Malta may be a small island nation, but it packs a lot of variety into its idyllic Mediterranean setting. Whether it’s the sandstone walls of Valletta or Mdina, the lively promenades of St Julian’s Bay, the sandy beaches of Mellieħa or the rural charm of Gozo, any traveller can find their natural vibe here. In this guide to where to stay in Malta, we detail the best places around the islands for all budgets and travel styles, along with our recommendations on the top-rated local accommodation options.
Not sure where to start with planning activities for your trip? Check out our itinerary for three days in Malta for a bunch of ideas. Visiting out of season? Our guide to visiting Malta in winter explains what you can expect.
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Where to stay in Malta: a quick area guide
If you are short of time, the comparison table below gives a quick overview of each area in Malta and what you can expect. We go into more detail on each in the article below, along with our recommendations on budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation.
Click the links to the areas to see some self-catered accommodation options on Vrbo.
|Area||In brief||Typical accommodation||Ideal for|
|Valletta||Capital city, historical and cultural centre, and transport hub. Lots of museums, attractions, bars and restaurants.||Higher-end hotels and apartments||Splurging to stay in the capital|
|Sliema & Gzira||Popular shopping district with malls and seafront promenades, located next to St Julian's and across the harbour from Valletta.||Good budget hotels, apartments and hostels||Convenience and saving on cost|
|St Julian's & Paceville||Nightlife hotspot with lots of pubs, bars, clubs and seafront restaurants, as well as some top-end resorts.||Backpacker hostels, suites, resorts||Party seekers and backpackers|
|St Paul's Bay||Built-up modern area with apartment blocks and resorts, international restaurants and chain outlets (not much local fare).||Resorts and holiday complexes||Family holidays|
|Mellieħa||Hilltop coastal spot on the north tip of the main island, a more easy-going vibe close to many of Malta's best beaches.||Off-beat resorts and spa hotels||Quieter couple and family trips|
|Rabat & Mdina||Baroque town and medieval walled city with quaint and narrow cobbled streets, historic sites and museums.||Stylish baroque hotels and guest houses||History lovers and couple getaways|
|Marsaxlokk||Old fishing village with regular local markets on the southern tip of the main island, off the beaten path.||Homely seaside guest houses||Trips off the beaten path|
|Gozo||Second-biggest island, a more rural setting than the main island but still lots of history and culture to explore.||Wide range of options||Trips off the beaten path|
We’ve also put together a guide to the top alternatives to Airbnb to help you find your ideal vacation rental or self-catered accommodation.
Valletta is Malta’s capital city, and is in fact one of the world’s smallest capitals with fewer than 7,000 residents. But despite its cosiness, Valletta is the main hub for getting around Malta (it’s well connected to pretty much everywhere by bus or ferry) and is also the country’s centre of history and culture.
A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valletta stretches out into the sea between Grand and Marsamxett harbours, and is characterised by its sandstone walls and beautiful baroque architecture. The city’s cobbled and stone-stepped streets are packed with points of interest, including many museums, impressive churches, restaurants, bars and cafés.
Most accommodation in Valletta consists of boutique and high-end hotels, with limited budget options to be found. It’s an excellent base for exploring if you can stretch your budget, or try booking well in advance to find a good deal.
Best budget accommodation in Valletta
Bed in Valletta
Budget backpacking options are few and far between in Valletta. But if you want to stay right in the heart of the capital in cheap, dorm-style accommodation, Bed in Valletta provides a solid basic option. Set in a typical old Maltese house close to Barrakka Gardens, you’re a short walk from many of the city’s attractions. It’s far from luxury but is a decent option for backpackers seeking an easy base in Valletta.
Best mid-range accommodation in Valletta
This boutique inn is set in a traditional, 400-year-old Maltese house, and is close walking distance to all the main sites and attractions in Valletta. In the cosy on-site brasserie and bar you can enjoy local food and catch some live music at the weekends. | View prices on booking.com
Vallettastay Classic Apartments
Vallettastay provides chic self-catering apartments that make an affordable base for exploring the city and beyond. Centrally located, each apartment comes with a kitchen and TV, and there’s a communal terrace with city views (or for a premium price you can get a private terrace). | View prices on booking.com
Valletta Ajkla Mansion
Ajkla Mansion is set inside a renovated old Maltese palazzo on one of Valletta’s narrow cobbled streets, located close to the historic Manoel Theatre. The building features seven studio apartments that are well kitted out for self-catering, as well as communal areas including a rooftop terrace, courtyard and basement hot tub. | View prices on booking.com
Best luxury accommodation in Valletta
Located right across from the city gate as you enter Valletta, Domus Zamitello is a luxury hotel in a renovated 17th-century palazzo. It features an old townhouse salon where breakfast is served, and rooms overlooking city landmarks such as the opera house and parliament buildings. The location is perfect for delving into the city or getting out around Malta. | View prices on booking.com
This post-war family townhouse has been transformed into a modern boutique hotel and B&B, featuring a roof terrace for breakfasting with 360 city views. The rooms are spacious and well equipped, and the staff will happily give recommendations on the best nearby restaurants and bars to check out. | View prices on booking.com
This aparthotel provides high-end self-catering suites and rooms on a quiet street close to Valletta attractions such as the Upper Barrakka Gardens and the National Museum of Archaeology. Rooms are equipped with kitchen facilities, and a fresh buffet breakfast is available daily. | View prices on booking.com
Self-catered apartments in Valletta
Looking for your own space in Valletta rather than a hotel or guest house? It’s a great option for a more laid-back trip. Here are three great options we found on Vrbo, ideal for couples or small groups:
- Grand Harbour duplex apartment – set in 400-year-old building
- Gunpost Suite – beautiful apartment with Marsamxett Harbour views
- Spacious historic apartment – with views over old town and sea
Sliema and Gzira
Sliema is a popular district on the peninsula just north of Valletta. It is a convenient option for travellers looking to save on cost while still staying close to Valletta, and it’s also walking distance away from St Julian’s Bay, home of Malta’s best nightlife.
Neighbouring Gzira is a smaller neighbourhood that extends along the seafront of Marsamxett Harbour south of Sliema ferry point. This is a slightly quieter area with some good budget hotels and apartments, and is well connected via several main bus routes on its main seafront road (Triq Ix-Xatt).
Sliema is characterised by shopping malls and coastal promenades, as well as plenty of nice places to eat and drink. We loved the food in Jubilee Café and the local vibe in Step Down Bar. We also found Sliema to be an ideal base for scuba diving in Malta.
Best budget accommodation in Sliema and Gzira
Two Pillows Boutique Hostel
This place is about as classy and comfortable as a hostel gets. It offers a range of great value accommodation options from dorm rooms to luxury studios, and has a warm vibe for travellers to meet (without being a party hostel). It’s located in one of the most popular and convenient parts of Sliema just a couple of blocks away from the sea and the ferry port.
Granny’s Inn Hostel
Granny’s Inn is a friendly, family-run hostel on a quiet street at the heart of Sliema village. Cosy and welcoming, it’s just a short walk away from the promenade, beach, transport links, and the nightlife of Paceville. The dorm rooms include a female-only option, and private rooms are available too.
Corner Hostel Malta
Just 50 metres from the seafront, Corner Hostel is a friendly, sociable modern hostel in an old townhouse building. It has over 40 beds in dorms rooms across its three floors, including female only, male only and mixed options, while private twin rooms are also available. A bus stop is two minutes’ walk away with direct services to Valletta, the airport and other routes around the island.
Best mid-range accommodation in Sliema and Gzira
The Maltese Sun
True to its name, The Maltese Sun is a bright and colourful guest house located close to the seafront. A traditional bed and breakfast set-up, it’s a good value-for-money option in a great location for transport links and things to do around Sliema. | View prices on booking.com
Mr Todd Hotel
Located on the Gzira side of Sliema, Mr Todd Hotel is close to the area’s shopping centres, ferry port and Triq Ix-Xatt promenade. The urban-chic-style hotel has a cafeteria and bar on-site, with continental breakfast available every day. | View prices on booking.com
Best luxury accommodation in Sliema and Gzira
Centrally located on the Sliema peninsula, Palazzo Violetta provides luxurious studios each kitted out with a kitchenette, balcony and 40-inch flat-screen television. Ten minutes’ walk from the sea at Balluta Bay, the building also has an outdoor pool and terrace open all year round. | View prices on booking.com
AX The Victoria Hotel
This elegant boutique hotel combines a Victorian-style décor with a focus on wellness and relaxation. Its entire top floor is dedicated to self-care, including a luxury spa, gym, pool and rooftop terrace. It also features a Mediterranean-style restaurant and English-themed bar for teas and cocktails. | View prices on booking.com
Self-catered apartments in Sliema and Gzira
Sliema and Gzira have a great choice of self-catered apartments. Here are three of the best we found:
- Brand new duplex Sliema apartment – set across a first and second floor
- Fabulous designer apartment with pool – in Sliema’s Fort Cambridge complex
- Luxurious seafront apartment – with a breathtaking view over Exiles beach
St Julian’s and Paceville
If you are looking for a party in Malta, St Julian’s is the place to be. It’s where you will find the best nightlife on the islands, with many bars and clubs open all year round until the small hours of the morning.
The Paceville area is at the epicentre of this scene, ideal as a base if you plan many late nights (but not if you don’t want the noise!). At Spinola Bay and further inland it gets a bit quieter, while still not being far away from the action. Make sure you have a drink in the City of London Pub, the oldest bar in Malta!
St Julian’s is a great option for backpackers looking to socialise, with a good choice of quality hostels, or outgoing couples in search of a suite or modern hotel. There are also some more luxurious accommodations, such as holiday resorts located at the north-west end of the district.
Best budget accommodation in St Julian’s and Paceville
We rarely find a hostel that ticks all the boxes on our priority list, but Inhawi fits the bill. A boutique hostel set in a gorgeous building, it has a buzzing social vibe and friendly staff, without being a party hostel. Located on the border between St Julian’s and Sliema, it’s close enough to the nightlife without being affected by the noise, and there’s an outdoor pool to enjoy with sea views.
Marco Polo Hostel
If you want to join the party in St Julian’s, Marco Polo Hostel is the place to stay. Located right among the action in Paceville, its rooftop bar and terrace hosts regular social events, and the staff team also run pub crawls exploring the local scene. Dorms and private rooms are available.
Run by the same team as Marco Polo, Hostel Malti is an alternagive budget option set a little further away from the hubbub of Paceville. There’s still a lot going here though, with a rooftop chillout terrace (complete with jacuzzi) serving cocktails and hosting frequent BBQs. The staff team also organise tours and adventure activities around the Maltese islands.
Best mid-range accommodation in St Julian’s and Paceville
Number 11 Urban Hotel
As you may suspect from the name, this is a modern contemporary-style hotel and is situated at the heart of the Paceville district, close to many bars, clubs and shopping outlets. A recent build, you can expect strong wifi and high-pressure showers among the quality facilities. The site features a rooftop pool with a bar open from May to October. | View prices on booking.com
Holiday Inn Express – Malta
This colourful branch of the Holiday Inn chain is situated close to St George’s Bay beach towards the north of St Julian’s. Rooms come with free wifi, USB charging stations and satellite television, with room service available from the on-site bar. | View prices on booking.com
Best luxury accommodation in St Julian’s and Paceville
My most recent visit to Malta was a four-day workation at Hilton Malta, which is honestly one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed at. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and Portomaso Marina, it has a beautiful location, outstanding facilities and is the perfect choice if you want some special luxurious comfort. | View prices on booking.com
Valentina is a modern boutique hotel with 132 rooms situated across eight floors in the middle of the Paceville district. All rooms feature private bathrooms, minibars and coffee machines. The rooftop pool and bar is open from April to October. | View prices on booking.com
The Westin Dragonara Resort
Occupying its own mini peninsula, the Westin Dragonara Resort by Marriott comes complete with two private beaches, outdoor pools and some of the largest hotel rooms in Malta. The site features the renowned Dragonara Casino, as well as a choice of diving and water sports activities. | View prices on booking.com
Self-catered apartments in St Julian’s and Paceville
Find your own self-catered accommodation space in St Julian’s and Paceville to make the most of the area. Here are three options we like:
- Studio in central location – close to Spinola Bay
- Central three-bedroom apartment – ideal for families or groups
- Spacious two-bed apartment – in fantastic central location
St Paul’s Bay
Located on the north of the main island, about 15 kilometres from Valletta, St Paul’s Bay is a hotspot for resorts that gets busy in the summer season. Defined by modern hotels and apartment blocks, this area occupies a picturesque section of the coastline, although it lacks the sandstone baroque architecture that you will find elsewhere around Malta.
The two towns of Bugibba and Qawra are the focal points for activity around St Paul’s Bay. It’s tough to find any local cuisine among the scattering of international restaurants and chain establishments, but Acqua Marina is a gem of a seafood eatery.
St Paul’s Bay is mostly suitable for families looking for a resort getaway. There isn’t much history to be explored or nightlife to be experienced here, but there is no shortage of facilities for holiday stays on the azure Mediterrannean waterfront.
Best budget accommodation in Bugibba and St Paul’s Bay
Porto Azzurro Aparthotel
Perched on Xemxija Bay next to the Simar Nature Reserve, Porto Azzurro Aparthotel combines an oceanside setting with some lovely countryside views. Rooms are as little as $25 depending on the season and you get plenty for your money, including access to a fresh-water swimming pool with a bar and sunbathing area. | View prices on booking.com
Best mid-range accommodation in Bugibba and St Paul’s Bay
Park Lane Boutique Aparthotel
Directly opposite Bugubba bus station, this family-run boutique hotel offers self-catering studio apartments with kitchenettes and private bathrooms, with breakfast available cooked to order. The rooftop pool and terrace features 360 views around St Paul’s Bay. | View prices on booking.com
This friendly bed and breakfast is bestowed with beautiful views of Xemxija Bay from its elevated position slightly inland. Complete with a children’s playground, free parking and quick access to the main road it’s a convenient option for travelling families who want to explore around the island. | View prices on booking.com
Best luxury accommodation in Bugibba and St Paul’s Bay
This four-star resort benefits from a more isolated location a couple of miles out of Bugibba around the coast. Overlooking Salini Bay, the hotel has a stylish feel and great facilities for leisure, including tennis courts, a fitness centre, two outdoor pools and a wellness area. | View prices on booking.com
Gillieru Harbour Hotel
With roots dating back nearly a century, Gillieru Harbour Hotel has been run by the same family for over four generations. The quaint building directly overlooks the old fishing harbour on the seafront at St Paul’s Bay. Early in the morning fishing boats outside bring in the day’s catch, and later in the day guests can enjoy local specialities in the on-site fish restaurant. | View prices on booking.com
Dolmen Hotel Malta
Complete with an infinity pool, private beach and luxurious spa, the Dolmen Hotel is a complex designed for relaxation on the Qawra peninsula. It features six swimming pools as well as four restaurants serving a mixture of Mediterranean cuisines. | View prices on booking.com
Self-catered apartments in St Paul’s Bay
For something extra special, here are two stunning sea view apartments in St Paul’s Bay:
- Luxury daffodil apartment – great value for groups of up to six
- Sea view by Bugibba Square – terrace with amazing views
If you want to discover the best of Malta’s beaches, Mellieħa should be top of your list of places to stay. This hilltop village sits close to the northern tip of the main island, with some lovely views of the landscape and ocean. The area around Mellieħa Bay features some of the most pristine sandy beaches and bluest waters that Malta has to offer.
A quieter and more relaxed alternative to St Paul’s Bay, Mellieħa intersperses its coastal village vibe with some historical intrigue and architecture, most notably the sandstone Parish Church. It’s also a convenient springboard for visiting the islands of Gozo and Comino, with Cirkewwa ferry port just a stone’s throw away.
This area is a smart choice for couples after a more off-beat, easy-going getaway, or families looking for resorts in a less built-up area. It’s also ideal for anyone looking for somewhere less crowded.
Best hotels and resorts in Mellieħa
Maritim Antonine Hotel & Spa
A four-star hotel perched on the Mellieħa hillside with panoramic ocean views, Maritim Antonine is a sizeable complex with three restaurants, a fully equipped spa, rooftop pool and gym. Rooms range from economy options to luxurious suites. | View prices on booking.com
Solana Hotel & Spa
A bright and clean modern accommodation, Solana Hotel & Spa features views over Mellieħa Bay and is walking distance from the beach. The hotel has several on-site restaurants and bars, a rooftop pool featuring a panoramic sundeck, and an indoor pool and fitness centre. | View prices on booking.com
Paradise Bay Resort
Overlooking Paradise Bay just around the north tip of the island from Mellieħa, this hotel resort features a private beach where you can indulge in water sports and take scuba-diving courses throughout the year. The complex includes three outdoor pools and an indoor pool, family facilities, and is situated close to the Cirkewwa ferry terminal for trips to Gozo and Comino. | View prices on booking.com
Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Malta Golden Sands
Golden Bay is a secluded spot on the north-west coast of Malta, about three kilometres over from Mellieħa. This is the setting for Radisson’s Malta Golden Sands resort, a thousand-square-metre complex overlooking the bay, with its own private beach, lagoon pool and spa. | View prices on booking.com
Self-catered apartments in Mellieħa
In Mellieħa you will find a handful of charming and relaxing self-catered apartments. Here are two options, including for couples or small family/friend groups:
- Mellieħa sea view apartment – with on-site parking
- Serendipity two-bedroom apartment – close to village square and beach
Rabat and Mdina
Baroque Rabat and the walled ‘silent city’ of Mdina make for a fascinating and quaint alternative base, especially for those who want to learn about Malta’s past. These charming historic towns are located inland on the main island, surrounded by acres of lush green fields.
Both Rabat and Mdina were once enclosed within walls, but today just the walls of Mdina remain. The confined medieval citadel has a population of just 300 residents and is a pleasure to wander, with its meandering narrow passageways, courtyards and museums. Fontanella Tea Garden is a classic place to stop for a hot drink and cake with spectacular views.
Rabat and Mdina are less connected than Valletta and don’t come with a seaside setting, but make up for it with charm and romance. Although the choice of accommodation is more limited here than elsewhere, it’s where you will find some of the most pleasant baroque hotels on the archipelago.
Best guest houses in Rabat and Mdina
Casa Azzopardi Guesthouse
This 260-year-old boutique guest house has been renovated to its former glory while installing modern amenities. It is located in a prominent street right between Mdina and the Rabat centre, and is surrounded by very good local restaurants, transport links and a parking area. The two first-floor suites each have their own balcony, while the upper suite exclusively features a large terrace with a jacuzzi and views of Mdina. | View prices on booking.com
Point de Vue
This modern guest house is less than 100 metres from the gates of Mdina and is renowned for its friendly, welcoming team of staff who will help you get the most out of exploring the local culture and history. The on-site restaurant serves a mixtures of traditional Maltese and continental cuisines. | View prices on booking.com
MYN in Rabat
MYN is an intimate guest house in a quiet part of Rabat, with seven luxurious rooms set in a 400-year-old Maltese townhouse. The self-catering accommodation has been recently restored, maintaining many original features of the old building. Continental breakfast is served daily. | View prices on booking.com
Best hotels in Rabat and Mdina
The Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux
This converted 17th-century palazzo is the only hotel located inside the medieval walled city of Mdina. The five-star facilities include premium restaurants, antique decor and stunning Maltese countryside views. It’s a luxury option for a unique experience of Mdina. | View prices on booking.com
Quaint Hotel Rabat
Built on the grounds of an old cinema, Quaint Hotel Rabat is part of a chain of boutique hotels dotted around Malta. With just 12 quirky rooms the Rabat hotel is an intimate place to stay, not far from the walls of Mdina. A large buffet breakfast is served in a café next door to the hotel. | View prices on booking.com
Maraxlokk is one of the surviving traditional Maltese fishing villages, perched on an inlet at the south end of the island. It is renowned for its open food market, with an array of bright and colourful stalls selling fish, fresh local produce and souvenirs.
The village is a one of Malta’s more remote spots, but a good launchpad for exploring around the coast if you hire a car. The area immediately around Marsaxlokk features some scenic walks and secluded swimming holes.
In Marsaxlokk you will find a selection of homely seaside guest houses run by welcoming families. It’s a lovely option if you want to experience authentic Malta at a slower pace.
Best guest houses in Marsaxlokk
Fisherman’s Cove Guesthouse
This modern, friendly guest house is situated close to the open markets of Marsaxlokk and overlooks the traditional fishing village. The roof of the building has a swimming pool and terrace that is open through the summer months, with views of Marsaxlokk harbour and the ocean beyond. | View prices on booking.com
A homely guesthouse in a central Marsaxlokk location, Harbour Lodge directly overlooks the village harbour. All rooms feature a balcony and seating area, and a buffet breakfast included in the price is served every day. | View prices on booking.com
South Wind Guesthouse
This bright boutique guest house is located just off the main street by the harbour in Marsaxlokk. The building includes a fully equipped kitchen for self-catering, while a continental breakfast is available daily and several seafood restaurants are nearby. | View prices on booking.com
Self-catered accommodation in Marsaxlokk
The fishing community of Marsaxlokk has some lovely seaside apartments and short-term let options. Here are two top-rated options in the village:
- Pretty two-bedroom apartment – featuring large rooftop terrace
- Spacious three-bedroom apartment – with courtyard and balconies
Gozo is the second-biggest island on the Maltese archipelago, and has its own unique character and charm. It has a more rural feel to the main island of Malta. Like its larger neighbour, Gozo blends a turbulent human history of several thousand years with a scatter of natural wonders all around its shores.
Victoria is Gozo’s capital and beating heart, positioned in the centre of the island with roads leading out to smaller towns and villages around the coastline. The castle of La Cittedella stands atop a hill in the middle of Victoria and has been a stronghold of Gozo for many centuries. Today you can explore its courtyards and intricacies, and look out to all corners of the island from its highest turrets.
Gozo has an eclectic range of accommodation options dotted all around the island, from quality hostels for cost-conscious backpackers to hotel resorts for luxury travellers. It’s a compelling choice if you are somewhere in between these styles, with some truly excellent B&Bs and guest houses.
Best mid-range accommodation in Gozo
Casa Gemelli Boutique Guesthouse
At the foothills of the bastions of La Cittedella and nestled between two old theatres, Casa Gemelli Boutique Guesthouse is in the historic centre of Victoria. Its private en suite rooms come with views of either the gardens, the sea or the citadel. Sonia and Anna are friendly hosts who always endeavour to make guests feel at home. | View prices on booking.com
Soleil B&B Gozo
This newly opened bed and breakfast enjoys a rural setting in Għarb, a stone’s throw from the majestic sandstone basilica of Ta’ Pinu. The location is also a convenient base for exploring spots on the west of the island such as the Azure Window ruins and Xlendi fishing village. Perfect for a relaxing, homely trip away from the tourist hotspots. | View prices on booking.com
Best luxury accommodation in Gozo
Hotel Ta’ Cenc & Spa
One of Gozo’s few five-star resorts, Hotel Ta’ Cenc & Spa is perched on the southern tip of the island at Sannat, and boasts a private beach, tennis courts, lagoon pools and premium on-site restaurants. The complex features guest rooms in stone bungalows, each with its own private terrace. | View prices on booking.com
Kempinski Hotel San Lawrenz
Part of the worldwide Kempinski chain, the San Lawrenz hotel on the west of Gozo is enclosed within 30 square kilometres of pristine gardens. The site features a choice of Mediterranean restaurants as well as a spa with heated indoor pools, gym and health centre. All rooms include a private balcony. | View prices on booking.com
Xagħra village is an ideal springboard for exploring the north and east of Gozo, where the island’s best beaches such as Ramla and San Blas can be found. Botanica B&B is at the heart of the village and close to the Xagħra Stone Circle archaeological site. Its chilled-out vibe is perfect for exploring at a slower pace, with a sun terrace, outdoor pool and lounge areas. | View prices on booking.com
Self-catered apartments in Gozo
The are a wide range of beautiful self-catering apartments in various locations around Gozo island. Here are two we picked out in the main town of Victoria:
- Cosy one-bedroom house in the centre of Victoria – perfect for couples
- Casa Barone – two-bedroom farmhouse full of character
Where to stay in Malta: map of districts
You can browse the areas and accommodation options featured in this article on the map below: