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Malta, the beauty of going slow

by Nikos Taskos
14 minutes read

Malta has a serious reputation as a package-holiday beach destination. And it’s easy to see why.

But there’s so much more to uncover.

The Maltese Archipelago can be your antidote to a hectic big-city routine.

Provided you know where to look.

traditional maltese house with green door
Traditional Maltese house at Saint Paul’s Bay (Credits: Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie)

With the rise of social media, there’s a proverbial race amongst Instagrammers to tick as many bucket list boxes in the fastest time.

Well, that’s also the quickest way to miss the very essence of Malta.

Old towns, delectable dinners, long evening walks in the countryside and interaction with the locals. If this sounds like your type of holiday, then slow travel might be just for you.

Valletta narrow streets with colourful houses
Take your time to explore Valletta, it’s so worth it (Credits: Christophe Faugere)

Wait, what’s slow travel?

If you are looking for a more relaxed approach, allowing you to make better connections with the local people and their culture, food and music then slow travel is the way forward.

Looking for inspiration for your next holiday?

Next, you will find a few reasons why slow travel in Malta could be just what you are looking for.

More of a visual type?

Our friends at loveholidays.com have prepared an interactive map with the best cultural locations in Malta. Visit from desktop for the best experience!

mdina narrow streets
A narrow street in Mdina (Credits: Alexandru Taradaciuc)

Cultural & historical hotspots

Over 350 churches, 3 UNESCO world heritage sites and over 300 monuments (in the city of Valletta alone).

Malta is one of Europe’s undisputed historical hotspots. All of this is packed into an area of just 316 sq km. 

The density of historical & cultural places of interest makes Malta the ideal spot for the slow traveller.

popeye village by the sea at malta
The Film set from the 1980 musical “Popeye” (Credits: Michaela)

Instead of having to travel vast distances between places of interest, the proximity of Malta’s hotspots allows you to meander from one to another without feeling rushed off your feet. 

For instance, a trip combining two of the country’s world heritage sites, the city of Valletta to Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum would take just over an hour on foot or 20 minutes by bus.

Is there a better way to form connections with the country and its fascinating past?

front view of Mdina's metropolitan cathedral under blue sky
Front view of Mdina’s Metropolitan Cathedral & Museum

The ultimate slow food experience

Food is one of the simplest ways to understand other cultures.

If you want to do slow travel properly, then the local cuisine will play a huge role in your holiday.

Pastizzi are a traditional Maltese pastry dough filled with ricotta, mashed peas, or peas and ground beef.
Traditional Maltese Pastizzi (Credits: twomarketgirls.com)

And Malta is quickly becoming one of the go-to destinations for holiday-making foodies.


The Maltese Archipelago sits in the heart of the Mediterranean. Therefore, Maltese cuisine takes inspiration from its colonial past, with French and Italian flavours being two common features of Maltese menus.

traditional rabbit stew or Stuffat tal-fenek
Maltese rabbit stew or Stuffat tal-fenek (Credits: theredbistro.com)

Always fancied a chef’s uniform?

Go on, rent a farmhouse with a rustic kitchen and make the most of Malta’s seasonal products.

More into eating than cooking?

Instead of stuffing a few leftover pastries from the breakfast buffet into your rucksack for lunch, take your time to engage with local restaurants and their customs. 

Rabbit cooked in garlic and wine, fresh cheese, oodles of pasta, pastries and cakes! Yum!

Maltese sandwich il-ftira
The Maltese sandwich il-ftira (Credits: tvm.com.mt)

Buses & boats, your new besties

Another key component of the slow travel manifesto is to use public transport wherever possible.

Firstly, you will have to get yourself acquainted with the Maltese bus system.

With over 2,000 stops across the island, access to practically every locale, ruin, cove, fort, or cave is ensured.

the baroque gate of mdina under a blue sky, a got location
The baroque gate of Mdina – A Game of Thrones location

While buses do not provide the fastest route across the island they are an opportunity to check out the views.

Slow travel means enjoying the journey as much as the destination and Malta certainly favors this philosophy.

Around 75% of Malta’s population own a tallinja card, a contactless ticket used on Malta and Goza’s bus system, showing just how popular public transport is with the locals.

What’s better than seeing places only the locals would usually see?

cliff, a ruined house and see near Ħaż-Żabbar in malta
A card-postale location near Ħaż-Żabbar (Credits: Polina Kovaleva)

With services typically running between 05:30 and 23:00, the public transport system in Malta is accommodating to even the slowest of travellers!

Don’t forget to use the water taxis!

They offer a scenic (and fast) way to travel between Valletta, Sliema, and the Three Cities. Or you can grab the ferry to visit Gozo and Comino.

Stay local

Avoid the noisy resort areas buzzing with pubs, casinos, and traffic. Instead, set your base on a sleepier town.

  • Rent a farmhouse in Gozo for more genuine local experience and untouched landscapes
  • Mellieħa for beautiful beaches and a local vibe
  • Rabad & Mdina for quiet nights, culture & history

marsaxlokk lighthouse malta in the edge of a cliff
A lighthouse near Marsaxlokk, a traditional fishing village (Credits: Polina Kovaleva)

What’s slow travel?

Slow travel is a philosophy emphasizing on connection – local food, music, people and culture. Learn more about slow travel here!

Is Malta a slow travel destination?

Malta can be an ideal slow travel destination provided you know where to look. For more information visit our article!

What’s there to see in Malta?

Culture, history, luxury, beaches, landscapes, cuisine – Malta has it all. View the top destinations in Malta!

I would like to thank Jessica Pierce, Content Producer & Researcher, for her contribution to this article. As always, all thoughts & opinions remain my own.

Do you agree with the slow traveling philosophy? Share your thoughts below!

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