Malta is a beautiful country filled with culture, history and some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world…and all my uncultured ass could focus on was trying to find the location where Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo’s wedding was filmed. Game of Thrones fans, you get it. Thankfully, by the end of the trip I was able to pull my mind away from my all-consuming fantasy world and see all the other wonderful sights Malta had to offer. And, because it was my friend’s 21st birthday and I’m a borderline college alcoholic (shhhh it’s not real until you graduate), a lot of those sights included the club interiors of the notoriously wild Paceville nightlife. So are you ready to explore Malta from the view of a broke, wild traveler?
If you regularly follow my blog, you know that I’ve had a lot of fun at many different hostels in Europe. Most of them were good, some of them were great, our hostel in Malta was amazing. Hands down, no competition. Marco Polo Hostel in St. Julien’s Malta took the gold. Marco Polo Hostel is clean, fun, affordable, and a five minute walk from Paceville’s Triq San Gorg (St. George’s Road), which is essentially Malta’s Party Avenue. The hostel also has a rooftop bar, which is always full of fun college students drinking and mingling (when we stayed there they were hosting the entire Maltese-British rugby team, talk about good luck).
Fair warning: not for the health conscious.
The Maltese Platter
While exploring the walled, medieval city of Mdina, we stopped for a snack at one of the local restaurants. The Maltese Platter is a common appetizer all over the country and usually consists of sun-dried tomatoes, olives, ġbejniet (cheese), bigilla (mashed beans) with crackers and kunserva (tomato spread on hard, crusty bread). Ours included seafood and sausage!
Pastizzi is the most delicious of Maltese street food. It’s flaky pastry dough typically filled with ricotta or smashed peas. We bought them very cheap from a delicious pastizzeria down the street from our hostel, less than €2 apiece!
Another typical Maltese street food, maqruts are sweet pastries filled with date palms. Essentially a deep fried fig newton and equally as delicious!
You knew there’d be some local beer tips somewhere in here. I tried a lot of Maltese beer during my time there, and Cisk was by far the best. Nothing beats drinking an ice cold Cisk while looking over St. Julian’s Bay!
Similar to pastizzi, qassatat is a popular street food found around Malta. It consists of a flaky, pastry shell filled with ricotta, raisins, sautéed onions, fresh fava beans, meat or anchovies.
These are basically sausages encased in pastry dough, there’s even a cheese filled version if you didn’t quite feel a heart attack coming on yet. Maltese street vendors sell a lot of variations of delicious meat and cheeses stuffed inside flaky dough. It was Maltese hot pocket heaven.
The Blue Lagoon
This bright, blue lagoon is located on the island of Comino. If you do stay in Marco Polo Hostel, the staff is great for mapping out the exact location and helping you buy the ferry tickets to visit the island. They even provided a car to the ferry for much less than we would have paid for a cab ride. The ferry itself is very cheap, around €7 round-trip. The water is completely clear and perfect for swimming. It’s definitely worth a day-trip!
An attraction that we unfortunately didn’t have enough time to visit is the famous and colorful Popeye’s Village. An adorable bunch of colorful fisherman’s huts clustered around Anchor Bay, Popeye’s Village is just about as picturesque as it sounds. The village is a tribute to the Popeye movie that was shot there back in 1980.
Unfortunately, since we only had two days to explore, we did not make it to Gozo Island. On top of being one of the country’s main attractions, it is also home to the location of Daenery and Khal Drogo’s wedding, so clearly I was disappointed. The wedding was filmed over the famous Azure Window. However, since the scene was filmed, the window has collapsed into the sea. Bad luck for Game of Thrones fans…
Valletta is the current capital of Malta and dates back all the way to the 1500’s. Although the architecture is very similar to Mdina, Valletta has a much more modern vibe. The streets are full of noisy shops and fun restaurants, definitely worth a visit!
The Walled City of Mdina
Entering the walled city of Mdina, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time. Towering buildings surround the streets on every sides and little restaurants and shops are hidden in the stone. Mdina is also home to the Game of Thrones filming location where Catelyn and Ned Stark said their final farewell (try not to tear up when you visit).
The best part of Paceville/St. Julian’s is the outrageous nightlife. Definitely the place to be if you’re a broke and wild traveler. Here are a few of our favorites during the 21st birthday weekend!
Footloose Fun Bar
We ended up back here every night we went out. Located on St. George’s Road and home to some of the best music in Malta, the drinks were reasonable and the crowd was a blast!
Our second favorite club in Malta, Club Havana was the place to go if you’re in the mood to dance all night. A little more crowded and expensive than Footloose, but still loads of fun.
Fuego Salsa Bar
The place to go if you’re sick of American pop music. Number one on the latin dance scene in Paceville, Fuego Salsa Bar is always a good time!
There’s much more of Malta left to be explored. It’s not a country that can be seen in two and a half hungover days. Hopefully you have more time to spend there than I did and my Malta Bucket List makes your trip a little easier.
Thanks for reading!