Malta vs. Portugal

Making a choice between Malta and Portugal for your next vacation might have you in a bit of a tizzy. Both offer splendid experiences, whether you're a history buff, beach lover, food connoisseur, or an outdoor adventurer. Malta, a gem in the heart of the Mediterranean, boasts rich historical sites and crystal clear waters. Portugal, on the other hand, is a vibrant blend of tradition and modernity, famed for its stunning coastline and delectable cuisine. But which will be the perfect backdrop for your unforgettable journey?
Malta vs. Portugal

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Continuing your quest to decide between Malta and Portugal, it’s easy to see why the decision isn’t a simple one. Both these fascinating destinations are brimming with unique charms and experiences that can make any journey memorable. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into these two stunning countries, unraveling their hidden treasures, and guiding you towards making the perfect choice for your dream vacation.

History & Culture

Looking to immerse yourself in rich history and vibrant culture on your trip? You’re in for a treat with either Malta or Portugal.

The historical narrative of Malta is a fascinating one. As one of the world’s smallest countries, it packs quite a punch when it comes to history. The capital city, Valletta, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, full of baroque architecture, and testament to the Knights of St. John who built it in the 16th century.

On the other hand, Portugal, one of Europe’s oldest nations, offers a diverse cultural experience. The legacy of the Age of Discovery is strongly felt, especially in cities like Lisbon and Porto. From Roman ruins to Moorish castles and medieval cobblestone villages, the history of Portugal is rich and varied.

While Malta’s history is closely tied to the Mediterranean, Portugal’s cultural narrative is a blend of Western Europe and its former colonial territories. You’ll find distinct regional traditions, from music and dance to handicrafts and festivals, showcasing Portugal’s multifaceted cultural identity.

Comparatively, Malta’s culture is a blend of influences from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, reflected in their language, cuisine, and traditions. Festas – religious festivals in honor of the patron saints, are major cultural events, provide a peek into Malta’s unique traditions.

In conclusion, both Malta and Portugal serve up an array of historical and cultural experiences for the enthusiastic explorer. Whether it’s the fortified city of Valletta or the historical treasures of Lisbon, the rich tapestry of influences in Malta or the diverse traditions in Portugal, you’re sure to have a culturally immersive experience in either country.

Attractions & Activities

Looking to feed your adventurous spirit in Malta or Portugal? Both countries are well-endowed with attractions and activities that will tickle your fancy. Here’s what you can expect.

When in Malta, the Ancient temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra are a must-visit. These archaeological sites, dating back to 3600-3200 BC, are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world. You could also explore the silent city of Mdina. It’s like stepping back in time, with its narrow streets, grand palaces, and magnificent views.

Portugal, on the other hand, has its own unique offerings. A visit to the town of Sintra will leave you in awe. Its fairytale-like palaces and mystical hills are a treat for the eyes. And don’t forget the Pena Palace – it’s like a color burst right out of a storybook.

As for activities, in Malta, your love for nature will lead you to the Dingli Cliffs. Hiking here gives you breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Malta is also renowned for its diving spots. The clear waters and abundant marine life offer a whole new world to explore beneath the surface.

In Portugal, a trip to the Douro Valley for a winery tour is a fantastic experience. The landscape of rolling hills and vineyards is truly picturesque. Another highlight is a traditional Fado performance. This traditional music genre, deeply emotional and soulful, is sure to touch your heart.

In summary, whether it’s the historical grandeur of Malta or the charming allure of Portugal, the adventures are aplenty. Your choice would depend on the kind of attractions and activities that resonate with your taste.


Thinking about soaking up some sun in Malta or Portugal? Each of these destinations offers beautiful beaches that are sure to give you the perfect seaside experience.

Malta, an archipelago in the Mediterranean, boasts of stunning beaches. Ghajn Tuffieha Bay is one that stands out. It’s surrounded by natural beauty, and the golden sand and clear blue waters are a sight to behold. The beach is about a kilometer long, approximately 0.6 miles, making it a perfect spot to unwind.

On the other hand, Portugal offers some of the best beaches in Europe. Praia da Marinha in the Algarve is a standout, known for its pristine beauty. The cliff formations surrounding the beach are a visual treat. The beach stretches for about 900 meters, roughly 0.56 miles, offering plenty of space to relax.

Both countries offer different beach experiences. Malta’s beaches are smaller and more secluded, providing a sense of tranquility and peace. On the contrary, Portugal’s beaches are larger and often lively, perfect for those who enjoy a vibrant beach atmosphere.

To sum up, whether it’s the intimate beaches of Malta or the lively shores of Portugal, your beach holiday is bound to be memorable. Your preference will guide you to the perfect coastal retreat.

Eating, Drinking & Nightlife

Feeling a culinary adventure coming on? Malta and Portugal both present tantalizing dishes, exciting beverages, and vibrant nightlife. You’ll find a distinct charm in each that caters to varied palates and preferences.

Let’s begin with Malta. Your food journey here will introduce you to Pastizzi, a deliciously flaky pastry filled with ricotta or peas. Seafood lovers will enjoy Lampuki Pie, a traditional fish dish with a crisp crust. You’ll find local eateries serving these delights in abundance.

Meanwhile, Portugal doesn’t lag behind in the food race. You’ll get to savor Pasteis de Nata, a creamy egg tart that’s a national favorite. Seafood lovers, meet Bacalhau à Brás, a classic Portuguese dish made with cod, potatoes, and onions. You’ll find it hard to resist these flavorful treats.

Moving on to drinks, Malta is famous for its local soft drink, Kinnie. It’s a bittersweet, orange-flavored beverage that’s refreshingly different. For wine enthusiasts, the Maltese wines are a delight.

In Portugal, you must try the iconic Port Wine. With its rich, sweet taste, it’s an experience in itself. Then there’s Ginjinha, a cherry liqueur that’s both sweet and sour and absolutely delightful.

And the nightlife? Malta offers a good mix of laid-back pubs and high-energy nightclubs, especially in areas like St Julian’s. You can enjoy live music, dance to DJ tunes, or simply soak in the night air at a beach bar.

In Portugal, Bairro Alto in Lisbon is where the nightlife really comes alive. The narrow streets fill up with people, and the air resonates with music, chatter, and laughter, creating an infectious atmosphere.

Summing up, whether you’re savoring pastries in Malta, sipping Port Wine in Portugal, or dancing the night away in either place, you’re in for a treat. Your choice will hinge on the flavors you seek and the type of night scene you prefer.


Ready to shop till you drop in Malta and Portugal? Each destination offers its own unique shopping experience.

In Malta, you will discover a blend of traditional markets and modern shopping malls. At the Marsaxlokk Fish Market, you can buy fresh fish and local produce, while the Ta’ Qali Crafts Village is perfect for handcrafted souvenirs. The Point Shopping Mall in Sliema offers international brands for the fashion-conscious shopper.

On the other hand, Portugal offers a diverse shopping scene. In Lisbon, you will find everything from high-end boutiques in Avenida da Liberdade to quirky shops in Bairro Alto. Porto’s Rua de Santa Catarina is a bustling shopping street where you can find local brands and international names.

Looking for local specialties? In Malta, consider buying handmade lace and filigree jewelry. In Portugal, you should check out cork products and azulejos, traditional painted ceramic tiles.

In conclusion, both Malta and Portugal offer delightful shopping experiences with a good mix of local and international items. Depending on your shopping list and the kind of shopping environment you enjoy, you can pick the one that suits you best.


Lay your head to rest after a day of exploring Malta or Portugal. Both countries offer varied lodging options, each with its unique charm and appeal.

In Malta, you can choose from luxury resorts, boutique hotels, or budget-friendly hostels. The majority of these are in popular areas such as Valletta and St. Julian’s. Unique to Malta are the farmhouses – renovated traditional houses equipped with modern amenities, which provide a rustic and authentic experience.

Portugal, too, has a wide array of accommodation choices. From luxury hotels in Lisbon and Porto to charming villas in Algarve, you have options galore. Then there are the pousadas – historic buildings turned into hotels, giving you a taste of Portuguese history and culture.

A significant difference is in the pricing. While accommodation in Malta tends to be more pocket-friendly, Portugal, particularly Lisbon and Porto, can be slightly more expensive, especially during peak season.

In summary, whether you opt for the rustic charm of a Maltese farmhouse or the historic luxury of a Portuguese pousada, you’re in for a comfortable stay. Your decision would be based on your budget and the kind of accommodation experience you desire.

Family-Friendliness & Children’s Activities

Whether you’re traveling with toddlers, tweens, or teenagers, Malta and Portugal offer plenty of family-friendly activities to keep your young ones entertained.

In Malta, families can enjoy a visit to the Mediterraneo Marine Park, where kids can interact with dolphins and sea lions. The Playmobil FunPark is another kid-favorite, where children can play with life-sized Playmobil toys.

Portugal, too, is packed with family-friendly attractions. The Lisbon Oceanarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world, is a hit with kids of all ages. Zoomarine Algarve, with its water rides, dolphin shows, and sandy beach, is another excellent choice for a family day out.

Both countries are known for their warm hospitality towards families. Child-friendly restaurants, accommodations with family rooms or apartments, and public areas with playgrounds are common in both Malta and Portugal.

To wrap up, both Malta and Portugal are terrific choices for a family vacation, with plenty of attractions and activities for children. The choice would depend on the kind of activities your kids enjoy and the overall experience you desire as a family.

Getting There & Getting Around

When planning your vacation to Malta or Portugal, the travel logistics matter.

To reach Malta, you’ll most likely fly into Malta International Airport. It’s a small but well-connected airport with flights from across Europe. In comparison, Portugal has several airports, with Lisbon Portela Airport and Porto’s Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport being the busiest. They have more frequent international flights, including intercontinental ones.

Once in Malta, getting around is straightforward. The island is compact, and distances are short, usually under 30 kilometers (about 19 miles). Buses are the primary public transport. There’s also the option of taxis and rental cars if you prefer.

Portugal, being a larger country, has a more extensive transportation network. Trains and buses connect the cities and towns. In cities like Lisbon and Porto, you can use the metro for quick travel. Rental cars are widely available if you wish to explore at your own pace.

In a nutshell, while getting to Portugal may offer more flight options, getting around Malta is simpler due to its smaller size. Your choice would depend on your travel preferences and the kind of travel experience you seek.


Thinking about the best time to visit Malta or Portugal? The weather plays a crucial role in your holiday plans. Let’s compare the climate in both of these beautiful destinations.

Malta has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Summer temperatures soar to highs of around 86°F (30°C), perfect for beach activities. Winter temperatures hover around 59°F (15°C), providing a cooler, more comfortable environment for sightseeing.

On the other hand, Portugal also experiences a Mediterranean climate, but with a little more variation. In the summer, especially in the Algarve region, temperatures can reach 86°F (30°C), similar to Malta. Winters, particularly in the northern regions, are chillier than in Malta, with temperatures dropping to around 50°F (10°C).

In conclusion, your choice between Malta and Portugal may depend on the time of year and the type of weather you prefer. Malta has a slightly warmer winter, while Portugal offers a hotter summer, especially in its southern regions.


A relaxing vacation also means feeling safe and secure. Let’s examine the safety aspects of both Malta and Portugal.

Malta is known for its overall safety. The crime rate is relatively low, and people are generally warm and helpful. However, like in any tourist destination, you should be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.

Portugal also enjoys a reputation as a safe country to visit. It has a low crime rate, particularly in terms of violent crime. The people are friendly and welcoming towards tourists. Yet, it’s important to practice common-sense safety precautions, just as you would in Malta or any other travel destination.

Another aspect of safety is health care. Both Malta and Portugal have efficient healthcare systems, and there are pharmacies and hospitals easily accessible in case of an emergency.

In summary, both Malta and Portugal are generally safe destinations to visit. As always, using common sense and staying alert will help ensure your holiday goes smoothly.


Planning your holiday budget is a crucial step. Let’s compare the costs you can expect in Malta and Portugal.

In general, Malta is a relatively affordable destination. Accommodation, food, and local transportation are reasonably priced. For example, a meal at a local restaurant might cost you around 15 Euros ($17), and a one-way ticket on local transport costs approximately 2 Euros ($2).

If you want to stay in a hotel, the average price for a couple is €170 ($188) per night, but you can also find cheaper options such as hostels or Airbnb rooms, which can start from €20 ($22) per night. Malta also has some attractions that are free or low-cost, such as the beaches, the historic cities of Valletta and Mdina, and the prehistoric temples.

Portugal, although it is one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe, can be slightly more expensive than Malta, particularly in the larger cities. A meal in a restaurant could cost you about 20 Euros ($23), while a one-way ticket on public transport is around 1.50 Euros ($1.7).

The average hotel price for a couple in Portugal is €100 ($110) per night, but you can also find cheaper options such as hostels or Airbnb rooms, which can start from €15 ($17) per night. Portugal also has some attractions that are free or low-cost, such as the national parks, the old towns of Dubrovnik and Split, and the islands.

In conclusion, both Malta and Portugal offer value for money to travelers. Portugal might require a slightly higher budget, especially in cities like Lisbon and Porto, but overall, both countries are affordable options for a memorable vacation.

Which Is Better – Malta or Portugal?

Choosing between Malta and Portugal for your next holiday can indeed be a challenging task. Both nations are unique in their ways, offering distinctive histories, cultures, sights, and experiences. It really boils down to your individual preferences and expectations for your holiday.

In terms of history and culture, both nations present a rich tapestry of past events and traditions. Malta’s history is quite enchanting, with ancient temples and Medieval cities, while Portugal’s seafaring past and age-old traditions offer their own allure.

If ancient history intrigues you, Malta might have a slight edge. However, for maritime history enthusiasts, Portugal could be the more exciting option.

When looking at attractions and activities, Malta shines with its unique historical sites and clear blue waters perfect for diving. Portugal, on the other hand, is a blend of vibrant city life, especially in Lisbon and Porto, and serene countryside, ideal for nature walks and wine tours. So, your preference for urban buzz or peaceful rural settings could be the deciding factor here.

Comparing the beaches, both Malta and Portugal offer beautiful coastlines. If you crave warm, sunny weather even in the winter months, Malta could be your beach destination. But if surfing is on your mind, Portugal’s Algarve region with its excellent surf spots might be more appealing.

Discussing the eating, drinking, and nightlife, Portugal is famous for its delectable cuisine, fine wines, and lively night scene, particularly in cities like Lisbon and Porto. Malta, too, has its culinary delights and vibrant nightlife, but Portugal might have the edge if food and fun are high on your agenda.

Lastly, when we consider the cost, both Malta and Portugal present affordable holiday options. Malta might be slightly more cost-effective, particularly for budget travelers, while Portugal, though slightly more expensive, offers diverse experiences that might justify the extra expenditure.

To conclude, there’s no clear winner in the Malta vs. Portugal debate. It truly depends on your personal preferences. Whether you’re an ardent history buff, a beach lover, a foodie, or a budget traveler, your individual interests will guide you in choosing the perfect destination for your next holiday.