What comes to mind when you think about Malta? Fabulous architecture? An exotic island filled with possibilities? Historical treasures? Delicious gastronomy? Well, you’re correct in all accounts. The fabulous cities in Malta will take your breath away.
But wait, isn’t Malta a very small island? How can there be more than one attractive city here? Yes, Malta indeed covers no more than 122 square miles, and so it is not very big. However, it still displays a wide variety within its walls. Don’t believe us yet? After this tour, you will have no doubts that visiting all cities in Malta is quite worth your while. Let’s go!
Main Cities in Malta
Population: 6.309 inhabitants
Climate: Warm/ Mediterranean (30°C in the summer and 15°C in the winter)
Geographic situation: Northern tip of the island of Malta, on a peninsula.
Valletta summarizes the history of Malta between its cobbled streets, forts, and churches. So, this city, with more than 400 years of history, is the reflection of a flourishing Renaissance era. Walking through its streets is to be ecstatic with buildings of Baroque architecture dating from the fourteenth century. Discover the secrets of the ancient knights of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John and feel part of history. Thus, Valletta is ideal for travelers who love culture and tradition.
Among the points of interest, you’ll find Saint John’s co-cathedral, a church with a discreet facade. And, behind its doors, it hides beautifully decorated altars and works by the famous Italian painter Caravaggio. Also, the Fort of San Telmo stands out, it protected the city during the Great Siege by the Turks in 1565.
Likewise, museums, gardens, theaters, monuments, and ports shape a city that UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site in 1980. Thus, living in Valletta is definitely a journey through history. Here, you will enjoy a warm climate and the tranquility of a walled city of only 0.8 km2.
And, if it’s nature what you’re looking for, Valletta is your place. Also, you can take a boat tour to the Blue Lagoon and surrounding water areas, like the lesser-known Crystal Lagoon. Also, to keep enjoying the outdoors, take an adventurous tour through archaeological sites and fishing villages. And, hey, who knows what treasures you’ll find to keep forever.
Population: 243 inhabitants
Geographic situation: On a hill in central Malta, 15 kilometers northwest of Valletta<
Mdina is probably one of the best-preserved walled cities in all of Europe. Founded on the top of a hill in the center of the island of Malta, in 700 BC you’ll find cream-colored limestone buildings. Explore them through cobbled streets. So, enjoy a city that looks more like a fairytale place.
In the old capital of Malta tranquility prevails. And, it is that in a city of only 243 inhabitants. Thus, you can practically get to know all the people in the city. Therefore, it is known as the City of Silence, among locals. However small, Mdina has many places of interest that you can visit. The Cathedral of Mdina and Palazzo Falson are examples of this.
Also, if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you might be interested to know that Mdina’s incredible well-preserved medieval-style buildings. They served as the recording set for some scenes from the series. And, you should know that of all the cities in Malta, this one looks like something out of a storybook!
After a tour of the dreamlike locations, freshen up at the Fontanella Tea Garden. Unfortunately, you might have to wait for a bit. But if you snatch a table on the surrounding walls, it will be quite worth the wait. And, if you still have a medieval, historical pique. Why not enjoy the Knights of Malta Experience? It will take you all the way back to the 16th century. Or, go deeper still and visit the catacombs. Do you dare?
Don’t leave Malta without visiting Mdina. You can thank us later!
Population: 13.792 inhabitants
Lifestyle: leisure and nightlife
Geographical situation: on the coast, 7 km north of Valletta
Of all the cities in Malta, St. Julian’s is undoubtedly the most touristy. And, it was built after the expansion of settlers who used to visit the old Chapel of St. Julian. Now, this city has become the heart of nightlife in Malta. Since it has one of the few sandy beaches in the entire country: St George Bay.
So, the hotels, bars, and restaurants of the city; especially those in the Paceville neighborhood fill up every time summer arrives.
Yes, many compare its nightlife to that of Mykonos or Ibiza. But, the reality is that St. Julian’s shines with its own light. Thus, celebrating surrounded by buildings of high historical value, with that Renaissance touch, is something that very few cities in the world can offer.
But, not everything is the nightlife in St. Julian’s. So, if you are one of the travelers looking for daytime entertainment, the city has plenty for you. For example, shopping centers, bowling alleys, cinemas, and casinos open their doors to give you a practically non-stop leisure offer.
Besides, a walk through Spinola Bay is sure to relieve you of any stress. And, if you prefer to go off the beaten path, boy do we have the thing for you! You can spend a three-hour tour of St. Julian’s burgeoning street art. So, take photos or simply enjoy the walk. St. Julian’s is, without a doubt, one of the most varied cities in Malta.
Population: 3.660 inhabitants
Lifestyle: serene and gastronomic
Geographical situation: 11 km from Valletta
Known as the Fishermen’s Village in Malta, Marsaxlokk is a picturesque village. It is decorated by the famous Luzzu, colorful gondolas protected by the eye of Osiris, used for fishing. This town was one of the first settlements built in Malta. And, even today, its inhabitants preserve all the tradition of fishing and a simple life facing the sea.
Therefore, travelers who dare to visit this town know that they are entering the most authentic experience that Malta can offer. Its streets, piers and the sound of the waves crashing against the coast create an atmosphere of serenity.
But, in addition to the Luzzu, Marsaxlokk is recognized among the cities in Malta as a place where you live for food. Every Sunday, the largest fishermen’s market in the country opens shops. Here you can get closer to the locals to learn about their trade. And, of course, enjoy a delicious fish prepared in the best Maltese style.
And, of course, nature is always just one step ahead. Enjoy St. Peter’s Pool and Marsaxlokk bay for a great day with water Or, for a bit of architecture, why not visit Fort Delimara? It has even been used as a movie set. Or go on a quest to find St. Lucian Tower, built by the aforementioned Knights of Malta!
The Three Cities in Malta
Population: Senglea, 2.720. Cospicua, 5.170. Vittoriosa, 2.489
Geographic situation: one league from Valletta
Senglea, Vittoriosa, and Cospicua are three small towns located in the area known as La Cottonera, just in front of Valletta.
These Three Cities of Malta, which were built by the Knights of the Order of Malta, served as a refuge. And they defended the country from foreign invasions. Currently, these towns, little frequented by tourists, are perfect for adventurers. Here, you’ll discover the country’s deepest traditions and live like a local.
Cospicua is the largest city of the three. From it, the peninsulas that form the other two cities emerge. Vittoriosa and Senglea, the smallest of all, have impeccably preserved architecture despite invasions and wars.
These towns follow an architecture similar to that of Valletta, with forts, churches, and some museums distributed throughout the city. Of course, with less commercial activity than in the capital.
The Three Cities may not be the best place to live in Malta as a foreigner. However, as a place of interest, they are worth a visit.
Population: 11.470 habitantes
Geographic situation: 12 km north of Valletta
Rabat is one of the major cities in Malta. And quite worthy of the title, because it was built on an ancient Roman villa with a long history. In this town, one of the main tourist attractions is the Catacombs of San Pablo. A series of woven underground paths were built in the 3rd century BC. They served as a refuge for the saint when Christianity was forbidden in Rome.
The city itself is not too big. However, for the more detailed eyes, it has placed full of charm where you can enjoy quiet days. For example, eating some delicious and traditional cannolis or pastizzi in the Plaza Mayor of Rabat. Thus, this has to be, without a doubt, an experience that must be lived.
The days in Rabat pass slowly and calmly. Far from the bustle of other cities in Malta, Rabat stands out for its simple and unhurried lifestyle. But, fear not, there’s plenty for you to see. The mausoleum of Mohammad V is an architectural wonder. The Chellah is also quite worth the visit. But don’t forget your sunglasses! And, if it is cuteness and fuzziness your after, make a stop at the Jardin Zoologique! Likewise, you can visit other places of interest. Such as the Wignancourt Museum, Palazzo Bernard, or the Dingli cliffs.
Population: 22.591 inhabitants
Geographic situation: Halfway between Valletta and St. Julian’s
Sliema is the second-largest tourism hub in Malta along with St. Julian’s. In fact, many travelers choose to stay here. And why wouldn’t they? It shows a varied offer of restaurants and shopping centers next to the beach.
Due to its deep-rooted fishing tradition, Sliema is a quieter place than St. Julian’s. Where you can also enjoy a wide range of day and night entertainment. For starters, Sliema is the perfect place to enjoy quiet walks along its rocky beaches or its promenade, called The Ferries. At night, the bars prepare their best cocktails to liven up the atmosphere.
Sliema is your city if you want to live in a more modern environment, compared to other cities in Malta. In this city, your taste for gastronomy, shopping, and leisure activities will be satisfied. We promise.
As we said, this is one of the most modern cities in Malta. And, as such, you’ll find more varied attractions. Such as the Christine X Art Gallery, which promotes the work of local and emerging artists. And, for more culture, there’s the Salesian Theatre, built a century ago. You can even take a motorboat ride! Of course, you can also enjoy the classics. For example, splash in ancient Roman baths. Those guys sure knew how to enjoy leisure 😉
How to Choose the Best City in Malta to Live In
Alright, now you know more about the main cities of Malta. At this point, you may be wondering which is the best for studying and working. Well, here are the criteria that you must take into account to make your choice.
If your intention is to work in Malta, you should carefully review the job opportunities offered by each city. As a recommendation, the cities of St. Julian’s and Sliema can offer you better deals. This is because they are more touristy and welcome foreigners who want to work in the Hospitality sector. But don’t rule out Valletta or Marsaxlokk, because if you know how to search well, you will surely find an opportunity.
On the other hand, cities like Rabat, Mdina, or the Three Cities are not the best alternative to find work in Malta. Due to their static lifestyle, they may not provide you with the best conditions to work.
A fundamental aspect that you must evaluate to select the perfect cities of Malta is the educational offer available. The entire country has high-quality standards of education. But, some cities have specific programs that you cannot access elsewhere. Analyze and compare the programs of the educational centers and choose the one that best suits your projects.
Malta has three large study centers:The University of Malta, Middlesex University, and Triagon Academy. But, the course offering is wide, so check them out thoroughly!
With GrowPro, you have access to some interesting learning opportunities. Check them out!
Cost of Living
Finally, the cost of living is a variable that we cannot ignore. As a general rule, the more touristy cities like St. Julian’s, Silema, and even Valletta are more expensive.
Also, keep in mind that Malta is part of the European Union, so you must have your finances prepared to pay in euros.
Next, we leave you a list of the main costs, on average, that you will have to bear to live in Malta.
- Rent a flat: € 530
- Transport: € 60
- Food: € 100
- Mobile phone plan: € 20
- Leisure: € 200
Get to Know the Cities of Malta with GrowPro
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