Big birthday. You decide your faith!
I always loved travelling and giving gifts to me and my friends that would not be a useless things. Memories that we make during trips are one of the most memorable ones! So I decided to go somewhere with my friend as her birthday gift.
I was looking through the destinations, and was, of course, looking for a cheap one that we would love to go to! I have found three destinations that, at the time, had the cheapest flight tickets. I was only checking Ryanair because LOW FARES MADE SIMPLE! 😁😁 So the destinations were Malta, the Czech Republic and England, so it was Valetta, Prague and London.
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On the 23rd of December, I sent Fausta a message:
“Your destiny depends on your choice now. Please choose one of the following letters: M, P, L.”
“Let it be M.” Fausta answered.
SO it was decided – we are going to Malta! And here in this blog post, I will tell you the story of our trip and will share some travel tips to Malta!
We wanted to go to Malta since 2020, but the tickets were not that cheap. I then found the tickets for a really low price – 126.68 € for two people for a round trip. Have you ever seen such cheap tickets to Malta? Well, I haven’t, so as my friend already decided that the M is the letter, I booked the tickets.
I had to wait for 18 long days to tell Fausta what is her birthday gift. And, of course, it wouldn’t be me if I would just tell her that her birthday gift is flight tickets to Malta, nope, the present had to be more interesting. Guess how the present was more interesting? Well, I think it can be hard to guess 😀
I have a bachelor’s degree in Scandinavian studies, with the main language being Norwegian. So now it is not hard to guess that the gift was in Norwegian. My friend speaks 0 Norwegian, and when I gave her the letter that included her present, and, of course, lots of love and affirmation, she was like OH MY GOD DOMANTE WHY! But I was like hehe :)) because!
I was sad a bit because Fausta said to me that she will translate it later, so I had to sit quietly so that I won’t ruin the fun! We then went to the restaurant, then back home with a few friends, and I couldn’t wait any longer so I translated the whole letter myself… But you know, I told her that she can use anything for the translation, so I was included in that list 😀. I had to also tell my friend that unfortunately, I am broque, so we will have to split the bill for the hotel, and my dearest friend, thank God, was fine with that.
So we booked a nice hotel, but this time it was more Fausta than me that did this job. On the 18th of January, we were going back to our home town and we decided that it is for sure time to book a hotel, we are leaving on 29th of January already!! I was driving, and Fausta was looking through all of the Valletta hotels and telling me about the pros and cons of them.
We decided to take a place that had breakfast included as we knew that we will travel a lot around Malta, and we won’t have a lot of money to eat in the restaurants 3 times per day, so the breakfast will be a good start to the day (+ we will have an opportunity to take something with us so that we can snack in the day time a bit hehe, travel hack it is!).
I just want to mention that we both don’t eat breakfast, so it was, at first, a challenge to put food in our mouths in the mornings, but we managed! But later about this 😛.
So so so Fausta booked the hotel. The hotel’s name is Tritoni Valletta Boutique Hotel, which had a great location, a jacuzzi (although we did not use it since it was too cold on that evening when we had spare time to chill in it), breakfast and a good rating – 8.1, which, in Booking terms, is very good. We paid 400 €, which is, in my opinion, a great deal!
A rave before a flight?
So the days were running and we finally approached the 28th of January, with 1 day left until the flight. I forgot to mention that I had to book the trip considering that we had tickets to the rave 🙂. Thank God the flight was at 20:20 GMT +2, so we had some time to sleep at least!
The saddest part is that the event we went to was not so good, well maybe it was good, but we had big expectations since one of our favourite DJs was playing – Gerd Janson. Maybe it was because the time that played was not the best one, as he started playing only at 6 a.m., and we were already a bit tired and bored, but, as I like to say, it is what it is…
Speeding the trip up
After getting some sleep, we were getting the vacation mood already, got our asses up, made the last preparations and the time has come – we must go to the airport. We wanted to go to the airport by bus since Fausta lives close to the airport, but we barely had time to wait for the bus… We took a shared car that literally speed up our trip since we ACTUALLY were almost late to the flight 😀 with the late I mean it was about 1 hour and 10 minutes left, the gate closes 30 minutes before departure… But we managed, and the car was the saver that gave us speed! 😎
As you might know, Ryanair allocates seats randomly if you don’t buy a reserved seat. And we are people that need their money, so we won’t waste it for a seat near a friend. 🙃 After boarding, we went to our seats, but the agreement is as follows: if nobody sits nearby, I will straightly come to you! After hearing that the boarding was completed, I asked the person who sat nearby Fausta if we could switch seats so that I would sit near my friend in the middle. He had the same idea of inviting his girlfriend to sit nearby, but we are pioneers in this area, so he sadly accepted the offer.
When the plane took off, we started taking our snacks from our backpacks. As we are polite and nice girls, we offered the person that was sitting nearby us as well, I will not mention his name since I don’t know if he wants to be known you know, laws… The snacks, so to say, opened the conversations.
The guy told us a story that caught our attention – he has a usual job, but sometimes at the end of the summer, he goes to France to pick the grapes just for fun, just to bring more colours into his life. He found an employee that provides free accommodation, and maybe the salary was not spectacular, but the memories and experience are the keys to joyful life!
The story was interesting, and I would say that this story still lies somewhere in the hippocampus, indexed for later access, who knows, it might be another adventure…
Random fact: we saw a flash of lightning while flying. Is this rare? It was the first time that we both saw one, and at first, I did not believe Fausta as she told me that she had already seen the lightning 3 times, I thought she was just kidding. 😀 But well we did, sadly, it was impossible to catch the moment with the camera. Please enlighten us on whether it is rare!
Thank God taxis exist
After landing and leaving the plane, we instantly went to look for the bus since the flight was a late one, and we had to catch the last bus that was going to the city centre. I think there were fewer buses since it’s winter and there are not a lot of travellers in Malta, so it was a life-or-death situation (sorry, I like to exaggerate a bit 😛) to get that bus! And I wouldn’t be telling the story right now if we managed to get to the bus, sadly, we did not manage to do it 😀 AND IT WAS RAINING CATS AND DOGS, it’s the rainy season in Malta, duuh!
We were already cold, and there was only one option – the taxi. Before leaving the airport, we saw a big Bolt advertisement, and since it is a known brand for us, having it in Lithuania for already I don’t know how many years, but definitely 6 or more (it was Taxify before, so I am not sure about when and how it was launched), we decided to book a cab via Bolt app. Easy – you can use the same app in the whole of Europe, you don’t need to download another one!
I and Fausta were laughing because of the situation – missed the bus, the rain just keeps getting worse, and we are booking a Bolt like we are rich and famous, we both have never ever taken a cab from the airport to the city 😀. So the driver finally came (yay), and we headed straight to the hotel. The ride was pretty cheap – only 9.6€!
Oldies or smarties?
So we checked into the hotel, went to our room, drank a bit of champagne that we bought at Duty-free in Vilnius, and started thinking – what’s next? It’s almost midnight!
We agreed on one thing – we are definitely hungry and we need to get something to eat! The hotel did not have a restaurant that is working 24/7, so we had to take a trip to the city centre. But we could not just go to get food and go home, what are we, old (older people, please don’t take offence for this, but as far as I know, when you get older, you don’t have so much energy to run everywhere anymore, I can already feel it myself, sadly, I am not 17 anymore…)?! Party hard in Malta must happen!
So we started looking for events nearby and, as we lived close to Valletta, we did not find anything happening there. Valletta is known as a city that is crowded in the daytime but at night it is as quiet as a mouse. There was a rave event at Liquid club that is in San Ġwann, so it’s 6.3 km away, but it looked so good…
We were almost on our way there, well, the DJs seemed to be fairly good, and the mood was also set up, but then the realization came – if we want to see some places tomorrow, we have to get some sleep or we will really be lethargic. So NO NO for the club… Another reason was THE BUSES – if they were running, we might have visited the club, but if we went, we then had to pay again for the Bolt ride… The empty wallet club members can’t be that reckless 😀.
So we went to the Valletta’s centre to get some food and went to bed afterwards (pro tip – don’t do it, just don’t eat 3 hours before sleep!)
Trip to Malta: the plan
I think it is very important to mention that before the trip, I did my homework and gathered some information from the Lithuanian travellers’ group on Facebook. There were lots of information and advice on when and where to travel in Malta. I have written down the places and some other relevant information. We decided to follow the plan as follows: Sunday – Valletta, Monday – Gozo, Tuesday – Mdina and Grotto. I will try to split my tale into these three days so that it would be easier to read.
Number three. Do you know the number three, have you heard its meaning in fairytales, its purpose? Well, one of the purposes is to make it more memorable for those who heard the tale, and three is a magical, lucky number. So I hope that the tips will be memorable, and the Malta travel advisory by girls who left the chairs empty will be magical!
Travel tips and tales: Sunday in Valletta
So here comes theeee…..
Things to do in Valletta:
- Triton fountain
- St. John’s Cathedral
- Lower Barakka Gardens
- Upper Barakka Gardens (salutes at 12 and 16 o’clock except for Sundays)
So so, the Sunday! We woke up, got ready, and ate breakfast which was actually not bad! And we headed to the city! We were lucky as the weather in Valletta that day was a nice one – the sun was shining, and it was about +15°C.
We started our trip wandering in the streets and visiting the objects that we had on the list – we visited the Triton fountain, Lower Barakka Gardens, Upper Barakka gardens, also Victoria gate, and a lot of colourful streets. As we decided to explore Valletta on Sunday, we, unfortunately, did not see the salutes from Upper Barakka Gardens, but I don’t know if it would have been worth waiting since we had a lot to do on Monday and Tuesday.
Important tip: how to travel around in Malta
As we visited all of the things that were in Valletta, we decided that we should check something else outside it, we had plenty of daytime left. If we want to go out of Valletta, we need to buy the cards for the buses today, so we did not wait for the sunset and bought Explore cards with which you can travel unlimitedly for 7 days, and the price was reasonable – 21€.
Please keep in mind that it is really hard to travel with the buses in Malta (in my opinion, and I have heard that others say it too) – the buses might just not come, it takes so much time to get from one place to another because the routes are planned inefficiently, you need to change a lot, and the buses make a lot of stops… But I am not that brave to drive on the right side of the road…
New places on the list
We have found a few places that should be worth visiting, especially if you are interested in BC ages:
- Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum caught our attention since it is on UNESCO World Heritage List that bears testimony to a civilization that has disappeared. It could have been great visiting it, but the price was too crazy – 35€ 🤯.
- Ħal Tarxien Prehistoric Complex which was cheaper and is also an archaeological complex. Price – 6€, so we visited this place since it was affordable for us! Worth it? Yes, but I would not come back again to it
After leaving Ħal Tarxien, we visited the cemetery that was nearby the complex. It was very interesting to compare how different the traditions of funerals and burying were.
So after wandering in Paola and Tarxien, we took a bus to St. Julians, visited the best restaurant ever – McDonald’s :D, then went to Lidl in Sliema to get some food. We wanted to visit our rooftop jacuzzi that evening, but it was too cold outside, so we just stayed at the hotel and were preparing for the next day full of tales and adventures!
The summary of this paragraph would be that you should not dedicate a whole day to Valletta – in my personal opinion, it is just not worth it.
Monday in Gozo
Things to do in Gozo:
- Azure Window (unfortunately, lost to the sea forever)
- Salt Pans (Marsala)
- Ramla Beach
- Tal-Mixta Cave
- Dwejra Bay
- Ta Pinu Church
- Wied il-Mielaħ
- The Blue Hole near Dwejra Bay
- Fungus rock
The way that we took was: Fungus rock – Dwejra Bay – Azure Window – Blue Hole – Wied il-Mielaħ – Salt Pans – Ramla Beach – Ta Pinu Church – Citadel.
ONE OF THE HARDEST DAYS IN OUR ACTIVE TRAVEL IN MALTA!
Waking up at 8 in the morning, well, sleeping until the last minute, then running while getting ready, eating as fast as possible because sleep is the most important thing in the world 😀
So we then went to Valletta’s bus station, dock B6 and took bus 42 (41 is also fine) to Ċirkewwa, from where you can take a ferry to Gozo island.
From the ferry, we started our Camino Gozanico as we called it. We took a bus that took us to Victoria city as we did not know where should we start our trip, and from there we booked a Bolt cab that took us to Dwejra bay (11.10€ – a very good price!). Nearby are a lot of things that were visited too – Fungus rock – Dwejra Bay – Azure Window – Blue Hole. Pictures in the Gallery!
As we wanted to visit as much as possible and save as much as possible, we decided to take another Bolt ride from Dwejra Bay to Wied il-Mielaħ (11.6€). This place is not a touristy one since it is very hard to reach it, the road seemed crazy to us, but the view! Definitely worth a visit! Would recommend!
Then the girls decided to walk a bit and we reached Salt Pans from Wied il-Mielaħ by foot. It was a nice walk there, beautiful places, we were really proud that we decided to walk a bit.
Now we must reach Ramla beach, and we started to think about what would be the best option to do so. At first, we decided to walk further and reached Marsalforn. AND FROM THERE – A DISASTER AND A BLESSING CAME 😀 We got lost!
This happened because there isn’t a way that goes by the coast the whole time, we had to walk in the villages, but we were like, hmm, there should be a way for sure, let’s try. Luck was not on our side in this case because there wasn’t a way. but we saw beautiful spots that, as my friend said, are not basic ✌️.
And yes, we decided to go back to Marsalforn since we had no other choice, and take a bus to Ramla Beach. The buses come rarely, so we had 10 minutes to reach the bus station, we did not find it at first, and I literally jumped in front of the bus to ensure that the driver stops and takes us, we couldn’t miss this bus, the other was only in an hour…
After visiting the beach, we saw that we for sure do not have time to go to the Tal-Mixta Cave which can be reached from Ramla Beach via an unmarked road 🙂
We decided that the next stop is Ta-Pinu church, in which all of the wishes people make come true. So we went back to Victoria city and took a bus to the church. Hope that the wishes will come true and that it’s not a scam 😀
As the buses come rarely, we took yet another walk from church to our last point of Gozo – Citadel. UNFORTUNATELY, the Citadel has closed already, so we just walked a bit around it. It might look like the trip was not planned until the finest detail, but it actually was because we know that the visit to Gozo will be on Monday, it was the most optimal option.
So so the Camino Gozanico ends here, and it is time to go to the bus station which will take us to the ferry. We managed to be at the bus station on time, we were dreaming of reaching the ferry as soon as possible since we were tired. AND THE BUS DRIVER DECIDED THAT THE BUS IS TOO FULL, AND HE DID NOT STOP AT THE STATION, AND THAT IS HOW WE MISSED THE FERRY WE WERE DREAMING ABOUT… NEVER TRUST THE BUSES!!!
Angriness and sadness filled us completely, we were tired, and hungry, and we just wanted to go to the hotel… Well but life is life, the other bus driver stopped, took us to the ferry, and we had literally 5 minutes to catch the ferry! Impossible?! It would have been possible if the payment system for the ferry wouldn’t crashed at that moment 😀. Sounds like a scenario of tragicomedy 😀.
So at that moment, we could feel the anger boiling 😀. BUT LITERALLY, LIFE IS LIFE! So we had 45 minutes until another ferry, so we got some food and beer to release the tension, we had to do this since we ate very little, no time for food, unfortunately, adventure must continue all the time, and after that, hotel, we are coming back, but first 1.5h bus ride to Valletta and then we must rest!🙂.
Tuesday – Mdina and Blue Grotto
Tuesday was literally about Blue Grotto and Mdina as we felt that the energy resources are just too low to do more. So we took a bus to Blue Grotto, took some pictures, and then walked to another bus which took us to Mdina.
Mdina, for me personally, was a surprise to me. It is the oldest city in Malta, and we could literally feel it! We wandered in the streets of Mdina and enjoyed the beautiful architecture. It sometimes felt like we are in the UK since the red phone booths were everywhere. You can literally see that the island once belonged to the brits.
As we felt cold, we decided to visit one of the cafeterias to get something warm to drink. The first that was right behind us was the Medieval Tavern, and we were really amazed by the service and food that we ate! We thought that we would just drink something, but then we got offers! Fresh goat cheese with salad and dried tomatoes for approx. 1.2€ (don’t remember the exact sum, but we were surprised that it was so cheap)? YES PLEASE!
Goat’s cheese, Maltese wine, hot coffee and a very big chocolate pie were our savers! After that, we went back to Valletta to spend the last hours of our trip!
The end of the trip in Michelin’s guide restaurant?😮
I did not mention that we have decided to visit our first Michelin’s guide restaurant before. Fausta was eager to try one of these restaurants since she heard a story about some friends that are also travelling, and they are always finishing their trips in Michelin. How cool is that?
The worst part was that we booked our hotel only until Tuesday, so before heading to Blue Grotto and Mdina, we left our belongings in a locker, which was unfortunately until 11 pm. We went back to Valletta, visited some shops in St. Julians, bought some souvenirs, and headed to the lockers to change our clothes, and put the things we had there.
The restaurant that we chose to visit from all of the Valletta restaurants was Guzé. The prices were not that bad – we paid 82.44 € for starters, main courses, two glasses of Maltese wine and desserts. I expected to spend a fortune there, so I was really happy that we didn’t do that!
After the restaurant, we picked up our backpacks, wandered a bit in a city, and decided to go to the airport since it was getting cold, and the backpacks were too heavy to wander. Never do this mistake! It’s better to have a place to stay until the last minute even if your flight is at 6 o’clock! The waiting in the airport was just HORRIBLE! BUT IT WAS AN EXPERIENCE!
Other places that were not visited but were on the list
So we did not manage to visit everything we wanted unfortunately, but they are for sure worth visiting if you have more time, and if you are not afraid to drive on the right side of the road (that should be easy for British and Irish people, and all the others that drive on the right side😀)
- Popeye Village
- Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum
- Blue Lagoon
- Valletta Ferry of Three Cities
- Marsaxlokk fishing village
- St. Paul’s Catacombs
- St. Dominic’s Priory
- Ħaġar Qim
Numbers, random facts and tips
- The total count of steps from my phone is 85907, which is 55.42 km!
- In total, 2 of us spent approx. 500€, flights and the hotel are not included in this number
- Keep in mind to never trust the buses!
- If you are planning to visit a lot in a short time, consider renting a car or taking a few trips with Bolt or any other ride-hailing company, it really saves time!
- Malta is heaven for cat lovers – they are everywhere.
- Malta is full of a lot of things, so I suggest checking the spots and planning the trip a bit beforehand.
Anything else should be added? Did you feel that we did not tell enough or told too much? Please leave a comment and I will get better, or maybe not.
Until another adventure!