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How to Survive a Day in Malta on the Cheap

If you had to ask us, we’d tell you that Malta’s living costs are generally pretty reasonable. We won’t make the argument that Malta is the cheapest country to live in or even have a holiday in, but we do firmly believe that it’s very possible to budget yourself when coming here, resulting in a stay that is not only really exciting but relatively easy on the wallet.

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Now, we do understand that when you’re in a new country, particularly if it’s for leisure purposes, you might be inclined to spend and splurge. Believe us, we’ve been there! Still, you might wake up one day wanting to give your credit card a bit of rest while in Malta. If that’s ever the case, you can consult this article as a means of getting the most out of the islands while putting in as little cash as possible.

Besides, we really do believe that some of the best things in Malta will cost you next to nothing. Budgeting your days doesn’t necessarily mean compromising them. If nothing else, let this be an exercise in truly understanding that the greatest things in life really do transcend money.

Transport

As a visitor in Malta, you’ll either be renting a car or, much more likely, making use of public transport. Buses in Malta are quite well priced in comparison to what you’d find in several other countries. Of course, everywhere in Malta is pretty close, so there’s no way we could justify something like a €10 single journey train ticket. In fact, the standard bus rate here is €2 for a total use of two hours, meaning that you can use your bus ticket more than once.

That’s what we’d call a reasonable price, but of course if you travel constantly the bus fare might start looking a bit unfair. That’s why it’s worth the minor investment it takes to get a bus card suited to your needs. There are three cards mainly targeted to non-citizens, and these are the Explore Card for Adults, the Explore Card for Children, and the 12 Single Day Journeys Card.

The first two cost €21 and €15 respectively, and provide unlimited use for a whole week. The last card, which costs €15, is great if you’re not going to be using the bus too much and if you’re going to stay for longer than a week, but for the slight price difference we highly recommend going for the Explore Card option in most situations.

Food

It doesn’t take much to feast like a king in Malta. There are plenty of really fancy restaurants here you might want to check out at least once, but of course most people don’t have the cash to pay top dollar for food every single day. If you’re looking for great deals on lunch and dinner, prepare to feel like a winner with our suggestions.

If you’ve been in Malta even for the grand total of half an hour, it’s inevitable that the word pastizzi will have been mentioned in your presence. If you somehow do not already know what these are, they are possibly Malta’s most iconic food. They also happen to be dirt cheap (but taste much, much better than dirt). A savoury pastry usually either consisting of ricotta cheese or peas, the average one will run you around 40c. Don’t go crazy with these, despite the price, as they’re not exactly the healthiest thing around. They’re sure to make you lick your lips, though.

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If you’re also craving the most inexpensive desert you can find, nothing will beat a couple of imqaret from an outdoors stall. You can find these here and there, but the most famous is easily the Dates Kiosk in Valletta. The name is more than apt, as imqaret are fried pastries with a filling made from dates. Just like the pastizzi mentioned above, you can get full on imqaret with spare change.

Another alternative for Maltese cuisine is heading to a baker’s shop to buy a piping hot ftira, which is an iconic kind of bread made here. This might be a slightly pricier option, but only if you choose to buy other items to make a sandwich. Fresh ftajjar (the plura of ftira) smell so good you might end up eating them as soon as you buy them! Why not get one in the morning for an extremely filling breakfast?

Of course, you will want to wash that delicious food down with a drink. No trip to Malta is complete without tasting a couple of our local beers, which easily hold their own against plenty of foreign beers. We dare you to try a Cisk beer and disagree – it’s just not possible. The really good news? The average price for a local beer is €1.50. If you find the right supermarket, you might even get the whole pint for that price.

The sights

This is the crux of it all, isn’t it? You really don’t need us to tell you that Malta is gorgeous. The best part about this fact is that experiencing Malta’s beauty is free, once you’re here.

Put down those postcards depicting Maltese sights, and go experience those sights first hand. You can’t call Malta breath-taking if you don’t let it take your breath away.

Take a hike. That’s not an insult – Malta has plenty of wonderful and green walking hiking areas (and we’ll definitely make it a point to talk more about them in the future). Dingli, Chadwick Lakes, and Bidnija are just a few areas where you can stretch your legs and soak in the greenery. Plus, they also make great spots where you can relax and have a picnic.

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Though it’s getting somewhat colder, spending time at a beach is always an option here, provided that the weather isn’t rough. You don’t even need to swim either – relaxing on the shore and breathing in that fresh saltwater air while looking at the crystal clear seas and rocky surroundings is more than enough. Ramla l-Ħamra, Riviera, Fekruna, and Golden Bay are just a few places that will make anyone feel at one with nature.

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