Malta’s honeycomb-coloured capital, Valletta is an intriguing huddle of ambient streets, sprawling squares and diverse architecture. From gilded Baroque cathedrals to secret courtyards with wrought-iron gates and swaying palms, you won’t be short of photo opportunities in this compact city. Many use Valletta as a base for road and boat trips out to rocky, clear-watered bays, ancient archaeological sites and hops to neighbouring spots like the island of Gozo. Save your hotel cash for daily jaunts and bed down instead at one of these affordable places to stay.
A five-minute walk to the main bus station, from which you can ride across the island for a couple of Euros, this cosy guesthouse has a shabby-chic aesthetic. Leather-bound books and vintage clocks add character to the lobby, while rooms have simple white bedding, colour-blocked bedspreads and cushions in lavender or teal, plus canvas wall art. It’s not fancy, but rooms with multiple double beds, or doubles mixed with twins, make it unbeatable value for families and groups of mates.
Sitting in your private hot tub on a secluded roof terrace in one of The Barrister’s premier suites, you won’t believe the rates at this friendly old town hotel. Owner Mark keeps a close eye on everything to make sure your stay is faultless, while you get to recline in sharply designed, contemporary rooms with fabric headboards, marble countertops and industrial-feel light fixtures. It’s a short stroll to the best restaurants and bars, so you won’t have to splurge on taxis, either.
With scarlet-painted balconies and window frames overlooking a leafy stone courtyard, there’s a picturesque tranquility to this simple, historic hotel. Sandwiched between top sights St John’s Co-Cathedral and Upper Barrakka Gardens, the location is spot-on; and value-lovers will adore the character of its artfully cluttered, stone-walled rooms. Some have colourful chandeliers or upcycled bedside tables, others feature canopied four-posters or vintage floor tiles. Fling open your curtains in most to find brilliant views of centuries-old façades and belltowers.
A short walk from Valletta’s waterfront, in the pretty Floriana neighbourhood, 23 Boutique serves up style for a steal. From the moment you enter its honeycomb façade with its glossy teal-painted door and window frames, design details draw the eye. Wrought iron, exposed-stone arches and Spanish-tiled floors, there are circular mirrors and bowl-style sinks, too. Cloud-like mattresses and a continental breakfast belie this hotel’s bargain rates.
A minute’s walk from the ferry-served Sliema waterfront, this pared-back B&B has all the essentials. Minimalist white, black and pine rooms have seemingly floating beds on wooden platforms, slatted wood screens and potted snake plants; the smart reception doubles as a breakfast room with an outdoor cafe terrace that’s great for a morning coffee. A 24-hour front desk with an approachable team means help is at hand whenever you need it.
Fringing Sliema’s marina, Pebbles is an affordable guesthouse with a bit of a party spirit. As well as its own in-house cocktail lounge and Asian-fusion restaurant, MedAsia, guests get access to a ‘beach club’ of loungers set around a pool on a rocky promontory, with fringed parasols, crocheted hammocks and a drinks service on tap. Back at base, rooms are light, bright and no-frills; some family-sized and with balconies and kitchenettes.
A half-hour walk from Valletta’s old town, in neighbouring Sliema, this bohemian hostel has the face of a picture-book inn, complete with protruding Maltese balcony. Inside, pretty Mediterranean floor tiles lead you to hallways muralled with birds and lotuses; bare-bones rooms sleeping between one and six have metal-framed single or bunk beds, old-fashioned sinks and smart desks built from breeze blocks. A ramshackle rooftop is a great place to socialise with your fellow backpackers and shoestring adventurers.
A five-minute walk from the iconic belltowers of St John’s Co-Cathedral, in the heart of the old town, Paolina gives a wow-factor welcome with its powder-blue doors, ornately painted hallways and marble floors. Follow the red carpet upstairs to find simple but characterful rooms with pretty floor tiles or embroidered carpets, plus super-modern, immaculate tiled bathrooms. One lucky occupant of a mega-suite gets a sprawling terrace with a drinks area, loungers and alfresco Jacuzzi.
Cream and taupe rooms have been tastefully done up at this affordable boutique hotel, surrounded on all sides by the historic, tumbling rooftops of Valletta’s old town. A handful even have lovely sea views. In your downtime, the hotel’s no-frills rooftop plunge pool is the place to cool off; or set off on foot to discover the nearby city walls, Hastings Garden and countless intricately detailed churches.
Looking for more cheap hotels? Check out our guide to the best budget-friendly hotels in Malta, then book your stay on Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.