For a long time, the idea of a holiday in Malta was only on the radar for those seeking a trip to an all-inclusive resort. Its ideal southern Mediterranean location means almost year-round sunshine and good weather and for a long time, traditional holidaymakers were willing to pay a pretty penny to enjoy the island atmosphere without having to sacrifice any of the typical comforts of home. This used to mean it was difficult to visit Malta on a budget and has many people asking the question: Is Malta expensive?
Malta is changing and it is becoming more and more attractive for independent travellers. However, with most budget information for this island nation focusing on all-inclusive holidays rather than for backpackers or budget travellers, it can be difficult to know how expensive a trip to Malta will be.
The good news is, if you’re an independent traveller, it is incredibly possible to have a low-cost vacation in Malta.
While Malta can be more expensive compared to other Southern European destinations, at an average cost of €68-190 per person per day, you will find it stacks up well as a holiday destination and is less expensive than many Western European options.
Here is a breakdown of the most significant aspects of a travel budget, including costs for accommodation, transport, food, activities, and entertainment.
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Like anywhere else in the world, one of the first things you need to consider when planning to visit Malta on a budget is the cost of accommodation. Oftentimes, this can make the most significant dent in your travel budget.
While scouring the web to find an all-inclusive resort used to be the default for those looking to visit Malta, there is actually a lot of option for those looking to travel independently while sticking to a tight allowance.
Luckily for a new generation of more intrepid travellers who would rather explore on their own than stay safely in the compounds of a lush beach resort, there is ample budget accommodation option.
There are a few hostels in Malta’s main urban area of Sliema and also a couple in the capital of Valletta. A bed in a dorm will start at €20 per night and this can be an ideal option for a solo traveller looking to meet other, like-minded people while not breaking the bank. If you like staying in hostels, you can click here to browse the best hostels in Malta!
Another great option for finding accommodation in Malta on a budget is to opt for a private room through Airbnb. You will find some discrepancy in pricing depending on the season that you’re travelling in, however, if you’re visiting Malta in the warmer half of the year (anywhere from about April-October), expect a room in a local’s home on Airbnb to start at around €40-50 per night.
While this isn’t as cheap as some places in the world, you do get the added bonus of seeing the country from a local perspective and getting to experience the famous Maltese hospitality first-hand.
If you’re after a bit more privacy but still don’t want to stay in a hotel, you will find that there are also plenty of entire apartments available, as well. If you’re after your own private flat, you’re obviously going to have to pay a bit more for that convenience. There are some great options available such as this central apartment in the heart of Valletta.
Expect an entire apartment in Malta during the high season to start at around €75-100 per night.
If neither hostels nor private apartments are quite your scene and you prefer to stay in hotels, there are several affordable hotels and guesthouses in Malta that aren’t all-inclusive resorts.
If you would rather stay in a budget or mid-range hotel while visiting Malta, expect to pay at least €60-100 per night and the nicer the hotel, the more you can expect to spend. Hotels are obviously the most expensive accommodation choice you could make, however, you can still get an affordable bed for the night that is clean and comfortable.
For those looking to stay somewhere a bit more upmarket, expect prices to clock in at around €150 per night on average – obviously, these can vary depending on where you are staying and the season that you’re travelling in.
Another main cost to consider when travelling to Malta independently is transportation. Fortunately for the budget traveller, Malta is very small and it doesn’t cost much to get around. Both the islands of Malta and Gozo have extensive bus networks that can take you essentially anywhere you might need to go on the islands.
If, however, you’re not fond of the bus or would rather not be at the mercy of unpredictable timetables, then renting a car in Malta is also an option.
This is obviously going to work out to be significantly more expensive than relying on the bus, however, it is possible to get an affordable car hire. On average, expect the cost of a basic car with a manual transmission to start at around €30-40 per day. We recommend using RentalCars.com to find great deals, as it compares prices across several companies.
If you do rent a car in Malta, it is wise also to purchase third-party excess insurance. While you can always opt for the rental company’s insurance, the prices are often highly inflated and will add a lot to your overall Malta trip cost. We suggest using iCarHireInsurance for an affordable plan. Keep in mind that you also need to factor in the cost of petrol and parking, as well.
If renting a car is out of your Malta travel budget, there are a couple of options concerning bus tickets to consider. It can be worthwhile to have a think about how much you plan to travel around the archipelago before leaving on your trip so you know which option to choose.
A single-fare bus ticket in Malta costs €2 and is valid for two hours after purchase. This means that, if you hold onto your ticket, you can make as many bus transfers as you need to in within that two-hour period and not have to pay for another ticket.
If you don’t plan on spending more than a week in Malta or venturing far from where you are staying, than paying as you go can be a good option. You can purchase a ticket with cash directly from the bus driver, however, I would recommend that you pay in smaller banknotes or coins as the drivers rarely have enough change for anything larger than €10.
The other option would be to purchase a week-long travel card. If you plan on travelling by bus frequently and are in Malta (and Gozo) for seven or more days, this can be a cost-effective alternative to single-fare tickets. The card costs €21 for adults and with that, you would have unlimited access to the bus system for seven days.
Another common way to get around Malta is by ferry. If you plan on visiting Valletta from Sliema (or vice versa) or the Three Cities, the harbour ferry can be the fastest route. The single journey costs €1.50 and a return ticket will cost €2.80.
You also need to take the ferry if you plan on visiting the smaller island of Gozo. While you don’t pay a thing for the trip to Gozo, passengers are required to pay the €4.65 fare upon returning to Malta. If you are taking a car, the fare is €15.70 for a car and driver (and additional passengers will just need to pay for a passenger fare).
Taxis are also prevalent on both Malta and Gozo and can be a good option if there are gaps in the public transport to your destination or you are trying to get to the airport at off-hours.
However, like most taxis around the world, relying solely on them for transportation will add up quickly and it is by far the most expensive mode of transport in Malta.
If you want to avoid hailing a taxi from the street and the potential scams that may happen from that, we recommend using the Bolt app. It functions much in the same way as Uber and is reliable and often cheaper than hailing a taxi from the street.
It also gives you the added benefit of getting a ride even if you don’t have any cash on you as you can pay via credit card through the app.
Now that we’ve covered the costs of accommodation and transport for your trip to Malta, we need to cover the other most important aspect of any Malta trip cost: food. So is Malta expensive for food and drink?
With influences from its Sicilian neighbours to the north and from Morocco and Tunisia to the south, Maltese cuisine is wonderful, complex, and definitely worth indulging in while visiting this lovely Mediterranean country.
Fortunately as well, Malta has an incredibly impressive restaurant scene and it doesn’t cost much to eat out while travelling to Malta on a budget.
For a small snack or breakfast, consider heading to a local bakery where you can get a pastizzi for less than a euro. If you are staying in a hostel or accommodation that offers self-catering facilities and really want to cut costs, it can be worth it to cook your own meals as well.
What surprised us on our visit to Malta was that the price difference between a mid-range restaurant and a far nicer establishment was minimal so we took advantage and had many phenomenal meals at very reasonable prices.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that portion sizes in Malta tend to be massive, so sharing a main dish is a fantastic way to cut costs while still enjoying a meal at a nice restaurant.
Depending on the location and quality of the restaurant, expect prices for a main meal to cost around €20-25. This means that you can have a decent meal for two people, including some wine and a shared starter for around €60-75.
If you plan to have one restaurant meal out and opt for home-cooked meals or cheap eats for other meals, budget around €30-50 per person per day on food.
Malta is not lacking for things to do even on the smallest of budgets. In fact, it is entirely possible to spend an entire day exploring and sightseeing without spending anything.
Some of the best experiences in Malta are absolutely free, including wandering around the majestic streets of Mdina, strolling the city walls and the Barrakka gardens of Valetta, or swimming virtually anywhere along the coast or at the wonderful St Peter’s Pool.
If you would like to visit museums, most do charge a small admittance fee, usually around €5 – 10. One of the most popular attractions in Malta, the Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni, does cost €35 to enter (though there is a €15 discount for students and seniors).
As wine fans, we also decided to spend €30 for a vineyard tour and tasting at Tal-Massar Winery on Gozo. For a few hours, we got to taste four exquisite wines (and after the tasting, we could help ourselves to more) and some excellent snacks with only one other couple.
Another thing that can be worth spending money on is a boat tour of the islands. We went on a full-day tour of all three islands that included multiple stops at some great swimming and snorkelling spots along with a fabulous lunch all for €50 per person.
This was another activity that we deemed worth the expense as we were gone for the entire day and they also picked us up from our accommodation. Click here to see prices for boat trips in Malta.
All in all, activity prices in Malta don’t have to break the bank. All you have to do is prioritise what you want to see and do and make sure you research the best options out there for your travel style.
Malta, and in particular the neighbourhoods of St Julian’s and Paceville, has a thriving nightlife and going out for a party can be a very affordable experience.
While Michael and I feel that our clubbing days are behind us at this stage, we did take advantage of Malta’s numerous cafes and wine bars, which often offer some fantastic happy hour deals.
If you do want to go out for a beer or a glass of wine, my recommendation would be to stick to the stuff produced in Malta.
While drinking local not only supports the small country’s economy, Malta also has an up-and-coming wine and craft beer industry and the local equivalents to well-known imports are often significantly less expensive.
Drink prices in Malta aren’t exorbitant. For instance, a pint of local lager will only set you back about €4 and a glass of local wine lands somewhere along those same lines.
If you fancy a cocktail, many places will offer a free appetiser during their happy hour with the order of a drink. A cocktail on its own will average around €6-8 per drink.
Is Malta Expensive? Average Daily Costs
So how expensive is Malta? Well, factoring in the occasional splurge on a fun activity or a meal in a fancy restaurant, expect your average trip to Malta cost to be €68-190 per person per day while visiting Malta. This is assuming you’re splitting costs such as accommodation and car hire between two people and does not include airfare.
These costs can be broken down as follows:
Accommodation: €20-75 / night
Transportation: €3-30 / day
Food: €30-50 / day
Activities: €10-20 / day
Entertainment: €5-15 / day
Of course, it is entirely possible to spend even less — I tend to prioritise eating nice meals in restaurants, for instance, while some don’t find this necessary — and some of the more expensive activities.
So is Malta expensive? Well, it doesn’t have to be. While it certainly isn’t the most affordable country in Europe, it is accessible for travellers with smaller budgets to spend. It is entirely possible to enjoy the archipelago to its full potential without sacrificing your life savings.
Are you planning on visiting Malta on a budget? Have you already been? Let us know in the comments!