Co-Cathedral and the Valletta skyline.

There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to enjoy here and also a number of lovely, quaint streets to get lost in. Because of this vibe, the Three Cities are also arguably one of the best places to stay in Malta for couples.

This area isn’t necessarily as well-connected as Sliema or Valletta, however, you can still catch buses (or drive) anywhere that you may need to go.

Three Cities in Malta
Three Cities

Where to Stay in the Three Cities

The Mike Hotel – Located in Cospicua, this hotel makes for an excellent base in the Three Cities. They have a range of lovely rooms on offer (some with terraces) and plenty of amenities to ensure your stay is a great one.

Casa Birmula Boutique Hotel – Also located in Cospicua, this plush boutique hotel is perfect for those looking for a luxurious escape in the Three Cities. They have countless beautiful rooms available and a location perfect for exploring all Malta has to offer.

Marina Studios – This aparthotel is perfect for those who want some comfort and self-catering options in the Three Cities with all of the convenience and amenities of a hotel. They have a range of fully furnished studios available and a great location in the heart of Cospicua.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in the Three Cities!

St Julian’s – Best Area for Nightlife

Located on the other side of Sliema than Valletta, St Julian’s is another urban area on the island that is arguably the best place to stay in Malta for nightlife.

Both Sliema and St Julian’s can seem like they are just extensions of each other and they’re easy to reach from both, but St Julian’s is well-known for its Paceville neighbourhood which is home to all of the hot bars and clubs to party well into the night.

St Julian’s is easily one of the loudest and liveliest parts of Malta, meaning that it may not be the best town for families or those looking for a more tranquil escape. However, there are all of the benefits of Sliema here – including plenty of swimming areas along the seaside promenade.

This area is also well-connected with buses and you can easily get around the island without a car here. So if you’re looking for a lively and exciting place to stay (but don’t want to be too far from top swimming spots!), St Julian’s is a great choice for you.

St Julians
St Julian’s

Where to Stay in St Julian’s

Antoniel Suites – This hotel is perfect for those who want it all. They have a number of great rooms available, a beautiful swimming pool to enjoy and an excellent location in St Julian’s to enjoy all the area (and the island) has to offer.

Hotel Valentina – Those after some luxury are sure to love this plush hotel in St Julian’s. Boasting a rooftop swimming pool, an on-site bar, airport shuttle service and, of course, beautiful and chic rooms, there is no going wrong with this lovely hotel.

Hotel Juliani – Another luxury option in the heart of St Julian’s, this hotel has myriad comfortable rooms available, a swimming pool and bar to enjoy and there is even a spa/wellness centre for guests who want to unwind completely.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in St Julian’s!

Mdina & Rabat – Best for a Tranquil Stay

If you’re not interested in being close to the beach (though, it’s worth anything that you’re never far from the coast in Malta), then planning to make a short base in the town of Rabat or the nearby walled city of Mdina can be an excellent choice.

Mdina is a well-known day trip destination in Malta and countless tourists descend on the small walled town during the day. However, once the sun starts to sink in the sky, the town empties out and leaves you with a wholly different experience – and it’s one to behold. This makes for one of the most romantic areas to staty and one of the most unique.

If you don’t want to splash the cash to stay in one of the luxury hotels within the walled city of Mdina, opt to stay in Rabat. Located about a five-minute walk from the city gates, Rabat is a charming little city in the centre of Malta that is also home to one of the best places to get pastizzi on the whole island – The Crystal Palace.

Traditional Pink Balconies in Mdina, Malta
Traditional Pink Balconies in Mdina, Malta

Where to Stay in Mdina & Rabat

Adelphi Hotel Rabat – Situated in cool Rabat only five minutes from Mdina, this small hotel is a great choice. They have a number of lovely, bright, clean and comfortable rooms available and a hearty breakfast is included each morning. 

Point de Vue – Located within the walled city of Mdina, this is the perfect place to base yourself. Excellently located for enjoying the town once the day trippers have left, they have a number of clean, spacious, and air-conditioned rooms available, a full hotel bar, and breakfast is available in the mornings. 

Rabat Falcon Apartment – If you want your own space in this area of Malta, then this 3-bedroom apartment is a good option. Food for families or larger groups, it comes fully furnished with everything you may needs and also has a great location in Rabat within a stone’s throw of Mdina.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Rabat!

St Paul’s Bay – Best for Sandy Beaches

If you’re on the hunt for the best area for beaches, then St Paul’s Bay and the coastal area of Bugibba is an excellent choice. This area of the island is where the majority of the large resorts lie, however, the town of St Paul’s Bay itself has a lot to do and see, so it can be a great option for those looking for the best of both worlds.

St Paul’s Bay is located within easy reach of some of the best sandy beaches in Malta and the town itself is packed with cafes and some fantastic restaurants. It is, however, a bit quieter than Sliema and certainly more laid back than St Julian’s, making it arguably the best place to stay in Malta for families.

So if you’re heading to Malta for the perfect beachside escape but still want a cool town with various amenities at hand, then St Paul’s Bay is a great choice for you!

St Paul's Bay
St Paul’s Bay

Where to Stay in St Paul’s Bay

Mayflower Hotel – This three-star hotel in St Paul’s Bay has a lot to offer guests. There are a range of rooms to choose from, a lovely swimming pool to enjoy, a location right on the water and even an on-site bar to relax and unwind in.

Sunseeker Holiday Complex – This hotel is another great choice in St Paul’s Bay. Offering two swimming pools to choose from, a bar and an on-site fitness centre, they also have a great location for exploring the island and plenty of clean and comfortable rooms on offer.

Park Lane Boutique Aparthotel – This aparthotel combines the best of both worlds – a boutique, luxury hotel with the comfort of your own apartment in St Paul’s Bay. They have a range of flats to choose from (some offering great perks) and plenty of great amenities within the complex itself.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in St Paul’s Bay!

Gozo – Best For a Remote Escape

The second-largest island in the Maltese archipelago is one of the best places if you’re looking to escape from it all, get away from the crowds and enjoy a far more laid-back and tranquil vibe than you will find on the main island of Malta.

Gozo is home to a few of its own towns – the largest of which, Victoria, is located in the centre of the island – and also has a number of gorgeous beaches to lounge on.

If you’re a fan of wine, there are a few vineyards on Gozo to visit and there are also countless great restaurants throughout the island.

Much smaller than Malta, it’s also well-connected via bus so you do not necessarily need a car when on this island, however, it can be helpful to get truly off the beaten path. Many visitors treat Gozo as a day trip from Malta, but it is great to make a base there and spend a couple of days exploring all this island has to offer.

One of the great things about staying in Gozo is that, even in you’re staying in the centre of the island, you will almost always have a sea view considering how small this island is. And if you’re looking for a far more laid-back pace of life, Gozo is the place for you.

Mgarr Port on the island of Gozo
Mgarr Port on the island of Gozo

Where to Stay in Gozo

Murella Living – This small hotel located in the northern part of Gozo is perfect for those looking for a quiet escape on the small island. They have a number of lovely rooms available and a location less than 100 metres from the beach.

The Duke Boutique Hotel – This boutique hotel located in Victoria is perfect for those looking for a luxury escape on Gozo. They have a range of rooms available (all with air conditioning) and a delicious breakfast is included each morning.

The Loft Gozo – If you’re looking for a quiet and rural escape on Gozo, then this apartment is an excellent choice. Located in the north of the island, it is fully furnished and equipped with everything you may need for the perfect getaway.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Gozo!

Marsaxlokk – Best For a Small-Town Vibe

This fishing village (pronounced Mar-SASH-lock) located in the south of the island is a popular place for day trippers, however, it also makes for one of the best places to base yourself in Malta – especially if you’re not keen to stay in a bigger urban area.

Marsaxlokk is well known for its Sunday fish market, however, the charming harbourside and town is wonderful any day of the week. It is also located near the famed St Peter’s Pool – a swimming hole that is about a ten-minute drive from the town. It also makes for a good jumping-off point for visiting the Blue Grotto.

This town is small and tranquil, but it is still located quite close to Valletta and Sliema so you can easily be close to lots of action should you choose. And though it may not be the best place for beaches and swimming in and of itself, its proximity to St Peter’s Pool more than makes up for that.

The fishing village of Marsaxlokk
The fishing village of Marsaxlokk

Where to Stay in Marsaxlokk

Duncan Guesthouse – For those travelling on a bit of a budget, this guesthouse offers all the basic amenities in the heart of Marsaxlokk. Each air-conditioned room has its own kitchenette and there are even rooms with balconies and sea views available.

Port View Guesthouse – This delightful family-run guesthouse is stated just off of Marsaxlokk’s famed harbour. There are plenty of clean, spacious and comfortable rooms to choose from, breakfast available each morning and a rooftop terrace to enjoy.

Quayside – These apartments are a great choice for those who want their own space while exploring Malta and staying in Marsaxlokk. They have a number of flats to choose from and plenty of amenities to ensure your stay is great.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Marsaxlokk

Marsaskala – Best Area for Families

Located just north of Marsaxlokk and south of Valletta, Marsaskala is another fantastic part of Malta and it isn’t the most popular, either, so you can likely get a more “local” vibe when staying here.

The town is lovely and absolutely beautiful, with plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy and lots of little streets to get lost in. Like in many coastal towns in Malta, there is also a wonderful seaside promenade to walk along and plenty of swimming spots.

Though it’s not close to the beaches on the north of the island, there are a few sandy beaches in the area of Marsaskala, too, and these can often be quieter than the more popular spots.

It’s also very easy to reach Valletta, the Three Cities and even one of the top ancient sites – the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum – from this town, as well. And because of its quiet and tranquil nature, it’s one of the best areas to stay in Malta for families.


Where to Stay in Marsaskala

TJ Boutique – This mid-range guesthouse is perfect for those looking for a comfortable pace to rest their heads in Masaskala. They have a number of great rooms available and a fantastic location for exploring all that Malta and this area has to offer.

Sunrise Creek – These apartments overlooking the harbour in Marsaskala are a wonderful place to make your base while exploring Malta. They have a number of different flats to choose from and an unbeatable location for enjoying the island.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Marsaskala!

Choosing where to stay in Malta can seem daunting when you consider just how many distinct cities, towns and areas this small island nation has to offer. Hopefully, this guide has helped make the choice a little bit easier for you to know which area is best for you and your travel style!

Are you looking for a base in Malta? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

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