Is Malta expensive? We’ve visited the Mediterranean island country multiple times, and this is a question we are often asked. Malta is a relatively affordable destination compared with European countries on average, but like anywhere, the cost of travel in Malta will depend on your style and the particular areas you choose to visit. In this article, we shine a light on the typical costs for a trip, and give our tips for budget travel in Malta if you are looking to keep your costs down.
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Is Malta expensive?
In comparison to countries in Europe generally, the cost of living in Malta is fairly average. According to Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index, the country ranks 16th out of 42 countries in Europe for this measure.
Our experience of the cost of travel in Malta after multiple visits is fairly consistent with this. While it is not the cheapest place you can visit, prices in Malta are generally lower than Western European tourist destinations.
Malta travel costs are nuanced, as is the case with most places. For example, while some restaurants in Malta can be expensive, we’ve always found it easy to save costs on eating and drinking in traditional local eateries. But low-cost accommodation in the country is a bit harder to come by.
In this article we will break down the cost of travel in Malta by category, with some recommendations on how you can save money while still having a great trip. The costs we show are in Euros, which is the local currency in Malta, and you can find out the latest exchange rates at xe.com.
Malta travel costs: accommodation
Malta has some of the most impressive places to stay of anywhere we have visited. Many of the country’s historic old palazzos and townhouses have been converted into beautiful hotels and guest houses.
But accommodation in the most spectacular of these old Maltese buildings usually comes at a premium. For example, a night’s stay at the stunning Domus Zamittello in a converted 17th-century Valletta palazzo begins at around €200 per night.
If you’re travelling with a more medium budget, there are many options. For a night’s stay in a mid-range hotel, guest house or B&B, you can generally expect to pay in the ball-park of €75–€110.
Budget accommodation does exist in Malta, but the options are limited and so it’s best to book well in advance. The country has a small handful of excellent hostels that are almost entirely concentrated in the popular districts of Sliema and St Julian’s. The price for a dormitory bed in one of these hostels begins at around €17–€20 per night.
Budget aparthotels can also provide a cheaper option, which you can find for about €45 per night in popular coastal towns like St Paul’s.
Renting a self-catered apartment can often prove to be the best value. For example, in Sliema you can stay in a modern duplex apartment with capacity for up to four people for around €80–€110 per night (depending on the season). This can work out cheaper than a hotel if you are travelling as a couple or small group, and you’ll have more space.
The price of accommodation in Malta is affected by various factors, in particular the neighbourhood you want to stay and the time of year. In our guide to where to stay in Malta we break down each area and give our accommodation recommendations for various budget levels and styles.
Cheap places to stay in Malta
Looking to save money on your accommodation costs? These are some of Malta’s best hostels, which offer both dormitory beds and private rooms:
- Two Pillows Boutique Hostel: classy hostel in a great location in Sliema, and it even has an on-site spa. Dorm beds begin at around €25 per night.
- Inhawi Boutique Hostel: sociable hostel (but not a party hostel) in a lovely old building in St Julian’s, featuring an outdoor pool. Dorm beds begin at around €20 per night.
- Granny’s Inn Hostel: family-run hostel in Sliema village, offering some of Malta’s best value accommodation. Dorm beds begin at less than €20 per night and female-only dorms are available.
If Hostels aren’t your thing, there are still some good deals to be found. For example, Porto Azzurro Aparthotel in St Paul’s Bay (a good location for exploring Malta’s coastal attractions and visiting the islands of Gozo and Comino) has rooms for as little as €25 per night.
Malta travel costs: transport
Malta is one of the smallest countries in Europe, covering less than 250 square kilometres. You can drive from one end of the main island to the other in less than an hour.
There are no operational railways or trams in Malta, so the public transport system is based mostly on a network of buses, which provide a cheap and efficient way to get around. The fleet of buses is modern and we’ve always found it reliable and easy to use.
Pricing on the public buses is very simple. A single journey on any route costs €2 (or €1.50 in low season). There are also various multi-day travel cards you can buy, for example the Explore Card, which gives you unlimited travel for 7 days for €21.
Our guide to getting around Malta explains the public transport system in detail, including the costs. In addition to the bus system it also covers ferries and taxis.
Hiring a car is a convenient way to get around Malta. The road infrastructure is good and well maintained, and the coastal and countryside roads make for some great little road trips.
We always use RentalCars.com to find and book hire cars, as it compares prices across several companies that operate in the destination. Car hire in Malta begins from about €20 per day (although you can get much cheaper deals outside of the summer season).
Malta travel costs: food and drink
Like any destination, the cost of eating out in Malta varies widely depending on the particular area and type of restaurant. In this section, we’ll give a quick overview of the ballpark prices you are likely to spend on eating out.
- Street food in Malta: this is the cheapest way to eat, and a big part of the local culture. Pastizzi are a classic filled pastry Maltese snack, and you can buy them at street food carts or in bakeries from about €0.50.
- Sandwich bars: In Valletta and other popular tourist areas in Malta, local bakeries and sandwich bars provide a cheap way to eat at midday. You can buy delicious Maltese-style sandwiches on ftira bread in a price range of about €3.50–€5.50. Coffee shops in Valletta and elsewhere are also popular for lunch, but usually a little more expensive than the sandwich bars.
- Inexpensive restaurants: we’re always on the hunt for high-quality, low-cost restaurants, and in Malta there are many to enjoy. You can see some specific recommendations in the section below. Prices in the cheaper restaurants in Malta are typical around €4–€8 for starters, €10–€15 for mains, and €4–€6 for desserts.
- Fancy restaurants: you might want to treat yourself to a meal in a higher-end restaurant on your Malta trip. Prices still vary in the more luxurious restaurants, but in general you can expect to pay at least double the prices mentioned above for inexpensive restaurants. For example, in the Oceana restaurant by Hilton Malta, starters are €13–€17, mains are €20–€35 and desserts are €6–€9. Prices are similar in Merkanti, a more traditional Maltese restaurant with a beautiful rooftop setting in Valletta.
- Pizza and pasta: Maltese cuisine is heavily influenced by the surrounding Mediterranean region, and so you will find many pizza and pasta restaurants across the country. These are often quite budget-friendly places for eating out. Depending on toppings, pizzas in restaurants tend to be around €7–€13, and pasta dishes are typically €8–€16.
Cheap restaurants in Malta to try
Our guide to Maltese food gives a background to the traditional dishes you can try in Malta and our recommendations on places to eat. These are some of our favourite places to eat in Malta that are inexpensive:
- Cafe Jubilee is our personal favourite low-cost restaurant in Malta. They have two restaurants, one in Valletta and one in Victoria (Gozo). The fabulous signature dish, Nanna’s Ravioli, is only €10.
- Is-Serkin Crystal Palace is a local snack bar in Rabat that serves incredible pastizzi. They are reputed to be the best in Malta, and they’re certainly the best we’ve tried!
- Grano is an inexpensive sandwich bar in Valletta that serves fantastic ftira bread sandwiches.
Malta travel costs: activities
There are many different experiences you can enjoy on your Malta trip. In general, we have found that tours and activities in Malta are reasonably priced.
Our 3-day Malta itinerary includes many of the classic things to do in the country. Here’s a quick snapshot of some activity costs to give you an idea:
- Museum entry: typically €5–€10
- St John’s Co-Cathedral: €15 entry
- La Cittadella in Victoria, Gozo: €5 entry including museum access and audiovisual show
- Cruises to the Blue Lagoon: €25–€50 for a daytime cruise, €40 for the sunset cruise that we took
- Valletta street food walking tour: €40
- Game of Thrones location tours: €59
- Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temple ruins: €10 entry
- Audiovisual shows: €10 for Malta 5d, €16 for The Malta Experience
- Scuba diving in Malta: single dives from €45, discover scuba sessions from €75
Free things to do in Malta
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have an active and enjoyable time in Malta. The country’s beauty lies in its natural scenery, much of which can be explored for free.
These are some free things to do in Malta to keep your cost of travel down:
- Explore Malta’s coastal highlights. Natural phenomena like the Blue Grotto and Azure Window Ruins are some of the most breathtaking features of Malta’s coastal landscape, and seeing them will only cost you the transport to get there.
- See the old walled city of Mdina. This fortified city, enclosed entirely within Rabat, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is no cost to enter and explore its quaint cobbled streets and centuries-old buildings.
- Take a trip to the beach. See this article on the best beaches in Malta for some ideas.
- Take a self-guided walking tour of Valletta. Our selection of things to do in Valletta features many of the historic sites and architecture that you can explore for free.
- Visit Marsaxlokk fish market. This open market springs to life early every morning, and is the epicentre of Malta’s seafood industry.
Malta budget travel tips
Hopefully this article has given you a snapshot overview of the cost of travel in Malta. We’ll wrap up with a few final tips for Malta budget travel:
- Visiting Malta out of season can save a lot of money. Pretty much everything is cheaper, with hotels offering lower rates and public transport costing less. See our guide to Malta in winter for more.
- Eat street food! Look out for those pastizzi stalls, bakeries and delis around the main towns.
- Buy one of the multi-journey travel cards if you are in Malta for more than 3 or 4 days.
- Cook in your accommodation. Food in Malta’s supermarkets is relatively cheap, so doing some self-catering will keep costs down.
- Take the public ferry from Sliema to Valletta, or Cirkewwa to Gozo – it’s relatively cheap, and the crossings are an experience in themselves.
Do you have any of your own Malta budget travel tips to share? Is Malta expensive in your experience? Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.