Malta is the hidden gem of the Mediterranean. Lesser known to tourists than Italy and Greece, this charming island is a delightful mix of beauty and culture. The picturesque capital Valetta is brimming with medieval sites and wonderful architecture, interweaved with bustling streets and family-run restaurants.
Cute fishing villages can be found all across the island, boasting views into every direction of the southern Mediterranean. Because of its proximity to northern Africa (Tunis is only 250 miles away), Malta experiences warm weather all year round. Tourists and locals can be found on the island’s many pristine beaches, such as at Mellieha Bay and at Golden Bay.
Even more attractive than the warm weather and historical buildings is Malta’s thriving and authentic gastronomic scene, home to the traditional dishes of Bragoli, Kapunata and Lampuki Pie. Sitting in a small restaurant, sipping Maltese wine, looking out into the marina of a small fishing village – this is the ideal Maltese getaway.
One of the best seaside villages for eating is the petite settlement of Sliema. Here you can find delicious cuisine and plenty of choice for visitors all year round. From traditional to Asian-infused menus, these are five of the best restaurants for food lovers.
This little family-run taverna is the pride of local chef Steve Schembri, who serves traditional local dishes alongside Italian classics. Expect famous Maltese service from manager Gino, who likes to crack out the guitar and entertain his guests with smooth conversation. In addition to the generous portions, L’Artist offers a wide selection of local wines.
Nestled in a quiet street just off the waterfront, Il-Merill is a quintessential Maltese restaurant. Taking its name from the blue rock thrush, the national songbird of Malta, this eatery aims to serve the best of local island food for reasonable prices.
Rocksalt puts quality at the heart of everything it does. Whether it’s the food, service or lighting, this café and wine bar brings style to Sliema’s seafront. Influenced by a number of European cuisines, such as French and Spanish tapas, this is the village’s high-class option.
Inside Ta’ Kris, visitors sit among the features of one of Sliema’s oldest bakeries, converted into a Maltese restaurant and run by Chef Chris. Serving dishes from marinated pork chops to rabbit, this is the perfect destination for meat lovers looking for a local twist.
Medasia Fusion Lounge
Located on Sliema’s coastal road, Medasia Fusion Lounge offers a break from the traditional food found at heart of the seafront. Mixing Mediterranean and Asian flavours, the menu draws from Thai, Chinese and Japanese influences and jumbles them up with island classics. The building itself is split into a large lounge dining area and a quieter formal eating space. You can book a private room as well if you fancy a more intimate meal.
How to Get There
Due to Malta being a reasonably small and compact island, there is only one airport to worry about. Direct flights from the London airports to Malta Airport (MLA) last less than three hours and never become overly long for travellers. Major airlines such as easyJet, Monarch and Ryanair fly direct to Malta Airport for relatively low prices, especially in the off-season.
Once you touch down, Sliema is only a 20-minute drive away. Let Shuttle Direct know about your travel plans, and they will send a driver to meet you at the terminal and whisk you away to your hotel in no time at all. You will be looking around churches and eating in cafés before you know it!
Where to Stay
The Waterfront Hotel – Just a twelve-minute walk from the beach, the Waterfront Hotel is on the sea boulevard of Sliema. From its balconies, visitors can look across the port to Valetta and Manoel Island. There are plenty of fantastic restaurants surrounding the hotel and it will never take longer than a short walk to find the best the fishing village has to offer. All the rooms are also air-conditioned and have an en-suite bathroom.
Top Tip: For more information on day trips to Manoel Island and Valetta, take a look at this guide.
The Diplomat Hotel – Located in the centre of Sliema, this hotel is located on Tower Road, one of the resort’s most popular areas. The main beach is only a ten-minute walk away, but if you can’t wait that long, there is a rocky beach just outside. The hotel features an impressive rooftop pool, and rooms contain all the essential air-conditioning and en-suite facilities.
Carlton Hotel – Also on Tower Road, Hotel Carlton is right in the middle of the action. You can’t go wrong with the outdoor pool and buffet breakfasts at the Carlton, which has modern air-conditioned rooms that provide maximum comfort. Step out the door and you are immediately greeted by a vast array of cafés and bars for your enjoyment.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the favourite airport transfer provider for thousands of tourists across Europe and North Africa. Offering low-cost, fixed fairs that are agreed upon before you travel, Shuttle Direct transfers cannot be beaten for ease of use and price. The local drivers know all of the destinations of your visit like the back of their hand, so if you have any questions before your holiday begins, you may be able to get some insider tips on the way to your hotel.