Hop On Hop Off in Malta
Malta is a little island in Mediterranean with beautiful beaches, vivid night life and crystal clear blue water. Being a British colony in the past it is a place where the majority of population speaks English and drives on the left side of the road. Tab water is not good for drinking and Sangria is ridiculously cheap.
Being a small island it gives you plenty opportunities to discover its different coasts and towns, and you can do so by either renting a car, taking an intercity bus(es) or taking a hop on – hop off bus like we did.
What is good about Hop On – Hop Off bus?
It is cheaper than taking multiple different return buses
It goes to a lot of different cities
It is frequent
It operates almost whole day, with the last bus leaving at 19:00 (just before the sunset)
It tells you a story about the places you pass
It is accompanied by a refreshing breeze meaning you won’t be too hot
It is interactive so you won’t feel lonely
Hop On in Bugibba
During our visit to Malta we were staying in town called Bugibba, located on a northern coast, close to St. Paul’s bay. So of course we started our journey from here.
With the speakers on we were listening to few facts about Bugibba as the bus was driving through the city. Bugibba is a popular area for Brits and a lot of them come here to retire. Again it has a lot to do with Malta being a British colony till 1963.
When we left surroundings of the city we were passing by a lot of salt pans situated alongside the coast. Salt production is very big in Malta and apparently some salt pans are over 300 years old.
Our first stop – Marsaskala
We chose Marsaskala as our first destination because we wanted to see a fisherman’s market we heard so much about. Alas, we arrived almost by the end of it, around 12 pm. Still we got to see some bits and pieces, but what I liked the most were boats. Colourful, vivid, blue, green, big, small, different kind of boats were parked along the bay turning this little village into a picturesque scenery.
We took some photos in the boat (typical!) and went for a little stroll. Marsaskala bay being a fishermen’s village has a lot of seafood restaurants where you can have daily specials that were caught the same morning. We stopped at the doors of one of these places when we saw that they serve Tuna steak. We weren’t very hungry so we decided to split one portion of Tuna steak and I am glad we did, because the portion was Big – it had two pieces of medium-raw fried tuna, grilled baby potatoes with rosemary and a side salad. Everything for a tenner. Ten euro! That was the best tuna steak I ever had in my life.
Next stop – Blue Grotto
Happy and full we waited for the next red bus and went to Blue Grotto. I didn’t know what to expect from it and what I saw fascinated me. Already at the bust stop I could feel that this place is going to stunning. And it was actually even better that this. Blue Grotto consists of sea caverns and there are tours allowing you to visit them by boat. The most popular one – the Blue Grotto is the biggest and I highly recommend visiting it. It will take you along the coast and get in to little caves with water so blue and so clear it is unbelievable. You can also dive in if and swim there if you wish.
While we were there we not only enjoyed every minute of it but also met a guy with two stunning birds – a hawk and an owl and we could take photos with them. And the thing is that the photos are made on donation basis. So you can put as little as a euro and get a photo of yourself with an owl and for a moment feel as it is your pet and it will listen to your commands, fly to Hogwarts or anything else. In reality of course the bird listens to the owner but one can pretend, right? 😉
It felt just a little bit scary at first but it was worth a shot. Definitely!
End the day in Valetta
For our next destination we chose Valetta. We actually came back to Valetta the other day too because we wanted to see more of it.
Valetta is the capital of Malta and it is also a UNESCO heritage, meaning it has a unique world significance. Valetta is very beautiful city with so many places to go to. We didn’t know any of them so we just explored. We went where we felt like, taking turns, taking photos, stopping at the cafe’s, gazing at passers by.
Give yourself time to explore the city, it isn’t really big but it is exciting. It is old, with buildings from around 16th century and up, it has history and surprisingly an incredible amount of cars.
You can go all the way up to Upper Barrakka Gardens (cause there are Lower Barrakka gardens too) where you will have a view on a harbour and the city itself. We were lucky with our hop on -hop off bus schedule because we were there to see the sunset. If you are into photography you can take wonderful shots may it be landscape or portrait because sunset is known to be the golden hour. We didn’t want to miss it and were very pleased with our photos from that day 🙂
Trip through Malta by hop on hop off bus was one of the most memorable bus trips for me, because we saw so much in one day and we were overjoyed and impressed. It was a perfect idea to dedicate a day to the journey and explore Malta.
As I said before we went back to Valetta because we knew what’s there. Such tours are like a map where you decide what is important what is intriguing and what is worth to come back to and see more closely.